Monday, March 19

Fairly Tales

Isn't this a frightening image for a child? It is from a very old book from my childhood, called Grimm's Fairy Tales. This is the Valiant Little Tailor, & is the only colour illustration in the book, apart from the cover. The illustrations are credited to Anne Anderson, though the cover illustration seems to be done by someone completely different, or at least in a totally different stlye.

This is Rumplstilz. That is how he is spelled in the book, & the story is called the Miller's Daughter.
I love his ugly little Hobgoblin face of rage. I can remember being quite intimidated by some of the illustrations when I was small.
The book cost 3/6 which was 3 shillings & six pence. In our money, 35 cents! I cant find a publishing date, but it was published in England.
When I was a small child I believed in fairies, elves, pixies & gnomes- all the 'little people'. I imagined they lived amongst the mosses & lichens, & I would study those, hoping to catch a glimpse of one.
We had moss which grew behind the tankstand, & it was always green, since the sun never reached that spot. And the wonderful mosses which grew among the ferns & beside the rivers was always like a secret world, somehow. I wonder, do all children believe in such creatures? Perhaps not boys? I am sure my little SG would not beieve, though I have never asked him.
I remember finding a dragonfly wing, & thinking it must resemble a fairy wing. I knew it was not a fairy wing, but I wonder how? When I was small I had an imaginery friend, & it was she who got me into trouble, suggesting I do the 'bad' things. We still laugh about her in the family, & I still get teased occasionally.
In spite of having little rain, we have plenty of little mossy patches about our garden.

This is a little mossy crown for a rock.

And this patch of lush green beside the garden wall.

And this is lichen on the trunk of our old Lilly Pilly. It is somewhat scarred from lower limbs being taken, but still stands strong & tall. It is a haven for the birds, & the nectar eaters love the blossoms. When the 'petals' fall from the fluffy little blooms they look like a carpet of snow on our pavers, & the grass beneath the tree.
The berries are never very attractive, & seem a very poor crop each year, largely deformed looking little things. As far as I can tell, the birds dont seem to find them attractive. The new modern varieties of Lilly Pilly have large bright pink berries, which can be very attractive.
I had this post completed, & Blogger stole the whole damn thing!! GRRRR.
The Two Tattoos.
The large, colourful, but somehow oddly disproportionate Unicorn sitting on the woman's shoulder looked about him with disdain. He looked across at the stunted Fish, across on the other shoulder, & snorted. "Hey, hideous!"
The poor doubled-forever Fish squirmed to catch sight of the Unicorn over her shoulder. "Are you talking to me, you ugly creature? How dare you call me Hideous. I never saw anything quite as ugly as you are."
"Well, at least I am larger than you, & I dont have to spend my life twisted in two, like someone who cant decide what direction she wants to go in!"
"Oh, so what!" snapped the Fish, "At least I dont have a twisted silly looking horn on my head! You look as if you ran into a brick wall, with that silly thing! It is all twisted. And besides, I am lovely bright colours. You are just a boring old thing in mostly black & blue."
The Unicorn was shocked to be spoken to in this fashion. He had been feeling very proud of his new self. He hadnt thought about colours. He didnt need those anyway, he was 'noble'.
Suddenly he looked down, & he saw what appeared to be some lopsided bird of some sort, on an ankle! And the 'bird' appeared to be carrying a flower!
"PSST!" he called to the Fish, "Look down there. There is UGLY!"
Fish peered down, & burst out laughing in a gurgly sort of way.
"Oh my gosh What is that??"
"Who are you?" called the Unicorn. "And what is that strange thing you have to lump around?"
The 'Bird' did his best to be dignified.
"I am a Cartoon Duck!" he said, "And this is my Eternal Sunflower".
The Fish & the Unicorn sniggered together.
"How foolish you look, down there around an ankle" called the Fish. "You are all boney, & lopsided looking."
"I am a new Trend, I am a Self Styled Tattoo, so there!"
The Unicorn & the Fish thought about this for a while, not quite knowing how to respond.
"Well," said the Fish finally, " I am a Zodiac Sign, I mean something"
" Yes" chimed in the Unicorn, "We have Real Meaning."
"Well so do I!" snapped the Cartoon Duck, "I am owner designed, so I am a secret for the owner to know about, & others to wonder about."
Fish & Unicorn thought about this for a while. Then they decided the must be superior, after all they were up on shoulders, not down around ankles. So they told the Cartoon Duck what they thought.
They boasted about how broad the shoulders were, & how comfortable they were up there. The Cartoon Duck sneered, & said he wouldnt want to live on some blubbery leathery shoulders, getting more withered with time & the ravages of the sun.
So the Fish & Unicorn thought about that, & they said well at least they were reasonably stable all the same, at least the shoulders didn't swell in the heat, or shrivel in the cold, & so they assured the Cartoon Duck he would spend his time misshapen, & either bloated or withered. And, they didnt have the added burden of an Eternal Sunflower to lug about, & cringe under.
But it didnt really matter much, for the wearers went their seperate ways, never realising what a sensation their tattoos had caused to each others tattoos.
Based on a slightly true story. And would I ever get a tattoo? Never.


Helen said...

I have an old copy of the fairy tales, but no illustrations I'm afraid. Those were the stories I grew up with, a far cry from the watered-down disneyfied things you get nowadays. I think my mother used to get bored and make them more gruesome. I remember the cinderella I was told involved the stepsisters cutting off chunks of their feet to fit them into the shoe.

I like your moss, it's cute!

Ali Honey said...

Yep most of the old fairy tales are rather scary gruesome stories. Nightmare stuff!

The Calico Cat said...

I have always found the Grimm Brothers tales to be horribly frightening...

If I ever bother to get the tattoo that I considered getting 15 years ago, it would be horribly wrinkly with stretchmarks by now... - not to mention, what I though I wanted permanently on my body no longer interests me...

Henri said...

Meggie ,
I laughed at the " Tats" --- As a young bloke I was going to have one, or more done , but thought I would wait until my arms developed -- They never did and so I never got the Tat/s HaHa , --- Do you remember Uncles F's tats ?
I always found the ' old' Fairy Tales far more interesting and alive than the watered done versions around now

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

The scary-tales are the ones I remember so well, and the frightening illustrations too, I suppose they were for emphasis. Ha!! Scarred for life, no doubt; but NOT by any tattoos!! ;) I draw the line there...

Liz said...

I'm always a bit stunned as I try to introduce the boys to things I remember from my childhood how terribly frightening some of these fairy tales are. T would never sleep if he had some of these to think about!

velcro said...

One of the FB's favourite tv shows is called Big Cook, Little Cook. Little Cook, in every show, reads a story, usually a fairytale, with himself as the hero. Every story has to end happily with anything that could possibly upset a child removed. Absolutely awful.

Diana said...

I remember what an impression those fairy tales made on me. Some of the Hans Christian Anderson tales were especially scary. They didn't need pictures--the stories alone were scary enough!

My float said...

I grew up with the old fairy tales. In fact, I've just remembered the story about Hansel and Gretel, and how the old witch ate someone and picked her teeth with their bones.

Imagine that!

The tattoo story is great.Did you create it?

meggie said...

Hi All, Yes we had the Hans Christian Andersen tales too, & they were pretty scarey. I loved them all though.
Yes MF I did create the tattoo story, & it was based on truth,~ loosley of course.

And doesnt Blogger make you so MAD when you compose your post in paragraphs, & new sentences, & then it lumps it all together!!GGGGRRRR.