Fitcher’s Bird

Fitcher's BirdSummary

Fitcher’s Bird is a bloody tale, so if you’re squeemish at all, you might want to skip this one.

Once upon a time there was a wizard who liked to disguise himself as a poor beggar so he could entrap young women. He carried with him a large basket. He once went to a household that had three daughters. The man begged at the door for a little food. The oldest daughter was going to give him some bread, but she had barely touched him when she was forced into the man’s basket.

He took the young woman back to her house and told her, “My darling, you will certainly be happy with me, for you have everything your heart can wish for.” After a while the man said he had to leave. He gave the girl an egg and a key. He told her she could use the key to go into any room in the house, but one specific room. He also told her to guard the egg carefully.

The young girl went into all the rooms of the house and she was going to ignore the one room in particular, but curiosity got the best of her and she opened the door with the key. Inside she saw a great vat of blood. There were pieces of people everywhere. There were legs and arms all over the place. There was a large chopping block with a great silver axe. The girl was so startled that she dropped the egg into the bloody vat. She tried to get the blood off the egg, but as soon as she wiped it off, it reappeared.

The wizard came back and he saw that the girl had been in the room. He took her into the room and chopped he head off. Then he dismembered her and tossed her into the vat with all the other bodies.

He decided his next target would be the middle sister of this family. He played the same disguise. The second daughter was deceived in the same way. He brought her back to his house and one day went on a journey. He left her with the same stipulations, but the same thing happened all over again. The second daughter ended up in the vat just like the first.

The wizard decided to go back for the third daughter, but she was a smart cookie, besides getting caught in his basket in the first place. When the wizard left on his journey, the third daughter put the egg in a safe place then she peeked inside the room. Instead of being absolutely terrified, this girl found the dismembered pieces of her sisters and set them together. Once she had them all together like a puzzle piece, they reconnected and her sisters were brought back to life. They were all happy.

The wizard came back home. He demanded the key and the egg as soon as he got back. Once he saw that the egg was not bloody, he told the third daughter that she would be his wife. She acted like she was ok with this. Once he decided to take her as his wife, he no longer had power over her. She told him to take a basket of gold to her family.

Inside the basket of gold she hid her two sisters. She gave the basket to the wizard with instructions that she was going to watch him through the window to make sure he didn’t rest on the way to her family’s house.

The basket was very heavy. After a while the wizard stopped to rest, but one of the sisters inside the basket called out to him, “I am looking through my little window, and I  see that you ae resting. Will you go on at once?” He thought this was his wife-to-be saying all of this from his window, so he got a little freaked out and kept on with his journey. Every time he tried to rest, one of the sisters would call out to him to keep going.

He finally made it to the family’s house where the sisters were to bring help. In the meantime the third sister had been at the wizard’s house preparing things of her own. She prepared a feast and sent invitations to friends of the wizard. Then she found a skull which she dressed with flowers and ornaments. She set this in her window.

She then got into a barrel of honey and cut open a feather bed. She rolled all around in the feathers until she looked like a bird. She went out of the house.

Wedding guests saw he and this was what happened:

“O, Fitcher’s bird, how com’st thou here?”

“I come from Fitcher’s house quite near.”

“And what may the young bride be doing?”

“From cellar to garret she’s swept all clean,

And now from the window she’s peeping I ween.”

On he way she met the wizard, who did not recognize her. He asked her the same thing.

He happened to look up and see the skull and thought it was his bride. He smiled at her and then went into the house with all his dastardly friends. When all of the guests were in the house, the bride’s family came and barred the house. Then they set fire to it. The wizard and all of his friends died.

The End

Fitcher's BirdObservations

Well, this tale is just a bundle of sunshine isn’t it? This wizard is an outright murdering serial killer. He’s a predator and he’s awful. He’s not even a sexual predator he just likes to dismember people, which probably makes him one of the worst kind’s of predators there can be. He’s a classic predator though. He uses a disguise to entrap his victims. That’s how predators do it. They may not all dress as Barney the Purple Dinosaur or be looking for a lost puppy, but all predators have some sort of disguise. It just may not be an actual physical disguise. They might disguise their personality. They might disguise their voice. They might disguise their face or their clothes. These people never go after prey in their true states.

