Friday, 6 August 2010

Friday is for Fairytales + Giveaway Winner!!!

Hi! I chose the winner to my giveaway of Mary Simonsen's novel Anne Elliot, A New Beginning and I will include this information in this post, so that it does not get overlooked. I always like to play it safe.;) I chose the winner using the Random Number widget. The winner is:


Congratulations, Anne!!! I will send you an e-mail shortly. If the winner does not respond to the e-mail in 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.


Friday is for Fairytales is a meme hosted by Irena (me) at This Miss loves to Read. Every Friday, you can choose a fairytale you love, or simply find interesting or haunting, and review it or simply say why you like it so much, or why it has captured your attention. Instead of a fairytale, you can choose a favourite fairytale character and describe him/her and tell us why you like them, or you can simply share an experience connected to a fairytale. Fairytales can be old and modern, written by a known author or anonymous, written down or passed on orally, short or in novel form (like re-writings of fairytales), international or typical for your country alone. In this case, present your country’s fairytale and we can all become acquainted with a new fairytale. So, make a post every Friday that is connected to the world of fairytales, be it a review, a character description or your own fairytale experience. Let’s celebrate fairytales and share our love for them.

MY POST IS ABOUT: Madame d’Aulnoy

This Friday, I’d like to introduce you to Madame d’Aulnoy, a French writer of fairy-tales. Her full name is Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baroness d'Aulnoy, and she lived in the 17th century (1650/1651-1705). She was the first one to use the term “contes de fées” – fairy-tales – that we now use for this lovely genre. In her life time, she wrote 12 books, two fairy-tale collections and three historical novels. She was best known for her fairy-tales from her collections Les Contes des Fees (Tales of Fairies) and Contes Nouveaux, ou Les Fées à la Mode (New Tales, or Modern Fairies). Despite being named fairy-tales, her stories are not suitable for children and most English translations have been changed for children to be able to read them as well.

I became familiar with Madame d’Aulnoy while doing some research on Charles Perrault’s fairy-tales. Her name came up during my research and as I like fairy-tales, I gave her stories a chance immediately. I really like her fairy-tales. They’re different and quite original. Of course, to the modern reader some of them might appear typical, but that’s because we’ve “heard it all”. However, I think that her tales can be appreciated by those who love fairy-tales and if you have some time on your hands, read a tale or two written by Madame d’Aulnoy.

To give you a taste of what her fairy-tales are like, I will summarise one tale that I really liked reading. It is called “The Princess Mayblossom” (original: La Princesse Printanière).

A king and queen lost all their children and when a daughter is born to them, they are very worried about and protective of her. The queen dismisses their ugly nurse, but every new woman they hire dies. The king finds out that the ugly nurse they fired was actually the Fairy Carabosse, who hates the king. Afraid of Carabosse, the king and queen try to christen their daughter in secret, but this is to no avail, as the fairy curses the child to be miserable for her first 20 years of life. The last fairy godmother can do at least something for the poor princess, so she promises the girl will have a long and happy life afterwards. Then, the princess is sent to a tower to be kept safe there.

When the princess is approaching her twentieth birthday, her parents send her portrait to several princes to offer her marriage. One king responds by sending his ambassador to the royal couple to make an offer in his son’s name. The princess, however, falls in love with the ambassador and she convinces him to run away with her to a desert island. There, the ambassador keeps complaining about how hungry and thirsty he was, but the princess can’t do anything for him. One day, a rose offers her some honeycomb, but warns the princess not to show it to the ambassador. She does, however, and he eats it. The same happens when an oak offers her milk. She realizes how rash she has been and when a nightingale offers her sugarplums and tarts, she eats them herself. The ambassador, hungry and thirsty, tries to threaten her and the princess uses her mother’s headdress with a magical stone she had taken with herself to make herself invisible before him.

Meanwhile, the admiral of the king and queen sends his men to the island, as he found out where the princess went. The princess makes the ambassador invisible and he stabs many men with her father’s dagger. He tries to kill the princess too, so she kills him. It is revealed that in the mean time, Carabosse tried to claim the princess because she left the tower four days early, but the evil fairy was defeated by the good fairy, so no harm was done. The princess is brought back to court and marries the ambassador’s prince, who is much better and more handsome than the ambassador, and they live happily ever after.


Blodeuedd said...

Never heard of her, but nice, and those real fairytales are so much better, and horrific than the "disney" versions

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I have never heard of this writer-what a plot though! I actually feel sort of bad for the ambassador who's not as good-looking as the prince. But I'm glad it has a happy ending!

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

@Blodeuedd: I like the "real" fairy-tales too, much more interesting.

@Bookworm: I felt sorry for him too. At the beginning, I was rooting for him, but well, a princess has to marry a prince, I guess.;)

Rachel said...

Wow, I have never heard of this author or this fairytale before! But it sounds beautiful. I guess not all fairytales need to be happy at all times!