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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Fairy Tales and Beedle the Bard

I have been debating what to blog about today, but nothing useful or fun sprung up, so I decided to wing it and do a book review. Then again, the book I read most recently is The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K.Rowling. I can hear you protesting that you've had enough of Harry Potter from me, but... well, I'm winging it, so it doesn't count. Ha.

What struck me as I re-read this little gem I found in my bookcase, dwarfed by bigger and heavier books (I'd rather not give titles because then you'd know my darkest secrets), was that it bore just as much strength as those other books surrounding it. With only 108 pages of illustrated magic, Beedle's Tales was a literary treat I swallowed without chewing first. 

And I'll tell you what, I'll give my kids to read the stories of Beedle the Bard because they carry lessons as powerful as their Muggle counterparts: fairytales. And who doesn't like a good fairytale? My earliest childhood memory was devouring fairytales (my favorite was Rumpelstiltskin), re-reading them, and I didn't stop there. I read fairytales (folktales) from all around the world and I discovered the magic of storytelling in its most ancient and raw form. 

What is more, I learned that every culture had its unique morals and priorities, and that was my first taste of another culture. I read about lands where fishing was the most common practice, where fish were as big as a ship, and where the fish could converse with the fishermen. I also learned about superstition. Even though I knew about it because every family has its superstitions, including my own, it was enthralling to read about other people's views of the world, or rather how their world different from mine.

I suppose I should have known back then I would grow to travel and explore the wonders of the world. What is curious, though, is how a story can actually translate and embed this wonder onto a page. That's when I knew I was in love with storytelling.

Anyway, the same feeling emerged when I was re-reading Beedle the Bard last night. It was yet another reminder of how worldly and wise my favorite author was. J.K. Rowling has a lot of wisdom in her books and I believe it is because she has lived through hell and she has seen hell (when she worked with families of missing people) in others. And that is why, I think, Rowling's work can be related to in many cultures.

Now... let's look at some of the lessons she delivers in the tiny book:

--"Magic causes as much troubles as it cures."
--You should always help those in need if you have the power to do so.
--The lessons along the way matter more than the end goal.
--One cannot be invulnerable but one always strives to be.
--You should never pose to be something you are not.
--You can never cheat death, but you can sometimes try to delay it.

And so on. What adds more to the tales are Dumbledore's notes which are completely true to his character, as always. He inserts some playful remarks and admits to his flaws. But the stories themselves can absolutely be read on their own, even if one has not read Harry Potter, the sentiments are there for you to grasp them if you so choose. And that's the thing. I chose to be inspired by Harry's journey and by the Tales of Beedle the Bard. I think a part of me is still in love with fairytales... not because of their happy endings (which eludes one of the stories in the booklet), but because of their encompassing wisdom. 

I don't always manage to write what I mean. And I don't always end up sounding smart at all. But it is my belief that fairytales touch that part of us that believes in the myth of perfect storytelling. They almost sound like music, don't they? And what's greater than music in this world? 

But I digress.. I warned you I was winging it. ;)

Bottom line is... my favorite stories were The Fountain of Fair Fortune and The Tale of the Three Brothers because they spoke the loudest to me. Which were yours? 

And what about YOUR favorite fairytales? Are you a Disney fan or do you like other folklore? I am all ears when it comes to magic in words. :)


SP Sipal said...

What a great analysis of the Tales, Lyn! And I loved how you summarized all the lessons.

Rumplestilskin was also one of my favorites growing up. But I think I really liked the Elves and the Shoemaker. Now that I'm a mom, I love it even more. Can you imagine waking up in the morning to find all your housework done?

Marcy said...

This was such a fun post! Having just returned from watching the final HP movie, one of the things I wished had been brought out more was the deathly hallows. They didn't even mention the invisibility cloak.

Other than Rumpelstiltskin, what were your favorite fairy tales? My grandmother is Slovakian and she used to tell me a traditional story about a snake who nursed from milking cows.

Lyn Midnight said...

@SPSipal Lol, good point, Susan! I don't have a household, so I don't have such mature preferences yet. :P

@Marcy Well, they did the whole Three Brothers tale in the first part after all. I guess that was enough of that. :P

Ha. This sounds like a fantastic tale! Hmm.. I've always loved the classics: Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Puss in Boots. I also liked tales of fae and smart animals.

Sometimes I'd stumble upon a gem about an orphaned boy or a tale of an unfortunate village and see how people handled it, and think: 'If they can handle it, I can too.' Lol, bless that kid in me. ^_^

Thank you, lovely ladies! :)

Michael Offutt said...

I like the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales.

Anonymous said...

My favorites were Aesops (old wisdom) and the Brothers Grimm (scary tales with a dash of truth). I don't think I've heard of the Three Brothers, but I'll be adding it to my list of stories to hunt down and read.

Great post, Violeta :)

Lyn Midnight said...

@Michael Who doesn't. :)

@Gene Haha, it's a tale in Beedle the Bard, a collection of wizard tales by J.K. Rowling. :)

Thanks for stopping by, guys.

Angela Wallace said...

That first picture is so cute! I want one!

I like the Disney version fairy tales, but mostly because I love laughing at the hidden adult humor that goes over kids' heads. It seems like people are too afraid to do that kind of stuff in kids' movies nowadays.

My favorite fairy tale...not sure this strictly counts, but I liked The Princess and the Goblin.

Lyn Midnight said...

You are an odd duck. That's what I like. :) I haven't noticed too much adult conet in fairytales but that's probably because I haven't read them since I was a kid. And kids miss things..

jamilajamison said...

Oh, I love this! I recently watched Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1, and one of the things that jumped out at me was the animated depiction of the Tales of Beetle the Bard. I have really fond memories of my childhood fairy tale book. It included retellings of the standard stories - "Cinderella," "The Little Match Girl," and others like that. It also included the Hans Christian Andersen version of "The Little Mermaid," which sort of scarred me as a kid, because I was expecting the Disney version with the happy ending. Even now I find myself reaching back into my arsenal of fairy tales to create stories of my own.

Anyway, lovely post! I really enjoyed reading it.

Anonymous said...

Hans Christian Anderson? Brothers Grimm? This is music to my ears. I almost want to read Beedle the Bard now. Who's read Andrew Lang's Fairy Books of Many Colors?

And about adult content. Stephen King once did a plot synopsis of Hansel and Gretel in the style of a horror movie. Really puts some perspective on some of those fairy-tales. Kidnapping, cannibalism, patricide, etc.

Lyn Midnight said...

@Jamila That's right! I'd completely forgotten that the original was sans happy ending. That's what I prefer anyway... And it seems you've got great taste! I loved the animated story of the Three Brothers as well, it beyond brilliant. ^_^

@Sean I haven't read that book, but it sounds like something I would like. And OMG, I really want to read that now! I've heard that about Hansel and Gretel before... that it has some dark undercurrents. Thanks for sharing, I am a big fan of his. :)