Monday, March 30, 2020

Review of Lafcadio Hearn's Japanese Tales (Oddly Modern Fairy Tales series)

(Review written by Leigh Smith)

“I have pledged me to the worship of the Odd . . . the Strange . . . the Monstrous… ”
~Japanese Tales of Lafcadio Hearn


If I had a digital file of Lafcadio Hearn's Japanese tales, I'd be curious to run a search for how many times this word appears amid his 28 tales. This before-his-time multiculturist’s dark fairy tale work foreshadowed an entire body of unsettling art. 

He anticipated the so-called automatic writing of practitioners such as André Breton, opened receptive minds to Cubism and Surrealism movements of the 1920s and primed the public imagination for the fantastical tales of  H.P. Lovecraft. Lafcadio Hearn successfully navigated multiple cultures, transforming himself from Other to revered father figure/folklorist/historian. In short, he became the hero of his own fairy tale life.

As a fan of the macabre and fantastical, I was drawn to this book as a soul to the quintessentially Japanese cherry blossom (sakura)*. The collection's obsession with strangeness is also why I think it’s accessible to our own generation of culturally fluid, proudly freak flag-flying readers. 

Lafcadio Hearn portrait
Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, aka Koizumi Yakumo. 1889
Photo by Frederick Gutekunst / Public domain
Japanese readers in 1900 may have been steeped in the Buddhist and Shinto teachings about life’s vagaries, but in 2020, we have our ‘disappearing’ social media to remind us of our impermanence (Snapchat, TikTok, etc.).

Plus, modern readers will appreciate the bite-sized nature of Hearn’s stories. The tales are just that: short “tail ends” of Japanese legends and folklore, which can be quickly digested and enjoyed. Even the opener, which is the longest story in this anthology-of-sorts—“The Dream of a Summer Day” and its Pandora-like box—is only 17 pages. Most of the stories clock in at only a handful of pages. As a whole, they transcend their time, but for a couple zeitgeist themes or tropes that I'll mention later.

Hearn's “Exotic” Tales

These stories, selected by editor Andrei Codrescu, originally introduced the Western mind to Japanese culture, as seen through Shinto and Buddhist lenses. The cast of colorful characters and tropes readers encounter include:

  • A man who saddles and rides his corpse-wife by clinging to her hair.
  • An enchanting screen maiden (an artist's depiction of a woman on a screen) who becomes real.
  • A shark-person (Samébito) who weeps blood that turns to jewels upon the ground.
  • A samurai-beloved young woman named Aoyagi who experiences a metamorphic twist of fate.
  •  A priest who is transformed into a Golden Carp.
  • An unwitting entertainer for the dead, in the oft-cited ghost story, “The Story of Mimi-Nashi-Hōichi”.**

If one thing prevails in this collection, it is this: all is not what it seems, for everything is changing. Constantly. And because everything is in a state of flux, all does not necessarily end well. So, dear reader, do not expect the happily-ever-afters of heavily modernized and Westernized fairy tales. Hearn had his finger on the pulse of the unsettling. Let's briefly explore why that might be.

Lafcadio Hearn: Other from Another Mother

Hearn and Koizumi Setsu.
Unknown photographer in Japan pre-1904 / Public domain
It is not a surprise that Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (1850 – 1904) wrote from a position of Other, considering how he became entangled with his parents' inner demons as a child. He bounced from his mother’s homeland of Greece to his father’s home in Ireland. Both parents eventually abandoned him. 

At age 7, he became a permanent ward of his aunt. By the time he was 19, he was virtually penniless but on his way to America. After spending some time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a decade in New Orleans, he finally settled in Japan for the last 14 years of his life. He married a Japanese woman and started a family.

“[Hearn] never returned to the womb of his mother's Lefkada [Greece] but found himself at home in a patriarchal world where he was a Father, unlike his own genitor.” 
-Andrei Codrescu, Editor of Japanese Tales of Lafcadio Hearn

It’s impossible not to view these stories through a modern lens. And that lens uncovers glaring threads of patriarchy and age-ism. And while Hearn’s position as an esteemed member of society was hard won, his privilege is reflected in his many elitist characters.  I don't doubt that Hearn (called Mr. Koizumi while he wrote these stories) was a product of his time. But it’s still problematic when the women who appear in these tales exist along a binary. If they’re human, they’re generally preternaturally beautiful, young, graceful, and self-sacrificing—like any “good” Japanese wife of the Hearn’s time. Conversely, they can also be ugly, vain, unpleasant hags. The non-human women are supernaturally monstrous “Yuki-Onna” (White Witch) and often violent.
Suuhi Yuki-onna
Yuki-onna by Sawaki Suushi / Public domain
A perfect example is the farmer's wife in “Of a Mirror and a Bell.” She covets the return of her bronze mirror, which had been given for melting down to make a temple bell, but it, alone among the mirrors, would not melt. In short, it was magically imbued with the woman's anger and covetousness. Hearn even reminds readers of the supposed old saying, “a mirror is the soul of a woman.”

