Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Cinderella (Grimm Version)

Cinderella is a more refined and modern version of the Donkey-Skin tales. You have to remember that there are more versions of this story than are really worth making spotlights for. I ended up condensing it down to four versions which really mange to show it from the most relevant angles. I wanted to show both the Grimm and Perrault versions of Cinderella, but I chose Grimm first because it comes across as more archaic than the Perrault version. This is certainly not the one the Disney movie was based on.

Now without further wait, here is the synopsis of Cinderella by the Brother's Grimm:

The wife of a rich man falls ill. On her deathbed, she calls for her daughter and tells her to be good and pious so that God will protect her. She also mentions that she will always be looking down upon her from heaven and always be with her. She then dies. The daughter goes to her mother's tombstone to weep every day, and she does, indeed, try to be good and pious at all times.

By the next spring, the father chooses a new wife for himself. This new wife comes with two daughters of her own. They are very beautiful but black of heart. They greatly mistreat their stepfather's daughter. They fire the cook and force the daughter into plain clothing and wooden shoes so that she has to do the work instead. As an added insult, they take some of the food and toss it into the ashes of a fireplace so that the daughter has to pick them out. Because of how much time she is forced to sit in front of the fireplace, the two evil step-sisters nickname her Cinderella.

One day, the father is leaving to visit a fair. He asks his daughters what he should bring back to then. 

Evil Step-Daughter 1: "Beautiful Dresses!"

Evil Step-Daughter 2: "Pearls and jewels!"

Cinderella: "Father, break off for me the first branch which knocks against your hat on your way home."

So the father leaves and returns with the dresses and jewels for his step-daughters. For Cinderella, he gives a hazel twig which brushes against him and knocks off his hat during the journey. She plants the branch directly on her mother's grave and weeps upon it. Her weeping waters it, and it springs up into a tree. Three times a day, Cinderella comes to this tree to weep and pray. A bird always sits on this tree, and if she wishes for something, the bird drops down the thing that she wishes for.

The king appoints a festival that would last 3 days with the intention that he would find a wife for his son, the prince. All the beautiful women would be invited, naturally. The step-sisters order Cinderella to help them get ready, but when she expresses an interest in going to the festival, the step-mother mocks the idea as ludicrous. However, the step-mother empties a dish of lentils into the ashes and says that if Cinderella can pick them out in 2 hours, she can go with them. It is an impossible task.

Cinderella goes out into the garden and calls,

"You tame pigeons, you turtle-doves,
and all you birds beneath the sky,
come and help me to pick
The good into the pot,
The bad into the crop."

A slue of birds fly into the house and picks through the ashes in Cinderella's stead. They accomplish the task in less than an hour. When Cinderella goes to show her step-mother, the older woman still denies Cinderella the chance to go because she has no clothing and cannot dance. After Cinderella begs some more, the step-mother offers the same lentil-picking task but with only an hours limit this time.

Once again, Cinderella calls for the birds in the same way, and they come to her aid. Cinderella, once again, offers the lentils to her step-mother, but the older woman refuses again simply on the grounds that she would put them to shame. She leaves with her daughters for the festival, leaving Cinderella behind.

Returning to her mother's grave, Cinderella says, 

"Shiver and quiver, little tree,
Silver and gold throw down over me."

The bird in the tree tosses down a dress for her to wear. She puts it on and goes to the festival. The prince sees her and chooses her to dance with him. Although the step-sisters are present, they think that this beautiful woman is some foreigner. After the dance, Cinderella runs out despite the prince's best efforts to hold onto her. She jumps into the royal pigeon-house. When the prince tells the king of this odd event, the king has the pigeon-house axed to bits. She was not inside. Cinderella had escaped out of the back without anyone seeing her.

On the next day of the festival, Cinderalla once more calls out to the tree at her mother's grave. The bird tosses down and even more beautiful dress, and she puts it on returning to the festival. Once again, the prince is enamored by her beauty and they dance. After the dance, she escapes him again and climbs up into a tree in the royal garden. When the prince informs the king of it, the king has the tree cut down, but she was not in it. Cinderella had jumped off the other side when no one was looking.

Day of the festival number 3: she calls to the tree, once again, and a bird tosses down an extremely beautiful dress--better than all others in the world. Cinderella is also given a pair of golden shoes to wear. Again, the prince chooses her to dance with, and again, she escapes. But the prince had been tricky this time around. Before the dance, he had smeared the steps to the palace with pitch. This caused Cinderella to lose a shoe on the way out. When the prince picks up the golden shoe, he proclaims, "No one shall be my wife but she whose foot this golden slipper fits."

