Thursday, January 31, 2019

Fairy Tale Spotlight: The Queen

We have so many interesting and varied stories about kings. The problem is that the queens don't seem to have as big of a reputation. You have your acceptations here and there. But the general rule within old fairy tales is that they are either portrayed as support characters... or as the antagonist in some way.

I'm not saying that kings cannot be evil as well. In my last blog, I pointed out that kings often become the bending point of the protagonist because of how sociopathic they can be about their own laws. So they can be evil; it's true. But they can also be good. In fact, many times they have been good. Queens just don't get that privilege as often.

Over my time reading the complete collection of Grimm, the pictures I got of the queens were ones of petty interests, jealousies, extreme vanity, and really nothing to do with the kingdom she ruled over. Everything was internalized rather than moving her sight towards the outlook of her kingdom. She would call for the execution of someone she didn't like or obsess over the dress of the protagonist.

In extreme situations the queen was often be placed as an evil antagonist. Snow White knew this better than anyone. It seems like the more evil, oppressive queens are without a king to suppress them, or that they are fairy in nature (such as the ogress queen in "Sleeping Beauty.") When married, they seem to balance a bit, but they can often plead to the hearts of their husbands and sway them to be evil as well. This is not unlike the whole Adam and Eve incident from the Bible.

Now, please understand... I am sure there were some stories about good queens. I just... don't... remember them. When you are reading that many stories out of a collection, you end up remembering the more common patterns. I'm pretty sure they existed, but there wasn't enough to really press upon me. I have strong memories of petty or nasty queens who cared nothing about anyone else but themselves.

I'm beginning to think that this may have been a problem in the real world. If I am to believe that ancient fairy tales reflect the world they were written in (and I do), then it only stands to reason that queens of old had certain hold-backs in their character that kings did not have as much of. And it seems to me to be a legitimate female issue rather than being one of royalty.

Remember my rather long blog about "The Fisherman and his Wife"? The wife in the story was not royalty at all until she obtained it. Her husband was not even king. Once she had the power, she could not help but get more and more of it. Whoever originally told this story must have seen some interesting things concerning women. Sadly, it's something we've seen since the Garden of Eden. It's not all women, mind you. But I would think very, very hard before allowing someone to become queen in this world. Find out what's inside. Look carefully. Listen to the way she talks. Listen to the way she laughs. There could be a witch somewhere inside. Best to just let her remain a fisherman's wife if you ask me.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Fairy Tale Spotlight: The King

Just pick up a big old book of fairy tales and I guarantee that about a third of them will have a king in it, named or unnamed. (Usually unnamed.) Kings play a major part in the old tales, and I want to chat about it as I am often wont to do. So let's figure out why we have such a big king problem.

Why their are kings is pretty obvious. The stories are very old. Putting a king in charge was a very common thing to do in those days. In fact, it is not so much a stretch for us even today. We'd do the very same thing today if we could find a good reason to. Human beings generally want someone in charge to prevent chaos among the people. Put 300 people on a island, and, chances are, a king will pop up from among them within a year. It's what we do.

Looking at fairy tales from a much more structured point of view, I often see the king as, not so much a person, but a set of rules to keep the story in a state of balance. He represents laws that should or should not be broken by the hero. Not very often is the king the protagonist in these stories, and if they are, the connotations are massive. We'll get back to the latter point in a moment.

The king in most fairy tales (esp. Grimm), not only makes the laws, but abides by them to an extremely reliable degree. They will murder their own son or daughter on a wager if it comes down to it. Some might call this noble. Some may call it a reason some laws should be broken. Kings in old stories generally come across as an invincible barrier that can only be overcome by supernatural forces.

In many cases the king himself feels supernatural. So absolutely bound by a strict, sometimes nonsensical, set of rules that he is willing to take down, not only himself, but his entire kingdom based on that rule-set. He doesn't always feel malicious in this way, but just so staggeringly sociopathic that I cannot really gauge any humanity within him. He seems more like the living, breathing manifestation of a set of rules, and there is absolutely nothing he will not do to make those laws a reality, even at his own expense... even if what he has to do is a very sad thing.

The hero or heroin has to accomplish their task under the reign of this king and the laws that he has set down. It is a bending aspect of many of these stories and forces the protagonist into action. Some will play along with these rules, and others will willingly be sacrificed by them.

Now, a king who is the protagonist, as I said earlier, carries with it hefty connotations. Every action they take speaks for the people they rule over. This is no small thing. It has the potential to be world changing. Kings can be shown as genuine and bold, and they can also be shown as corrupt and foolish. Whatever the case may be, their lives reflect down to those they rule over.

I know I haven't cited anything specific in this blog... other than the usual Grimm general call outs. Let's be honest: Grimm stories have a basic formula to them. But I really do want to point out the concept of a king being the protagonist as shown in the 2016 video game Final Fantasy XV. This game is what I think about when I fantasize what it means to be a king and have the very weight of the universe upon my shoulders.

Final Fantasy XV made the king the protagonist. He was a teenager that starts off just not getting it, but as the story goes on, you begin to realize that... every decision you make is also for the people under you. They are all counting on you to be mature and wise so that they know how to best serve you. It wasn't about living in a castle and solving minor disputes. This game takes place during a terrible war after all. No. This was about a king living out the most important moments of his life as the leader of his kingdom, and it was damn well presented.

A game that started off feeling like a "whatever game" ends up turning into something so powerful so gradually that I was left a bit startled when it finally hit a crescendo. I had not just become a king; I had become the kingdom. Any thought or action taken simply for pleasure suddenly felt... incredibly selfish. I had no time for fun anymore. I didn't deserve fun. I had a kingdom to save. They were all looking to me for answers, and I... I was honestly afraid to give any. But in the end, I had to because... I was king, and once matured... I knew what I had to do... and it was the hardest thing imaginable.