One positive tale in which the woman's value is not dependent on her beauty, but perhaps her duty, introduces a milk nurse named O-Sodé who asks a divinity to trade her life for that of the now-sick girl she'd nursed 15 years earlier. In her remembrance, the family of the saved girl plants the best cherry tree they can find (“Ubazakura,” or “Cherry tree of the Milk Nurse” which has flowers of white and pink).

Men, in these tales, especially those of the samurai or priestly class, were generally treated more favorably, with wider character variation among both human men and divinities or magical beings.

Lafcadio Hearn in the 21st Century

Beyond the aforementioned shortcomings, however, I see much to enjoy in this cross-cultural experience of reading Hearn. In some ways, I can vicariously commune with Japanese culture through him. I was also pleasantly surprised to see parallels between the myths and legends of other cultures. Here are a few I picked up:

  • “The Story of Aoyagi” (Aoyagi means green willow) could find (new/old) fans of Edith Hamilton, Bulfinch et al, in its parallels with several Greco-Roman stories such as those of the united-in-death lovers Baucis and Philemon, or oak and linden.
  • “The Story of Kwashin Koji”: In this tale, a religious painting seems to undulate and show real, flowing blood. This recalls stories such as Wilde's “The Picture of Dorian Gray” or the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea.
  • In “Hi-Mawari,” a boy and his older friend (Robert, age 8) search for Welsh fairy rings but instead encounter a harper. The harper's music is said to be witchcraft. Fans of Greco-Roman mythology will quickly be reminded of the magical musician, Orpheus, who used a song to win his wife back from Hades.

All is Unreality—Even Us

Hiroshige, 36 Views of Mount Fuji Series 7
Woodblock print of cherry blossom
"Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"
by Hiroshige / Public domain

It would be too simple to reduce Lafcadio Hearn to a purveyor of the strange, predicting the 20th century’s modernism and political upheavals. I like to think of Hearn's work as living and breathing, even in its preoccupation with the impermanence of life.

The collection will appeal to all lovers of uncanny short stories, from Poe to Neil Gaiman. Furthermore, the curious black and white illustrations of flying severed heads, faceless women, samurai, etc. will appeal to fans of anime and manga, I think. This volume also could draw in readers who appreciate the reverence for nature beyond simply the national symbol of the sakura (cherry blossom). “The Story of Aoyagi” is tailor-made for those who decry the cutting of forests.

Read the tales within Japanese Tale of Lafcadio Hearn. Even its foreword (by Jack Zipes) and introduction (Codrescu) are accessible to non-academics. Just remember—in the words of 14th century Buddhist priest Kenko: “All is unreality. Nothing is worth discussing, worth desiring.”

Japanese Tale of Lafcadio Hearn can be purchased on Amazon or via the Princeton University Press' website. It's part of Princeton's "Oddly Modern Fairy Tales" series.

Read our review of another book in this series: Workers' Tales: Socialist Fairy Tales, Fables, and Allegories from Great Britain

*Modern novelist, Hanya Yanagihara, wrote in a recent essay in The New York Times Style Magazine, that “Japan without the cherry blossom is like a person without a head: The image is wrong, inconceivable.”

**From Hearn's Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1904)

Leigh Smith writes strange tales herself, mostly under the pseudonym Leigh Ward-Smith. In the real world, she writes marketing copy, curates/manages social media for an architectural firm, and does research and editing for a retired professor. She occasionally blogs at Leigh's Wordsmithery (; likewise the occasional tweet @1WomanWordsmith.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Review: Christian Bärmann’s “The Giant Ohl and Tiny Tim”

(Review written by Lily Stejskal)

Giants typically get a bad rap in fairy tales, so if that’s where you met all your giants, you might automatically assume they were all evil and hateful towards humans. Our folklore “giants”: Charles Perrault, Joseph Jacobs, and the Brothers Grimm, all seem to agree that giants are liminal—neither fully human nor fully beast. They universally portray the non-human parts of giants as evil or wrong, just because they’re different.

Translated and edited by Jack Zipes
I must admit I have never met a giant, but if they exist, I’m sure I’d be just as likely to meet a gentle giant, like Christian Bärmann’s Giant Ohl, as the vicious giants littering more famous fairy tales.

After reading The Giant Ohl and Tiny Tim, I’m honestly surprised that Ohl even had the courage to try living among humans. Humans like Jacobs’ “Molly Whuppie” and Perrault’s “Little Thumb” steal from the giants they encounter. Then, when the giants try to retrieve their stuff, they’re killed (just read “Jack and the Beanstalk”). Sometimes the humans even kill giants just for the heck of it, like in “Jack the Giant Killer”.

