Category Archives: fairy tales

Granny and That Red Riding Hood

The Werewolf   by Angela Carter (1979)

Tuesday’s Fairy Tale, A Modern Retelling   August 11, 2020

As an avid reader, you might know that fairy tales are being retold in modern and highly inventive ways. You may have seen titles like Cinderella is Dead or The Librarian and the Beast or Alice, The Wanderland Chronicles. Retellings of Little Red Riding Hood are one of the most popular stories to flood the literary marketplace. Amazon has over 100 retellings (The Red Wolf; Moon and Fangs; Reluctant Hood).  Why we still love fairy tales comes from our need to believe that magical things can happen to common folk and what better place to indulge in that than fiction.

The original Little Red Riding Hood is believed to have been written by Charles Perrault (17th century), or possibly more ancient than that as an 11th century poem, according to anthropologist Jamie Tehrani at National Geographic. Most of us know the story as authored by the Brothers Grimm from 1812 “Rotkäppchen.”

Reportedly, there are 58 versions of the tale from Japan to Africa to Korea. Here is the original by Grimm, if you’d like a read:
(https://germanstories.vcu.edu/grimm/redridinghood.html )

This week, however, I bring you a version of Little Red Riding Hood by Angela Carter, The Werewolf. Flash fiction at 900 words, a 5-minute read. And what a read it is. Gothic, pastoral, sharp. And this little riding girl is skilled at using a hunting knife. It ends grimly but like all fairy tales, the last line in this miniature narrative is dramatically tight.

 

Read Carter’s The Werewolf  here at Biblioklept.org:

https://biblioklept.org/2012/06/03/read-the-werewolf-a-short-fable-by-angela-carter/

 

Remember this song? For Betty Boop lovers!

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

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Dawn Wind in the Hawthorne

The Witch’s Headstone  by Neil Gaiman  (2008)

Tuesday’s Tale  of  Ghost Fantasy,  June 16, 2020

 

Who doesn’t remember the green-tinted witch in the film The Wizard of Oz? Deep inside our psyches, we are all ten years old when it comes to witches. And maybe deep inside you, there’s a little bit of a witch stirring around. Have you buried her? Author Neil Gaiman writes a story about not just ghosts in a graveyard, but a buried witch. I urge you to dig up your witch’s psyche and read what Gaiman has to tell us about traveling into the world of the dead.

A boy named Bod.  A witch. A graveyard. And of course, ghosts.  Bod is a charming young fellow who visits a graveyard and is fascinated by the residing ghosts. He meets the witch from Potter’s Field, and his adventures with an ancient Indigo man and the frightening Sleer create even higher dangers in the real world. An exciting little story that is entertaining for adults as well as for a YA audience (55% of YA readers are adults who love coming of age stories).  I felt like I was brought back to my own childhood with Bod exploring a graveyard and finding a mission to please the dead. As modern fairy tales go, this one is a charmer.

(Witch’s Headstone, illustration)

 

Read the short story here at Epdf.pub:

https://epdf.pub/the-witchs-headstone.html

 

The Witch’s Headstone was published as a short story in the Gaiman anthology M Is for Magic and in Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy. This story is an excerpt from Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. If you enjoyed Bod’s adventures, you’ll likely want to read The Graveyard Book.

 

Neil Gaiman

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 

Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month.

Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

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Baba-Yaga and Vasilisa: Creative Fires

Vasilisa the Beautiful, Russian folktale (1860s)

Tuesday’s Fairy Tale      January 14, 2020

 

Baba-Yaga lives in a hut made of chicken legs with a fence of skulls on sticks.  Magical words can make the hut turn. There are variations of this fairy tale over the years (Vasilisa the Wise, Vasilisa the Brave, Vasilisa the Beautiful, Vasilisa the Fair), but  in most versions Baba-Yaga is known to eat people, especially children who smell of Russian flesh.  Some versions have Baba-Yaga as benevolent, in others, she is wicked. This is a story about fear, strength in adversity, wit, wisdom, and what we commonly define as witches. The word baba refers to babushka, or grandmother.

Vasilisa is a child who lives with her nasty stepmother and stepsisters. The ugly stepsisters send Vasilisa to the visit the witch Baba-Yaga, so she can fetch her magical fire and bring it back to light their house. But the sisters are hoping Baba-Yaga will devour Vasilisa the beautiful.

The frightened little girl spends days walking through the dark woods to Baba-Yaga’s hut.

