Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fairytale Reflections (9) at Seven Miles of Steel Thistles

Fairytale Reflections (9) Delia Sherman appeared this past Friday at Seven Miles of Steel Thistles.  And this was fun for me since I have met Delia a few times--most recently at Faerie Escape and even posted about her recent books back in August.  And since she is a U.S. author her books are a little easier to obtain for the majority of readers here.  (And while the blog had visitors from 96 countries this past month, most of you are in the U.S. and Canada as well as the U.K.  The SurLaLune main site had visitors from 165 countries in the past month while I am sharing stats.)

Anyway, this week Delia shared her thoughts on a favorite fairy tale and she chose the Russian tale, The Snow Child.  (Read a version on SurLaLune at The Little Daughter of the Snow.) Here's an excerpt, or what I should admit were some of my favorite bits.  Click through to the blog to read the full article though:

The comfort I found in Snowflake’s death is why I’m so appalled by the 20th Century’s cultural redefinition of fairy tales as simplistic, sanitized, happily-ever-after stories of heterosexual romance for children. Yes, Fairy Tales of Many Lands was published for children, and I can’t read it now without wincing at the slightly twee tone of the prose (“Does this child really want to go up to the sky, this bewitching little child whom no one can resist?”). And yet the stories confront the bitter side of human relations as well as the sweet, and the protagonists triumph over bandits and malicious friends as well as giants and dragons. With few exceptions, the girls in these stories are as active and clever as the boys, and their rewards are not restricted to marriage.

Reading the story now, it seems odd to me that I identified so strongly with Snowflake. Where she revived in the cold, I withered and wheezed. Where she was slender and dainty and blonde, I was plump and bespectacled and mousy brown. I was too allergic to animals to have a pet, let alone romp with bears, and couldn’t even play outside at recess, let alone go adventuring in the woods. I was afraid of heights. And my parents, while they loved me, did not approach the standards set by old Ivan and Maria. Yet her story was, on one level, mine. We were both children adopted by much older parents when we were babies, we were only children, and we were the gift of a stranger. Neither of us fit the norms of the world we’d been brought into. Both of us longed for a home we could hardly imagine, among people who not only loved us, but knew and accepted us for what we were.

And here are some of Delia's books for those who are unaware of her work:

Changeling (Firebird Fantasy) The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen Porcelain Dove The Fall of The Kings Through a Brazen Mirror: The Famous Flower of Servingmen (The Ultra Violet Library , No 3)

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