Even in one of the kinder tales about giants—Grimm’s “The Young Giant”—there’s the underlying message that humans and giants can’t mix. In this tale, a baby no bigger than a human thumb (much like Little Thumb), is nurtured by a giant. Male giants are apparently able to “suckle at their chest”, but this results in the boy growing so big that he eventually becomes a giant himself.

However, this giant clearly believes humans have no place among giants, because he gives the supersized boy back to his human parents. But the parents don’t want him back. This leads the boy to hurting and deceiving others. If either side had accepted him, perhaps he would have turned out alright. But in the Grimm’s world, it’s simply not possible for giants and humans to live together in harmony.

Gulliver Awed by Three Giant Beggars in the Land of Brobdingnag
by Paul Gavarni, 1862. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington
With all that in mind, when our gentle Giant Ohl is told by a fortune teller that he’ll find happiness with humans, why does he believe them? The book doesn’t say. I can only give kudos to Ohl for being brave enough to seek out companionship among the creatures who have caused his kind such pain.

Ohl is lucky because the humans in this book don’t automatically label him as evil.  They’re afraid of him, and probably willing to kill him to protect themselves, but are also curious about him, which is why, intentionally or otherwise, they end up giving him a chance.
That’s progress as far as I’m concerned.

Ohl may not suckle any human children, but he certainly loves them and knows how to be kind to them. He carries them on his back as they take summer trips together. None of this would surprise a modern audience, but it may have surprised people at the time. Bärmann wrote in the years surrounding World War I, right after the Victorian era, when parenting was often done at a distance and playtime wasn’t a high priority in many households. In that way, perhaps The Giant Ohl was ahead of its time.

Any fairy tale scholars out there have ideas about why Bärmann had such love for giants? Information about him online has been tough to find. His Goodreads page says that he was a German painter who published most of his work in the early 1900s. At first, I thought it might stem from a general cultural shift between the time of Perrault (the 1600s) and Grimm’s (early 1800s), but that doesn’t fully explain it. Because Joseph Jacobs, of the infamous Jack stories, was a contemporary of Bärmann, and clearly had zero fondness for giants. (Fun fact: Jacobs was from Australia!)

I can see why Jack Zipes chose this story to revive as a part of his new “Forgotten Fairy Tales” series. If you’re a fan of Roald Dahl’s The BFG or Harry Potter’s friend Hagrid, you should check out The Giant Ohl. You can purchase it directly through the Wayne State University Press' website and I think you’ll find it delightful.
L'ogre et le petit poucet
by Honore Daumier, 19th century. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

About the reviewer:

Lily Stejskal has enjoyed reading, telling, writing, studying and re-imagining fairy tales, as well as other stories, all her life.  She started seriously interpreting and analyzing fairy tales at age fourteen. This served her well in college, where she studied English and Psychology.  Since then, Lily has been working on new fairy tale retellings and other types of fiction, for both children and adults.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Give A Truly Folkloric Gift This Season: A *New* Winter Folklore Mini-Course Or A Self-Guided Long Course In Fairy Tale Classics! (Psst! BlackFriday Deal Alert!)

The award-winning Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic have TWO new courses enrolling, a winter folklore mini-course and a self-guided master course on fairy tales... AND they're both 15% off right now with code WINTERMAGIC! (Sale through Monday 12/2/19.)

Here are some more details to entice to you join - or gift! - the growing community of folks avidly learning about folklore and fairy tales under the guidance of folklorists Professor Brittany Warman and Professor Sara Cleto. We got the chance of a fly-by catch-up with our fairy tale professors to ask them a couple of fun questions for you about the courses as well... (see the text in blue below each of the course descriptions):

The first course is perfect for the Winter Season and has been created by popular demand after the rousing success and high attendance in Carterhaugh's Halloween mini-course. The new interactive Winter course begins on January 8, 2020:

Enrollment is OPEN for our new mini-course “Kindling a Light in the Darkness: Winter Folklore and Fairy Tales”!
Let’s face it: the long dark of January and February is BLEAK. Once the December lights come down, the turkey (or, if you’re like us, Tofurkey and every last potato in town) has been gobbled up, and the fizzy champagne countdown to New Years is over, facing the cold winter months can feel seriously depressing, And so, we want you to join us in kindling a light and sharing a story or two when the year seems darkest.
By popular demand, we’ve conjured up another interactive Carterhaugh mini-course for you, poised right in the coldest and loneliest time of year. We invite you to take shelter from the wind and snow, pull up a chair by our fire, and gather round for stories, fellowship, and rituals to warm you down to your toes. Through a combination of video lectures, written tales, extra resources, and group discussion, we will lead you through some of our favorite winter folklore and fairy tales!
For more info and to enroll, visit HERE.