The eldest of the step-sister asks to try on the shoe in private. She attempts to get her foot into it, but her big toe gets in the way. Her mother then gives her a knife and orders her to cut off the big toe for, "When thou art queen, thou wilt have no more need to go on foot." So the maiden cuts off her big toe, swallows the pain, and slipped her foot into the shoe with little effort. Once presented to the prince, he takes her onto his horse and they ride away to the castle so that she will be his bride.

On the way to the castle, they pass by the hazel-tree where a bird is heard singing,

"Turn and peep, turn and peep,
There's blood within the shoe,
The shoe it is too small for her,
The true bride waits for you."

The prince immediately takes off the shoe and sees blood streaming from where her toe had been. Discouraged, the prince returns the maiden home and the second step-sister is given a chance to try it on in private. However, her heel is too big for it. The mother gives her a knife and orders her to cut some of her heel off for the same reasons as before. The daughter does so and manages to fit into the shoe easily. As the prince takes her away to be married, a bird gives out the same warning. Once again, the prince removes the shoe to see a torrent of blood coming from the maiden's foot.

After returning the second step-sister, he asks the father if he had another daughter. The father claims, "There is still a little stunted kitchen-wench which my late wife left behind her, but she cannot possibly be the bride."

The king asks for her to be sent up, but the step-mother objects. Nevertheless, Cinderella cleans herself up a bit and comes up to see the prince. She tries on the shoe and it fits. As the prince takes her past the hazel-tree, a bird proclaims,

"Turn and peep, turn and peep,
No blood is in the shoe,
The shoe is not too small for her,
The true bride rides with you."

Two birds then come and rest upon both of Cinderella's shoulders during the ride home. The couple is then wed at a church. Before and after the ceremony, the two birds that came with Cinderella peck out the eyes of the two step-sisters as they were there to attend the wedding. The last line of the story reads, "And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness as long as they lived."

And now for some commentary.

Breaking off from the traditional plot point of having a daughter who is to be wed to her own father, we still feel a certain betrayal happening by way of this girl's father. Cinderella's father seems to dismiss her once he remarries. It is almost worse than what happened in Donkey-Skin. Even towards the end of this story, he seems to not see her as very important if you look at how he refers to her to the prince. (A little stunted kitchen-wench which my late wife left behind her.) Yes, he may not have wanted to marry her, but he entirely dismisses her as his daughter. There is little to no bond at all.

Similar to the maiden in Allerleirauh, she seems to possess a certain degree of magical aptitude and guile. This is suggested when she asks her father for a twig which she uses to plant the tree. This may have also been a way to summon the spirit of her mother from the grave. Hazel trees are often used to symbolize wisdom and inspiration. This story is full of strange archaic magic and necromancy.

Once again, we have three dresses, which should be another clue that this story came from those old Donkey-Skin tales. The dresses are uses to enhance the beauty Cinderella already has. Princes tend to be more shallow then their fathers, and so this was a good tactic. She knew exactly what she was doing.

Were you surprised when the prince has laid that pitch trap to capture her shoe? More modern interpretations of the story have the shoe come off by accident (or fate). This is another aspect which links Cinderella with the Donkey-Skin tales. Many of them have the prince one-upping her scheme with his own intervention.

Although Grimm's Allerleirauh omitted the self-mutilation scenes, they made it exceptionally worse with their adaptation of Cinderella. I think the synopsis covered it pretty well. Once again, this is obviously used to demonstrate the lengths people will go for in the name of greed. Grimm also punishes the step-sisters by blinding them. This is actually pretty common in Grimm stories. The heroes must live happily ever after, and the villains who tries to thwart the hero must be punished severely if not killed outright.

So what do you think? Were all these characters human? Were some of them something else? What about the mother? Was she a demon or a witch? Was the daughter something not-quite-human herself? It's obvious that some pretty strange things were happening here. And that tree. You know... the one growing out of the grave of her mother that gave her nice things. What was going on here? I challenge you, in the comment section, to give me your interpretation of the events. What was really going on when this story actually happened? I look forward to reading what you have to say.

Thank you for reading my blog. As always the comment section below is open to your feedback. You can also email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Also you can visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Thanks!

Monday, January 29, 2018

God and the Squirrels -- What's it all About?

"God and the Squirrels" is not really intended for any one group. I have recommended it to anyone with an open mind who dearly wants to be entertained. Although I have listed this story as bizarro fiction, it is, at its heart, a comedy.

The front cover of this book is what it is for a very important reason. The original idea of the book was to see if I could write a story about squirrels who drive a car. That was the whole goal, but I still had to have a cohesive plot surrounding it. But really, the driving scene should be the big, big moment everyone should look forward to.

If you are looking for a fun adult comedy with talking animals and/or squirrels driving cars, this may be for you. If you are looking for an inspiring message, you can find that in this book at well, but the real idea of it was to entertain and make people smile. Enjoy!


Available on Amazon.com!

