I swear I shuffled my deck. No, that isn’t MomGothSpeak for something else. I’m participating in Deal Me In, a short-story-reading challenge. We assign stories for ourselves to read on the basis of a deck of playing cards, SHUFFLE THE DECK, and draw one card a week. The card we draw tells us what story to read.
Well, I shuffled my deck, but I keep coming up diamonds. I’m not complaining, because diamonds means Andrew Lang’s Rainbow Fairy Books, and I adore fairy/folk tales.
ANYWAY, my story this week, translated from the Danish:
“Maiden Bright-Eye,” is a variation of the be-kind-and-you’ll-be-done-well-by thing. I love those fairy tales, even though they so often feature wicked stepmothers. My mother had one and I am one, and no wickedness applies. Although my youngest stepdaughter does introduce me as her wicked stepmother. I call her “that little loud-mouthed girl,” so we’re even.
AS I WAS SAYING, “Maiden Bright-Eye” is one of those stories where the pretty stepdaughter is given nasty food to eat and sent out alone to work in the countryside. Her father drops out of sight, once he marries this mean woman. So the girl is sent out herding sheep, although no mention is ever made of them after she’s sent out with them. She’s kind to a little “bergman” who lives under the ground, who declares she’ll be more beautiful than ever, she’ll have jewels fall out of her mouth every time she speaks, and she’ll marry the king. The jewels are never mentioned again, either. Maybe the sheep ran off with them, along with that absentee father.
These are pretty foul gifts, actually, since her beauty makes the king want to marry her, and he’s kind of a dick. See, the stepmother sends her own lazy daughter out to get some of this good luck, but the lazy daughter whacks the little man with a stick instead of being kind to him, and he “gives” her increased ugliness, toads falling out of her mouth, and a violent death. The mother disguises the ugly daughter and sends her off across the sea to marry the king. She sends the pretty one, too, and has the ugly one push her overboard.
Oh, the little man gave Maiden Bright-Eye a magic cap that will save her in time of danger. So she puts it on and it turns her into a duck.
So this happens and that happens, and the duck has some repetitive conversations with a dog (I love that stuff), and the king executes the ugly girl hideously, and Maiden Bright-Eye marries the dicky king and probably has to walk on eggshells ever after.
Still no mention of her father, the jewels falling out of her mouth, or the sheep.
So I don’t know. This had a lot of the elements I love in a fairy tale: nice person gets rewards and nasty person gets punishments, outcast good person sneaking into the castle in disguise, animals talking and people understanding them, plenty of incident. But you gotta wonder if the Danish were too busy off being Vikings to keep track of the details of their story like fathers, and sheep. You’d think a Viking would at least remember jewels. And don’t they even know that you probably wouldn’t live three or more days in a snake pit? Have they never seen True Grit? And I feel sorry for Maiden Bright-Eye, married to that jerk. I hope she kept the life-saving cap ’cause one mis-step and she’ll need it.
A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Write a story where a character loses track of important details.