Speaking of favorite Winter folklore, we couldn't resist a pop-quiz question on the topic for the Carterhaugh School Fairy Tale Professors:

OUAB: You are having a decadent Winter Feast and need to invite: one folkloric character, one fairy tale person, one ghost and one animal. (Don't worry. They have promised to keep their hooves/paws/trotters off the table). Whom would you invite to your festive evening?

SaraPersephone (because, between bouncing back and forth between the underworld and the surface, she's learned to be a good conversationalist with all kinds of different people), Lady Mary from the fairy tale "Mr. Fox" (because she's one of my fairy-tale heroes - girl is FIERCE), the Ghost of Christmas Present (because he'd be so happy to be there), and Tatterhood's goat (because she is a fine and noble steed)!

BrittanyThe White Cat (who yes, is from a fairy tale too, but fairy tales are folklore, sooooo 😝!), the 13th fairy from “Sleeping Beauty” (because one simply does not NOT invite her, as we all know!), the Ghost of Christmas Past (bc I’d love to have a peek back in time of a Christmas with some of those I’ve lost over the years), and one of Santa’s magical reindeer (probably Vixen, I always loved her name!)

BONUS FOR EAST COAST FOLKS: For those interested in the darker side of Christmas, Yule and Winter holiday traditions and tales, on December 17th, 2019 there is a LIVE Profs and Pints talk in Washington DC – “You Better Watch Out: A Look at Terrifying Holiday Folklore Around the World” – A little note: these live sessions have been SELLING OUT so if you're genuinely interested in going, grab your tickets ASAP HERE. Here's a taste:
Today, the December holidays are all about joyous magic, warm evenings curled by the fire, and celebrations of the good in the world. Traditionally, however, the winter season also ushers in the terrors of the dark and the cold, teaching us to bar doors, whisper warnings, and, above all, to be good for goodness sake. 
While many are now familiar with the holiday terror of the Krampus, this talk will explore a few less familiar, but no less frightening, folkloric characters of the season. 
You'll hear tales of the Icelandic Jólakötturinn, a gigantic cat that devours naughty children, and learn how to best the Welsh Mari Lwyd, a skeletal horse with a taste for song and poetry. You'll get to know the Eastern European Christmas witch Frau Perchta and trace the history of the sometimes mischievous, sometimes terrifying Yule Lads and their monstrous mother, Grýla.
The second offering is an in-depth master course in the classic fairy tales, consisting of ten comprehensive lessons:

Introduction to Fairy Tales
A self-guided course through classic tales and traditional folklore

Once upon a time...
A girl in red walked into the woods with a basket for her grandmother. There, she wandered from the path, talked to a strange wolf, was eaten, was saved.

Or, once upon a time…
The girl, who did not wear red, went into the woods. She met a werewolf, chose the Road of Needles instead of the Road of Pins. She performed a striptease for the wolf, tricked him, and ran back home, and slammed the door behind her.

Or, once upon a time…
A girl, once more in red, walked into the woods. She wandered, talked, was eaten. She was not saved, and she remained in the wolf’s belly.

A teeny preview of one of the beautiful
'grimoire' pages created for participants
to download & collect into their
own personal study volume.
To read the info-goodies you will have
to join..

In this self-guided online course, “Introduction to Fairy Tales,” we welcome you across the threshold of Carterhaugh to explore a collection of wonder tales from around the world- stories you may know, stories you may think you know, stories that are strange and unfamiliar. Through a combination of video lectures, supplemental readings, and extra resources, we will introduce you to the wide world of fairy-tale scholarship and provide the history, context, and tools to begin analyzing these stories and applying them to your own life.

For more info and to enroll, visit HERE.

Applying fairy tales to one's own life felt like it deserved a pop-quiz question too. Sara & Brittany very kindly humored us with wonderfully reflective answers...

OUAB: As you explain in this course, fairy tales are classified by their "tale-type" or "the things that happen in the fairy tale" and can sometimes reflect people's lives. While therapists can use this as a tool of exploration, just for fun, what would you each say is a "tale type" you feel reflects an aspect of your lives? (To make it harder we're nixing the reply of regularly losing shoes like Cinderella...)

BrittanyI’m going to have to go with “Sleeping Beauty” for this question. Most people know it’s my favorite fairy tale, but I also feel a deep connection to the story. All my life I’ve been shy, quiet, and typically not too willing to stick up for myself... sleeping, in some sense. But the older and more confident I get, the more I feel I am “awakening” from that, awakening to the person I’m truly meant to be. And that, to me, is kind of what “Sleeping Beauty” is all about.

SaraThe answer I give to this question will change depending on the day, but today, it's "Snow White." "Snow White" was my least favorite fairy tale growing up, because I thought Snow White was really weak and passive - and I wanted so badly to be strong and confident. As I've grown older (and given this fairy tale a lot more thought), I've realized that "Snow White" is a story about survival and success, despite incredible odds. I've grown much more compassionate towards Snow White herself (who is only seven years old in the Grimm version!) and more compassionate to myself, especially when I think about my own challenges through the lens of this particular fairy tale. 