Kudos to Square-Enix for making one hell of a powerful game.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Fairy Tale Spotlight: An Uninterested Monster

While we are spending this week a bit introspectively, let's look at something that I sometimes think about. Ever heard of the story "The Reluctant Dragon" by Kenneth Grahame? Great story and an even greater short film made by Disney. No, this blog isn't about that story. I wanna talk about something similar though.

The dragon in that story simply did not want to participate in violence. That's an interesting character, to be sure, but what if this was interpreted in a much darker way. It's something I think of as "An Uninterested Monster."

This creature isn't a dragon so much as its a hideous creature soaked in the shadows of its dark cave. It's a bit like he is actually a part of the cave, but not entirely. I am sure he could separate himself if he cared to. This monster does not like people and he does, indeed, have violent tendencies. The only thing is... he isn't interested in using them. He isn't interested in anything.

Nevertheless, when people heard of him, they thought he had to be slain. Someone went to go meet with this monster and was disgusted by the things the creature said and the way that he looked. The monster had a spiteful tongue and would say nasty things to this visitor who came in uninvited. When threatened, the creature only scoffed and began to ignore his guest. Afterwards, the people's drive to slay the monster seemed all the more pushed.

The monster is indeed hideous. He has nasty thoughts and speaks them regularly. But the truth of the matter is that he is never going to leave that cave. He poses no real threat. I'm not even sure if he would fight if someone attacked him. My problem has to do with why so many people want to put him down.

You may wonder if I am telling you a story that I read somewhere, but I'm really not. I don't even know how it ends. When I look up, my mind's eye sees the silhouette, of a person-like monster stuck to the earth by webs of some sticky substance. He groans from the oppression of his environment. I'm fairly certain that he has a full head of hair, but other than that, I know nothing else. I simply know he is a monster and that people hate him for it.

No doubt this creature is merely a thought inside of my head, but I can't really say I feel any disdain for him. I don't find the creature really all that dangerous. I am more sour to the other people who think he should be killed simply because they dislike his looks and his mannerisms. Nasty words aside, none of what he is or does threatens anybody even remotely.

I wish I had more for you on this subject, but the Uninterested Monster is not something I have really documented. This blog is really the entire body of written work pertaining to the creature. I'd love to hear what you think of it. Maybe your comments will give me some insights on who he really is.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Doors

There was a poem I read when I was young about doors. I cannot remember what it was called, who wrote it, or even the poem itself, but the theme of it is still in my mind to this day. The whole concept of the poem was about the mystery on the other side. I want to chat about these strange rectangular things today.

At the outset, doors don't seem all that interesting. They are simple things, often made of wood, that are used to close off one section from another. There is very little mystery to a door in and of itself. In your home, you can look at a door and know what is on the other side in your mind's eye, and you'd probably be right. After all, you've been through the door over a hundred times. So a door is really not all that fascinating.

Ever since I read that poem, I have always looked at doors in a different way. This way of looking at them more especially pertain to doors I have never been through. The problem is that, at first, I don't know what is on the other side. Some doors are transparent. A lot of stores do that. But not every door is so accommodating.

The main theme of the poem was that every door holds a mystery. Our mind's eye may try and paint what is on the other side, but it can't possibly know the truth of it. What if the room on the other side is nothing of what you expect? Will the shock be too much for you?

I have a memory from when I was very, very young. I was so young that I was, indeed, being cared for in a daycare center at the second floor of my local church. Usually they kept a good lookout for me, but one day I walked out of the room and began to explore the rest of the building.

The building was often used for various Sunday School activities for teenagers. All the rooms were empty at the time, but there were interesting books laying on these long tables that I would flip through. No doubt I was being looked for at the time, but they had not found me yet. In one of the rooms, I saw a curious door that I had never noticed before. It had a simple bolt lock on it, and so I proceeded to unlock it and attempt to open it.

The problem with this door was that it was painted over slightly. The paint had crossed the breach between the door and the frame. This made opening it very hard, but I pulled as hard as I could. My minds eye created a old and abandoned dark room that might be fun to see. I saw it filled with all kinds of interesting junk.

The dried paint began to give. I renewed my effort, and, with many loud pops as the paint gave away, the door popped open. A bright light struck me in the face. The door opened to the outside on the second floor, and there was no stairway or anything stopping me from falling to the ground below. It was so confusing. My heart sunk because I didn't understand exactly what was going on. Every idea I had about the other side of this door had been shattered. What's more, I did not understand why this door had even been constructed simply to lead someone to fall to their death.

I closed the door, feeling like I had done something wrong. The world stopped making sense, and I felt like I had been the one to break it. This was a door that was never meant to be opened. Were there there other doors like that in the world? I have been paranoid about that very question to this very day, yet... I continue to open them.

My caretaker found me wondering out of the room where the door was. I can't remember if she found out about me opening it, but I am pretty sure I got into trouble for leaving. I later was able to see the door for the first time from the outside. There it was... just stuck up there with no way to get to it. Many years later, metal stairs were built up to it, which is probably a good idea considering what almost happened to me.

Doors, especially the ones that had yet to be opened, create an unsettling mystery for me. I'm always afraid of what is on the other side. I am even more afraid of it not being what I expect, but that is how they operate. Doors block the other side from view until you make the conscious effort to open them. This is equally true in matters of fiction.

