Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kate Crackernuts

If there's anything we've learned from the rediscovery of the Schonwerth tales, it's that gender stereotypes often associated with fairy tales are actually not true of folklore in general, but mainly the common fairy tale collections (which, incidentally, were all by men-Perrault, Grimms, Anderson, Lang, Disney, etc. But even then, their collections sometimes contain lesser known stories with flipped gender roles as well, which for some reason haven't caught on in popular imagination, so we can't put all the blame on the above men). This isn't limited to just Schonwerth either, for there are many examples of heroic females and victimized males in tales all around the world, which tend to get overshadowed by the well-known versions.
A good example of this is Kate Crackernuts, an English version of Twelve Dancing Princesses, which features a prince on his deathbed who goes to an underground kingdom to dance every night, and a courageous young woman named Kate who rescues not only him but her sister in the process. Click through to read the full Joseph Jacobs text, but here's an exerpt:

"They went in and found it was a king's castle, who had two sons, and one of them was sickening away to death and no one could find out what ailed him. And the curious thing was that whoever watched him at night was never seen any more. So the king had offered a peck of silver to anyone who would stop up with him. Now Katie was a very brave girl, so she offered to sit up with him.

Till midnight all goes well. As twelve o clock rings, however, the sick prince rises, dresses himself, and slips downstairs. Kate followed, but he didn't seem to notice her. The prince went to the stable, saddled his horse, called his hound, jumped into the saddle, and Kate leapt lightly up behind him. Away rode the prince and Kate through the greenwood, Kate, as they pass, plucking nuts from the trees and filling her apron with them. They rode on and on till they came to a green hill. The prince here drew bridle and spoke, "Open, open, green hill, and let the young prince in with his horse and his hound," and Kate added, "and his lady him behind."

Immediately the green hill opened and they passed in. The prince entered a magnificent hall, brightly lighted up, and many beautiful fairies surrounded the prince and led him off to the dance. Meanwhile, Kate, without being noticed, hid herself behind the door. There she sees the prince dancing, and dancing, and dancing, till he could dance no longer and fell upon a couch. Then the fairies would fan him till he could rise again and go on dancing."
Image from wikipedia, but no artist credited

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Possible color symbolism in Angela Barrett's Beauty and the Beast?

For new readers, my all time favorite picture book version of Beauty and the Beast is the one written by Max Eilenberg and illustrated by Angela Barrett. The writing hits the perfect mixture of being true to the classic French Villeneuve/Beaumont version, while elaborating to make the characters come to life in a relatable way. The illustrations are just breathtaking and wonderfully imaginative.
I noticed as I was perusing this book that, in the beginning, Beauty is set apart from the wonderfully colored world around her by wearing white. The narration also contrasts her to her sisters, for while they are overdressed and gaudy, Beauty's goodness shines through with a pure beauty that needs no extra ornaments.
(That's Beauty in the upper right corner)
I was curious as to whether Beauty's wardrobe in the rest of the book was symbolic. For several pages we don't see a clear picture of Beauty. When she arrives at the Beast's palace, ready to sacrifice herself, she is wearing dark and drab colors, for reasons easily imaginable. She believes she is getting ready for her own funeral.

As Beauty becomes more comfortable in the Beast's palace, she is seen wearing colors for the first time. Now she fits in with her surroundings rather than standing out-maybe because for the first time she feels like she has found somewhere she belongs? Or maybe, after her youthful innocence and naivety (white), she was disillusioned by loss of wealth, hard work, loneliness, and the threat of her father's existence, and this is represented by the dark colors. Only after she overcame that was she able to really experience the various colors of life-explore her personality and interests, not being confined by either her inexperience or grief.
I love this panel-each night at dinner the scene is exactly the same, except for the color of her dress.
I don't know how well my color theory holds up, though, because at the end of the book Beauty is in white again-as a nightgown and then in this beautiful picture (look familiar? From my header?) where she blends in with the snow. But I think the stark black and white of this picture, with a blue tinge, serves to capture the poignancy of the moment in a way color would ruin.
I may just be reading into things, but it's fun to think about the possible reasons behind the artist's choices!
Scans of the book available here

Friday, March 23, 2012

Gilbert and Gubar on Snow White

Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar have a fascinating essay on the Grimms' version of Snow White (I think the upcoming movie versions must be keeping this fairy tale on my mind...) in which they analyze the main images of the tale as evidence of men's idealized version of woman. Some of their information they derive from Bettelheim, like Snow White and the Stepmother being two versions of the same person, which I don't think you can necessarily assume. But as with many fairy tales, you could interpret it many ways, and at different times in your life, to apply to various situations.