Thanks Sara & Brittany! We love the humor, delight and insight you bring to every conversation - even pop-quizzes!

We at Once Upon A Blog have participated in a few Carterhaugh courses and highly recommend them both to people new to fairy tale studies, as well as those looking for something a little more in-depth. Both Sara and Brittany are wonderfully enthusiastic while being well-researched and clear in their unique tag-team style teaching. There's nothing quite like it anywhere else, and best of all, being based in an online format, their courses are available for ANY enthusiast, no matter their background, level of education, or location (yes - there are students joining from all over the world!) and they are committed to making this learning opportunity available at an affordable price. They are forever expanding their courses and the ways in which they are teaching and we feel lucky to have seen the formation of this wonderful school that was recently awarded the Dorothy Howard Prize, as recognition of
excellence, relevance, and innovation in folklore education, by The American Folklore Society. (In case it's not clear - this school is considered excellent by all those professional folklorists you respect!)

We hope to see some of you in the courses to come!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Advertising: Lego's New Rapunzel Uses Her Imagination

It's short; it's smart; you'll wish you'd thought of it first...
LEGO says this princess story wouldn't be possible without the creative rebuilding of a child named Marie. (
Have a look at the new Lego commercial, released earlier in November, and be inspired.
The tagline?
"Rebuild the World"
We like it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

"South of the Sun - Australian Fairy Tales For The 21st Century" (Submissions Call & Crowdfunding)

Anthology cover design by Lorena Carrington

Once upon a time, Australians fell in love with fairy tales... and they never stopped! 

The formation of The Australian Fairy Tale Society [Est. 2013] marked a new era of fairy tale activity in Australia, that has gone from strength to strength, with local monthly "fairy tale salons" (known as Fairy Tale Rings) meeting in almost every state, annual conferences, a hefty, growing library of resources being made available for members and an ezine exploring old fairy tales and new fairy tale work in all mediums.

A LOT of best-selling fairy tale retellings the world over have come out of Australia (by Kate Forsyth, Juliet Marillier and Sophie Masson, to name just a few of many!) so it's only natural that the AFTS (Australian Fairy Tale Society) has been aiming to take that passion and evident talent, and create new - specifically Australian - fairy tales, as part of their mission. A uniquely Australian, fairy tale anthology is a goal the Society has been working toward since its inception and now we are on the cusp of bringing it to life. But there is a question that must be considered to make this happen:
What is an Australian Fairy Tale? 
This is a question South of the Sun explores. We are challenging assumptions that fairy tales are for children, are European, and must contain fairies and pale, passive heroines. Through stories, flash fiction, poetry and illustrations we are producing inventive, intercultural new Australian fairy tales for young adults and older fantasy readers.  (from the AFTS Pozible campaign page)
While the AFTS has provided a generous 'seed fund' to get things in motion, along with publishing partner Serenity Press, it's going to take a (worldwide) village to make it happen and they - we - could use your help. Please see the official call to arms (and call for crowdfunding help), to make the rest of this mission possible below.

The anthology has an auspicious start, with contributions from notable writers already, including:
  • Sophie Masson, the French, Jakarta-born fantasy writer, recently awarded an Order of Australia for services to literature
  • Carmel Bird, recipient of the Patrick White Literary Award
  • Eugen Bacon, award-winning African-Australian writer
  • Cate Kennedy, award-winning novelist and short story writer

And your work could be part of this historic anthology as well! With their ongoing mission to be inclusive, the AFTS has put out a call for submissions to new and emerging writers and illustrators, with the deadline now extended to DECEMBER 13th, 2019 (a reminder for ex-pats and those traveling, that the deadline is Australian time, AEST!) According to the guidelines, contributors do NOT need to be Australian or living in Australia BUT the pieces need to have "an Australian quality" about them. (See guidelines for details.) All accepted contributors will be paid.

Please see the AFTS website for submission details for the anthology HERE.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Check out the video below to see some of the beautiful styles of art that will be included, and to hear from some of the award-winning writers and contributors to date. (Hosted/narrated by photographic artist and author Lorena Carrington, who also created the cover for the anthology):

Our anthology, South of the Sun - Australian fairy tales for the 21st century, has embarked on an international crowdfunding campaign!

Tailored for YA + adult readership, rated G, it features original contributions by acclaimed guests, with lush illustrations, reflecting vibrant, intercultural inventiveness. 

Interested in reading more about the state of the Australian Fairy Tale?

You can find some helpful resources below!

Monday, November 11, 2019

#Folktaleweek Picks of Day 7: "Crown" (Last day for 2019)

IG @sofiamoore_studio - one of the CO-founders of #FolktaleWeek
It's the final day for #FolktaleWeek2019!

