Monday, October 12, 2015

Storytelling Pet Peeves

If you thought storytellers were docile, merry, peaceful individuals who spend their time frolicking in meadows and consorting with fairies... you have clearly never met a storyteller. Believe me, we can be quite terrifying. Especially when someone hits the right buttons.

Every storyteller has their own, story-related pet peeves. These are mine:

1. Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone ARE NOT THE SAME SWORD. Not in most stories, anyway. Arthur pulls one sword from the stone (AND ANVIL), and gets the second one from the Lady of the Lake. This second one is the one usually named Excalibur.

2. Morgan le Fay is NOT Mordred's mother. That's Morgause. Wrong sister.

3. Pandora's box HAS ALREADY BEEN OPENED. It is not some mystical chest full of evils. The only thing left inside it is Hope.

4. Dionysus is NOT an old fat drunk man. He is a youth. In fact, he is one of the most attractive of the Greek gods.

5. Andersen stories are not "Danish folktales." In fact, they are not even "Danish fairy tales." They are Andersen stories.

6. And while we are at it, Peter Pan, Alice, or the Wizard of Oz are also not folktales.

7. Rapunzel doesn't get RESCUED from the tower by the prince. He just visits her and gets her pregnant, and then the witch throws her out.

8. Snow White was persecuted by her BIOLOGICAL MOTHER. At least in the original first edition of the Grimm tales. Stop blaming stepmoms for this one.

9. Stop with the "if the shoe fit perfectly, why did it fall off?" memes. Cinderella lost her shoe because the prince smeared pitch on the stairs. Read the story.

10. It's "the 1001 Nights," not "the Arabian Nights."


Whew! I feel so much lighter now.
Back to frolicking.

8 comments:

  1. Frisk about at will, my dear! You've earned it.

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  2. How embarrassing! The only one I knew was #6! But thanks for letting me know 10 ways to not piss you off.

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  3. I'd love to witness some storyteller nerd-rage. ;) Some of these I knew, but others I didn't, like #7. I LOL'ed at that one. It sounds like a modern story.

    And #5/6 makes me think of a discussion I had with Jeri Burns over at Storytelling Matters about what constitutes folklore, and at what point do stories enter the collective consciousness to become folklore. It's interesting stuff.

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  4. Your bit about the "docile" storytellers reminds me of the same attitude about librarians. Sure, folks think they're all docile, quiet conservative people. But get them talking about something like censorship, and you have unleashed a monster, my friends.

    I'm going to call you out on #9 though. Most people defer to Perrault's version "Cendrillon" rather than the Grimms' "Aschenputtel". Perrault's was written 200 years before the Grimms and has no pitch, no hazel tree and no eye-pecking birds. It's also the one with the pumpkin carriage. Sorry. The French have got the popular variant of that story locked down. Personally, I'm tired of books, movies and TV using the same "twists" and acting like they're original. If I see one more sympathetic Big Bad Wolf or one more "Jack and the Beanstalk" version that treats Jack like the real villain, then I'm done.

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    1. I'm with you on that one. Honestly, if I hear one more fractured version of the Three Little Pigs or the Billy Goats Gruff, I'll flip XD

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  5. #3 - Someone once told me (and I have not researched this) that actually it was despair that was left in the box. That way hope is still floating around taking care of all the baddies that are in our world. It does make sense. For one thing - how did hope get mixed up with the baddies in the box? And, if hope is in the box still - how does it combat the evil - it's locked away! Just some food for thought. Has anyone come across an ancient story that has despair in the box?

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    1. The general theory as I understand it is that hope is different from the evils in the box. Letting it out doesn't unleash it upon mankind. The evils are predatory and attack mankind while hope is more like a skittish little bunny. Let it out and it'll escape never to be seen again. So, hope is literally fleeting.

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  6. 5. Andersen stories are not "Danish folktales." In fact, they are not even "Danish fairy tales." They are Andersen stories.

    Actually Andersen did adaptations of Danish folktales, like Big Klaus and Little Klaus

    9. Stop with the "if the shoe fit perfectly, why did it fall off?" memes. Cinderella lost her shoe because the prince smeared pitch on the stairs. Read the story.

    You're referring to the Brther Grimm's rendition of Cinderella. However in Perraul's version of the tale, which mostpeoplee are familiar with, the prince did not smear the stairy with pitch.

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