Paperback Edition: $8.99 (Prime eligible!)
Kindle Edition: $1.99

Click here to check out the Amazon.com listing!


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Melody the Mouse

For your consideration: Melody the Mouse!

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Allerleirauh (Donkey-Skin Grimm Version)

Donkey-Skin is an ancient tale that has many versions of it that have appeared throughout time--not to mention all of the Cinderella stories that have spawned from them. The Brothers Grimm have their own and it was called Allerleirauh. The word is pronounced [ah - lehr - lie' - rau] and means "all-kinds-of-fur" as a single word. With great pleasure, I now present to you the synopsis of Grimm's Allerleirauh:

There is a king who has a wife with the most beautiful golden hair. She is so beautiful that there is no equal to her within the whole kingdom. A day comes when she falls ill and, on her death bed, summons the king to be with her in her final moments. She tells the king that if he wishes to marry again, he must take no one unless the woman is as beautiful as her and that he must promise her this. He does so, and then she dies.

For a very long time, the king is upset about the loss of his wife and cannot seem to be consoled by anyone. His counselors decide that he must have a new wife. Men are sent out to find if anyone within the kingdom is as beautiful as the late queen. This search is extended even to the entire world, but it all proves fruitless. Even though women of great beauty are found, none of them have the golden hair. This lingering aspect is ultimately a deal breaker for the king.

As it turns out, the king has a daughter who very much resembles her mother and even has the golden hair. When she grows to be an appropriate age, the king suddenly feels a violent [actual word used] love for her. He quickly proclaims that he will marry his own daughter and the entire court is shocked. They plead with the king and call what he is doing a crime. They also tell him that the deed will lead the kingdom to ruin. But he will not listen.

The daughter dislikes the idea even more. In an effort to buy time, he tells her father that, first, he must have three dresses made for her: one as golden as the sun, one as silvery as the moon, and one as bright as the stars. Additionally, she also wants one that is made of the joined together skins of every animal in the kingdom. She asks him this thinking that he will not be able to accomplish it and so the wedding will be canceled.

The king, however, is not to be dissuaded from his ultimate goal of marrying his own daughter. He hires the very best maidens from all over his kingdom, and the dresses are all made in due time. He presents them to her in a rush and announces, "The wedding shall be to-morrow." Seeing no way out, the daughter decides to run away.

In the night, the daughter takes a golden ring, a golden spinning-wheel, a golden reel, and the three dresses and places them all inside of a nutshell. She then wears the dress of many animal skins and blackens her hands and face with soot. She runs out into the night as far as she can go and ends up sleeping in the hollow of a tree. She is still sleeping when the sun rises the next day.

The king of the new land she finds herself in happens to be out with his huntsmen and some dogs. These same dogs sniff out where the sleeping daughter is and the huntsmen go to check. They are alarmed to see what seems to be an alien creature made of the skins of many animals. The king encourages them to catch it, but when they lay a hand on her, she wakes up. The woman pleads that she is a poor child who has been deserted by her father and mother, and that they should pity her and take her with them. They call her Allerleirauh and decide to assign her to the kitchen to sweep up the ashes found there.

Allerleirauh is given a little closet under a staircase. The person who assigns her these quarters tells her, "Hairy animal, there canst thou live and sleep." She is then shown to the kitchen and given nothing but the most undesirable jobs. She lives in great wretchedness for a long time in this way.

One day there is a great feast to be held in the palace, and Allerleirauh asks if she can go upstairs to see it. She is only allowed half an hour to do this before she has to return. Instead of doing this, she goes to her small closet, washes herself completely, and puts on the dress that shines like the sun. She then enters the festival proper and dazzles the king so much that he says, "My eyes have never yet seen any one so beautiful!"

When she leaves in half an hour, the king asks the guards who she is, but no one knows or can find her. In truth, she quickly runs back to her closet and again assumes the role of the wretched Allerleirauh. The cook of the kitchen assigns her to make a soup for the king [likely so that this cook can take credit for it.] Allerleirauh makes this soup and drops the golden ring from the nutshell into it before delivering it to the cook.

After a dance at the festival, the king tries the soup and is astonished how good it is. He finds the golden ring. He summons the cook to meet with him which frightens the cook who thinks Allerleirauh has done something bad to the soup and so give her the blame. Nevertheless, when the king asks who made the soup, the cook takes credit for it anyways. The king does not believe her because the soup is much better than the cook's usual fare. The cook admits that it was the "rough animal" who made it, and the king asks that "it" be brought before him.

King: "Who art thou?"

Allerleirauh: "I am a poor girl who no longer has any father or mother."

King: "Of what use art thou in my palace?"

Allerleirauh: "I am good for nothing but to have boots thrown at my head."

King: "Where didst thou get the ring which was in the soup?"

