Thursday, March 31, 2011

Donkeyskin at Tales of Faerie

by Kay Nielsen

Kristin posted a short piece about Donkeyskin on her blog at Tales of Faerie this week titled Donkeyskin: The reality of child abuse. She shares her thoguhts about the tale and its difficulties, especially in American culture where it is virtually unknown, thanks to its uncomfortably incestuous theme. It is a nice piece and worth a quick read if you are interested in the tale. I have been rather knee deep in it and its variants for several months thanks to the upcoming SurLaLune Cinderella collection so it certainly was pertinent to me. But that's neither here nor there. I enjoyed reading her experiences with the tale and thought you might, too.

Here's her first paragraph:

I've always been a fan of fairy tales, but especially since starting this blog I've been more aware of how people use the phrase "fairy tale," and it is nearly always condescending, no matter who it comes from. This is truly unfortunate-even in the "dumbed down" versions, of such as Disney is always accused, there are still horrific elements (abuse and murder attempts); not to mention the even darker historical versions. And even aside from these well-known American tales, Bluebeard and Donkeyskin, which deal more specifically with murder and incest, are considered not to be random fairy tales pulled out only to defend their mature content, but part of the basic fairy tale canon (Donkeyskin is apparently more well-known in France and other parts of Europe, where children's toys and picture books are given this dark theme).


  1. Thank you for this! Allerleirauh is one of my favorite tales (I have no idea why, to be honest), and Deerskin is one of my favorite books (I do know why), so I eat up any bit of scholarship I see on this seemingly obscure, at least in America, story.

  2. apparently "donkeyskin" starring catherine deneuve was a very, very popular children's film in france.