Bess Livings

The Stepmother Queen is linked to her mirror, and Snow White to her glass coffin. The Mirror indicates that the Stepmother is "driven inward, obsessively studying self images as if seeking a viable self." The Mirror is the most narcissistic image, although the authors of the essay refer to Bettelheim in stating that the voice in the Mirror must really be the King-the man of the story who pronounces judgement on the women and rates their beauty. According to this interpretation, the King is really the driving force of the plot and the women in it are really victims of his whims and preferences, although the King doesn't even appear in the plot.

Snow White, according to Gilbert and Gubar, is "childlike, docile, and submissive, the heroine of a life that has no story." And though she is supposedly the opposite of the Queen, who is obsessed with her appearance, the objects with which the Queen successfully tempts Snow White are those having to do with beauty and cooking-a set of tight laces, a comb, and an apple. "From the point of view of the mad, self-assertive Queen, conventional female arts kill." (Although I might disagree on lumping the apple into female arts-it represents food more than cooking to me, and everybody eats, regardless of gender. However, the apple does reference the very famous image of Eve being tempted by the serpent in the garden of Eden, thus linking it once again to distinctly female temptations.)

Snow White, already represented as the ideal woman, then becomes a motionless corpse in a glass coffin-powerless and on display. The Prince even begs the dwarves to give "it" to him, not "her." From this the essay concludes that man's ideal woman is this version of Snow White-"she is an object, to be displayed and desired." In some cultures this notion is more true than others.

Kay Nielsen

Gilbert and Gubar see a sad future for Snow White. Given that her whole life she has been valued only for her beauty and compliancy, it seems only inevitable that one day, she will be surpassed in beauty by the next generation. Like Anne Sexton's poem, these authors see the story as a never ending cycle, where Snow White is destined to become the next wicked Queen, willing to do anything to preserve her own status and beauty, but who will inevitably fail.

For the above reasons, many women dislike this fairy tale. Along with Cinderella it appears to be one of the most blatantly sexist of fairy tales. Yet I think it serves as powerful food for thought which is very applicable even in modern society. It's unfortunate, but men still judge women by their beauty. You know who also judges women by beauty? Other women. Sometimes women are the hardest on themselves than anybody else. Though we might not like to admit it, we are all shallow to some extent-yet sometimes our judgements on ourselves and others are so subtle we don't even realize it. We need obvious wake up calls, such as a fairy tale with disturbing images, to remind us how fleeting beauty is and that life is so much more than first impressions.

Sometimes when we realize how image obsessed our culture is, the temptation is to get depressed and bitter. It would be really nice if people started judging us by who we are and not by outward things, but in reality that's probably not going to happen just by wishing it. However, you can make a change in yourself-become aware of the times you tend to rate yourself or others against unrealistic standards. What if we applied the same zeal to improving our character and integrity that we do to maintaining our appearance? What if we started genuinely caring about other people's souls? If we let ourselves become defined by things that don't really matter and over which we have no control, we will continue the sad cycle-today you may be Snow White, but before too long you will become the Wicked Queen.

I'm not saying it's wrong to care about appearance. In fact I think it's healthy to appreciate beauty and to desire to be attractive. I believe every woman has her own unique beauty (and men their unique handsomeness) and our job is not to discredit it but to open ourselves up to finding more beauty in more places-outside of narrow Hollywood standards. Find the beauty in someone's smile and personality (yours included!) as well as their face or figure-those are things that won't fade with age but will actually become more precious.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fairy Tale Quizzes

Here's a fun site I just found: A whole list of fairy tale and fable quizzes, with different themes and levels, from Very Easy to Very Difficult (and one rated "impossible" which really is pretty hard), and on topics ranging from Aesop's Fables to Arabian Nights to Grimms to Disney to Russian byliny. I've only played a few so far-but if you enjoy fairy tales and trivia they're pretty fun!

Image from here

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Young Piper

An Irish tale, in honor of St. Patrick's Day-

A good, honest couple named Mick and Judy lived with their four boys. The younger three were boys to make their parents proud, but the oldest was miserable and ugly, with dirty matted hair and a greenish yellow face, a mouth full of sharp teeth ever since he was a year old, and who was always screaming or yelping.

