Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Dragon, A Bluebeard Tale

Bluebeard Tales From Around the World

The Dragon is another tale from Greece that I translated for Bluebeard Tales From Around the World. Let me share the first few paragraphs. Please read carefully:

ONCE there was a king who one day went out hunting. As he went along his way, he beheld a stag in the distance. He set out after the deer, chasing it on and on, until it leapt into a forest. The king also leapt in, and as he rushed to and fro, he at last came upon a garden. While in the garden, he lost sight of the stag and soon realized he didn’t know how to find his way out of the forest again. Because he saw no one in the garden, he opened a door that stood before him and stepped into another garden, this one filled with trees of gold and flora of diamonds.

In the garden there was a lovely rose that he desired to cut. But when he did, a long rope came forth and wrapped itself so tightly around him that he could no longer move. Now, unhappy and unsure of what to do, he began to cry rather piteously. Then he heard a noise, a noise that made the earth tremble. Suddenly a giant dragon emerged from the dense undergrowth.

The dragon approached the king and sniffed him, saying, “You smell of royal blood. I will not eat you, but in one month’s time you must bring me one of your daughters to wed.”

The poor king promised so the dragon freed him from his fetters and showed him the way out of the forest. The dragon advised him not to forget to bring his daughter and the king went away, trembling.
Did you read it? If you didn't know I was discussing Bluebeard ad nauseum this month, wouldn't you assume this was an entry about an unusual Beauty and the Beast tale? I thought it was when I started reading it. Part of me even hoped for it since a Beauty and the Beast collection is on the near horizon and it is one of my personal favorite tale types. But it isn't. It is a Bluebeard tale of sorts, closest to an ATU 312 Bluebeard, with the forbidden chamber and all. Except the chamber houses a very much alive prince and then the tale turns into a Black and White Bride variant. So, no, it is not a pure ATU 312 for the girl rescues herself and has to suffer more adventures until she is recognized as the proper bride of the prince she rescued, but it has enough elements to warrant its inclusion in this collection.

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