To cite a few examples, the doors in the early Resident Evil games became a cue for the unknown as they would force you to watch each and every door slowly open. The movie "Tron" had a very large door that took forever to open. This led to a hilarious amount of suspense before the movies first shocking sequence. In the fairy tale "Blue Beard," the door leading to the man's bloody murder chamber was a mystery until opened. "The Twilight Zone" used a door to represent the unknown in the opening sequence of the show.

Clearly there is a universal fascination with doors, but I think I had the experience of a lifetime involving them. I'll never be comfortable with doors. I'll always wonder if one of them will open and take me to somewhere I'll never be able to escape from. Maybe something on the other side will come and get me. There's no way of knowing until it's open... and the problem is... I'm just too curious a man to leave well enough alone.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Dr. Smith (Lost in Space)

What is wrong with this guy?! Seriously! What in the universe is wrong with this one man? Is he evil? Is he just an idiot? What is the hardcore truth about what makes this man tick? If you have watched at least one season of the original series, you may already be able to get a lock on the truth.

I am still a little flabbergasted that this man is still living among the humans and even for the remainder of the show. The pilot episode clearly showed that he came on board to murder everyone there. He was going to kill three adults, one teenager, and two young children. The mistakes was getting trapped on board the ship. He still could have done it too... but he was a coward. He did not want to die along with the sabotage.

Is Dr. Smith evil? It is very clear, in the earliest episodes, that he did not care for the other crew members at all. He was constantly trying to find ways to get back to Earth and let the others rot out in space. He would even occasionally fantasize that his faction had come to rescue him, not realizing that his faction was not really all that concerned for his own well-being.

Over time, Dr. Smith forms an unstable bond with the crew, especially Will who he dotes over constantly. When the crew gets fed up with him, they will sometimes ask him to leave. Even though Dr. Smith does not care about these people, the order always hurts his feelings. A lot of this seems to come down to him not wanting to die alone. And that brings us to our next point: Dr. Smith is a raging coward.

Dr. Smith had no problems killing a family of humans but not if his life was put in jeopardy. This man is afraid of even the smallest bug. Getting lost in space really put him out of his element, to be sure. One of the most notable things that he does when danger strikes is to hide behind Will or Penny. It's an incredibly shameful thing to do but not at all surprising the more you learn about him.

Dr. Smith is also lazy. He is always trying to get out of doing any work at all. Even when he is forced into it, he still does a half-assed job at it and sometimes makes the whole thing worse than before. Dr. Smith tends to get the robot to do his work for him whenever he can and then proudly takes the credit for it afterwards.

Is Dr. Smith Evil? Well, what are his biggest traits?

Murderous Intent
Indifference to Others

I'm sure somewhere in that list is, at least, a little evil. But I must admit... when he cries in misery at all the horrors that the universe places upon his shoulders, I always feel some empathy for him. Here is why: At the end of the day, Dr. Smith is a hopeless case of evil. He made his choice and daily suffers for that choice. His life is nothing but pain and misery. He is lost in space, and will never see his nice, comfortable, warm home ever again. He knows that choice was made by him. No matter how much he rationalizes it out as other things, in his heart, he knows it was him. When he cries out in misery, I feel for him. Nevertheless, at the end of time, Dr. Smith will be damned... and when that time comes, he will perfectly know why. His suffering from that point on won't be a mystery anymore to him. Yes, Dr. Smith is evil.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Fairy Tale Spotlight: The Robot (Lost in Space)

Wait. Why am I writing about The Robot from "Lost in Space" in a fairy tale blog?! Because he's awesome is why! Besides, if you watch enough of those old episodes, you may get a strong hint of fairies and demons along the way. This show was extremely fanciful and often dipped into the realm of the supernatural. I think a better question would be, why wouldn't I do a fairy tale blog about it?

So of all the cast of characters of "Lost in Space," which character would you consider to be the wildcard of the bunch. I think most people might say that it would be Dr. Smith because he always seems to throw a wrench into things. But no. That merely makes him a foil for the other characters. He is hardly what I would call a wildcard. Even so, I give him credit for becoming the crux of many plot-lines, and I'd love to write up a blog about him at a later time.

To have a realwild card character, you need someone who cannot be easily predicted and whose role tends to be more inconsistent. Nobody expects it to be The Robot. Why would it be? He is an artificial, programmed creature who must always abide by logic in everything he does. Could a character like that ever be considered a wildcard type?

Well... He just sort of is.

For one thing, I am unsure if he really is all that he says he is. The Robot tends to be extremely inconsistent in how he operates. In one episode, he claims he has no emotions and can only function specifically as he has been programmed. But in that same episodes, he will tell a joke, or even laugh. The laughter was especially curious. When challenged on it, he explained it off as the sound of him performing maintenance on his memory banks. But we all know that he was really laughing.

The Robot has also shown signs of jealousy, fear, self-loathing, pride, and a number of other human emotions despite him expressing that these things are impossible. And yet, he is still very much a computer. He understands human emotion... but by the numbers.

In one episode, an earthbound demon entity called Mr. Nobody became angry and caused all kinds of storms and earthquakes. The humans all thought it was just a natural event, but The Robot called it anger. When asked to explain this, he described it as a "Release of pure force with antimatter core." The Robot then went on to say, "It has anger! It will destroy us!" What happened here was very significant. The Robot was able to explain anger in a scientific way that only he could understand. The humans just didn't get it.

There is a strong cult believe that The Robot was built using alien tech. It is almost never even hinted at in the show, but it would explain why there seems to be a disconnect between The Robot and the humans he is assigned to protect. They are always having trouble with him. He is inconsistent in his abilities which makes him quite fallible. His cries of danger are nearly always at the very last second when a solution is too late. Yet, there are days when he is functioning like he should.

