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Old 05-11-2010, 01:20 PM   #1
Craftsman Revival
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What is Your Favorite Fairy Tale, and WHY?

So, I'd like to hear from folks on the Dis: WHAT is your favorite fairy tale, and WHY? (Doesn't have to be Disney.)

A few questions:
  1. Did you like the original, or Disney, version better?
  2. Was it the characters or the storyline you liked best?
  3. Is it a favorite childhood story, or something more?
  4. For those of us with kids, what is their favorite?

I'm in the midst of writing a (new) fairy tale as part of a larger book / project. It's a completely new/original story with both a female heroine and a male hero. Its about a woman queen, who doesn't inherit her crown, but earns it instead.

I'm very excited about where the story is going, but while in development, I would love feedback from those who love fairy tales most.

Any and all feedback is welcome! Looking forward to hearing from you...
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:36 PM   #2
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I'll get us started - my Disney favorites

To kick it off, I'll tell you a bit about where I'm coming from. As far as Disney heroines go, my favorites are:
  1. Tiana
  2. Pocahontas
  3. Mulan
  4. Belle
  5. Jesse (Toy Story)

I love their reactions to situations and believe that, for the most part, they are good role models for children.

Have any of you ever seen the (joke, I think) Facebook group "I Blame Disney for My High Expectations of Men?"

Its silly, but somewhat true. (If only because Disney re-popularized stories that always end on the wedding day and everything is 'happily ever after' with no mention of raising kids, mortgages, in-laws )

If we are looking at straight favorite for animated Disney movies, my favorites are:
  1. Beauty and the Beast, hands down, for many reasons
  2. Toy Story (great story, etc.)
  3. Sleeping Beauty (for the gorgeous movie and the music)
  4. Fantasia
  5. Aladdin

The movies and the heros/heroines don't all line up. I prefer some of the movies for a combination of great animation/storyline/music/characters.

If we are talking straight, NON-Disney fairy tales (i.e., the 'original' stories), here are some of my favorites, although I'm sure I'll think of more later:
  1. Red Riding Hood (the earliest versions, where Red isn't just a helpless thing)
  2. Rumpelstiltskin, because I love seeing that evil jerk get his comeuppance in the end
  3. The Ugly Duckling, for obvious reaons
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:34 PM   #3
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A few more favorites

...here are a few more favorites that I remembered throughout the day, as I started thinking about this thread:
  1. Perrault's "The Fairies," because the heroine was rewarded for her kindness and good heart.
  2. "The Emperor Has No Clothes," because I love the tale about everyone pretending an alternate reality exists.
  3. "Shrek" (although a modern fairy tale), because it shows that even someone with a tough exterior can have a good heart and find love.
  4. "Hansel & Gretel," because as my friend says, "Creepy lady with candy house - Hel-LO!!."

And looking at these lists, I want to point out that I'm talking about folk tales & legends as well as what would traditionally be called fairy tales. I'm just using the term 'fairy tale' as a kind of catch-all.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:05 PM   #4
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Stone Soup - teaches cooperation/sharing for the good of all.

Thumbelina - great story line for a fairy tale

Pinocchico - full of lessons for children, but without the grim gore that most used

King Thrushbeard - teaches humility and compassion
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:05 PM   #5
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A "new" fairy tale is CinderEdna. Edna works hard and good things come to her, while CinderElla, her next door neighbor just mopes with a woe-is-me attitude.
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by englishteacha View Post
A "new" fairy tale is CinderEdna. Edna works hard and good things come to her, while CinderElla, her next door neighbor just mopes with a woe-is-me attitude.
I'm bugged by that, because Cinderella - the Disney version as well as the ones in every other version I've read (meaning the classics: Perrault, the colored Fairy Tale Books, etc,) - is a hard worker, and part of the point of the original version is that hard work and kindness pays off. I'm fine with a story that implies that sitting around with a "woe-is-me" attitude doesn't get you anywhere, but why call her CinderElla?

In terms of current stories, I love Ella Enchanted (the book, not the movie), because the heroine refuses to marry the prince for his sake and then goes on a quest to get her fairy godmother to free her of the "blessing" (really a curse) of obedience.

My favorite classic fairy tale was The Goose Girl, because she keeps her word not to speak of the abuse but also learns to control her environment in order to keep herself safe (when she doesn't allow the goose boy to mess with her), because she eventually does find a way to speak of the abuse without breaking her word, and because the villainess chooses her own fate (LOVED that part).

