I drew diamonds this week, which means I read a fairy tale from Andrew Lang’s Rainbow Fairy Books. This one appears in the Brown Fairy Book, which isn’t very rainbowy, but there are only seven rainbow colors and twelve volumes. In fact, Dover, the press that published my editions, calls them The Fairy Tale Books of Many Colors.
ANYWAY, this post is part of the Deal Me In short story reading challenge.
The Story of the Yara
A young man from another country comes to Brazil to find work. He forms the habit of night-bathing in a pool near the river. He becomes engaged to a young Brazilian woman and, immediately afterward, hears beautiful, compelling singing as he bathes. When he tells his betrothed about it, she freaks. The Yara enchants only men who are engaged, and lures them to their death by drowning.
Girlfriend makes him promise not to go back to that pool until after the wedding, when the Yara will stop being tempting him. Interesting, no? But–and here’s the part I love–Girlfriend has a back-up plan, because she knows how things are. She sings into a shell and tells him to carry it with him.
Sure enough, he goes back and gets lured by the singing and the blonde. But he doesn’t want to be drowned to death, and manages to hold Girlfriend’s shell up to his ear. Her song beats the Yara’s song, and now he will “never wander any more”.
Good story, with wonderful illustrations by H. J. Ford. I love the combination of fantasy and reality. I would have loved the story even more if Girlfriend had followed him and rescued him directly, but I think this particular story was exactly on point in having her give him access to her power if he chose to use it. It was his choice as well as her power that conquered the temptress.
Unusual, strong, fun story.
A PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Write about temptation.