One theory is that all he does is actually for the greater good in the long run. He takes risks and leads the humans into bad situations that he has calculated they can overcome. He does this so that things will work out for the best later on. That would mean that he is a lot smarter than he sometimes looks. This seems entirely plausible if you watch enough episodes.

The Robot also obsesses over fiction as if it was real. In one episode, Will and The Robot find a sleeping princess. The Robot remembers the tale of "Sleeping Beauty" and absolutely goes crazy in ordering Will to kiss her. Will, being a young boy, still thinks girls are gross and does not want anything to do with kissing girls. But The Robot sees something that fits inline with a clearly fictional tale and absolutely loses his mind in ordering Will to kiss her. "Kiss her! You must kiss her! KISS HER!!!!!" It was pretty funny. Will did not have much of a choice because The Robot was about as pushy as he had ever been. It did not even lead to good things, but The Robot had to complete what he thought was a real fairy tale happening right there in front of him. Kind of cute in a way.

Everybody loves Dr. Smith. He's probably why the show is the most notable. But for me, I am always finding myself looking to The Robot. You see, I know what Dr. Smith is capable of. He's the most predictable character in the show. But I never, ever know what The Robot is going to say or do. It always keeps me on edge. The Robot is clearly the wildcard character in the show, and I love him!

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Old Man Coyote Makes the World

I don't think I covered any Native American tales before. It's about time I do. I recently discovered a very interesting "God Tale" that I wish to share with you. I'll be pasting the entire story first before making my own comments on it afterwards. And now, please enjoy the Native American folk tale, "Old Man Coyote Makes the World."


How water came to be, nobody knows. Where Old Man Coyote came from, nobody knows. But he was, he lived. Old Man Coyote spoke: "It is bad that I am alone. I should have someone to talk to. It is bad that there is only water and nothing else." Old Man Coyote walked around. Then he saw some who were living - two ducks with red eyes.

"Younger brothers," he said, "is there anything in this world but water and still more water? What do you think?"

"Why," said the ducks, "we think there might be something deep down below the water. In our hearts we believe this."

"Well, younger brothers, go and dive. Find out if there is something. Go!"

One of the ducks dove down. He stayed under water for a long, long time. "How sad!" Old Man Coyote said. "Our younger brother must have drowned."

"No way has he drowned," said the other duck. "We can live underwater for a long time. Just wait."

At last the first duck came to the surface. "What our hearts told us was right," he said. "There is something down there, because my head bumped into it."

"Well, my younger brother, whatever it may be, bring it up."

The duck dived again. A long time he stayed down there. when he came up, he had something in his beak. "Why, what can this be?" Old Man Coyote took it. "Why, this is a root," he said. "Where there are roots, there must be earth. My younger brother, dive again. If you find something soft, bring it up."

The duck went down a third time. This time he came up with a small lump of soft earth in his bill. Old Man Coyote examined it. "Ah, my younger brother, this is what I wanted. This I will make big. This I will spread around. This little handful of mud shall be our home."

Old Man Coyote blew on the little lump, which began to grow and spread all over. "What a surprise, elder brother!" said the ducks. "this is wonderful! We are pleased." Old Man Coyote took the little root.

In the soft mud he planted it. Then things started to grow. Grasses, plants, trees, all manner of food Old Man Coyote made in this way.

"Isn't this pretty?" he asked. "What do you think?"

"Elder brother," answered the ducks, "this is indeed very pretty. But it's too flat. why don't you hollow some places out, and here and there make some hills and mountains. Wouldn't that be a fine thing?"

"Yes, my younger brothers. I'll do as you say. While I'm about it, I will also make some rivers, ponds, and springs so that wherever we go, we can have cool, fresh water to drink."

"Ah, that's fine, elder brother," said the ducks after Old Man Coyote had made all these things. "How very clever you are."

"Well, is something still missing, younger brothers? What do your hearts believe?"

"Everything is so beautiful, elder brother. What could be missing?"

"Companions are missing," Old Man Coyote said. "We are alone. It's boring."

He took up a handful of mud, and out of it made people. How he did this, no-one can imagine. The people walked about. Watching them, Old Man Coyote was pleased, but the ducks were not so happy.

"Elder brother," they said, "you have made companions for yourself, but none for us."

"Why, that's true. I forgot it." Right away he made all kinds of ducks. "There, my younger brothers, now you can be happy."

After a while Old Man Coyote remarked: "Something's wrong here." "But everything is good. We're no longer bored. What could be wrong?"

"Why, don't you see, I've made all these people men, and all the ducks I made are male. How can they be happy? How can they increase?" Forthwith he made women. Forthwith he made female ducks. Then there was joy. Then there was contentment. Then there was increase. That's the way it happened.

Old Man Coyote walked about on the earth he had made. Suddenly he encountered Cirape, the coyote.

"Why, younger brother, what a wonderful surprise! Where did you come from?"

"Well, my elder brother, I don't know. I exist. That's all. Here I am. Cirape, I call myself. What's your name?"

"Old Man Coyote, they call me." He waved his hand: "All that you see around you, I made."

"You did well. But there should be some animals besides ducks."

"Yes, you're right, come to think of it. Now, I'll pronounce some animal names. As soon as I say one, that animal will be made."

Old Man Coyote named buffalo, deer, elk, antelopes, and bear. And all these came into being. After some time the bear said to Old Man Coyote: "Why did you make me? There's nothing to do. We're all bored."

"I have made females for you. this should keep everybody busy."

"Well, elder brother, one can't do that all the time."

"Yes, you're right; it's true. Well, I'll think of something. I'll make a special bird."