Tough to pick a favorite Disney fairy tale. I love Belle because she so loves to read, even though I get mad at her because she breaks her word and flees the castle (although I don't mind so much her breaking her word to stay with her sisters longer than she said she would in many written versions - not sure why I'm so inconsistent there ). I adore Tiana because she's a hard worker and because she gives up her dream rather than betray Naveen. Cinderella's up there because she was my first Disney princess and because she is a hard worker and very kind - also she can be pretty oblivious, which I can relate to. :D

Those are the three that're tied for "first" with me. I like Ariel because she hangs onto her dreams and makes great sacrifices for them, and I love that she's a mother, but for whatever reason she's never challenged the other three with me. The best thing about Disney's Snow White is that she's not the idiot the one in most classic fairy tales is. Aurora is also likable more because she's "nice" than because she does anything particularly admirable - Prince Phillip and Samson are fun, though, and of course the three fairy godmothers, who I adore. Haven't seen Mulan or Pocahontas yet 'cuz I had to get over my sulks over how they changed history before I could enjoy them. I'm grumpy like that.
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:19 PM   #7
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WOW - Great start!!

Thanks to all of you! You've given me some new ones to read, so I've been catching up today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyBamaFan View Post
Stone Soup - teaches cooperation/sharing for the good of all.

Thumbelina - great story line for a fairy tale

Pinocchico - full of lessons for children, but without the grim gore that most used

King Thrushbeard - teaches humility and compassion
Stone Soup is a great one - thanks for reminding me about it. I agree w/ you about Pinocchio too. You reminded me of a cute story: when hubbie and I were first dating, we were at the Animation building at DCA. There was a "what disney character are you?" quiz. He was filling out the questionnaire while simultaneously telling me his favorite character was Jiminy Cricket because of his kindness and attitude towards life. Right as he was saying "Jiminy Cricket," the computer said "YOU are Jiminy Cricket!" I know its silly but it was one of those moments that happen when you're first dating someone special that make you go "Awww." He has a sweet heart.

Also, I hadn't heard about Thrushbeard but read it today, thanks to you, and I really liked it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by englishteacha View Post
A "new" fairy tale is CinderEdna. Edna works hard and good things come to her, while CinderElla, her next door neighbor just mopes with a woe-is-me attitude.
Thanks Teach! I've never heard of this one before but I'm going to check it out. My mom is also a (retired) English teacher and she always tells me about cool kids books before I hear about them from anyone else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shalom View Post
In terms of current stories, I love Ella Enchanted (the book, not the movie), because the heroine refuses to marry the prince for his sake and then goes on a quest to get her fairy godmother to free her of the "blessing" (really a curse) of obedience.

My favorite classic fairy tale was The Goose Girl, because she keeps her word not to speak of the abuse but also learns to control her environment in order to keep herself safe (when she doesn't allow the goose boy to mess with her), because she eventually does find a way to speak of the abuse without breaking her word, and because the villainess chooses her own fate (LOVED that part).

Tough to pick a favorite Disney fairy tale. I love Belle because she so loves to read, even though I get mad at her because she breaks her word and flees the castle (although I don't mind so much her breaking her word to stay with her sisters longer than she said she would in many written versions - not sure why I'm so inconsistent there ). I adore Tiana because she's a hard worker and because she gives up her dream rather than betray Naveen. Cinderella's up there because she was my first Disney princess and because she is a hard worker and very kind - also she can be pretty oblivious, which I can relate to. :D

Those are the three that're tied for "first" with me. I like Ariel because she hangs onto her dreams and makes great sacrifices for them, and I love that she's a mother, but for whatever reason she's never challenged the other three with me. The best thing about Disney's Snow White is that she's not the idiot the one in most classic fairy tales is. Aurora is also likable more because she's "nice" than because she does anything particularly admirable - Prince Phillip and Samson are fun, though, and of course the three fairy godmothers, who I adore. Haven't seen Mulan or Pocahontas yet 'cuz I had to get over my sulks over how they changed history before I could enjoy them. I'm grumpy like that.
So much good stuff here Thanks for telling me about Ella Enchanted and the Goose Girl - I have not read either of them but read the Goose Girl online today and like it. Ella looks promising but I didn't want to see the movie when it came out b/c in the ads it looked like a repeat of Princess Diaries - I didn't realize there was a book behind it.

I totally hear you on Mulan and Pocahontas movies, which is why they were not listed in my favorite movies, but in my favorite heroines. The part of Pocahontas that was really hard for me to get past was how with one gust of wind she suddenly can 'magically' speak English and converse with John Smith! My husband and teenage son just recently watched this movie w/ me and were cracking up at this part.

However, the movies are both beautifully done and feature strong, independant women ("Throw your hands up at meeeee!") as leads. If you can get past the historical rewrites, they are both fun to watch.