The neighbors all suspected that he was a changeling, for every time they would gather around the fire and talk about religion and good things, the child would holler "as if the divil was in him in right airnest." The neighbors advised her to burn him with hot tongs, or throw him out on the dunghill, but Judy was too loving to do any of those things to her child. They advised she get a priest to see him, but she never got around to having the priest come. The child continued to play pranks, until one day Tim Carrol, the blind piper, came.

During Tim's visit, he brought out his pipes and began to play, and the child leapt out of his bed and began to dance with glee. The boy wanted to play the pipes himself, and Tim consented to let him play-and the child who had never played pipes before in his life played a tune as well as anyone.
The family was shocked. Tim claimed that the boy was a leprechaun, and offered to teach him, which thrilled the boy's parents. His father Mick went out and bought him a set of pipes, which delighted the boy. He immediately started playing, and soon news of his talent spread, and people came from all around to hear him play. Everyone who heard him felt the urge to dance, some said the furniture was inclined to move when the boy played his pipes.

Besides the Irish tunes the boy played, he also had his own tune he made up, and when he played it, people felt compelled to dance, yet they weren't in control. The child played many pranks on people, causing his brothers to burn themselves or break themselves on furniture, making the animals wild, upsetting milk jugs and even killing neighbors' animals or causing barn roofs to fall in.

Since the boys' parents wouldn't hear of anyone hurting their child, their neighbors asked them to leave on account of their child. As the cart was moving their family over a bridge, the piper sat up and began to wail. His mother tried to comfort him, saying their was nothing to be afraid of, and eventually the frustrated father got out his whip and cracked it at the boy. The boy jumped, took his pipes, "an' lept clane ovir the battlemints o' the bridge down into the wather."

His family was horrified and went to look for him, and saw him sitting on a wave, playing the pipes as if nothing had happened. They ran after the boy but he disappeared.
"No one ivir led eyes an him sence; but the gineral belief is, that he wint home wid the pipes to his own relations-the good people-to make music fur thim."

-From Thomas Keightley's "Fairy Mythology"
Top Image from here

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pushkin's The Tale of the Dead Princess and The Seven Knights

This has unintentionally become a Snow White week...but here's another Snow White poem for you from Russian author Alexander Pushkin: The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights. Obviously the dwarves have been replaced by knights, who all fall in love with her, but as she's already been betrothed she politely refuses and they all magically manage to go on living together as friends anyway.


"Yelisei, not losing courage,
To the Wind's abode now hurried.
"Wind, O Wind! Lord of the sky,
Herding flocks of clouds on high,
Stirring up the dark-blue ocean,
Setting all the air in motion,
Unafraid of anyone
Saving God in heaven alone!
Surely you'll not grudge an answer?
Tell me, did you ever chance to
See the Princess I revere?
I'm her fiance." "O hear!"
Said the Wind in turmoil blowing.
"Where a quiet stream is flowing
Stands a mountain high and steep
In it lies a cavern deep;
In this cave in shadows dismal
Sways a coffin, made of crystal.
Hung by chains from pillars six."

We might be so used to the image of the glass coffin that we forget how creepy this really is. Various versions of the tale feature different ways of displaying a beautiful girl's corpse as ornamental, such as this version where Snow White finds herself in a crystal coffin hung by chains.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A historical Snow White?

Lancelot Speed

Once Upon a blog featured an interview with Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow White in ABC's "Once Upon a Time," in which she talks about her researching for the part of Snow White. Goodman says, "I read all kinds of versions because this is not a story written by the Grimms.
This is a story older than anyone could possibly trace. It’s possible that it
was based on a real-life story of a princess named Maria Sophia Maragrita."

This was news to me, so first I went to wikipedia-no article on a Princess named Maria Sophia Margarita. Next step was Surlalune, who made no mention of a historical princess at all. The tale was a familiar one in many cultures previous to being published in the Grimm collection (the Goodwin quote above almost sounds like Snow White isn't in the Grimms' collection at all, but she just meant they didn't invent the story, merely collected it). The earliest literary version is from Basile's collection, so especially given what I just read in Ruth Bottigheimer's Fairy Tales: A New History, it's quite possible that this really was the genesis of the story, and not, as Goodwin claims, "older than anyone could possibly trace." But of course, you can't prove that the story wasn't in circulation before Basile-and wikipedia does reference an Albanian version that could be as old as the Middle Ages.