From one of the bear's claws he made wings. From a caterpillar's hair he made feet. From a bit of buffalo sinew he made a beak. From leaves he made a tail. He put all these things together and formed a prairie chicken. Old Man Coyote instructed it: "There are many pretty birds. You I haven't made pretty, but I gave you a special power. Every dawn as the sun rises, you shall dance. You will hop and strut with your head down. You will raise your tail and shake it. Spreading your wings, you shall dance - thus!"

At once the prairie chicken danced. All the animals watched, and soon they began to dance too. Now there was something to keep them amused. But the bear still wasn't satisfied. "I gave you a claw to make part of this prairie chicken," he told Old Man Coyote. "why didn't you give me my own dance? I don't want to dance like a chicken."

"Well, all right, cousin. I'll give you a dance of your own. Thus and thus, this way and that, you shall dance."

"Old Man Coyote," the bear kept complaining, "how can I dance? Something is missing."

"How can something be missing? I've made everything."

"There should be some kind of sound to dance to."

"Why, you're right. There should be." Forthwith Old Man Coyote made a little grouse and gave him a song. Then he made a drum - how, no man can imagine. The little grouse sang and drummed, and everybody danced.

"Why should this no-account prairie chicken dance?" asked the bear.

"Why should all those little, no-account animals dance? I alone should have this dance power."

"Why, they're happy. The chokecherries are ripe, the sun is shining. All of them feel like dancing. Why should you be the only one?"

"I am big and important. So I alone should dance."

"Why, listen to him, how he talks! Be polite to me who made you."

"Ho! You didn't make me. I made myself."

"How impolite!" said Old Man Coyote. "He is threatening the little animals with his big claws." He told the bear: "You're not fit to live among us. You will stay in a den by yourself and eat decayed, rotten things. In winter you will sleep, because the less we see of you, the better." So it was.

One day Old Man Coyote and Cirape were walking and talking. "Something you forgot," Cirape said to Old Man Coyote. "How could I have forgotten something?" "Why, those people you made. They live poorly. They should have tools, tipi's to live in, a fire to cook by and warm themselves." "You're right. Why didn't I think of that?" Forthwith he made a fire with lightning and the people rejoiced. "Now everything is finished. What do you think?"

"Oh, elder brother, the people should have bows and arrows and spears for better hunting. Often they starve."

"That's so, I'll give out weapons."

"Elder brother, give weapons, but only to the people, not to the animals."

"Why should the animals have bows and arrows too?"

"Don't you see? The animals are swift; they already have big claws, teeth, and powerful horns. The people are slow. Their teeth and nails are not very strong. If animals had weapons, how could the people survive?"

"Why, my younger brother, you think of everything." Forthwith he gave the people bows and spears. "Younger brother, are you satisfied now?"

"No, not at all. There's only one language, and you can't fight somebody who speaks your language. There should be enmity; there should be war."

"What are wars good for?"

"Oh, my respected elder brother, sometimes you're just not thinking. War is a good thing. Say you're a young warrior. You paint yourself with vermilion. You wear a fine war shirt. You start. You sing wars songs. You have war honors. You look at the good-looking young girls. You look at the young women whose husbands have no war honors. They look back at you. You go on the warpath. You steal the enemy's horses. You steal his women and maidens. You count coup, do brave deeds. You are rich. You have gifts to give away. They sing songs honoring you. You have many loves. And by and by you become a chief."

"Ah, Cirape, my younger brother, you've hit upon something."

Old Man Coyote divided the people into tribes, giving them different languages. Then there was war, then there was horse stealing, then there was counting coup, then there was singing of honoring songs. After a long time, Old Man coyote was walking with Cirape again.

"You are very clever, my younger brother, but there are some things you don't know. Let me tell you: When we marry a young woman, when we take her to wife secretly, how satisfying it is! What pleasure it gives us!"

"Yes, my elder brother, just so. That's how it is with me."

"Ah, but after some years, after you have lived with one woman for awhile, you lose interest. You are yearning for someone new. So you steal someone else's wife. In this back-and-forth wife stealing that goes on in our tribe, has some fellow ever made off with your wife? A proud young warrior, maybe?"

"Why yes, my elder brother. It was such a man who took a plump, pleasing young wife away from me. It would have been better if an enemy from another tribe had done it. It would have been easier to bear if she were far away where I couldn't see them together."

"Well, younger brother, if she would come back, would you take her?"

"What, take her back? Never! I have honor, I respect myself. How could I do such a thing?"

"Ah, Cirape, how foolish you are. You know nothing. Three times my wife has been abducted, and three times I have taken her back. Now when I say 'come', she comes. When I say 'go', she goes. Whenever I tell her to do something, she remembers that she has been stolen. I never have to remind her. She is eager to please. she fulfills my every desire. Under the blanket she's a hot one - she has learned things. This is the best wife, the best kind of loving."

"That's how you feel. But people mock you. They look at you sideways and laugh behind your back. They say: 'He has taken what another one threw away.'"

"Ah, younger brother of mine, what do I care if they laugh behind my back when, under our buffalo robe, I am laughing for my own reasons? Let me tell you, there's nothing more satisfying than having a wife who has been stolen once or twice. Tell me: Do they steal ugly old wives, or young and pretty ones ?"

So because of Old Man Coyote's sensible advice, there was mutual wife stealing among the Crows in the old days. And that's why Crow men ever since have taken back wives they had already divorced. In one way or another, everything that exists or that is happening goes back to Old Man Coyote.


Animals creating people? I'm not too pleased with the concept, but I still think the whole thing is kind of cute. I'm not sure if Old Man Coyote was swimming at the beginning or just floating on a log. Either way, that's how the world began apparently. I do think it is interesting that it seems to begin after some sort of flood. HINT! ... HINT!