Allerleirauh: "I know nothing about the ring."

Learning nothing, the king gives up and sends her away.

Soon another festival is had at the palace. Once again, Allerleirauh begs to see it from upstairs and another half an hour is granted. She cleans herself up and dons the dress which is as silvery as the moon. She goes to the festival, and this time she even gets to dance with the king. But once her half an hour is up, she flees and the king cannot catch up fast enough to see where she goes. She returns to being Allerleirauh once more.

Without the permission of the cook, Allerleirauh makes another soup but, this time, puts the golden spinning wheel into it so that it is hidden. A similar event to earlier occurs where he finds the wheel in his soup and questions Allerleirauh about it after the cook had to confess it was not her. Once again, Allerleirauh acts as if she had no idea about it at all.

A third festival, and this time the cook is extremely paranoid. She calls Allerleirauh a witch who puts things in the soup to make the king like it more than what she makes. Allerleirauh is forced to beg very hard to be allowed to go see this festival, and finally the cook agrees to it. Once more to her closet, she dons the dress that shines like the stars. Again she dances with the king, and again she makes soup for him. This time she drops the golden reel into it.

When the king finds this reel, he summons Allerleirauh to question her, but here he had done a sneaky thing. During the dance, he has slipped the golden ring from the first festival onto her finger, and even though she looked like a wretched creature, the golden ring gave away her identity. The king tears off the skin dress revealing the woman's golden hair. He has her washed from head to toe and this reveals her to be more beautiful than anyone on the entire earth.

The king tells her, "Thou art my dear bride, and we will never more part from each other." They are married and live happily until their eventual deaths. And so end the tale of Allerleirauh.

Here we go.

Once again, the king's desire to marry and consummate with his daughter is extremely powerful. The story uses the word violent to describe his determination, and that seems to carry over from the much older Donkey-Skin tale by Perrault. In this version, however, a lot of time seems to elapse before the king realizes the viability of his daughter as a wife. She has to grow into adulthood so she could more closely resemble the wife he knew. Donkey-Skin seemed to hint at her being more a child than the young adult represented in Allerleirauh.

The fairy godmother was absent for the Grimm version. The dresses were entirely the daughter's idea and did not seem to have any magic to them... or did they? After all, this woman was in possession of a nutshell that could carry just about anything inside of it. It is possible that the daughter knew something of the magical arts which she might have learned from a fairy godmother that was simply not mentioned. The latter seems to hold some weight if you consider that these stories all originate from an ancient source where all points are relevant in some way. I am less inclined to believe she was just born with magical abilities. [Nevertheless, please tell me what you think.]

Instead of a prince, we have a bonafide king. He isn't as love-happy as the prince of Donkey-Skin but much more seasoned and calm. He is quizzical and intelligent. He is also quite suave and gentlemanly. Like in Donkey-Skin, Allerleirauh plays a game with him. She is cleverly placing hints before him so that, in the end, he can discover the prize himself. He bites every single time and eventually finds a way to unmask her. So thrilled by her gumption, he cannot help but love her and marry her.

The cook was put in a rather funny position by Allerleirauh. I don't feel too much for her because she really did seem to try and take credit for Allerleirauh's better-than-usual soup. Her paranoia by the end of it was amusing.

There was no contest at the end of this version and no reason for anyone to mutilate themselves for his hand in marriage. This story focuses on the game happening between Allerleirauh and the king. It was a romantic comedy in a way and enjoyable to see him discover her little hidden gems.

In closing, there is no word if she ever reestablishes a relationship with her father--as did happen in Donkey-Skin. Although this is sad, I do hope that he gets over it and focuses on the welfare of his kingdom. More to come on the Donkey-Skin tales next week.

Thank you for reading my blog! If you have any comment or criticism whatsoever, you can leave it below or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Thanks!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Donkey-Skin (Perrault Version)

The following poem precedes Charles Perrault's version of "Donkey-Skin" and was dedicated to Marquise de Lambert, a educational writer of the 1700s. Note that the mentioning of the word "ogre" was intended to mean "a savage man who ate small children." Enjoy.

Some lofty persons seldom smile,
And cannot bear to give their time,
Regarding literary style,
To anything that's not sublime.
With views like theirs I can't agree.
The highest minds, it seems to me,
May sometimes condescend to go
To watch, let's say, a puppet show,
Without incurring loss of face.
Given proper time and place,
Sublimity may suit less well
Than some diverting bagatelle.
Nor should it cause much surprise
That men of sense, at times oppressed
By hours of work, should think it wise
To free themselves from reason's bonds,
and pleasantly be lulled to rest
By some old tail of maids distressed,
Of ogres, spells, and magic wands.
Ignoring, then, the blame I may incur
For wasting time, I'll do as you prefer,
Madame; so let me now begin
The tale, in full, of Donkey-Skin.

