morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
[personal profile] morbane
Dear author or passerby, thank you for your interest in my prompts.

General likes: I love retellings that enter into the world of the story and explore the characters' motivations and mindsets, or the machinery of the magic: why did Elisa have to weave shirts out of nettle, or how did Chrysaor feel about his heritage? I'd equally be happy with a very loose retelling of any of these stories: add or subtract characters, or transpose them in space, time, or genre. I'm happy with a multitude of prose styles (or poetry if you wish!) including second person and 'found' media scraps. You're also welcome to mix in elements from more than one story I'm requesting now, or from stories I have requested or written in the past.

Do-Not Wants: Please don't include any harm to hands, any substance abuse / addictions / addiction-related behaviour, or any amnesia.

By story:

The Lute Player (Fairy Tale)
Read online here
: http://www.mythfolklore.net/andrewlang/076.htm
Character: Queen

I love the queen's courage and resourcefulness - both at home and abroad. I'd love more of a look into her head during this story - how does she come up with her plan? How does she get on with managing the kingdom? Does she intend for her husband to recognize her at first, or is it an unexpected development when he doesn't recognize her? Why does she not reveal herself to him? And after the big reveal - how did this affect their relationship going forward? What was it like for the king to rule after his long campaign and exile?

Additional ideas: perhaps a f/f retelling, where the diplomat queen rescues her more warlike wife? Or: the left-at-home queen was assumed to be a perfectly accomplished princess - and found an unexpected use for her high-born education that included singing and musical instruments? Feel free to either embrace the king's reasons for warfare, or deconstruct them.


Østenfor sol og vestenfor måne | East of the Sun and West of the Moon
Read online here
: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/norway034.html
Characters: Girl, Bear

This has long been one of my favourite fairy tales. Things I particularly love: the landscape that is vast yet sparsely populated with its dramatis personae, the imaginative promise of the title, and the way that the heroine (who knows her own mind, and says 'no' firmly but also isn't afraid) makes a mistake but fights to redeem it. I'd love to know more about the girl's journeys - carried away by the bear, and seeking him - and about the bear's backstory. Who is he and how did he come to be engaged to the troll princess?

Additional ideas: more about the girl's family, and why she changed from No to Yes? Their future life? More about the winds and the old women? WHY was the girl 'the one who should have had him' - how did the bear choose his bride?


The Bear (The Grey Fairy Book - Andrew Lang)
Read online here
: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/donkeyskin/stories/bear.html
Character: The Princess

This story is new to me - and of all the stories I've read on this plot/theme, The Bear is the most cheerful, and I love it for that. I love the princess with wanderlust, I love her actually-a-witch ally, I love the picturesque details of the wheelbarrow and bearskin, I love that she and the prince are (kinda) friends first, and I love that she giggles at the prince during the identity shenanigans. I'd particularly like a story that keeps a cheerful or at least hopeful tone.

Additional ideas: did the princess ever reconcile with her father? What was that - controlling abuse, or hyperbolic but loving concern? There's very little ruling in this story - I'd love to get a richer picture of the prince's home and daily duties or pursuits. Would also love to see a story of the wheelbarrow being used for Shenanigans.


Kemp Owyne (Traditional Song)
Read online here
: https://mainlynorfolk.info/frankie.armstrong/songs/kempowyne.html
Character: Isobel

I learned of this story only last year. I'm especially drawn to the paradox of a fearsome dragon, created by an evil spell, but not evil in her own nature, and to the difficulty and specificity of the stepmother's condition for breaking the spell. How did Isobel convince Kemp Owyne to save her? In some versions, she bribes him with fabulous treasures - where did she get them? How does he feel about being bribed? Why does he trust her enough to take the bribes? Their combat/courtship is really fascinating to me. And of course, why did the stepmother curse Isobel?

Additional ideas: I just really like dragons. Are there any more dragons? Why Kemp Owyne particularly? Did this change Kemp Owyne's approach to dragon-slaying in future years? The curse rebounds on the stepmother (in some versions); what happens after? And what about the elusive allusions to wood & sea and other creatures therein?


Jorinde und Joringel | Jorinde and Joringel (Fairy Tale)
Read online here
: http://germanstories.vcu.edu/grimm/jorinde_e.html
Characters: Sorceress, Jorinde

I asked for this in a recent Yuletide and received a gorgeous fic, but the story still fascinates me and I feel it is rich material for a variety of interpretations. What is the sorceress's motivation, and what is she hoping to achieve in the final confrontation? What does the world look like through her eyes? Over the long exercise of her power, she must have cast quite a shadow over the valley; has anyone ever taken advantage of her known methods to split up a couple, jilt a lover, etc? But I'm also interested in Jorinde and her experiences - especially if you want to twist the story around into a slightly different setting or plot. And how did she reflect on things later?

Additional ideas: what's the story behind the flower? I also really like the idea of a more complicated romantic dynamic: for example, two suitors have to work together to rescue someone they both love; the sorceress's preferred system for dealing with a pair of lovers of the same gender, or who otherwise don't neatly fit into m/f; family getting involved.


The Fairy of the Dawn (The Violet Fairy Book - Andrew Lang)
Read online here
: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/lfb/vi/vifb19.htm
Characters: Petru's Horse, Fairy of the Dawn, Petru, Venus

I really like both Petru as a protagonist and the weird, vivid, inconsistent world of the story. I like that Petru is insightful and courageous enough to take risks (asking after the weeping eye, picking the leaves and flowers of metal) but also has the ability to battle through when those risks occasionally prove ill-judged. I love his fight with the giant and his courteous conversations with the fairies. I'd love to see him in another adventure. I'd also LOVE more about this world - backstory, other characters' perspectives, a new story with any of those I've selected. How does the horse know so much and how come he isn't trapped in a wood as a Welwa at the start of the story? What IS the Fairy of the Dawn and why is Petru rewarded, rather than punished, for kissing her? How is it that Venus has grown old?