The egg, let’s talk about the egg. I have heard of an egg in reference to a baby in multiple instances. There are class assignments where you get an egg and have to take care of it for a certain period of time as if it were a baby. If your egg gets cracked you’re screwed. You get an F. Now, there are other more folkloric types of stories that do equate an egg for a baby. The egg symbolizes a baby. A baby is small and cannot take care of itself. In that sense it doesn’t matter if you say “egg” or “baby”.

Remember how in Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy, that Jude’s first wife, well, his only wife uses an egg to trick him into some naughty things? Was it just an egg? No, it was a symbol. It was a symbol for what she was trying to trick him into. She was trying to get herself knocked up, if you know anything about the book.

This is the question you have to keep in your mind…was this really an egg or was it a baby? Hopefully, you don’t drop a baby in a bloody vat of dismembered body parts.

There is also this idea that an egg is pure in some sense. It’s this cocoon that shields the insides from the world around it, but it can still absorb the outside world.

Just to be really “out-there” interpretation…what if the egg was not an egg, but a baby that was still in its mother’s womb, the mothers being the captive girls? What if all this blood is not just blood, but also symbolizing that these women had miscarriages thus losing the trust and faith of the wizard who then killed them? You may think that’s really weird, but think about some of the crimes in history in which terrible things were done to women because they couldn’t carry a baby to term or they had a baby of the wrong sex. Just think about. Terrible things have happened to these women. For a long time and, honestly, still today, a woman’s fertility ruled her value in society. We’re supposed to be past all that bull-crap by the way, but we’re not. What if this man is finding wife after wife, but none of them are bearing him a child? Does that sound familiar? It kind of reminds me of a man named Henry VIII.

Fitcher's BirdThemes

You cannot hide from your misdeeds. Eventually you will be punished and sometimes, quite cruelly. A couple of posts ago, or so, we talked about this mob mentality that people can have. We talked about the people in The Robber Bridegroom who put the smack-down on the would-be groom and his den of murdering thieves. These were average people, but when you messed with one of their own, they turned on you and they weren’t nice about it. That’s what happens in this story.

We discussed the idea that people hate that you committed a crime under their nose. They hate it. They will not be kind to you if they get a chance to take you down. You have no only harmed someone they know, you have made them doubt themselves. How could this terrible thing be going on right next door and no one have any idea about it? People get mad. They get angry. You hurt little Susie and you made them lose faith in themselves. You’ve just screwed everybody over. You have doubly offended them.

Because you have doubly offended these people they aren’t going to read you your Miranda rights and use their tax dollars to give you nice stay in prison. No. They are going to flay your skin off while you’re still alive. They going to burn you with cigarettes. They’re going to Chinese water torture you and other terrible things. Remember that awful machine from The Princess Bride? They’re going to use that on you.

The way they see it, you gave up your chance for any kind of civil punishment not when you abducted the three young women, but when you abducted the three young women under their noses. Making a person doubt themselves in a huge crime, psychologically. In logical terms, it’s not as bad as abducting three young women, but you’re throwing all logic out the window if you decided to do something terrible like that in the first place.

One more thing, sometimes when you do something bad, you bring your own punishment. This man carries his punishment on his back. He carries it and it’s heavy. There are a lot of criminals who tell on themselves. They may not do it intentionally, but it’s often the case.

Overall

This story is gross. I am not a bloody-gore person at all. You guys can go watch your splatter-porn all you want to, but I’m going to stick to British television and Spongebob Squarepants. My goodness, there were some really disgusting tales floating around back in the day. This reminds me of the version of Red Riding Hood from the eighties. It’s quite bloody.

P.S. is Fitcher the wizard?

The Three Little Men in the Wood

The Three Little Men in the WoodSummary

The Three Little Men in the Wood is a less familiar Grimm’s tale, but does have elements you are used to hearing about.

Once Upon a time there were two girls that knew each other. One girl had only a father and the other girl had only a mother. The mother one day told the man’s daughter that she would marry him and his daughter would have milk to wash her face in and wine to drink. The man mulled this over and couldn’t really think of anything bad about it. He decided to do a test. He told his daughter to take his boot and hang it up in the rafters. The boot had a hole in it. He told the girl that if the boot held water he would marry the woman and if the boot did not hold water, he would not marry her. The girl poured water into the boot and it held, so the man married the woman.

On the first day of the marriage the man’s daughter had milk to wash with and wine to drink. The woman’s daughter had water to wash with and water to drink. The next day brought water to drink and water to wash with for the man’s daughter, but also water to wash with and water to drink for the man’s daughter. On the third day of the marriage, the woman’s daughter had milk to wash with and wine to drink while the man’s daughter had water to wash with and water to drink.

