Sunday, January 2, 2011

rapunzel's hair

I've called this Rapunzel's hair because I like words with a Z in them.

I also want to write about Grimms fairy tales. As in "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair / So that I may climb the golden stair."

When I was a child, my Austrian grandfather sent an unexpurgated copy of Grimm's with scary pen and ink illustrations. (I'll eventually scan some to post here.) Little girls who had to cut off their fingers to use as keys to unlock doors. Body parts rolling out from under a table. Having to dance in cast-iron shoes heated in the fireplace.

I don't want anyone to climb my hair. Which is too short in any case.


  1. I would like to see the illustration of the fingers used as keys please.

    Something happened to the Grimms' fairy tales by the time they were read to me.... they got all politically correct, because it wasn't until into adulthood that I heard some of the original ideas which are so much darker.

    And people say video games make for dark brooding teenagers...

  2. Tom,
    I'll scan the girl with the finger (only one she needed, not all of them) in the next post. The wording in that passage is actually more scary than the drawing.
    One difference between these stories and contemporary video games is that these stories weren't written for shock value so much as to emphasize the implacable nature of cause and effect. Consequences. Necessity. Which can be pretty scary.

  3. Having read the next posts with story and illustration from the tales, I have to say they remind me of the brutality of my own search for meaning in life, both spiritual and human. There is a brutality that meets you until you learn how to value everything inside yourself. I certainly didn't see that in the tales when I was a kid. Never knew the one about dancing in iron shoes that had been heated in the fire. Wow. Though I did know, when I was little, the real version of The Red Shoes, which I loved, severed feet and all. Nice blog photo - can you tell us anything about it?

  4. Kathleen, I'm actually more surprised by the brutality in these stories now that I'm an adult than I was as a child. As a child, I accepted the necessity. I think children believe in the eye-for-an-eye justice that rules here.