The Turnip Princess

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Pugzilla66 2 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #16367

    anonymous
    Participant

    In a completely different type of historical fiction, The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales is an English translation of some of the fairy tales collected by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth in the 1850s and recently rediscovered by Erika Eichenseer.While obviously from a different period and region than the focus of the forum, I like folk tales because they are one of the few ways we have of hearing the voices of "common people." Here's an article about it: Down and Dirty Fairy TalesIs anyone interested in discussing this book?

  • #20275

    Pugzilla66
    Participant

    I will be. I actually have this on my reading list because I am also a fairy tale and folk tale buff. I haven't got my copy yet! Have you started it yet and if so what do you think of it?

  • #20276

    anonymous
    Participant

    I've read a few stories, but not all of them.Acutally, I don't understand the first one. Which suggests that this is the one I want to study.Have you read The Great Cat Massacre?

  • #20277

    Pugzilla66
    Participant

    Not yet. As for the Turnip Princess story itself, it seems very choppy, which could be a side effect of the translation. Since I'm not as familiar with German as I am some other languages, so I can't be sure. Another issue with it could be the lack of details. For example, who is the man/bear in relation to the old woman? We can infer he's royalty from his crown, but we don't know anything else about him. Nothing is really established. We know she's a Princess, but are we to assume that the man/bear is her father? How did they end up in this predicament? Are we to assume this unidentified "monster" is to blame? I think we might be very used to at least having the "ticked off a sorcerer" explanation, we might get a wee bit befuddled without it. This story just kind of assumes that we take that granted. As for the issue of "the turnip," there is a lot of precedence for veggies, fruit, and roots being used in fairy tales. As for the importance of the "turnip," that's kind of a head scratcher for me. The story reminds me of several other fairy tales of beauty in disguise and men being cursed into animals. Someone being cursed into a bear in particular can be found in Snow White & Rose Red. There usually is an object of some kind connected directly to the curse, but a rusty nail is a new one for me.  The iron shoes is one a little more familiar to me at least. Much like "Jack" in English stories, there are a lot of "Hans" in German tales. It's a pretty standard format even. Son goes on journey, through some weird turn of events meets the great beauty, has to struggle to get said beauty, and live happily ever after.Any thoughts on The Flying Trunk?

  • #20278

    anonymous
    Participant

    I agree that the choppiness and lack of detail make the stories more challenging to understand. I think it's related to the way the stories were collected, i.e. they were told to educated people who were not professional story tellers, who then later wrote down what they remembered. Then the written versions were then passed on to von Schönwerth.The disgrace in The Flying Trunk seems to be the princess marrying up. From the interviews I've read with the translator, a common theme is parents not wanting to be out shown by their children.

  • #20279

    Pugzilla66
    Participant

    Parents not wanting to be shown up is a constant facet in fairy tales too. I once read a theory that said the “evil step mothers” were a cleaned up version of children's actual “mothers.” It basically boiled down to more modern readers were a little squeamish about women wanting to kill their own young. Freud and all that loveliness. But it is hardly a new concept. You see it in Greek Myths all the time which is hardly surprising given the Ancient Greek tendency to not grow too attached to children due to high infant mortality rates which, in turn, lead to higher infant mortality rates… and then there were the Spartans which are a whole other can of worms…. What I find interesting is the fact that both of these cultures have this theme. I'm almost positive I've seen "Iron Shoes" before, but I'm unsure of where. Unfortunately, this is where my large amounts of Legend Books becomes a hindrance rather than a blessing.Speaking of turnips, it seems good things come from them. Although I don't know why... I'm not a fan. http://www.authorama.com/grimms-fairy-tales-41.html

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