The synopsis is as follows:

There is a king who was madly in love with his wife, the beautiful queen. He has only a daughter with her and he loves them both very much, but none so great as the queen. They have all the riches they can handle by way of a magical donkey (apparently named Ned in the Perrault version) who literally passes golden coins and sovereigns instead of manure.

It comes to pass that the queen is stricken with a severe illness of which no one throughout the country can cure. As she comes close to death, she confided in the king and makes him swear to her that he will only marry someone who is more lovely and more virtuous than herself. This is actually her own cunning to keep the king from ever marrying again and so keep him always to herself even in death. The king takes the vow, and she dies in his arms.

Time goes by, and the lonely king decides that he must wed again. Although he chooses to stay true to his vow, he can find no woman in the entire kingdom that is lovelier than his late wife. However, there is one who possessed these virtues and even more: his own daughter. The king, now mad with love, orders that she should be married to him. Naturally this greatly disturbs the woman, and she spends the next number of days weeping.

With great sorrow, the woman leaves to see her fairy godmother which is located in a distant grotto filled with many pretty things. The godmother promises that she will help her escape the king's insane love, but that the daughter must follow her orders to the letter. This is agreed to. The daughter goes to her father and agrees to marry him but only if he will make three special dresses for her: One that is "the color of the heavens" (or sky-colored), one that is "the color of the moon," and one that is "the color of the sun." These he agrees to but becomes more and more obsessed with marrying her with each new dress made. It is clearly a desperation to consummate the relationship with finality.

Her last request, as advised by the godmother, is that the magic donkey Ned should die and she should be given his skin. This is a difficult request because the donkey provided all the wealth of the kingdom, but the king desires so much to marry his own daughter that he commits the deed. The godmother places the three dresses in a chest that can disappear and reappear by use of a magic wand which is given to the daughter. She is then told to cover her face in dirt, adorn the donkey skin, and run away right before the wedding commences. She does so leaving her entire life as a princess behind her.

The woman lives the life of a beggar for a very long time. She must do this, for if anyone suspects who she is, she will be returned to her father to be married to him. She eventually gets a job in a farm working with other oafs and louts. Nobody treats her nicely. People across the country would shun her and be very cruel. She is called Donkey-Skin by those who see her, a name that hurt her greatly. There are even bullies who go out of their way to strike her and spit upon her. It is a very difficult existence. However, whenever she is alone, she would make the magic chest reappear and wear her pretty dresses. This would restore some of her morale and allow her to keep going.

As it happens, an extension of this farm kept a number of exotic birds owned by the king of this country. His son, the prince, would often stop by this area with his friends and admire their beauty. Donkey-Skin notices him and instantly realized he is a prince by her own royal intuition. She falls in love with him in that instant. Nevertheless, she knows that she can not expose who she is.

Incidentally, the prince happens to walk in on her while she is sleeping. She had gone to bed in one of her special dresses, and he looks upon her form breathlessly. He admires everything about the woman, not just her dress, but the very contours of her face. He falls in love with her as well but chooses not to awaken her due to his own shyness. Several times, he almost knocks on her door, but cannot bring himself to do it.

Later, he asks the caretaker of the farm for the woman's name. The caretaker explains that he knows of no beauty like the prince describes, but that he must mean Donkey-Skin. It was the only woman he knew to live there after all. He has absolutely nothing but nasty things to say about the woman and makes it a point to expound and expound upon it for a bit. The prince is sure that it must be her who he saw regardless of what he is being told.

The prince confides in his mother that he wants Donkey-Skin to bake a cake for him and him alone. The queen had heard of this woman and explains to him that this Donkey-Skin is nothing but a miserable slut, but the prince stands firm on his request. The mother decides that her son should get his wish if that's really what he wants. Donkey-Skin becomes the prince's personal cook.

She bakes him a cake and purposely drops a golden ring into it so that he will find it. After almost choking on it, he regards the ring with much interest. He remembers seeing it on her hand as she was sleeping, and in case you are wondering, she had apparently been aware that he had been there. The ring was a sign to him that she was that person he had fallen in love with so much. But then, no one would possibly allow a horrible wretch like Donkey-Skin to marry him. And so he decides to play her game and makes a decree that whoever's finger fits the golden ring will be his bride.

Of course, everyone shows up to try the ring. It always fails. Some women even mutilated their fingers so that they could fit. Some snip off parts of their fingers to make them smaller. Others try to burn away some of the skin with acid. These tricks, however gruesome, still do not work. The ring is either too big or too small. All women in the kingdom and castle attempt the ring... except for Donkey-Skin who is not even allowed to try.