 

Once Vasilisa meets Baba-Yaga, she discovers this crone is a wild and untamed woman. She is cruel to Vasilisa and forces her to perform unending tasks every day, promising no firelight to bring home. In desperation, Vasilisa calls upon her secret doll that her mother had given her before she died.

“Please help me. Baba-Yaga has given me an impossible task to do and if I fail she will eat me.”

What happens? Vasilisa defeats her opponent with truth, integrity, and a secret power.

This story is actually a reflection of maternal wisdom and feminine intuition, full of symbolism of light, darkness, and the feminine face of power. One might call it a dark goddess story because it identifies the blessings of all mothers (including Baba-Yaga archetypes) who came before us to achieve our strength, liberation, and independence. Sophia Wisdom is here too. We fear aging and death. The interaction of Sophia Wisdom (within Vasilisa) with Baba-Yaga is a force that assists Vasilisa in confronting her highest fear, death.

 

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés interprets the story of Baba-Yaga in her seminal work on fairy-tales, Women who Run with the Wolves. Estés writes:

“To my mind, the old Russian tale “Vasalisa” is a woman’s initiation story with few essential bones astray. It is about the realization that most things are not as they seem. As women we call upon our intuition and instincts in order to sniff things out. We use all our senses to wring the truth from things, to extract nourishment from our own ideas, to see what there is to see to know what there is to know, to be the keepers of our own creative fires, and to have intimate knowing about the Life/Death/ Life cycles of all nature – that is an initiated woman.”

“Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women.  The Wild Woman is both magic and medicine.  Fertile and life-giving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul.”

From Caitlin Matthews author of Sophia Goddess of Wisdom,  “Sophia, Holy Wisdom, came into the Russian soul never to leave it. She is deeply associated with the native images of Vasilisa and others.”

If you are tempted to read this 10-minute story, take the path through the woods with the little girl Vasilisa and meet Baba-Yaga. Read it here at SurLaLunefairytales.com :

http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/babayaga/index.html

 

Another version is here: Listen to the YouTube.com audio of A Story of Baba-Yaga

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 

Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month.

Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

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Believe in Fairies? Yes!

The Faery Handbag  by Kelly Link

Tuesday’s Tale of Fairies   November 26, 2019

 

Today, let’s believe in fairies.  Flower fairies, fish fairies, tree fairies, beach fairies to name a few. We should believe in everything until it’s disproved, right? And no one has disproved that fairies exist. Nightmares and dreams are not part of our waking daily activities yet they exist in everyone’s night life. So, let’s believe in fairies.

Fairy stories always bring me back to my childhood, but this one by Kelly Link brings me beyond my childhood. The Faery Handbag opens with Genevieve and her friends shopping in the Garment Center. She is in search of her Grandmother Zofia’s faery handbag—who are said to live inside it. Here is how Genevieve describes it.

“The faery handbag: It’s huge and black and kind of hairy. Even when your eyes are closed, it feels black. As black as black ever gets, like if you touch it, your hand might get stuck in it, like tar or black quicksand or when you stretch out your hand at night, to turn on a light, but all you feel is darkness.”

A chilling moment, yes? This story is mostly about Grandma Zofia who claims to be over 200 years old.  Do you know the difference between a horrible liar and a wonderful liar? What fun, and because this little adventure is so well written, I’m sure you will not be able to stop reading. The story won Nebula, Locus, and Hugo Awards, and was originally published in the anthology Faery Reel: Tales From The Twilight Realm, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. It is also in Kelly Link‘s second short story collection, Magic for Beginners.

You can read the short story by Kelly Link here at SmallBeerPress.com

https://smallbeerpress.com/free-stuff-to-read/2005/07/01/the-faery-handbag-by-kelly-link/

Kelly Link is an American author who writes magic realism, fantasy and horror. She has won several awards for her short stories, including the World Fantasy Award in 1999 for “The Specialist’s Hat”, and the Nebula Award both in 2001 and 2005 for “Louise’s Ghost” and “Magic for Beginners.” Link  is the founder of independent publishing company, Small Beer Press, along with her husband, Gavin Grant.

 

On the same subject of fairy tales but from a classic perspective, if you’ve never read The Tale of Tales, Giambattisa Basile’s 17th-century book of fairy stories, you might enjoy these very odd and magical tales that are more for adults than children. On Amazon:

 

The FaeryReel by Ellen Datlow has a variety of short stories by such authors as  Charles de Lint, Delia Sherman, Tanith Lee, Neil Gaiman, and Hiromi Goto, and more. On Amazon.com  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0142404063

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

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