At this writing there are 33,039 posts under the hashtag #folktaleweek on Instagram and 13,687 under #folktaleweek2019 (which, although it mostly overlaps with the main hashtag, still has a large selection of artists who are only using that one.)

IG @kath_waxman created a number of crowns
throughout #FolktaleWeek
All the #FolktaleWeek and #FolktaleWeek2019 info is HEREThe link shows the posts collected by hashtag and you can see an enormous sampling of the myriad mediums and styles being created in. (Prepare for lots of scrolling! There are hundreds of wonderful things to see!) 

You can also see a small selection of the MANY posts that have appeared for each day so far here on Once Upon A Blog as both tribute and inspiration:
Monday      - HOME HERE
Tuesday     - SECRET HERE
Wednesday - PATH HERE
Thursday    - SMOKE HERE
Friday        - DARKNESS Part I HERE
                 - DARKNESS Part II HERE

Saturday    - KEY HERE

Note: Expectations for the final prompt were, admittedly lots of princesses and princes, frogs in crowns and swans and ravens in crowns, so we were thrilled by some of the unexpected perspectives on familiar tales and more obscure tale offerings! There was, however, an unusually large amount of fish in crowns and versions of the Grass Snake King and Eglė the Queen of Serpents - a Lithuanian fairy tale ... interesting!)