After befriending two ducks, the ball soon gets rolling, and Old Man Coyote begins to shape everything into the way we know it to be... sort of. And I guess, that's what a god-type character does, right? However the real weirdness begins when the brother Cirape is introduced. He seems to come there with a lot of advice simply to give the world a bit of flavor I guess. Suddenly, there are more animals and also people. And everyone wants their own dance. The bears are ornery and... well... Yes, this is the world I am more familiar with. And it seems to be okay, but apparently it's all boring.

The most striking part of the story, other than the bewildering ending, is that languages were split to create war. And why was there war? Correct me if I misread the story, but it sounded to me like war was supposed to be... like... fashionable or something. Once again, I want to point out that the story begins during a GREAT FLOOD. There is a timeline happening here which needs noting.

So what was with the ending anyways? I know these people were tribal, but it sounded like they just swapped wives at the drop of a hat. I'm sorry, it's just about as bad as having a war to make life interesting. Can we not have rampant divorce in our world? Can we not have wars? Can we not have coyotes decide things for us? And no, his brother isn't allowed to help out anymore either.

Thank you for reading my blog. Did you enjoy it? You can comment below, or you can email me at You can also visit my website at Check out my books! Awoo.

Additional: Story was copied from

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Fairy Tale Spotlight: The Fisherman and His Wife

How long has it been since we talked about a Grimm story? Hi there! We're back and ready to dive into another classic! "The Fisherman and His Wife" is one of the all time best fairy tales ever written. But I would say it is a bit unknown. I don't hear a lot of people talk about it. It's a bit like a diamond in the rough. It's a wonderful story... but not really a popular one. I guess that's why I am here, right?

"The Fisherman and His Wife" is one of the most intense stories ever told throughout history. It just about causes you to hold your breath depending on the version you have chosen to tackle. The only one I ever read was the Grimm version, but I have looked into the variations from other authors and cultures. The basic story still plays out the same, and it is a doozy. This story is all about things getting horribly out of control.

As crazy as things get... the story opens up with a peaceful setting. The Fisherman and his Wife live in a filthy shack near the sea. Not that they mind this. It seems like they are just simple people who just put up with it. Naturally the Fisherman would occasionally go out to catch fish, and on this particular day, he catches a flounder.

Now this flounder was actually a fairy prince that did not wish to be eaten. He begs for his life and claims that he would not taste very good if eaten. The simple Fisherman agrees with this and did not really want to eat something that could talk anyways. (I agree with him here. I wouldn't be able to do that either. He's a good man, this Fisherman.)

And so he lets the flounder go and goes back to his wife. The Wife asks why has didn't bring back any fish to fry. The farmer explains that the fish was some sort of enchanted prince or something and so he had to let him go. But the Wife seems a bit confused on this point.

"Didn't you ask for anything first?" she asks.

The husband grumbles, "No. What should I have asked for?"

"Have you seen this filthy shack we're living in?! Go back and ask if he can grant us a little cottage. He will surely give it to us!"

"Why should I?" he asks.

"You caught him and let him go. He owes you! Go right now!"

It was clear, in the story, that this fisherman probably just wanted to take a nap or something. Fairy encounters happened all the time in fairy tales. That's why we call them fairy tales. This was probably the third one he met that week, but he made the unfortunate mistake of telling his wife. And so he travels back to the sea--where it was no longer clear, but yellow and green--and calls for the flounder with the following poem:

Mandje! Mandje! Timper Te!
Flounder, founder, in the sea!
My wife, my wife Ilsebill,
Wants not, wants not, what I will.

Following this, the flounder arrives and asks what he wants. The Fisherman tells of his wife's request for a cottage, and the flounder replies, "She already has it."

And, indeed, she did. And it was a lovely place too with a beautiful parlor, bedroom, kitchen, and dining room. This place was way better than the shack. So here the two should live well enough without any need for anything ever again.

Um... Nope.

So... the Fisherman was having a nap on his new fancy couch when his wife comes up and says, "Husband, this cottage is too small. The yard and garden is too little. The flounder really could have given us a bigger house. Go back to the flounder and ask him for a large stone palace."

"Right now?" he asks. "What do we need with a stone palace?"


"I don't want to make the flounder angry by going back so soon!"

"He can do it, and he won't mind doing it! Just go!"

And so he does. Strangely, the sea is changed to purple and dark blue. No longer gray and yellow. And after reciting the same poem as before, the flounder shows up and grants the wish. And it seems that this flounder was a bit extra generous. There was a bit more than just a building here. It was fully equipped with furniture, food, and wine. The problems with the small yard were gone. The Wife had entire courtyards to play with. There were even tame elk and deer prancing about. So obviously this is where the story ends because...

Nope. Not yet.

"Husband," she begins while the Fisherman was trying to sleep in the most comfortable bed ever made for anyone. "Get up and look out the window. Couldn't we be king over all the land?"

"Why would we want to be king?" asks the groggy husband. "I don't want to be king. I just want to sleep... and I have such a nice bed to do it in too. Why don't you get some sleep also."

She continued, "Even if you don't want to be king, I do."

"I don't want to bother the flounder with this."

"Just go do it! I must be king!"

And so, with much grumbles made to himself, the Fisherman revisits the flounder where the water now had a foul odor. And when he returns, his wife is king. And she had so many people serving her now. Soldiers were everywhere, and neither one of them wanted for anything. Also the palace got an upgrade too. Th towers were higher, and everyone in the kingdom served the Wife king with absolute loyalty. So so our story comes to an end.