Found this post which I had to have translated into English, therefore making some of the wording very confusing... which talks about a Princess born in 1729 who lived in a castle with a toy mirror that was somehow rigged to repeat whatever you said to it, and probably interacted with dwarfish playmates: "The Seven Dwarfs (or elves) the story is perhaps not entirely bullshit: work in the narrow silver and copper mines
in the nearby town of Bieber demanded workers
who used short stature and endorse caps and brightly colored clothing to
facilitate identification in case of landslides and incidents, otherwise so
common in the mines. And according to historian Eckhard Sander suits we know of the
dwarves were wearing real clothes these children in their work. Maria Sofia played with them, hence its image has been associated with these child miners."
Charles Robinson

The blog post appears to have been well researched, but given the lack of reference to this Princess elsewhere I'm not sure I'd get my hopes up about finding out that Snow White actually having existed.
But while I'm referencing Once Upon a Blog, if you haven't already you should definitely check out what she has to say in this post on females rescuing themselves in modern interpretations of fairy tales...
EDIT: Megan has some information on The Dark Forest, including more details on two possible predecessors of Snow White

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Anne Sexton's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

"Looking glass upon the wall. . .
Once more the mirror told
and once more the queen dressed in rags
and once more Snow White opened the door.
This time she bought a poison comb,
a curved eight-inch scorpion,
and put it in her hair and swooned again.
The dwarfs returned and took out the comb
and she revived miraculously.
She opened her eyes as wide as Orphan Annie.
Beware, beware, they said,
but the mirror told,
the queen came,
Snow White, the dumb bunny,
opened the door
and she bit into a poison apple
and fell down for the final time.
When the dwarfs returned
they undid her bodice,
they looked for a comb,
but it did no good.
Though they washed her with wine
and rubbed her with butter
it was to no avail.
She lay as still as a gold piece."

Excerpt from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" by Anne Sexton, full text available here. You can detect a rather sarcastic and bitter tone in this poem, and how about this haunting ending:
"And so she [the stepmother] danced until she was dead,
a subterranean figure,
her tongue flicking in and out
like a gas jet.
Meanwhile Snow White held court,
rolling her china-blue doll eyes open and shut
and sometimes referring to her mirror
as women do."
Illustrations by Jennie Harbour

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Straparola's The Pig King

Although Straparola's tale "The Pig King" (full text available on Surlalune, summary found below) might not appear to have all that much in common with Beauty and the Beast, given Straparola's often uncredited influence over the history of fairy tales, it's very likely that this tale was well known by the French women who wrote the later, "standard" versions of Beauty and the Beast, and therefore a significant influence. It can be thought of as a sort of ancestor to Beauty and the Beast, and the differences between this version and other versions should be considered.

In the Pig King, a good Queen was resting one day when three fairies passed by and thought how they could protect her and put a spell upon her. The first granted her that no man should harm her, and that she should have a son with no equal in the world for beauty. The second said that no one could offend her, and her future son would have every virtue under the sun. The third decreed that the Queen would be the wisest among women, and that her son should be born with the skin and habits of a pig until he had three times taken a woman to wife.

The Queen did give birth to a son with the form of a pig. His parents were horrified and even considered killing him, but out of parental love they decided to raise him as their child. The prince learned to talk like a man, but would go out and wallow in the mud, and come back and nuzzle his parents, getting them all dirty-which they bore out of love for him.

One day the pig came and demanded that he take a wife, for he saw a woman that pleased him. His parents doubted that anyone would take the pig prince as a husband, but he was insistent, and the King and Queen approached the mother of the girl in question, offering her oldest daughter the chance to inherit the kingdom if she married their son. The daughter initially refused, but her mother urged her to consent, so she gave in. Eventually she was brought in to the pig in finery, and he was very pleased to see her so lovely, and jumped around, nuzzling and showing her signs of affection, getting mud all over his betrothed. She was disgusted by this display and shoved him away, which offended him. The bride determined she would kill her betrothed that night, but the pig prince overheard and killed her with his hoofs before she had the chance to kill him.

The queen was dismayed that her new daughter in law had been killed by her son, but he said he was only giving her what she would have given to him. Now he wanted the second daughter of the same woman. The queen wouldn't at first listen to him, but the pig "threatened to ruin everything in the place if he could not have her as a wife." The Queen approached the poor mother again, but the same thing happened to the second daughter as the first.