The last prompt is CROWN.
IG @taranealarts
Artist comment: The prompt for Day 7 of #folktaleweek is #crown and for this we look to the lore and history of the lovely town of #burystedmunds named after King Edmund, patron saint of England. There are no remaining written accounts of Edmund, but many versions of his story were passed down. In one, King Edmund is attacked by Vikings and tortured as they insist he renounce his Christian faith, which he does not, and he endures unspeakable violence. He prays to his god, who has mercy on him and sends arrows down to put him out of his misery. The Vikings behead him and his followers retrieve the head with the help of a large wolf. Generations later, King Cnut builds a shrine to honor the remains of Edmund, and folklore has it that he offered his crown to the enshrined relics as a gesture for all the unjust things that had befallen the martyr. This site became the foundation for the large Abbey of Burt St Edmunds, and a place pilgrimage. There’s much more, but now I need to go rewatch the Viking series because I feel like I missed this part, and I remember Ubba and Ivan Boneless (Edmunds attackers) as main characters.
IG @dilara.arin
Artist comment: Day 7 of Folktale Week - "Crown" - Shahmaran is my favourite tale from Turkish folklore. This image of Shahmaran (Half snake, half woman) is very famous in Turkey and I wanted to draw it in my own style. I'm happy it was fit for one of the prompts!
IG @willemoever_art
Artist comment: Folktale Week prompt 7: Crown - It was the fairest crown he’d ever seen, with the sheen of a thousand suns. “I’m all ears,” murmured the greedy king. “I’m sure you are,” grinned the old hag.
IG @annilim
Artist comment: * F O L K T A L E W E E K * Day 7 - Crown! 💛
IG @maja_illustration
Artist comment: Day 7 #folktaleweek2019 -Prompt: Crown - Mida's touch is the story of a king who had a wish to turn everything he touches into gold... Making gold will be too much for him when he wont be able to eat and eventually when his daughter runs into his arms. 👑
IG @agnesbertothy
Artist comment: #folktaleweek2019 Day 7: #crown ⚜️ - Saint Lucy’s Day is a Christian feast day commemorating a 3rd-century martyr. In the Northern Europe it’s also called a festival of light. Although in Hungary we have a different Lucia, who is rather doing bad things to those who are weaving, cooking or washing their clothes this day. And the person who sit on Lucia’s chair during the high mass could spot the witches in the crowd
IG @violet2519
Artist comment: Snow Queen for last day of #folktaleweek2019 #crown
IG @victoria_fomina_art
Artist comment: N/A
IG @thistlemoon
Artist comment: Last day of #folktaleweek2019 - Crown. The wren was crowned king of the birds when, in a test to see which bird could fly the highest, he hid in the plumage of an eagle #folktaleweek #kingwren
IG @bysuzik
Artist comment: The Emperor had the finest collection of Crowns...he just couldn't decide which one to wear!
IG @ayukotanaka
Artist comment: #folktaleweek2019 Day7 - the prompt ‘Crown’ - It’s the last day of #folktaleweek ! I want to thank the people who had visited my page and the artists who organized this great event👏🏼👏🏼 - My last illustration is again from ‘Sleeping Beauty’. With their love, the king and queen try to protect her daughter from the evil witch. They are ordinary parents even if they wear golden crowns 👑
 IG @charlotte_weyand (click on each pic of the triptych to see larger)
Artist comment: Wow! It is the last day of our #folktaleweek2019 - At the end of many fairy tales end with: and they lived very happily together until their lives' end. - Do you sometimes wonder how the life of our childhood heroes continues when the story ends? Snow White is the queen now. She walks through her castle past a gallery of her friends. Go with!
IG @laia.pampols
Artist comment: Day 7: Crown - Sleeping Beauty 🌹///
IG @amva.creations
Artist comment: Day 7: crown, featuring the Ugly Duckling 🦢👑
IG @samrudddesign
Artist comment: Last day of Folk tale week and this is a fairy tale, The Girl Fish collected by Andrew Lang in 1910. The girl fish has to find the crown of stars to be able to turn back into a human!
IG @lcwright13
Artist comment: Folktale Week day 7: CROWN. The final day! I was looking for a tale where a crown played a prominent role and found ‘The Girl Who Became a Fish’ originally from Andrew Lang’s The Orange Fairy Book. Briefly, a girl who has been changed into a fish has to go on a quest to retrieve the crown of the princess who is living in the sea as a mermaid and queen of the fishes. Only with her crown can she change back into human form and take up her place on land again. There is a lot more to the story than this and it’s well worth a read!
IG @la_matita_gialla
Artist comment: "How the rooster got his Crown" 👑 - By Chinese legend the Earth had six suns. The Yellow Emperor decreed that archers could shoot down five suns. The sixth sun hid and caused darkness, as the best archer in all of China was summoned and shot down the five suns, using a special trick. Animals were called to bring out the sun, but the sixth sun did not respond. Finally, the rooster called the sun out to shine and restore the day light. The rooster was rewarded a crown for his lovely song. 🌞🐓🎶
IG @daryamorozz
Artist comment: N/A
IG @kolkerpics
Artist comment: N/A
IG @curiouszhi
Artist comment: Day 7: CROWN - For the final day of #folktaleweek2019, I’m picking one of my favourite fairytales when I was a child - the Danish 🇩🇰 story “The Wild Swans” 🦢.
IG @katijatomic_artist
Artist comment: Last day of#folktaleweek2019 - CROWN - I thought it would be fun to do a flower crown. I used to make daisy crowns as a kid all the time , but for this challenge I wanted to use most unlikely flower. To make a crown out of dandelion seeds would be pretty impossible, unless you are a wee little folk who knows how to handle these most delicate of flowers that disappears as soon as human hand touches them.....
IG @timjammi
Artist comment: Folktaleweek day 7: Crown. -This piece was inspired by a Finnish folktale called Kruunupäinen käärme (which roughly means "A snake with a crown on its head"). - It's a story about a family whose yard is so filled with snakes they can hardly walk there, so they invite a man to get rid of them. Following the man's advice they light a bonfire and the man uses his flute (made out of a stillborn child's bone) to mesmerise the snakes and make them slither into the flames and die. Then suddenly a great white snake appears, wearing a crown and armor, and it pulls the man into the flames with it. Both die and there's no more snakes seen in the area.
IG @ceecliff_art
Artist comment: CROWN that is earned. The last prompt for #folktaleweek2019 — In this tale all of the birds hold competitions to determine who will be their king. The eagle thinks he’s got the job in the bag, he is so strong and mighty. But the cunning little wren outsmarts him by doing things that the large bird cannot do and wins the contests. The little wren is made the king of the birds, proving that smarts can be your super power. Who doesn’t like a story about an underdog that wins? Alas, folktale week is over, but I think Folklore Friday might be my way to keep this going.It's a quite bizarre story and I feel like there's a lot more into it that has unfortunately been lost in time.
IG @fraeuleineichhorn
Artist comment: Folktaleweek Day VII: "The Adder Crown" 👑 A maidservant is chased away from the farm by her employer because she fed milk to a snake. When she says goodbye to the cows the snake gives her its crown which brings the maid a lot of luck. The farmer on the other hand is down on his luck. // Folktaleweek Tag VII: "Das Natterkrönlein" 👑 Eine Magd wird von ihrem Herrn vom Hof gejagt, weil sie eine Schlange mit Milch versorgt hat. Als sie sich von den Kühen verabschiedet, schenkt ihr die Schlange ihr Krönchen, welches der Magd viel Glück bringt. Den Bauern allerdings verlässt das Glück.
IG @amorphophallus_titanium
Artist comment: in old appalachia, a person who passed to heaven in his sleep would leave behind an “angel #crown” in his feather pillow.... and thus ends #folktaleweek2019
IG @reniametalinou_illustration
Artist comment: N/A
IG @nichtlicht
Artist comment: N/A
IG @ul_zak
Artist comment: N/A
IG @fefercastro
Artist comment: I was inspired by a book my mother had when I was little called "The Emperor's New 'Costume'/Clothes".
IG @painterwitch
Artist comment: Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after. - Up Jack got and home did trot as fast as he could caper. He went to bed and wrapped his head with vinegar and brown paper. Folktale week has been fun. See you again next year. 🥂  #folktaleweek2019 #folktaleweek #crown
IG @jaimiewhitbreadart
Artist comment: Folktale Week: crown - The goldhorn is a mythical chamois whose blood creates the triglav flower, which conveniently heals all wounds. In the myth a hunter shoots the goldhorn to impress a girl but fails to kill it before it revives itself with the flowers. Then the hunter falls off a cliff. Fair! Remember lads, girls who prefer corpses to flowers aren't worth your time and if you go around killing innocent creatures you'll fall off a cliff and die 👍
IG @leonora_camuso
Artist comment: The last prompt of the #folktaleweek is: crown - In the mountains of the Germanasca Valley, 2400 m a.s.l., lies the plateau of the so-called Tredici Laghi (“thirteen lakes”). One of these is called Lago dell’Uomo (“man’s lake”) and a legend explains why. It’s said that a prince, passing by, saw a beautiful nymph on a piece of ice in the middle of the lake. The two looked at each other and fell in love. The nymph told she was a prisoner and that anyone who tried to enter the waters of the lake died instantly frozen. - The prince, after much research, found the solution and went to Tibet to get incredibly cold-resistant sheep. On the back of the animals he managed to cross the icy waters and bring his beauty to safety.
But the prince did not have time to rejoice, when he heard the desperate bleats of one of the two sheep that had remained in the water and was about to drown. Moved to pity, he went back to save the poor beast, but unfortunately the icy waters swallowed them both. It is said that at the bottom of the lake we can see a silhouette that recalls that of a man, perhaps the prince of this tale.
IG @kathwaxman
IG Artist comment: Folktale 2019, Prompt 7: Crown - Folktale: The Golden Fish
IG @khabibova_alevtina
Artist comment: 7 day/ crown - The Raven king. French folk tale - #folktaleweek2019