Each day the new step-mother tried to treat her step-daughter even worse. One day while it was winter she asked her to go out into the forest to gather some strawberries. There was snow on the ground so it was cold. The woman made the girl wear a paper dress and sent her into the woods with only a hard hunk of bread. The step-mother, of course, was intending that the girl die out in the snow.

The girl searched and searched in the woods, but could not find anything green at all. She came upon a little house. Three little men lived in the house. They told her to come in. The girl began to eat her hunk of bread seeing as it was warm in the house. The little men asked her for some of it and she gave it to them. They also asked her why she was in the forest in such a thin dress. She told them that she wasn’t supposed to go back home until she had berries. When she was done eating they gave her a broom and told her to sweep away the snow at the back door.

While the girl was outside sweeping away the snow, the three men conferred amongst themselves.

“What shall we give her as she is so good, and has shared her bread with us?”

The first said:

“My gift is, that she shall every day grow more beautiful.”

The second said:

“My gift is, that gold pieces shall fall out of her mouth every time she speaks.”

The third said:

“My gift is, that a king shall come and take her to wife.”

When the girl had swept away the snow, she found to her surprise and enjoyment that here were strawberries underneath the snow. She gathered her basket full. She ran home to show her step-mother the berries. When she opened her mouth to speak a gold piece fell out. Every word she said was followed by another gold piece. The step-mother and step-sister were angry at this calling the girl arrogant for throwing away money in such a manner, but they were both jealous.

The mother sent her daughter out into the woods. She gave her a warm fur coat and a cake to eat. The girl went straight to the house of the three little men. She walked right in like she owned the place and started eating her cake. The little men asked her for some of her cake, but she told them that there was barely enough for her and she wasn’t going to share. After she was done eating they told her there was a broom in which she could sweep the snow away by the back door. She told them to sweep the snow away themselves. When the little men didn’t bless her with any presents, she stormed out through the door.

“What shall we give her as she is so naughty, and has a wicked envious heart, that will never let her do a good turn to anyone?”

The first said:

“I grant that she may grow uglier each day.”

The second said:

“I grant that every word she says, a toad shall spring out of her mouth.”

The third said:

“I grant that she may die a miserable death.”

The girl looked for strawberries, but found none. She stormed off home and when she opened her mouth to speak about the whole thing a toad fell out. Needless to say, everyone at the house was a little disgusted by this.

The mother was mad and sought out more ways to make the step-daughter miserable. She was only getting more beautiful by the day. She boiled some yarn, gave it to the step-daughter and told her to cut a whole in the ice to cool the yarn. While the girl was washing her yarn a splendid carriage appeared, you guessed it, it’s a king. The king asks this girl what she is going here. She says she is a poor girl who is rinsing yarn. The king asks her if she will go away with him and she says yes.

There they were married, surprise.After a year the girl had a son. The step-mother heard about this though and was ticked. The mother and daughter went into the castle pretending to be visitors. When no one else was paying attention they picked up the queen and threw her in a stream outside the castle. The ugly daughter got in the bed and was covered all the way up to her head. The step-mother was still there and told the king that his wife had a violent fever. The king didn’t really suspect anything at this point.

That night a duck came to the castle and a scullion saw it. The duck said

“King, what art thou doing now? Sleepest thou or wakest thou?

The duck asked some more questions before turning into the queen and going upstairs to breast feed her baby. Then she turned back into a duck. She came two more nights. On the third night she told the maid to tell the king that he should swing his sword three times over the duck on the threshold. The king did this and the duck turned back into his wife.

They decided to be crafty. They hid the queen for a few days. The king asked the imposter, what does a person deserve who drags another out of bed and throws them in the water? The woman said, “To be taken and put in a barrel stuck full of nails, and rolled down hill into the water.” The king is secretly laughing and says, “Yep, well, that’s what you’re getting.” The old woman and daughter were put into the barrel together upon which they were rolled into the river.

The End

The Three Little Men in the WoodObservations

Sorry my summary was so long. You will notice familiar elements of this tale. Again, we have the number three. The number three, which I have mentioned before as being a number of completeness. There are three days of the marriage before things turn sour. There are three little men. There are three gifts granted. There are three tasks for each girl to perform. The first is to simply go out into the woods, the second is to find strawberries, and the third is to share food. There are also three nights in which the queen comes back as a duck.

