Part 3: “The Tallest Man”

Part 1 can be found here.

Part 2 can be found here.

***

The tallest man awoke the morning after the meeting with the water spirit feeling excited and hopeful. Wealth, he knew, could take many forms, and he was eager to see which ones the water spirit had chosen for him. When he opened his eyes to an ornate ceiling, covered in gold-plated curlicues beset with silver, he leapt out of bed and shook his wife awake.

Although he had told her all about the events of the previous day, she was just as surprised as he was when she saw how their bedroom had changed. Overnight, it had tripled in size, and a velvet canopy had appeared on the bed, which was now much bigger and softer than it had been. Looking down at himself, he saw that his nightclothes had been changed into silk, and a satin dressing gown had been hung up on the shining gold curtain rod. Two servants waited at the door, carrying an enormous silver platter, on which a steaming, mouth-watering breakfast was laden.

After the tallest and his wife had finished eating, two servants entered the room and helped their new master dress. The tallest man’s usual clothes had been replaced by countless sets of stiff-looking suits, with a row of smart-looking ties folded neatly inside the wardrobe. Two more servants entered the room and polished the tallest man’s shoes until they gleamed. Then the servant to his left slipped a tiny gold key into his pocket.

(Continued after the jump.)

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Sadly…

…today’s story post has been delayed for twenty-four hours, due to settling into being back at school and all the unpacking, rescheduling, and unexpected s’mores parties thereof. However, it should be up by midnight tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

See you tomorrow!

-Libby

Scandareview #4: Erisichthon

This is my last week at home before heading back to school, and due to the ridiculous amount of stress created by cramming a large amount of things into several small bags, I’ve again made the decision to talk about a fairy tale (or myth, in this case) that I’m familiar with. I’ve also been taking some time to think about Scandareviews and the direction I want them to go in, and I want to discuss that before plunging headlong into the tale of horrible tree-chopping daughter-selling Erisichthon.

I love doing Scandareviews. I really enjoy them, even though I’ve only done four so far — but a nagging voice in the back of my head kept telling me last week that my Blondine review was too long, and I’m afraid it was right. I’m not sure it’s too long for readers — I’m definitely not an expert at figuring out what readers like and don’t like, and this blog is really for me — but I think I’d majorly underestimated the amount of work involved in the reviews I’ve published so far.

I don’t want the quality of them to lessen, and I definitely don’t want to drop the project, so my decision for now is to try to make Scandareviews more concise. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do that, but with the added load of schoolwork and the coming semester, I’m just going to have to find a way to cross that bridge. We’ll see how things go!

Anyway, today’s story comes from my beloved Bulfinch’s Mythology, which contains some of the best rainy-day reading in the world.

I was surprised to discover “Erisichthon” when I read it my sophomore year in high school, because until then, my main source for Greek and Roman mythology had been the D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, which it’s conspicuously absent from. It’s a dark, cold-winds-in-December kind of story, and not many people seem to have heard it before.

(Continued after the jump.)

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Scandareview #3: Bright, Deardeer, and Kit

This past weekend, my cousins came to visit. I’m the oldest out of all my cousins on both sides, so these visits are always an opportunity to stop pretending to be dignified and just be silly for a while. My sister and I took them to the county fair, which lasted most of the evening, but by the time we were home, my eight-year-old cousin was still full of energy and wanted something to do. When I recommended finding something new to read, she asked me if I had any fairy tale books. (What a wonderful question!) This was the one I picked:

Amazingly, it’s still in print today, although it now goes by the name of The Golden Book of Fairy Tales. It wasn’t only my favorite fairy tale book when I was eight — I inherited it from my mother, who remembers it fondly from her own childhood. By the time my cousin was settled with it on the sofa, my mother and my aunt were looking at it too, rattling off the names of their favorite stories. I actually discovered there was a story in the book I’d never read — “The Royal Ram”, because apparently little Libby believed a story about sheep could contain nothing that would interest her. (This is dreadfully ironic now, considering I spend a lot of my time at school writing in a field with about eight rams hanging out just beyond the fence. Inspiring, no?)

But I didn’t read that story today. For the first time, I decided to review a story that I’d already read — one that is known to Golden Book aficionados as “Bright, Deardeer and Kit”, but which is actually called “L’Histoire de Blondine”, or “The Story of Blondine, Bonne-Biche, and Beau-Minon”.

(Continued after the jump.)

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Part 2: “The Shortest Man and the Middle-Sized Man”

Part 1 can be found here.

***

In the morning, the three men awoke to find that the spirit had kept his promise. Each of them sprang out of bed in wonder and looked out at the new world that lay before them.

The shortest man ran to his looking-glass and nearly cried when he saw what was reflected in it. His ears were perfectly proportioned and nestled close to the sides of his face, while his nose had shrunk down to a satisfyingly exquisite size. His receding hairline had been replenished with thick, glossy, golden locks, and his pale complexion had turned rosy and vibrant. Ecstatic, the shortest man spent the early morning watching his reflection, marveling at the way his eyebrows slid sideways when they were knitted together in a frown, and the way his lips curled when he stretched them into a smile. Not a single feature had been left untouched.

If there was ever a moment when he felt unlike himself, when he wondered whether he had made the right choice in accepting the spirit’s gift, he soon forgot it. His life would be better now, he told himself. And he rejoiced to be changed so completely.


Later that morning, the shortest man decided to go out into the village, hoping to share his good fortune with his neighbors. He had been afraid of their wagging tongues for so many years that he trembled as he walked, momentarily forgetting his good looks. It took all the courage he had to charge up to the town square and show the villagers what the spirit had done.

(Continued after the jump.)

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Scandareview #2: Prince Ivan and Princess Martha

Today’s post is a flashback from last semester, when this book (below) was the source of nearly all my homework assignments. I can’t tell you how many hours we spent reading feverishly on the lawns, trying to cram in as much Afanas’ev as we could in case we had a reading quiz and there was a question on firebirds. Although it was a great class and I have all sorts of wonderful memories from it, I have to say it was liberating to read my copy of Russian Fairy Tales by choice this time. We’d probably read most the stories in it by the time the semester ended, but as far as I can remember, we didn’t read this one, so I thought I’d give it a shot.


In case you were wondering, the randomness of my fairy tale selection process hasn’t changed a whit since last week. I opened the book, thought, “which ones haven’t I read that aren’t really short?” and went with the first write-about-able one I found. But I’m proud to say “Prince Ivan and Princess Martha” turned out to be unceasingly exciting, incredibly weird, and chock full of things to comment on. And so I will proceed to comment.

(Continued after the jump.)

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Scandareview #1: The White Cat

When I came up with the idea of doing weekly fairy tale reviews/commentaries/mumblings (I think I might just start using “Scandareview” as an extremely bad pun and umbrella term), I really liked the idea of not planning out which stories I was going to read and just sort of letting them find me. This week’s story did exactly that. I was talking to my father about Scandaroona last week when he suddenly ran down to the extremely cluttered basement (the sort you are likely to have an adventure in simply by visiting it) and returned with The Blue Fairy Book.

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Apparently he owned it — and loved it, by the look of it — when he was about five or six, and had prized it so much he’d kept it as an adult. Who says boys can’t read fairy tales?! Clearly they can. He’d also circled some favorite stories in the Table of Contents, so I decided to use that as a guide. After all, what recommendation could be better than one given by your six-year-old father?

(Continued after the jump.)

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