IG @echo.ism
Artist comment: Queen of the Snakes - #folktaleweek 7/7, Crown - Snake Crown, a recurring folktale motif in Northern and Central Europe, in which a spoiled princess is turned into a snake for insulting a witch, and her parents make her a gold crown that needs to be worn down to break her curse... Except that crown turns any receptacle it is put in into a horn of plenty (e.g. bottomless purse, endless bag of flour...), so many people try to get their hands on it... Until it gets destroyed by one of these people, by inadvertance.
IG @amanda.enright
Artist comment: The Tiger's Bride
IG @chezubo
Artist comment: Folktaleweek 07: Crown - My last piece for this year’s Folktaleweek. I went a bit off schedule, but it was a lot of fun and I learned some new tales and stories to bore others with :D Here we go, this tale is another one from Upper Austria: „Die Krönlnatter“ („The crown-adder“) - Once upon a time, there was a mighty king who had one child - a daughter. One day, the two of them went for a walk and met an old woman who caressed a little adder. „That’s disgusting!“ the princess said, that made the Woman - a witch by trade - furious. „Since you are so disgusted by it, you shall spend your days as such a poor creature!“ she touched the princess with her wand and turned her into an adder. „I‘ll send you far away, so your father can’t tend you. You’ll have to live the hard life of an adder!“ once again the princess was touched by the wand and flew over the river far away. The King wanted to take revenge, but stopped as the witch pointed her wand at him. Instead, he fell on his knees and begged for mercy. „... I’m not able to cancel the curse. But I will make her queen of the snakes. Forge a tiny crown and bring it here, I will take it to your daughter. She’ll have to wear it until water has weathered it down - then the curse is broken.“ The king did as he was told, and still today there’s an adder wearing a tiny golden crown. She bathes in a creek, sleeps in the sun and waits for her crown to crumble.
* * * * * * * * * *
And as a bonus, below is a collage of all the art created over the week by artist IG @friederickeablang. As you see, while the same style is in evidence throughout, this artist also shows how some of folks approached the week - creating a story by using the seven prompts - these created "new fairy tales" and make for lovely ensemble pieces for a portfolio. Very nicely done!
IG @friederickeablang

And that brings #Folktaleweek to an end for 2019!

Please note, though, that artists are very likely to keep posting for a few days yet. People are still posting from a few days ago and appear to intend to follow through as they can. We had enough trouble keeping up just by scrolling through the thousands of uploads and, despite having private plans to do some of the prompts, didn't get more than a couple done. I cannot imagine how challenging it must have been for folks with fulltime jobs, long commutes and families to keep up. So please keep visiting to give your support to these tenacious and creative people!

IG @shelley_laslo
Folktale Week was brought to you by artists from around the world. We appreciate your support, and hope to see you for our next challenge! Many thanks from:.
@jennifermpotter,  @devonholzwarth,  @sinulee,  @carolinebonnemuller,  @sofiamoore_studio,  @heycasshey,  @rachaelschaferdesigns,  @sandiesonke,  @debrastyer,  @laure_illustrations  @louve.draws,  @matejalukezic  @shelly_laslo  @tanja_stephani  @juliachristiansde  @thebrotherskent