They arrived there one moonlit night, and rode slowly along the seashore, the princess wrapped up in the prince’s big cape. She lifted a corner of the cape and looked down at the sand. ‘How strange,’ she said, with a smile on her face. ‘Looking at the shadow, one would think there was only one rider on the horse.’
From ‘The Ring’ by Helena Nyblom
It sometimes seems as if the word ‘romantic’ has come to imply something unrealistic and outdated – an insult, really.
But aren’t the dreams and values portrayed in fairy tales, novels, poetry, music, and movies, the same dreams and values that are still able to send a shiver down the spine?
Do you have to possess something to value it, or strive after it?
Love; morality; good; beauty; courage; adventure; wit; wealth; strength; magic; cunning; honour. I don’t believe these things become outdated, and I don’t believe everything has to be done in a new way to be of value ‘in our time’.
Some things are in our blood – let’s cherish them.
Illustration: John Bauer
From ‘The World Tree’ by Eva Weggelaar
(free to share if unedited)
“How did you come to know about him? But maybe you are the lassie who ought to have had him? So, so, it’s you, is it? Well, all I know about him is, that he lives in the castle that lies East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and thither you’ll come, late or never.”
I keep reading posts about the ‘too passive role of women in fairy tales’. Apart from the fact that I don’t see what’s wrong with men and women playing different but equally valuable roles, especially if you consider the times in which these stories were written down, for many tales it simply isn’t true.
So, I challenge the authors of those articles to go and search for their lost and bewitched beloved with nothing but the clothes on their back, travel through the dark autumn forests for ages looking for a palace that lies East of the Sun and West of the Moon, manage to ellicit the help of three old hags plus the aid of the North Wind and his brothers, and then succeed in finding and freeing their beloved 🙂
From ‘East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Old Tales from the North’, this story is somewhat akin to the myth of Psyche and Cupid, and illustrated by the wonderful Kay Nielsen. You can download the book for free here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30973
I wonder if princess Tuvstarr is still there, the edge of the lake looking into the water, searching for her lost heart?
Or was there once an overcast, windless autumn day when Skutt the Moose, who’d first taken her out into the world, again felt the longing not to be alone and, tired of watching the princess pine away, raced over mossy hills and through the dark forest, changed into a prince and dived into the still mirror-world of the lake to find her heart? And did he come up with her heart in his hands and watch her change into a golden-haired young woman, who asked him to take care of her heart and come back with her to the Dream Palace?
Helge Kjellin’s fairy tale ‘Skutt the Moose and Princess Tuvstarr’, written in 1913 and beautifully illustrated by John Bauer, is one of the strangest fairy tales I’ve ever read and though Kjellin lived to the age of 99, I can’t find out if he ever wrote another story…