Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Twelve Dancing Princesses Preliminary Thoughts
Back in August when I was introducing myself on one of the panels at Faerie Escape, I mentioned that Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales From Around the World would be one of the next books in the SurLaLune series. I usually flounder through those moments and was surprised when there was an audible audience reaction over this title, definitely from more than one person, of excitement. The hubby was in the audience and has referenced that moment several times.
To be truthful, I don't expect this title to ever sell as well as Sleeping Beauties or Rapunzel and especially the upcoming Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast titles. It's a much more obscure fairy tale, after all. I'm more surprised when the average person on the street is familiar with it than not. After all, the Barbie movie didn't increase its visibility that much a few years ago.
But I wanted to do this collection as much for me as anything else. And for all of its fans I've met over the years. I first added it to SurLaLune out of my own curiosity and due to reader requests. The research for the book was not easy going since the scholarship is almost nonexistent, especially in English. And what there is is quite derivative. Granted, this is a tale that is not nearly as widespread as others, but it has been fascinating to dig deeper into it. And it doesn't help that almost all of the online searches lead me back to myself. Really. Quite flattering of Google to do that, but I don't want to read what I have already published online. I wanted more breadth and depth. Then there's the challenge of the tale names which are rather generic word searches when you break them down. Oh, the woes of the researcher...
So over the next few weeks I will post several times about what I learned while researching and editing the book. There is more breadth and depth and much more than can be found on the SurLaLune site. I ended up translating three tales for the collection, one I didn't find in any English version at all. I also received permission to reprint three tales from rare sources, including the one with my favorite title, "The Hell-Bent Misses." Isn't that delicious?
So my question today is why do you enjoy Twelve Dancing Princesses, if you do? Is it the locked door mystery? The journey to beautiful and exotic locations? The cold-hearted princesses in the most popular versions? The cloak of invisibility? The humble hero? Why do you think this tale is so popular as a "second string" fairy tale? It is in the top twenty of the most recognized fairy tales, just not the top ten. Why did the room gasp in excitement at the thought of a book about this tale?