No, not really.

"I must be emperor!" she said to her husband who was trying to sleep while random people were fanning him.

"What? Seriously?" he asked with one eye open.

"Go to the flounder. I want to be emperor!"

"He can't even do that!" shouted the husband. "At least, I can't tell him to do it. There is only one emperor to the realm. The flounder cannot make you emperor. He cannot do that!"

"What!" shouted the Wife king. "I am king, and you are my husband! Are you going?! If he can make me king, then he can make me emperor! I want to be, and have to be, the emperor! GO THERE IMMEDIATELY!"

And so he just had to go. After all, the king had ordered it. That day the water of the sea seemed to bubble and a nasty wind was blowing. Nevertheless the flounder granted the wish, and the husband returned to find his wife was now emperor. The palace was now even larger and made of polished marble. Alabaster statues of her lined the courtyards. Trumpets blew wherever she went. Everyone in the realm bowed down to her and only her.

There she sat upon a throne made of gold a good two miles high wearing a gold crown that was three yards high set with diamonds and carbuncles. She held a scepter in one hand and in the other the imperial orb. Bodyguards were everywhere, so much so that her husband could barely get to her anymore. She had everything she ever wanted. At least, now she could...


"Husband," she began.

"Oh no," he grumbled.

"What are you grumbling about?! I need you to see the flounder again."

"I don't want to."

"Now that I am emperor," she continues, "I want to become pope."

"What do you NOT want?"

"That does not matter right now. I want to become pope. Go there immediately. I must become pope this very day."

Now, as the Fisherman made this next journey to the sea, he felt very sick about the whole thing. His legs buckled constantly. A dark cloud had blown over the world as darkness fell. Leaves fell from the trees, and the sea water boiled up onto the shores. There was a little blue in the middle of the sky, but on all sides it had turned red with lightning flashing through it. Even through all this, the Fisherman called for the flounder and told him of what his wife wished. And so... her wish was granted. The Wife had become pope. She was now the leader of all of Christendom.

Their home was now a church surrounded by palaces. The Fisherman had to force his way through crowds just to get into the building. Everything was illuminated inside by thousands of lights. His wife was clothed in pure gold and sat upon an even bigger throne than before. All the emperors of the world were kissing her feet, and she let them do so. This was it. She could go no higher. This woman owned the world.

The befuddled husband looked at his wife and asked, "Wife, are you pope now?"

And so she replied, "Yes. I am pope."

And he just took a moment to stare at her. It was as if she had become as bright as the sun itself. He soon sighed and remarked, "Wife, it is good that you are pope."

She paused. "Maybe."



"What else is there? You must be satisfied to be pope. There is nothing else greater that you can become."

"I'll have to think about that."

So they went to bed. And the next morning, she was standing before the window looking at the sun as it rose up from the horizon. He watched her carefully before hearing her say, "Could I not cause the sun and the moon to rise?" The Fisherman said nothing. She looked at him and said, "You must go back to the flounder. I wish to be God."

"This needs to stop," he told her plainly. But she became angry. She tore out her hair first, but then the violence was enacted against him. She punched and kicked him violently until he finally agreed to do it.

The Fisherman ran out of the church and towards the sea. The wind was violent as he ran. Houses were blowing over. Trees were flying through the air. The very ground itself was being torn up and throne about. The world was nothing but chaos and death. Yet still he ran up to the sea and called out his poem.

"What does she want?" asked the flounder once he had arrived.

"She wants to become like God!" he called out through all the wind and debris.

"Go home," said the flounder prince. "She is sitting in her filthy shack again."

And so it was. And they are sitting within that shack even to this day.

So I'll leave you with the story itself and let you interpret it your own way. Not that it isn't quite clear what was happening. But I will say this: Of all the Grimm stories I have read, this one was easily the most intense. Hope you enjoyed the experience as well!

Thank you for reading my blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at Also, you can visit my website at Check out my books! Thanks!

Additional: The story in today's blog started off as a synopsis and sort of turned into a mish-mash of the original tale mixed with my own little "enhancements" to make it a bit more fun. The original story is still very fun and intense. Check it out sometime!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Fairy Tale Spotlight: The Pilgrim's Progress

I just finished reading a Christian book written in the 1600s called The Pilgrim's Progress and I really enjoyed it. I also watched the two 70's movies based on the book, and... I thought they were crap. But I am not here to talk about how people have no idea how to make Christian movies... how they never really have... and probably never will. Really, they just suck at it. Just read the Bible or something. You won't be getting anything out of any of those films.

Sorry, had to get that out of my system. Anyways, The Pilgrim's Progress is a book written by one John Bunyan. Apparently this man was being persecuted at the time and had to write the book (at least the first part) while in jail. Oddly, he was not being persecuted because he was a Christian. It was because he wasn't Christian in the way the government wanted him to be. Go figure.

The Pilgrim's Progress is what is known as an allegory. This particular one is quite direct in that the names of all of the characters describe the type of person that they are. A man might be called Talkative, not because he rambles on too much, but likely because he speaks with nothing worthwhile to say. A man named Hopeful would be... Well, that one might be a bit self-explanatory. You get the point.

The thing that really just was a constant surprise to me about this book was that I have met with so many of the problems presented to the story's main protagonist, Christian. Many of the problems came from people who just made up their own ideals as to what Christianity is. It wasn't always direct atheism or an attempt to destroy my faith. Most people are a bit more subtle in how they try and dissuade me.

Here is an example that always made me grin. Before Christian was called Christian, he was known as Pilgrim. He had to carry a heavy pack upon his back because he did not understand how one might be freed of the weight of his sins. He was told to go to a particular place which would put him on the right path, but a man named Mr. Worldly-Wise-Man told him that would be unnecessary.