Additional ideas: the Emperor's backstory with the horse! Previous adventures involving dragons, magic woods, and fairies! What's it like to be on the border of these very weird lands? Worldbuilding!!!!


Medusa (Metamorphoses - Ovid)
Read online here
: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/Metamorph4.htm#anchor_Toc64106272
Character: Chrysaor

I know this request is a bit out of left field and I'm sorry for that - but I am genuinely interested. So, Chrysaor is born at the same time as Pegasus, springing with his brother from the neck of the dying Medusa. What then? If you are vastly more interested in all of the other players in this drama, I will happily take a story about various ways in which he reconciles himself with his heritage. Though the relationship here I'm most interested in is the one between him and his brother. We know Bellerophon captured and tamed Pegasus, but did Chrysaor and Pegasus have any adventures together? We know Chrysaor was a warrior - sources differ on whether he was a (winged?) boar, a giant, or something else - but how he won renown is not certain. What conflicts might he have got involved in - or avoided? It is my understanding, btw, that we really do not know much about this figure, and he exists only in a couple of offhand mentions. If I am totally wrong about this, I am so sorry, and happily willing to learn about the version of him that exists in sources I do not know.

Additional ideas: I also enjoy the figures of Orpheus and Eurydice, Psyche, Hestia, Apollo, and Hermes, if you have any interest in working any of those in. And I particularly like the theme of ordinary, or semi-ordinary, people navigating extraordinary times and circumstances (such as the gods' high drama). That seems relevant here.


De vilde Svaner | The Wild Swans - Hans Christian Andersen
Read online here
: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/27200/27200-h/27200-h.htm#wild_swa (HCA) or here: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm049.html (Grimm)
Characters: Elisa, Brothers

What fascinates me about this story is the task, and the length of it, and the strange lives that both Elisa and her brothers lived during the time the brothers were under the spell. I love the practical problems described in Hans Christian Andersen's version when Elisa runs out of nettles and has to get more, and she is torn between her magical task, and how bizarre it looks to ordinary people when someone is engaged in a magical task. And I know that in fairy tales, quests of great length can be waved off as if they're no big thing - but she and her brothers spent a significant part of their lives under the shadow of the transformation. I'd love to know about their change during that time.

Additional ideas: More magic machinery thoughts: in the Grimm version, there's a fascinating but creepy part where Elisa almost literally disrobes to get the king's men to go away - she gives them everything from her jewellery to almost her undershift, and they don't go away. That moment struck me partly because it's an uncomfortable moment and partly because it's interesting in the context of the importance of transformative clothing through the whole story. Also, in the Andersen version: what's up with the graveyard ghouls? Surely the problem is not "Elisa might be hanging out with the ghouls" but "there are GHOULS in the GRAVEYARD, we should deal with that." (Re: the Grimm version - if you're drawing more on that than on Andersen, please minimize the baby-eating bits. Though I'm also kind of fascinated by all of the hidden children in both versions of the story, and their reunions (or not) with their parents.)

I hope there is something in this that inspires you.

Thank you again!

Date: 2017-02-23 08:51 am (UTC)
blueinkedfrost: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blueinkedfrost
Thank you for posting all these delightful and tasty links to your journal! I eagerly clicked and read/re-read these tales. Your comments on them are great to read.

Does she intend for her husband to recognize her at first, or is it an unexpected development when he doesn't recognize her? Why does she not reveal herself to him?

I like what you're getting at here! I think the queen's choice to stay disguised reads as if it's a strategy to hit the king with a triple load of guilt: first for getting himself captured after his unwise military venture, second for failing to recognise his wife when she rescued him, and thirdly for unfairly attacking his wife for not rescuing him. Or, alternatively, she thinks that he will make richer promises of reward to a stranger for rescuing him than his own wife, and she uses this to compel his promise to give her himself. The story dwells on the queen's tenderness toward the king, but it definitely makes her seem like the far more capable ruler of the two, who cares more for the welfare of her kingdom than wanderlust, and comes up with a better plan than sacrificing her kingdom to save her husband.

I also liked reading the Bear story! It's a great incest free version of Donkeyskin.

The Fairy of the Dawn was new to me and I loved the worldbuilding.

"there are GHOULS in the GRAVEYARD, we should deal with that."

Love this too! :) And also the creepiness of Elisa's disrobing.

Date: 2017-03-20 08:32 am (UTC)
blueinkedfrost: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blueinkedfrost
Have you read any of Juliet Marillier's work? I don't know how well it holds up because I read it a long time ago, but I very much enjoyed her retelling of the Seven Swans.

Had you read the full Hans Christian Andersen version of the Swans tale before, by the way? I hadn't, before this exchange! All the weird worldbuilding bits stuffed in around the edge surprised me, and I was charmed by the lush descriptions of royal childhoods & fantasy landscapes. In contrast, it treats Elisa's stolen children really abruptly, giving no space in the narrative for her to miss or mourn them, or to imagine how they grow up away from her.

This is so interesting. I like the sub theme of flower/plant magic that runs through the Andersen version - the poppies, the nettles, the mysterious white flower at the end. Thanks for your lovely thoughts! Hope that you are doing well.

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