The pig now demanded the third, and most beautiful daughter, of the poor woman. The Queen was very sorry, for she believed the same fate would befall her as that of her sisters, but the youngest, Meldina, accepted the marriage proposal graciously and humbly. When the pig approached her, making her royal clothes all dirty, she did not push him off, but accepted his affections and even returned them. The Queen was overjoyed when, in the morning, she was not dead.

After a while, when the pig believed he had earned her trust, he revealed to her his secret: he took off his pig skin to reveal a handsome man underneath, and went to bed with his wife in his true form, which overjoyed Meldina. She kept his secret for a while, but eventually the burden was too great and she told his mother, who did not at first believe her. So the King and Queen went to the prince's chamber that night, found the pig skin on the floor, and destroyed it. They were delighted to have such a handsome man for their son, and Meldina's child had a handsome human form. The young king began his reign and lived long and happily with his wife and child.


So it should probably go without saying that many aspects of this tale are very disturbing. Could the prince really have all possible virtues like the fairy gifted him if he had to threaten people in order to get wives? How could he expect his wives to love him as he was if he obviously was turned on by their looks, the very thing they were supposed to forgive him for? Why would you ever ever ever give a pig your daughter to marry after he KILLED THEIR SISTERS? Why is the implied message that virtue in a woman is to be willing to be defiled by allowing animals to make them dirty and having sex with them?

But before you get too worked up, although we tend to try and find significant meaning in old fairy tales, in reality much of the purpose was just to entertain and not impart deep life messages. Sometimes something can be funny simply because it's unexpectedly shocking.

I actually think that the image of the parents lovingly raising their pig child is touching-it reminds me of parents taking care of a sick child, cleaning up their vomit and other messes, tenderly patient and caring. Love does require sacrifice, but parental love should be different than romantic love. Romantic love requires sacrifices from both parties, and in this story the pig prince sacrifices nothing while requiring an awful lot from his wives, which is really what most bothers me about this story.

But very interesting is the end of the tale, when Meldina reveals his secret. Unlike Psyche from Cupid and Psyche or the wife from Perrault's version of Bluebeard, this wife breaks her vow of silence yet is not punished for it-in fact, her revealing of the secret is what brings about the total happy ending. But again, I'd caution against trying to find too much significance from anything in this tale.
Images by Jules Garnier and E. R. Huges for Straparola's Facetious Nights

Monday, March 5, 2012

A different take on the color Red

Just discovered a lovely blog that features all sorts of insights into fairy tales and their history, appropriately titled Fairies and Fairy Tales. The anonymous author grew up in a small Alaskan village where she (or he?) grew up believing in fairies, sprites, and ghosts, and now researches them. I've only scratched the surface of the archives, but found this little tidbit on Red Riding Hood fascinating:

"fairies and other magical are the ones who wear red caps and hoods.In some parts of Europe the color red is also used to protect against fairies, so in order for a fairy to harm or kidnap someone they must then get them to take off anything red that they are wearing. Perhaps this is why the wold asks Little Red to take of her clothes in so many versions of the story. This had led me to write my little red riding hood stories with Red Hood as a witch, a fairy doctor or a fairy herself"

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell also includes the notion that the color red can help protect one from enchantment, and though this is a novel, it's clearly been well researched. I've never heard this anywhere else, that I recall, but it's kind of a refreshing change from all the sexualized interpretations of Little Red Riding Hood. Ruth Bottigheimer says that it was Arnold van Gennep who first proposed that the color red in fairy tales was explained by menstural blood, but his theories on Western fairy tales were based on menarche rituals from exotic cultures, and therefore it's highly unlikely that there's any correlation.

Illustrations also from Fairies and Fairy Tales

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Li Chi Slays the Serpent: Context is Key

Often the modern reader is shocked to read the fairy tales that have often been most recently shaped in accordance with Victorian values-they can be considered as degrading to women and shallow. If we interpret fairy tales only through the lens of our own culture, we will miss the point that was being made.

Take for example the Chinese tale "Li Chi Slays the Serpent." In this story a serpent demands a young girl to devour each year, so for nine years a poor girl has been given to him. A young girl, the youngest of six daughters, offers herself as a volunteer-much like Beauty in Beauty in the Beast or Scheherezade. Yet this heroine's speech is very self-depricating: "Dear parents, you have no one to depend on, for having brought forth six daughters and not a single son, it is as if you were childless...I cannot take care of you in your old age; I only waste your good food and clothes. Since I'm no use to you alive, why shouldn't I give up my life a little sooner? What could be wrong in selling me to gain a bit of money for yourselves?"

