05 September 2008

Fairy tales!

I love fairy tales!

Today I happened to be wandering around one of my favorite sites, Sur La Lune Fairy Tales. It's like walking through a candy store. I could spend HOURS in there!

They have about 50 stories directly on their site, but they point to hundreds more. Hundreds! From cultures all over the world, too.

They also have illustrations. I admit it, I'm a sucker for a pretty picture. One of my favorite fairy tale illustrators is Kay Nielsen. A Danish artist, he illustrated one of my favorite volumes, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Sur la Lune also features gorgeous images by Arthur Rackham, who illustrated Peter Pan, and Maxfield Parrish, whose surreal art blends sweetly and sharply with the gentle stories. Aubrey Beardsley illustrated Le Morte D'arthur in stunning pen and ink.

But what's really wonderful about fairy tales -- and I know I say this all the time -- is the scope for imagination that they provide. All the wonderful "what ifs." What if a girl fell asleep for a hundred years? What kind of hero would go through all the pain and agony of the thorn forest to find her?

What if a man was cursed into a bear's form? What kind of heroine would travel east of the sun and west of the moon to rescue him?

Fairy tale archetypes still work today because they provide the framework for infinite variations. I borrowed East of the Sun and West of the Moon as a pattern for my free read, Runespell.

What are your favorite fairy tales? And have you ever used them as a basis for a story of your own?
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