Scandareview #5: The Fisherman and His Soul

So it’s become glaringly clear that my original plan of posting weekly despite my return to school hasn’t worked. I’m really sad about that; I’d had high hopes that I could organize my Scandaroona time around my workload and social life, but so far I seem to be having trouble — I’d forgotten how incredibly busy life tends to get. We’ll see how things go in the coming weeks (I haven’t given up just yet!) but I’m trying to come up with a new plan, one that allows me to continue writing Scandareviews and drawing awful pictures as well as permitting me to do college-y stuff unfettered.

That might mean a hiatus after mid-October, so I have more time to finish my second fairy tale; it might mean four posts a month rather than six; it might mean frequent delays in Scandareviews; or it might mean none of the above. I need time to think about it. But I’ve missed it here, and am seriously excited to talk about today’s fairy tale.

I read most of it during an awkward college symphony I went to with my friend Dana — awkward because almost everyone else there was over the age of sixty, and awkward because we’d brought a picnic blanket and most people were sitting primly in their seats. But it was also fun — they played the Star Wars theme, for heavens’ sake! — and I can’t say that Oscar Wilde coupled with a little John Williams was bad.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.


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?

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