Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Blue Princesses, Blue Oxen, Blue Coats, Blue Belts, Blue Roses...

Two by two, tales are blue.

When I revealed my theme for this year, a surprising number of people indicated in the comments that they have a special place in their heart for the color blue in its many shades. I can't really argue with that. I love blue as well. And guess who else loves blue?
Instead of telling one selected story today, I will just make a squirrel pile of all the blue tales I can think of. Everyone is happy. Here we go.

The Blue Princess
Today is also the first stop on our journey into the tale that gave the theme to my challenge: Nizami's enchanting Persian epic poem, Haft Paykar (known in English as The Seven Wise Princesses). Barham Gur, the King of Persia, is courting seven princesses who live in the seven pavilions he built for them, each in a different color. He visits one princess every day of the weak, and each princess in turn tells him a story related to the color they chose for their pavilion. I will get to all of them in time by the end of April.
The resident of the Blue Pavilion (sometimes called the Turquoise Pavilion) is Piruza, a princess from... well. Some sources say Morocco, some sources say Maghreb, some sources say Khwarezm. She has blue eyes, and her pavilion is dedicated to Mercury. She tells a tale to the king about a young man who was lazy and a drunkard, until one night he was lured on a mysterious journey to an enchanted garden that turned out to be the lair of demons. After miraculously escaping for this predicament, he vowed to wear only blue, the symbol of clarity and salvation from evil.

Babe the Blue Ox
I adore Babe the Blue Ox. I realize that Paul Bunyan stories are generally considered "fakelore," but they are still tons of fun to tell. Especially to audiences outside the US who have never heard them before.
I love asking my audiences (American and non-American) if they know what made Babe blue. Do you?
(Also, the Jack of Fables comic book series did wonders with Babe's character.

The Blue Rose
A Chinese folktale that says a lot about the nature of Love. A princess vows to only marry a man who can bring her a blue rose. I love this story because it is a creative take on how fairy tale quests can be manipulated by a clever princess who wants to pick her own husband...

The Blue Light
A classic Grimm fairy tale. I remember loving it when I was little, especially because of the dogs with eyes of various sizes guarding the treasure underground. Lovely tale to tell.

He does not need an introduction. Although, sadly, we never find out why the beard is blue...

The Blue Belt
Norwegian folktale. Giants. Need I say more.

The Blue Coat
A Jewish folktale that storytellers adore. Nothing is ever completely useless.

The Blue Lily
A very creepy Hungarian folktale where a girl accidentally flirts with the devil. Oops. Once she finds out who the handsome stranger at the ball really is, she tries to get away, but it is too late. The devil keeps showing up at her house until she dies from the curse. A blue lily flower grows on her grave; the lily is picked by a prince, whose love will eventually transform the girl back into her original form. This folktale also exists in Russia.

The Blue Jackal
A folktale from India, included in the Panchatantra. A jackal falls into a pit full of indigo dye, and then passes himself off as a divine being. A very entertaining story to tell.

Okay, that's enough blue for one dye. I mean, day.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wow, a bountiful bunch of blue tales today! And of course blue is my favorite color too!

  3. Blue certainly seems to play a big role in these tales. Fun AtoZ post :)

  4. Oh - Turquoise is my favorite blue, and Babe is my favorite ox. I used to know how he became ble, but I've forgotten. Time to revisit, and share with my kids. That should light up two pairs of blue cornflower, and the other three shades darker =)

    My husband's beard is the same shade of blue as SirZac's hair!

    And the last blue-ming connection - I received blue roses from my parents upon my high school graduation. They were especially painted cream roses, because I adore blue that much...

    I love you theme, and will be returning to explore some of your blue stories.