The prince asks why Donkey-Skin was not allowed to attempt it, and everyone laughs and tells him that she should not be expected to even bother with such an experiment. "Why not?" he tells them plainly. "Let her appear." Still more laughter comes as Donkey-Skin is led out into the great hall. A dirty hand soon comes out under the ugly skin and slides just perfectly into the ring. Everybody goes dumb silent. The prince has found his bride, but just look at her!

Donkey-Skin then asks that she be allowed to have a more suitable dress. Of course, the prince agrees. Nobody thinks it will do anything for the ugly women, but once she is adorned in a princess' gown, everyone is stricken with her beauty and grace. Even the queen adores her son's bride-to-be and dotes on her with abandon. The wedding is planned and guests from all over the world are invited. The guest list includes the father of the bride.

But the woman's father has since put away his criminal incestuous feelings for his daughter and bestows upon her his blessing to marry the prince. He weeps and proclaims, "Now Heaven be blessed, my dearest child (...) that by its grace we meet again, and that I am allowed to see you here!" They embrace, and the wedding commences with great joy. So ends the tale of Donkey-Skin as told by Charles Perrault.

Alright, let's do this.

The story was actually told entirely in poetry. Not every version of Donkey-Skin was done like that. Some things can be lost in translation when this happens, but all the important points were here. I was particularly fascinated by the three dresses she had made for her. The sky, moon, and stars designs seemed to me to be part of a magical spell that needed to be accomplished by the godmother. Unlike other versions of Donkey-Skin, these dresses do not have a major part of the story after they are entered into it.

As for the magic chest, that is often interpreted in different ways. Sometimes it is a small nut that she can keep in a pocket and retrieve things from it at will. The idea of it is simply that she can take things with her without anybody knowing its there. It is clearly a creation of magic, and the godmother, no doubt, knows exactly how it works.

There was also the donkey that crapped money. This is actually a very common trope in old fairy tales. You would be surprised how often it comes up if you pour through legends like I have. There is also often a special word you have to say to make the donkey do his special business, but it was not included in this particular story. It is assumed that the donkey goes whenever a donkey goes, but when he does go, he goes gold. The name Ned was obviously made up by Perrault.

I did not have time to elaborate too much, but just to be clear, this woman was extremely mistreated while under the guise of a beggar. People went out of their way to abuse her. I do not think she was raped but some men might have attempted it. It is possible that the spell (the dresses) of the godmother helped ward this extreme from happening in order to keep her chaste for her eventual prince. Nevertheless, her treatment was horrible.

It is made perfectly clear that Donkey-Skin not only knew the prince was looking at her in bed but that she had set the whole meeting up. The prince likely realized this when he found the ring in his cake and decided to play the game with her out of pure excitement. If the ring test seems familiar, Donkey-Skin is often referred to as a prototype story for Cinderella. We will be going into these legends more in future blogs.

As to the mutilation of the fingers, this is sadly a reoccurring thing in the Donkey-Skin and Cinderella tales. Clearly, it shows the lengths some people will go to in the name of greed.

The last thing I want to deal with is the strong sexual tension in this story. The king did not only want to marry his daughter, he wanted to have sex with her... badly. It was becoming an insane obsession. It was the only thing on his mind and nothing would get in his way. When he had the dresses made, he told the tailors that they would be executed if they messed up because it would get in the way of him going to bed with his new wife.

There was also an extremely powerful sexual desire on behalf of the prince for Donkey-Skin. It was many times elaborated upon that his desire for her was near infinite. Everything about her excited him. I am sure the honeymoon was amazing.

In closing, Donkey-Skin explodes with strong emotions and sexual tension like few stories ever had. The love and admiration is there, but it is mostly about desire for the opposite sex even when such a thing is inappropriate. It is also a bonafide fairy tale with a fairy in it. Although only showing up for a small part, the godmother seemed to know how things would turn out as long as her orders were performed correctly. Her magic was archaic and, dare I say, realistic. In fact, this is one of the most gritty and realistic old fairy tales out there and it seems to be much older than Charles Perrault. It is quite possible this very thing really happened. Please, tell me what you think!

Thank you for reading this very long blog. You can comment below or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Thanks!

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Fascinating Life of Animal Robots is published!

"The Fascinating Life of Animal Robots" is my very first published science fiction novel! Available in paperback and Kindle!

In the future, walking and talking robots are a part of daily life. They do things for us with perfect efficiency. However, they are anything but people. James Reiner is the CEO and president of a company who is trying to change that. The only difference is that his line of robots look like cute, cartoony animals.

The animal robots seem to act and feel more like people than any other model on the planet. Soon they are taking the world by storm, but this success comes with disturbing questions. Are these robots really people? Are they alive? And if so, should they be considered property? “The Fascinating Life of Animal Robots” by T.K. Wade deals with these questions and more.