Apparently there was a town just up a hill called Morality where a man named Mr. Legality lived. This Legality knew a way to remove the pack without the help of... what would later be revealed to be... Christ. Interestingly, and quite sadly, Mr. Legality might have actually succeeded if Christian had not soon realized the folly of the advice. This was my favorite part of the book.

The morality of this world often displays itself as a set of rules backed up by legal contracts. They seem to be there for your benefit, but they are really just there to keep you in line while other people get things done. Meanwhile, you just end up sitting in one spot growing fat until you could not move if you even wanted to. Christian almost headed in that very direction.

Let me be clear: There is nothing truly spiritually liberating found on this planet. All things of real importance are found through the spirit. You cannot legislate morality. Those were standards set by God. They cannot be changed or interpreted. The only way to discover the truth is to be free to do so. The message from this part of the book was that you are not to bind yourself to things of Earth. We were meant to look towards the spirit of God, for there we find the true way.

The Pilgrim's Progress is a long book (but not at all hard to understand and read) and I do not have enough time in one blog to cover all the things I liked about it. But it is very good and does not go easy on any topic. Remember that it was written by a man who just wanted the freedom to preach the word in the way that he had discovered himself. And I suppose he went through a similar journey in his life that we all do in many respects. The point is... if you are going to be a Christian, you need to actually be a Christian. Not in name only. Actually walk the walk. That's what this book is trying to say, and I agree with that.

Thank you for reading my blog. Did you enjoy it? You can comment below, or you can email me at You can also visit my website at Check out my books! Thanks!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Is Mary Poppins a Fairy?

I don't know how you all felt about it, but I was absolutely horrified at the idea of Disney making a sequel to the perfectly amazing 1964 motion picture Mary Poppins. Please don't ever do that again. I just don't trust Hollywood anymore. They mess so many wonderful things up. But I have to be the first to admit that... this new movie... It's really good. I mean... It's reaaaaallllly good! I suppose a great weight got lifted from my heart now that I know it's good. I'll just get recommendations out of the way. It's worth it! Go see the movie, especially if you adored the original!

I have always been fascinated with the character of Mary Poppins. Now, the character was actually created by author P.L. Travers. I haven't read the book. I am a bit scared to do so for very good reasons. Disney has a long and glorious track record of making the movies way more interesting than the original books/stories. Need examples?

-Bedknobs and Broomsticks
-Alice in Wonderland
-Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
-The Little Mermaid

All five of those movies were based on books and old tales, and I can guarantee that the Disney versions were just better written. In fact, I may go into a few of those in later blogs. My point on this one here is that it is a well known fact that Disney pretty much did his own thing when it came to interpreting P.L. Traver's book. And something tells me that I might end up bored if I read it. But who knows? Maybe I'll have a crack at it someday. Either way, this blog is only referring to Mary Poppins as presented in the Disney films.

Mary Poppins is the very definition of what a fairy is and should be. In fact, we may be talking angel here. Remember that she is perfect in every way. That actually may be true. And if it is, I don't think demon would be appropriate. Demons always seem to have a lack. It comes from being the next generation down. What do I mean by this? Demons are actually the offspring of angels when they breed with earthly things. Mary Poppins never ever shows any sort of negative in every aspect of her life. She is actually perfection. That not only makes her a fairy, it very well means she is a direct creation of God himself.

So am I saying that angels have the ability to bend reality, jump into paintings, and cause all manner of wondrous things like in the movies? The answer is yes, at least from your limited perspective. Angels are not closed up as most humans are. They can see everything on every frequency and interpret it all in real time. They can even manipulate these frequencies and draw people into it which can have a similar effect to some of the things Mary Poppins did in the movies.

In both movies, the working class of London were all enamored with Mary Poppins and worshiped her with song and dance. Not really surprising. She is perfect in both charm and beauty. Men would worship her. She accepted this praise as well, which I don't consider wrong. It seemed a bit of an innocent thing, and she was never pushy about it. At the end of the day, she was always concerned with the children. Once again... angel.

Now what if all that worship went to her head and she began to dictate terms of praise? Well, that's where we begin to dance our way in to the realm of evil. Mary Poppins would never do that. She acts only on behalf of the children, but she still flirts with all the men who adore and love her because she genuinely likes them. Trust me, angels are weird creatures. They are difficult to understand, but one thing that will always be true about them: They are powerful and they are great!

We dream of meeting someone like Mary Poppins. She is a strong reminder of one of the most perfect creations of God. But she is also frightening in her perfect construction. She is unbeatable. No one can best her. She can do anything she wants to anyone, and yet... she focuses on the very real plight of the children. She is there to help them. And when they are finally helped... she leaves. And that's all.

There isn't anything in it for her. It's her job. She is a nanny. Once the job is ended, there is no reason to be there anymore. Mary Poppins is not an example of a fallen angel. She's just an angel doing what an angel should be doing. But more importantly, she's a fairy. And as with most fairies, they fascinate us. We can't stop loving them. We want to see the world the way they see it... but... we just keep coming up short. And so we end up pouring all our love out to these ethereal beings hoping to at least grasp even a small amount of what they are made of for ourselves. And maybe that's okay... at least in small amounts.

Mary Poppins really is perfect in every way. Humans never are. There's a massive ocean between the two of us. Next time you watch either of these movies, watch what she does and how she reacts very carefully. See if you don't get a little attached. See if you don't swoon a little. There's a reason for that. She isn't of this world. She never was.

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you like it? You can comment below, or you can email me at You can also visit my website at Check out my books! Happy New Year!