    Sooo very tickled blue that you visited me, so that I could "discover" you! =D

  5. So blue has many purposes in literature then. I like the idea of the Chinese princess manipulating the situation to get what she wants, all power to her :)

    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

  6. Wow so many brilliant tales! Except for the Chinese blue rose and Blue Jackal all were new to me! Fab theme you have! Aditi, A2Z participant

  7. Who knew there were so many cool stories involving blue. The tale of the princesses with the colored rooms sounds very interesting. Great post!
    Shawn from Laughing at Life 2

  8. Love the "Blueness" of this post, Csenge!

  9. I've always been ambivalent to blue, but you are convincing me otherwise with your collection of tales. I especially like The Blue Lily and The Blue Rose.
    Tasha's Thinkings

  10. I love your website and fairy tales, and folklore. I'm short on time this morning, but will be back to read some of the stories you posted.

  11. I love your website! I love fairy tales and folklore. Those are the best! I'm short on time, this morning, but I will be back to read some of the stories you posted.

  12. I never knew there was so many tales with blue in them. Neat idea for a post.

  13. *adds wife murdering Bluebeard to the list of blue tales*

    ;) I'm going to have to read some of these stories now. So many of them I haven't heard before.

  14. Oh wow, I totally forgot about Bluebeard! I feel appropriately ashamed now...

  15. Clicking on to a collection of books around the color blue is a bright, cheery and wonderful way to start the day. And its a great idea for a blog post and A to Z challenge theme.

  16. This is just fun! (- says a storyteller who loves, loves, loves blue - hope to see the Aegean again someday...!) Thanks!

  17. What a variety of stories. I think I have the answer to your question about Bluebeard's beard. I think it was blue because he and his crew had drunk so much rum celebrating a recent victory over a merchant ship, that he fell into a cask of blue dye that was part of that ships cargo.

  18. What a fun theory :D unfortunately, Blackbeard is the pirate. Bluebeard is the dude with the stash of dead ex-wives in the closet. :) Getting drunk and falling into blue dye is still quite possible though.

  19. In StoryLand, the colour blue is very much alive and cheery... yet a "blue Monday" and feeling "blue" has a negative connotation... and talking till you are "blue in the face" also has a negative connotation... crazy...
    I remember the fairytale Bluebeard...
    Writer In Transit

  20. so awesome! love the list of tales i haven't read before. the search will begin!

  21. I love your blue tales. They are very intresting. Great post. :)

  22. The blue lily story is fascinating. ~MPL

  23. I know some of these blue tales, but not all.

    Blue is my favorite color and I have too much of it and white in my house.

  24. Blue is often a favorite with our students. One of the more universal colors :) Thanks for visiting us at Cedar Ridge Academy.
    Come also see us here at Learning at Cedar Ridge Academy

  25. Ooh this is lovely. So many blue stories! (And I don't mean sad!)

    anna @ Deeply Shallow

  26. Love your blue stories. I told "The Blue Rose" at a friend's wedding . . . and my small niece (now quite grown) presented two blue roses to the bride and groom. <3

  27. So many beautiful blues!
    Great post.
    Trisha Faye

  28. Another fun and interesting post! Knew most of these, but not the Chinese one. I always thought that Bluebeard's beard as black, that rare shade that's blue-black, instead of the much more common reddish undertone to dark hair.

  29. Quite a lot of blues indeed! I'm eager to learn more about the seven princesses!

  30. Hooray for squirrel piles! So much story (and color) goodness in this post. I need to make note of them so I can read them.

    And I love Babe the Blue Ox! Though, I don't recall what made him blue. I feel like I might have known at one point, but it's gotten lost in the Swiss cheese matter that is my brain.

  31. Great introductions to stories I've never heard of. Thanks for putting these together. :)

  32. My dad's favorite color was blue. I'm loving the stories you're introducing here! Great blog theme!

  33. My 9yo daughter loves the color blue -- I can't wait to share all these stories with her. And thanks -- I just had to go research why Babe is blue. {Because he nearly froze to death before Paul found him.} Now I know! :)

    I'm participating in AtoZ, too.
    See you around!