Hurry! It's Cottontail Pines!

But there is plenty of time... OR IS THERE?!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


A story written entirely from the perspective of an imaginary friend!

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Anthropomorphization

I apologize for the 7-syllable, 20-letter word that I used for this spotlight's title. It may be a lengthy word, but it is a very common and even important practice, not only in fairy tales, but in actual reality. The word anthropomorphization refers to when human characteristics are ascribed to something that is definitively not human at all. It can be an animal, plant, inanimate object, or really anything as long as the object in question is not already human to begin with.

I first want to ask a question which I plan to answer right away. To what degree are you allowed to anthropomorphize something? The answer: The sky is the limit. You can do it by a little, a lot, or entirely. Whatever suites your fancy. Now, let's look at a few examples.

One of my most favorite works of fiction was "Bambi, a Life in the Woods" by Felix Salten. To only a small degree, he anthropomorphized a number of animals so that you could understand them better. Felix gave these animals a couple things that animals normally do not have. Namely, the ability to communicate in a human language as well as an emotional and social structure that was slightly more organized than animals usually possess in reality. This was done purely to help us relate and understand them.

In my opinion, Disney improved on Mister Salten's book with their film "Bambi" released in 1942 and the brilliant sequel "Bambi II" released 64 years later in 2006. Disney sustained the anthropomorphization level from the novel. However, he added more of his own. Although the cervidae (deer) characters still walk like normal cloven hooved animals, the smaller critter types, such as Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk, seemed to have more human style characteristics such as fingers and thumbs. Although they would often stand up to communicate, they would still be compelled to dropped down to all fours to travel.

The facial expressions of all the characters in the Disney movies were far more advanced than explained in Salten's books. Bambi showed true emotion that we could understand. He suffered through problems that we would empathize with far more than an actual deer would. The death of his own mother very likely affected the audience more than it would a real deer. It was all intended to tell a story to us, and it did so quite well.

If Disney were to tell the same story from the actual perspective of the deer without any anthropomorphization at all, it would be an incredibly boring experience. In fact, we would likely need a documentary narrator to give us the play-by-play just so it would all make sense, and even then, we would see our own lives as much more interesting than the survive-or-be-killed lives of deer. Disney's surprising addition of Thumper and Flower added more story to the movies than the book had. We enjoyed their little friendship just as much as the drama happening between Bambi and his parents. Anthropomorphization made all of this possible.

Now let's look at a higher degree of anthropomorphization and even another famous Disney film. I am speaking of the 1973 film "Robin Hood." The contrast with the "Bambi" example here is that, instead of making animals anthropomorphized, we are making human characters into animals. Sort of. In fact, we are taking animals, anthropomorphizing them, and then substituting human characters with our anthropomorphized animals. It totally worked, by the way. The movie is popular to this very day and has formed the groundwork for the study of anthropomorphization in modern animation.

The animals of "Robin Hood" are brought as close as they can to humans without giving up the genuine animal look. They still have fur, a snout, a tail, and ears, but they have the body and physique of a human being. Their personalities are way more like ours. Nothing is left of their animal brains. They are essentially humans that look like animals. And in many ways, the choice of animal often fits the character being introduced. Robin Hood is a clever fox. The sheriff is a big, fat wolf. Little John is a not-so-little bear. It all makes sense and helps us understand who they are and why they do things. I dare say this movie told the story better than any other version of "Robin Hood" ever made for this reason.

Without going on too much into it, there are also many examples of anthropomorphization happening to inanimate objects. Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" did this with all kinds of household furniture. They were merely given eyes and mouths in this case. It was closer to how it was done in "Bambi," I suppose. You might also look into many of the platformer video games made by developer Rare. They love taking just about any kind of inanimate object, plopping a set of eyes on top, and filling it with life. It is a mainstay in most of their games, I have noticed.

I'm not done yet. Let's talk about the anthropomorphization that we do every day. Look at our cars. For one, we made them look a whole lot like they have a face. And sometimes we talk to them. We talk to a lot of things that don't have a bloody idea what we are saying. I am even guilty of this. I talk to my cat Cupcake all the time. I pretend she knows what I am saying, but in truth, she is probably wondering when I am gonna shut up.

The anthropomorphization of something is an aspect of humanity that is built in. We do it to anything we want to understand better. It sometimes works, and in other cases, we are merely diluting ourselves with fantasy. In and of itself, there is no real harm in it. But sometimes I do not think people really understand what anthropomorphization is really for. In the children's show "Dexter's Laboratory," child scientist Dexter gave a dog the gift of speech so he could understand how a dog thinks and comprehends things. All he got for it was a dog who blathered on about the fact that he was a dog and how he thought everything might be food. Dexter's problem was that he half-assed the experiment.

