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GaryBraunbeck
Registered User
(9/20/06 4:25 pm)

No Longer Lurking...and A Request for Some Help
I've been lurking on this forum for a while and have been hesitant to post because your good folks' knowledge of fairy tales/folk tales is, to put it mildly, a bit intimidating, but something has happened that has prompted to post here and ask for some assistance.

My name is Gary A. Braunbeck, and while I am primarily known as a writer of horror/dark fantasy, my work has been published in several different fields, as well. (If anyone is interested, please check out my bibliography on my web site: www.garybraunbeck.com)

I also hesitated to post because -- after participating in several discussion groups and frequenting a handful of on-line forums, I have come to be exceptionally irritated with those writers who -- rather than do their own research -- pop onto a board and just ask people to tell them the information they are seeking. This sort of laziness has always irritated me because it seems to me very rude, and a slap in the face to those working writers who do take the time and effort to research on their own.

That little soapbxing aside, I am at the end of my rope on a current project that is due by the first of the month, and am sincerely (read: desperately) hoping that one of you good, courteous, and knowledgeable folks will have an answer for me.

I need to locate any Eastern European fairy tale/folk tale that deals with a child who has been abandoned, and in order to survive his or her abandonment, takes refuge in a fantasy world of their own making.

Though I have a decent knowledge (not great, just decent) of Russian fairy tales, I've yet to find one that meets this criteria. Would someone here be so kind as to point me in the direction of a site or book that might contain a tale of this sort? If you have specific tales/titles that you can offer, I would be extremely grateful.

With that request out of the way, allow me to say how very much I enjoy reading the posts here; you folks are not only intimidatingly knowledgeable, you're courteous, articulate, and witty. I hope that I will be able to contribute something worthwhile to these discussions in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Thank you for enduring this rather long post, and I look forward to any responses that you're willing to offer.

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."

Edited by: GaryBraunbeck  at: 9/20/06 4:25 pm
Writerpatrick
Registered User
(9/20/06 5:30 pm)

Re: No Longer Lurking...and A Request for Some Help
There are many writers who hang out on these boards, but I think it's more students who tend to ask without researching.

I can't think of any traditional folk stories involving children who escape into a fantasy world because the stories themselves rarely deal with psychology and instead tend to merge into what would be considered fantasy. For instance, in Puss In Boots the youngest child has a talking cat which gives the boy instructions and defeats an orge. Psychology just wasn't understood before the twentieth century. I think if you're looking at someone trying to escape into fantasy you're dealing with modern stories such as Wizard of Oz and Alice In Wonderland (which had a dark psychological treatment in American McGee's Alice game).

Of course you could put your own twist on the stories, such as making the Little Mermaid a drowning victim or The Little Match girl an arsonist. Andersen's stories tend to be a bit dark. And don't forget the extensive collection of stories on the SurLaLune.com main site. You might find something there useable.

Veronica Schanoes
Registered User
(9/20/06 6:48 pm)

Re: No Longer Lurking...and A Request for Some Help
It's true it's hard to think of an abused child taking refuge in a world of her/his own making, because the fantasy worlds in fairy tales tend to be true places. But "The Little Match Girl" might fit the bill--she freezes to death, 'tis true, but by lighting the matches she gives herself visions of her grandmother in heaven. I also keep thinking of "A Tale of Tontlawald," in Andrew Lang's The Violet Fairy Book. I'm not positive where it's from, geographically, but it involves an abused girl wandering into an enchanted woods in order to escape her abusers.

Good luck!

GaryBraunbeck 
Registered User
(9/20/06 11:11 pm)


Re: No Longer Lurking...and A Request for Some Help
Thank you both for your wonderful suggestions -- Veronica, thank you in particular for pointing me toward Andrew Lang's fairy tales books. A little searching around there led me to a site containing the complete texts of several Czech tales, which then led me to a site containing the complete texts of fairy tales set in or around Prague -- which was precisely what I needed.

Again, I cannot thank the two of you enough for your help. Thank you, thank you, thank you! :D

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(9/22/06 1:09 pm)


Mother Holle/Hulda
As someone said, in fairy tales the fairy land is real, not a fantasy. However some fairy tales could be read that way: Mother Holle, Hansel and Gretal, many versions of Cupid and Psyche. (In TILL WE HAVE FACES Lewis treated the palace as something only Psyche could see, and her 'jealous' sister honestly thought must be a fantasy.)

Tontlawald was unusual, not from the usual sources iirc.

What Czech stories did you find that fitted?

(Btw, I think questions are nice, they stimulate discussion.)




AliceCEB
Registered User
(9/22/06 6:50 pm)

Peter Pan
I don't know if Peter Pan would fit your bill: he is a child who creates a world of his own making. He lost his mother and is in constant search of a replacement--Wendy being the one chosen for the tale. He is English, however, rather than central or eastern European.

Best,
Alice

GaryBraunbeck
Registered User
(9/27/06 9:12 am)

Re: Peter Pan
Rsemary:

I'm still reading through the book of Czech Folktales that I discovered -- thanks to everyone's suggestions -- but if anyone is interested in seeing it for him- or herself, here's the link:

volny.cz/enelen/baud/baudisf.html

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."

Rima at The Hermitage
Registered User
(9/28/06 6:55 am)

Re: Peter Pan
Gary
Hippocrene do a great series of folktales from various regions..
I own the Folktales from Bohemia, Ukranian Folktales and Czech, Moravian and Slovak Fairytales... I can't think off hand if any of the stories fit the bill but will post if I come across something.
Good Luck
Rima





www.the-hermitage.org.uk

GaryBraunbeck
Registered User
(9/28/06 11:13 am)

Re: Peter Pan
Actually, it crossed my mind that to find a folktale/fairy tale that almost totally echoes the plight of the character in question of my new story...well, that struck me as a bit convenient and arguably heavy-handed. Definitely too easy. But reading through the Czech folk tales -- as well as a lot of faolk tales/fairy tales in their undistilled, original form -- I realized that, while there may not be a circular element to the stories structurally, there *is* often-times a cicrcular element to them thematically, so I needn't introduce such an obvious element as having the character in question come across a story that is, basically, *their* story. It's been done many times in modern fantasy fiction, and it's been done better than I could ever hope to.

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."

janeyolen
Registered User
(10/2/06 6:39 am)

Re: Peter Pan
A few years back there was an undiscovered Grimm tale that had been included in a letter, which Sendak illustrated, called DEAR MIMI. A child during one of the interminable European wars is left in the woods. there she is "rescued" by St Joseph who in the end returns her to her mother.Though the both of them, child and mother, are now dead. The whole woods sequence is halucinatory.

I know this is late for this information,but you might want to check it out.

Jane

GaryBraunbeck
Registered User
(10/2/06 9:12 am)

Re: Peter Pan
Actually, Ms. Yolan (can you tell I'm an admirer of your work? "Ms. Yolen" and all that?) this particular piece sounds perfect, and I shall seek it out immediately! Thank you.

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."

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