Friday, October 21, 2016

Our Fairy Tale Mixtape

The soldier lifted the dog down on the floor and opened the chest. Hans Tegner
Adam of Fairy Tale Fandom had a great post quite some time ago now, on Andrew Lang, whom he describes as a sort of (slightly rebellious) "mixmaster", putting together mixes of tales that, at the time, went against trends and sensibilities and crossed many countries and boundaries and even strayed over into myth and legends in some of his color books. (Go see HERE for the whole recap on Lang's contribution to fairy tale book and collections.)

To quote Adam,
If the books of other fairy tale collectors are essentially albums, then Lang is the guy who takes tracks from all these different albums and puts them together into epic fairy tale playlists.  Sometimes it’s familiar hits you know.  Other times it’s stuff you’ve never heard of.  Sometimes he’ll just surprise the heck out of you by including something crazy like Gulliver’s Travels.  Every color fairy tale book is the equivalent of a fairy tale mixtape (or mix CD or Ipod playlist depending on your generation) all set to rock your weekend.
Charles Mikolaycak - Green Mantle
With this image (of Andrew Lang, fairy tale DJ) in mind, Adam created his own epic fairy tale anthology-mixtape and asked us to think what we would include if we made our own.

We've made lists before of favorite fairy tales we'd want to include in a book, but not one based on the "little bit familiar, little bit not, little bit surprising" premise, so we thought we'd have a go.

Predictably, we instantly had over 50, but even our best whittling only got down to 20. At this point it became painful and like the punushment of Sisyphus, edit, add, edit, repeat, so we called a halt and decided we'd just admit defeat and post 20. (After all, who makes a mixtape with only 10 songs?)

In no particular order (we are still sweating from editing this monster down. No way we're up to managing some sort of order of favorites):

1. Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave (Afanasyev)
2. The Wild Swans (HCA)
3. Jack and the Beanstalk (Jacobs)
4. The Boy Who Drew Cats (translated by Hearn)
5. The Tinderbox (HCA)
6. Tam Lin (Childs Ballad)
7. Lady of the Green Kirtle (tale akin to the legend of Morgan Le Fey from the Narnia series)
8. Sweet Porridge (Grimm)
9. Diamonds & Toads (Perrault)
Sidone in the Forest - Kinuko Y Craft
10. Little Snow White (Grimm)
11. Cap O' Rushes (Jacobs)
12. The Pied Piper (Legend, Grimm, Browning)
13. The Day Boy & The Night Girl (MacDonald)
14. Hansel & Gretel (Grimm)
15. Boots That Made the Princess Say "That's A Lie!" (Asbjørnsen and Moe )
16. The Black Bull of Norroway (Chambers/ Jacobs)
17. Jorinde & Joringel (Grimm)
18. The Heart's Door (Finnish fr Scandinavian Folk & Fairy Tales - Ed. Claire Booss)
19. Swan Lake (Russian & German tale hybrid)
20. The Boy Went Forth To Learn What Fear Was (Grimm)

Ta da!

We have a feeling, that as soon as we post it, we're going to want to do a PART II of this post. You know, for the flip side... of (Album I of the Box Set).

We'd love to see your mix of 10-20 (some classic, some lesser known, some other stories altogether) as would Adam, of course. It's a good exercise in making you think about why you like certain tales too. Give it a go!

Reflecting on the rumblings in the newsroom here, wouldn't it be awesome if we had a "new millenium fairy tale bloggers collective mixtape-anthology" of fairy tale must haves? (With pictures please!) There'd be some overlap for sure (at least one of ours is on Adam's list too because it's also a "must" for all here) but there'd be a really interesting variety and cross-section of tales too.

We can dream...
Rima Staines


  1. I'm surprised to see that analogy come back to me. Still, while maybe a bit strange, my storytelling friends got a kick out of it when I mentioned it to them. I have to say, I'd read your anthology in a heartbeat. I love the inclusion of "Swan Lake".