What Dexter should have done was to give the dog an understanding of what it meant to be a human being. It would work a lot better. However, it might also shock the dog into an early grave. Human characteristics are one thing, but to understand the human condition enough to empathize with them can be fairly traumatic all at once. Dexter's method, although incomplete, may have been ultimately humane. The canine was left to live in ignorance and simply be... a dog.

But what if we did turn something inhuman entirely into a human for the sole purpose of understanding them? 100% anthropomorphization. This means we are taking everything inhuman out and putting everything human in. The creature or entity now understands humanity but he is still what he is on the inside. My final question to you is this: Was that a cruel thing to do?

Thank you for reading my blog? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Whatever the case, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. See you next time!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fairy Tale Spotlight: The Ogre and the Ogress

Ogres have been shown in many different ways in popular fiction. I suppose the one that is fresh on everybody's mind was from the movie series "Shrek." That movie showed an ogre to be a fat slob who preferred living on his own. He had no problems being nasty and was only moved to heroism by the plot of the movie. I liked those movies, but I am here to give you a different perspective on this classic creature.

By and large, I believe that the term ogre does refer to a large and ugly creature, possibly with protruding teeth or fangs. Although, the latter is optional. The one aspect that you may not consider when you hear the term ogre is that they may actually have been civilized. They might have lived in houses with all the nice luxuries included. They may have also had their own class system separating the wealthy from the poor among them. All this, and they are still monsters of a sort.

Ogres have been presented in this manner in many of the old tales. The most famous of these is arguably "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood" by Charles Perrault. Most versions of "Sleeping Beauty" end it shortly after she is revived by a kiss. However, the most profound versions include what happens after Sleeping Beauty is married. Her mother-in-law is an ogress. The prince's father fell in love with her and married her despite the fact that she was a monster.

So this brings up two very important items. Number 1: The ogress is considered of high enough class to marry into royalty. Remember that, in those olden days, a king did not just go out and date a monster. Monsters were often slain at the mere sight of them. Here a king seems to have no problem in marrying a monster, and the story does not suggest that anyone else considered it to be at all strange. It is entirely conceivable that she came from the upper class of her own society.

Item number 2: The king finds the ogress attractive. Perhaps she was. Who is to say that an ogress cannot have their own form of attractiveness, even to a human. I can imagine that, as big boned as these creatures seem to be, the ogress may have been profoundly busty. She may have even had a pretty smile to go with it.

Now that we have settled those two points, let us look further into the more familiar territory. Namely, the fact that she is still a monster.

When we hear the word monster, we think about an ugly creature who is willing to do horrible things. If the ogre is civilized, does that mean they are above being monstrous? Quick answer: No. Whether the ogre is presented as civilized or not, one thing seems to tie them all together. They love to devour little children. Human children are much preferred.

It's about to get worse. Pay attention.

When ogres are portrayed as civilized, they still like to eat human children. But you see... they prefer the children specially cooked and seasoned. They want them prepared by a classy chef and laid out on a large dining table with an apple in the mouth. A classy affair from beginning to end. Presentation is everything. I hope I am not turning your stomach too much, but the connotations of this are extreme for a reason.

In "The Sleeping Beauty of the Wood," the princess's ogress mother-in-law hated her. She asks her steward to prepare Sleeping Beauty's son and daughter for her meal as a matter of revenge. She even explains how she wants them prepared with great detail. The steward was bound by duty and under the threat of execution if he denied her this request. He takes out a knife and goes into the children's bedrooms. They were only 4 years old. However, his heart would not let him do it, and he fakes the meal by killing an animal in their stead.

Take a moment to think about what I have told you so far. I know it's hard. I do sometimes come across as odd the way I often link fairy tales with reality. Do I personally believe that ogres were once real? The answer is yes. And it is such a terrible thing that it ever happened. I personally believe that these ogres were a particular type of demon that started the trend of child sacrifice that has lasted up unto this day. At the time, the children were killed and eaten after being born. Today, we kill in the womb. Same reasons, I assure you. The ogres got it started, and we became the ogres. We took up a craft started by monsters and became the monsters ourselves.

We aren't eating them, but look at it from the perspective of the ogres. They were living it up in high class society. They treated little children like fine delicacies. They were only thinking about themselves. Today, we kill our babies for different reasons, but the selfishness is still there. A simple shunning of personal responsibility. To live life as if there were no problems at all. It was always about us. It was never about the children.

The ogres are monsters and, as far as I can tell, they are evil. Their legacy of child sacrifice have lasted to this very day. In a sense, they are still among us. They masqueraded as our comely humans and continue to perform their gruesome ritualistic murders. They feast as if life was simply one big party, and the lowly can die and never be known to them. We would be better without them.

Did you like my blog? Did you hate it? Either way, you can comment below or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Happy New Year!