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

Part 1 can be found here.

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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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Part 1: “Wishes”

There once lived three men who were very unhappy. Every afternoon, after the day’s work had been done, they left their village and went to a nearby stream to lament their misfortunes. None of the three men told the others precisely what their trouble was, but gradually they became friends and felt a little less unhappy than they had before.

One day, dangling their feet into the warm, murky-colored water, the men noticed a small, glinting light at the bottom of the stream. They decided that the tallest of them should wade out to where it was, capture it between his palms, and bring it back to shore. This he did, and the other two men watched as he released the light onto the bank.

It did not remain a light; instead, it grew to the size of a small trout and scuttled out of the tallest man’s hands on legs that looked like matchsticks. It had tiny, pointed horns, a beard that blew with the wind, and a mouth full of bright, needle-sharp teeth. It was the spirit of the stream, and by the laws of nature and convention, it owed them each a wish.

The shortest of the men, who was very unhappy indeed, took his turn first.(Continued after the jump.)

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…And Welcome to Scandaroona

Hi!

I’ve put pretty much everything about what Scandaroona is and why I decided to do it and what you can expect from it under the lovely WordPress tabs you can see above this post (take a look at “About Scandaroona” if you’re interested), but this post marks its official launch and so I thought I should say a couple of things. To start with, I’m Libby. I’m a student and I like writing, and I just got back from an amazing trip across Ireland. (Maybe more about that later. There are some seriously amazing stories across the pond —  banshees and selkies and little men with magic hats that live under rolling green hills.)

Anyway, I’ve been planning Scandaroona since February 2012, and here are a few things that have happened since then…

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This book and I got better acquainted. We’re on pretty good terms now, although stories like “The Willful Child” and “The Shroud” tend to sour our relationship a little.

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Found, read, remembered reading, skimmed through, was inspired by, or vowed to read (respectively) this lot. And then amassed them into a giant beautiful stack.

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Spent a lot of time here.

ImageAnd a lot of time doing this.

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And some scribbling here, too.

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And did some doodling and laughed at myself. (You’re allowed to laugh at me, too.) Have enlisted my brilliant artist sister and possibly others to do some drawings in future.

So. That’s what I’ve been doing, and I’m really excited about it. If you want logistics, here they are.

First Thing.

At least until October, every other Tuesday I’m going to post a new installment of an original fairy tale. I haven’t done a ton of these before and so still feel a little bit on the learning curve, but it’s been an incredibly fun process and I’ve really enjoyed doing it. Story posts might have drawings or photos or links to cool things — there are some really amazing resources out there, far more than I thought when I first started working on Scandaroona. The best resources, of course, are other fairy tales themselves — more on that under the Second Thing…

The first story will run from July 31st to October 9th. Hopes run high that, after a while, Scandaroona might play host to some fairy tales written by friends and maybe other people, too.

Second Thing.

Each Thursday, I’m going to post a review, commentary, summary or just general natter about a fairy tale that is or was told somewhere in the world at some point in time. If you pop over to “Inspirations”, you can see the kind of thing I’ll be reading, although that is by no means an exhaustive list — in fact, I hope never to have an exhaustive list. (Please give me some ideas in the comments!) And I don’t want to distinguish between modern things like “The Tales of Beedle the Bard”, and ancient things, like the work of the Brothers Grimm. As far as Scandaroona is concerned, it’s not about the history — it’s about the story. I’m going to look at all of it.

I did take a class last year about Russian folklore and the structure of fairy tales in general, so that knowledge might creep into my Thursday reviews just a little bit from time to time. But I want to make clear that, while it can be fun to analyze the structure and syntax of a good story, I want to spend my Thursdays as a reader rather than an editor. I want to talk about what I liked and what I found entertaining and what I found weird, rather than spending ages picking apart the plot and the syntax and the Aarne-Thompson classification system. So that’s what I’m going to do.

I’m also going to be quite liberal with my definition of “fairy tale”. The dictionary will tell you one thing; I don’t agree with it. My definition is “a story that is both simple and rather complicated at once”, and I’m sticking by it.

There’s nothing left to say but welcome, and so I will:

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Scandaroona…

…will be launching rather soon.

Or at least, one hopes so.

(You know there has been progress in the world when one doesn’t feel wrong saying “one” when one isn’t British or in the aristocracy. One doesn’t do it often, but it’s enjoyable when one does.)

Keep your fingers crossed, optimism at highest possible levels, secret ritual dances danced, four-leaf-clovers neatly pressed and lucky socks unwashed. And I will (WILL) do some proper Scandaroony posting within a couple weeks.

Love,

Libby :)

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UPDATE 7/25: Scandaroona will be launching on Friday, July 27.