Again, we have this evil step-mother thing. Why is it always the step-mother that is evil and not the step-father? People back in the day must have really frowned upon step-parent/step-child relationships. Granted, many of us don’t exactly have shining examples of those relationships to counter this claim of wickedness.

These stories are unrealistic. Yes, they are fairy tales and by definition they are going to be unrealistic, but I also want to point out that they are unrealistic in expectations. For example, look at all these tales of common girls who marry a king or prince simply because the king or prince found them in the woods and they were beautiful. Yes, some of the tales actually have real-live princesses, I won’t overlook that. How likely do you think this scenario is?

The Three Little Men in the WoodI have read quite a few Philippa Gregory books and while I do get bogged down with royalty acting so terribly, there is a lot of truth and a lot of research that goes into those books. More than likely, if these tales were about real life women and girls, they would not be made queens, but mistresses. Now here’s the thing, the main mistress of a king would not be living down in a shack somewhere, they would be living in the palace a few doors down from the king. Anne Boleyn’s own sister was the king’s mistress before Anne jumped into the equation. Look, back in the day, your parents did not care if you were the king’s mistress, in fact, they probably encouraged it. The king’s mistress is still treated like a queen in many respects.

Knowing this, I have to wonder if these girls are made “little queens” rather than the actual queen. Kings have multiple castles. These kings could have a girl he found in the woods in each of his castles acting as his wife. It’s well-known that these kings had a hard time keeping it in their pants. I would honestly not be surprised if the same king that married the girl in Brother and Sister also marries the girl in this tale, that’s “marries” in quotation marks by the way. Also, remember that kings were not above making fake marriages to more common girls to get up their skirts. These girls might fully believe they are actually married, but in reality, it’s a sham.

After the dad marries this woman, we don’t hear about him anymore. Why does he overlook his daughter being treated so terribly? Why does he let his new wife send his daughter out in a paper dress? Why does he let this woman make his daughter’s life so terrible? Quite frankly, the only answer I can think of is sex. He’s got a woman now, he’ll let her cook, clean, raise the kids and generally run the household. He can stay home and watch the squirrels pass nuts to each other while drinking ale. Sorry, I don’t have an appropriate substitute for football. The responsibility of raising his daughter is taken off of his shoulders and he also gets sex in the bargain. I would hazard to guess that while his daughter is becoming “queen” he is in some pub drinking ale.

The Three Little Men in the WoodThemes

An obvious theme of this tale is not to be a brat. It’s that simple. The one sister was good and willing, while the other was a complete and total brat. Being a brat does not get you very far in life. For a while, like while you’re in high school, being a brat may be seen as ‘cool’ by some other kids and you might have some hanger-ons, but in the real world, people don’t like it when you’re a brat. If you want people to talk about you behind your back, the fastest way to accomplish that is to be a brat.

You know that whole argument ‘ugly on the inside, ugly on the outside’ and so forth? This is a tale where the uglies meet up. This step-sister was ugly on the inside, but got to be equally as ugly on the outside to match up.

The number three is a theme in this tale, in addition to many other tales.

Gold is something mentioned in this tale. Gold is something that has always meant money. It doesn’t matter what the gold is shaped like, it can always be used to get you something else. We don’t use gold anymore for our currency, but we did at one point. There is a reason society has this obsession with gold. You can clearly see that even back in the day of the Grimms, gold was an obsession. Everybody wanted gold. It did not matter who you were. The idea that a gold piece falls out of this girl’s mouth every word she speaks is a testament to that obsession. Gold has won wars, lost wars, created towns and obliterated lives all over the world and all over history.

The Three Little Men in the WoodI almost forgot to mention this idea of three benevolences. Remember Disney’s version of Sleeping Beauty? There are three good fairies who grant three gifts to the new princess. This idea of three good graces instilled upon a person is a very old idea. Notice my usage of ‘graces.’ The graces being from ancient Greek and Roman mythology and being three in number.

In the end the good you do comes back to you, but the bad you do also comes back to you.

Overall

The moral of this story is not to be a bad person. Being a bad person will punish you in various ways. You may get punished right away, three little men might curse you, and you might find yourself dying a horrible death because you are so terrible. It is better to learn to be a giving person than to let your selfish personality bring bad karma your direction.