I feel the same as you about Cinderella, and do love the storyline that she's rewarded for being sweet and a hard worker. However, I do also understand the blow-back towards this fairy tale because it also belongs in the category of helpless princesses who are rescued by a man. (Of course, that part also depends on which version one reads...)
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:59 PM   #8
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My favorite one is called the 12 months its about a girl named Marusa its been my favorite since I was a little girl.
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:03 PM   #9
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The myth of Cupid and Psyche has always appealed to me because Psyche got so far because of her kindness (not an unusual theme in fairy tales, I suppose). I also enjoyed Bluebeard. What can I say other than sometimes I find the macabre fascinating?
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craftsman Revival View Post
However, the movies are both beautifully done and feature strong, independant women ("Throw your hands up at meeeee!") as leads. If you can get past the historical rewrites, they are both fun to watch.
I'm going to have to give in and watch them eventually - both soundtracks have songs I just love on them.

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However, I do also understand the blow-back towards this fairy tale because it also belongs in the category of helpless princesses who are rescued by a man. (Of course, that part also depends on which version one reads...)
Yah, Cinderella is a classic and there are many, many variations on it. I'm not a huge Bruno Bettlheim fan, but I do think he has a point that the heroines (and, let's remember, heroes) of many classic fairy tales are somewhat passive because children feel they have little influence over their environment and are encouraged by stories that show people who do their best with little power and succeed, rather than because they were putting women down. He also tells a fascinating story of one client - a woman - who was outraged by how sexist fairy tales are, and used Hansel and Gretel as an example. But it's Gretel who is the active one in that story; she's the one who pushes the witch into the oven, while Hansel spends most of the story as a prisoner being fattened up! The woman had reversed the roles to make the story fit her beliefs.

Another story I'm fond of, which has been called a Cinderella variation, is Cap o' Rushes.

http://courses.wcupa.edu/johnson/cap1.htm

Aside from reading it as Cinderella, it could be argued that the story's theme is, "Little things matter more than most realize." Personally, I always called it, "Dad, you're an idiot."

Andrew Lang's Fairy Tale Books (The Red Fairy Tale Book, Blue Fairy Tale Book, Green, Lilac, Orange, Brown and I forget the rest Fairy Tale Books) are gold mines if you're interested in reading any number of fairy tales from any number of cultures. The Red, Blue and Green contain many of the best known fairy tales stateside; the further you get in the series the more obscure the stories, although he does focus in particular cultures for some of them, if memory serves. Somewhere I ran across a fair number of them available on the Internet. This isn't that somewhere, but it's a start:

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu...ng&amode=words

If you don't like Andrew Lang's writing/translations they won't work for you, but any fairy tale you read from another culture has been filtered through someone, I reckon. Growing up on Andrew Lang and Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, I never got the whole feminist trope of passive heroines, because there are probably as many active heroines as passive ones. But I seem to tend toward the more passive ones, myself. Another favorite, also a variation on Cinderella, is "The Colony of Cats." Always been a cat lover.

http://www.rickwalton.com/folktale/crimsn33.htm

Last edited by shalom; 05-12-2010 at 09:19 PM. Reason: Thought I'd add a bit on Lang
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:29 AM   #11
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Growing up I always like "The Bremen Town Musicians", though I couldn't tell you why.

In a more modern sense, I love the graphic novel Fables.
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:37 AM   #12
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My favorite is Sleeping Beauty mostly because of Maleficent. So obviously I love Disney's version. I always thought that Aurora was the prettiest princess too when I was a girl - don't ask me why.

My son's favorite seemed to be the Lion King. I think that he could relate to the boy Simba in a way.
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:40 AM   #13
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Growing up I always like "The Bremen Town Musicians", though I couldn't tell you why.

In a more modern sense, I love the graphic novel Fables.
Me too! My son and I go to Borders to read manga and graphic novels, and we went almost every night until I finished the series.
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:59 AM   #14
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I love East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I love that it shows the heroine making a mistake, and then owning up to it, and working to make it up. Love the whole thing.

I second The Goose Girl, too!

My parents gave me a set of records that were recordings of an old children's radio show called "Let's Pretend." They are wonderful radio shows of fairy tales and fables! I have my children listening to them, now! Anyone else heard of them?
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:13 AM   #15
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I love East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I love that it shows the heroine making a mistake, and then owning up to it, and working to make it up. Love the whole thing.

I second The Goose Girl, too!

My parents gave me a set of records that were recordings of an old children's radio show called "Let's Pretend." They are wonderful radio shows of fairy tales and fables! I have my children listening to them, now! Anyone else heard of them?
I love this one too (It's basically a retelling of Cupid and Psyche).
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