This passage really disturbed me when I read it. Li Chi's words echo the cultural belief that daughters were worthless compared to sons, but Li Chi's parents "loved her too much to consent"-which sadly is more than can be said for all parents, many of whom did not value their female children in reality.

Despite Li Chi's words, indicating that she will simply go and give her life without complaint, she actually goes with a plan, sets a trap for the serpent, and kills it, saving her village and therefore proving all her previous words wrong.

In the introduction to this collection of Chinese fairy tales, Moss Roberts notes, "The Confucians defined human beings solely in terms of a set of obligatory relationships, in which the essence, the fundamental act, was obedience: children obeyed parents, peasants obeyed lords and officials, wives obeyed husbands. This was the primary force in behavior-leaving passion and instinct as attributes not of humans but of animals...Master storyteller P'u Sung-ling" (who did not write the above tale, but I think this point may apply:) "...attacks this entire tradition in a set of tales in which animals and other "subordinate" creatures set the standards for virtuous conduct that their superiors would do well to follow." Again, Li Chi's words and actions appear to contradict, as if Li Chi spouted words she did not believe for a second. Her actions prove her to be brave, clever, willing to take risk to save the lives of others-these actions would be applauded if conducted by a male. Li Chi also proves to be critical of the traditional expectations of young females when, after slaying the serpent, she recovered the skulls of the nine victims, sighs, and says, "for your timidity you were devoured. How pitiful!"

So the tale that appears so shockingly sexist to us at first glance may in fact have been incredibly feminist at the time it was created.

Another tale, "The Waiting Maid's Parrot," has two characters falling in love at first sight in a way that seems incredibly shallow. "Hsu looked into the girl's face and saw that her beauty was truly exceptional...her demure air utterly captivated him...though they could not exchange a single word, their affections were engaged." At first this passage seems laughable-no one can possibly fall in love without even exchanging a word. Even Cinderella had a whole three evenings at the ball with the Prince, and we think that relationship moved lightning fast. Especially with all of my Beauty and the Beast inspired, love-a-person-for-who-they-are-on-the-inside soapboxes, in theory this should make me really angry.

But again, context: later in the tale, Hsu's love poem to the waiting maid says, "I care not if your fan be plain, my love is for your face so fair." I assume the plain fan is a reference to either the fact that she is poor, or that she is a servant and therefore not a suitable lover for him-yet he disregards this. So he doesn't love her for her money and status, which is good, but for her beauty, which is...not so exemplary, but we're getting there.

Similarly to the love at first sight in Western tales, this was a reaction against arranged marriages-although love purely for looks is not the ultimate answer, the culture at the time explains this desire. Again from Moss: "The arrangement of marriages was essential. If a young noble and his first wife had little choice in the matter, secondary wives or concubines had none at a society that makes the family a political as well as a social unit, freedome of love and marriage cannot be tolerated; personal preference and appetite must be overruled by the social virtues. The response to this demand-the struggle for freedom to love and marry-became the spark in much of Chinese literature."

Images from here and here

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Castle's Once Upon a Crime

Beckett: the original story, the wolf doesn't kill Little Red Riding Hood. The huntsman cuts her out of the wolf's stomache, and then she kills the wolf.

Castle: Someone's a brothers Grimm fan.

Beckett: Oh yeah. They didn't sugar coat it. They understood that fairy tales are pretty much horror stories.

Castle: Exactly. Which is why we all need them to grapply with the unknown, which is why they tackle our primal fears, like being alone in the woods or dealing with monsters

Esposito: They're not horror stories-they're life lessons. If you do the right thing, you get to live happily ever after.

Beckett: But only in fairy tales.

I really liked the latest Castle episode, inspired by fairy tales! Of course, Castle is already one of my favorite shows. But finally, something I've been hoping to see-someone actually using clues from the fairy tale plots to solve murders (Castle deduces that they found Riding Hood and Snow White in the woods because that's where their bodies were found in the stories, but that they'd find Sleeping Beauty in her bed). Lots of interesting musings on the characters' views on fairy tales, such as above. Of course, they make the much often mistake of calling the Grimm versions the "original," but we'll forgive them for that, it was still an entertaining episode.