Part 5, Project 1: Exercise – Revisiting fairy tales

It’s interesting how the detail of a fairy tale escapes one’s brain when you try to remember it!  I could recall six fairy tales quite readily for this exercise but the actual detail of each story; I had to look them up!

1) Rapunzel
The features which stand out from this story are as follows:

  • Young girl
  • Witch
  • Spell
  • Kidnap
  • Prince
  • Tower in the woods
  • Long hair
  • Love

2) Goldilocks & The Three Bears

  • Wood
  • Young girl
  • Three bears; one small, one middle sized and one large
  • House in the woods
  • Talking bears
  • Food / porridge

3) Sleeping Beauty

  • Princess
  • Witch
  • Godmother
  • Spell
  • Spindle
  • Prince
  • Lots of sleep
  • Awakened with a kiss
  • Royalty

4) Snow White & Seven Dwarfs

  • Princess
  • Evil stepmother
  • Magic mirror who talks
  • Huntsman
  • House in woods – safe
  • Disguises (stepmother dresses as old hag)
  • Poisoned apple
  • Magical sleep
  • Awakened by “Love’s first kiss”
  • Prince

5) Little Red Riding Hood

  • Little girl
  • Grandmother (sick)
  • Food parcel (Red Riding Hood takes to her Grandmother)
  • Wolf
  • Disguise (wolf dresses as grandmother after eating her)
  • House in woods
  • Path to follow
  • Deception
  • Huntsman/lumberjack
  • Death (to the wolf)
  • Survival of Red Riding Hood and Grandmother

6) Cinderella

  • Young woman
  • Three ugly sisters
  • Mean stepmother
  • Prince
  • Ball
  • Fairy godmother
  • Magic (short-wearing)
  • Talking animals (mice, rats, horses)
  • Glass coach
  • Glass slipper
  • Strike of midnight
  • End of magic
  • Happy ending

There are a lot of common elements to these six stories.  The ones that stand out for me are:

Woods
Bad older woman character (witch or stepmother)
A young female (either normal girl or princess)
A trick (poisoned apple or spindle)
A saviour (huntsman)
A handsome prince
A kiss that awakens

Therefore, as a new plot using these elements, I would outline the following plot:

A young princess has taken herself off into the nearby woods.  She is bored of playing by herself in the palace grounds and wants to explore. People have told her not to go beyond the palace boundaries but she’s had enough of listening to rules.
She meets an old woman on a path in the woods.  The woman looks lost and carries a bag.  The princess offers to help carry the bag and the woman gladly agrees.  She leads them to her house in the middle of the woods, a long way from the safety of the palace walls.
At the house, the old woman locks the princess in the cellar, which has no windows.  She tells her that the only way she will release her is if the King, who has magical powers, gives her the gift of youth and the love of a Prince.
Before too long, the palace realises the princess is missing and the King charges all his huntsmen to search the surrounding land, including the woods.  Eventually, they reach the old woman’s house, and she tries desperately to cover up the noises of the princess below.  They soon find the princess locked away and the King finds out.  Before setting out his punishment, he asks the woman why she behaved as she did; she tells him of her desire for youth and the love of a Prince.  Whilst he doesn’t bequeath these upon her, he does trade her a lesser punishment for a life within the palace walls where she can live out the rest of her days in comfort and luxury.  The love of a Prince is something that she will have to watch the princess enjoy.

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