#821 A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer

A Grimm Warning by Chris ColferA Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer

This installment of The Land of Stories finds Conner taking a trip to Europe, for a special reading of some newly found Grimm’s fairy tales. Alex is back in The Land of Stories. That’s where she stayed. She’s well on her way to being on the counsel and a serious apprentice to the fairy godmother.

Conner finds that a couple of the Grimm’s stories are very similar to the stories he wrote, inspired by The Land of Stories. The last story is strange though. It seems to be a warning. It talks of an army heading for The Land of Stories. It would take them two-hundred years to get there. Conner also has reason to believe that Mother Goose was involved in the whole thing.

He desperately tries to get a hold of Alex via his communication mirror, but she’s off being a fairy and talking with a boy. He does manage to talk to Mother Goose and she sends him on a mission. He must go and check that a portal is still closed. A couple of other people get dragged in along the way. Conner and his friends make it through the portal to The Land of Stories, but the army has made it as well. The first place they go is the prison and start freeing the prisoners to fight on their side. A masked man tells them they must have a dragon to win against the fairies.

Conner and Alex go throughout the kingdom trying to gain support to fight against the army. It’s rough going, but soon an all-out battle between a French army and the people from The Land of Stories is waging. The man in the mask is quite a secret, one that Alex finds out and it does not please her.

What I liked

I really liked that this book included references to the Grimm’s fairy tales. If you didn’t know, I spent over a year studying the fairy tales and I wrote a post about each one. So if you want to get into some of that, just peruse my site and you’ll find all kinds of writing about the Grimm’s stories.

This really brought to mind The Grimm’s Brothers movie. There were French army guys in it as well, who sought to burn down everything mysterious, which sounds an awfully lot like what was happening in this book.

There was also intrigue and something that I had been expecting for a while.

What I didn’t like

I enjoyed it, I don’t really have anything bad to say about it.

Overall

I still say that I would prefer to hop into Middle Earth, if I was going to hop into any stories.

Weigh In

If such a place as The Land of Stories existed, do you think our modern armies could have any chance against them?

If you had a choice between living in our world, and a world like The Land of Stories, which would you choose?

Sharing Joy and Sorrow

Sharing Joy and SorrowSharing Joy and Sorrow

Um, yeah, as you can tell, my mind kind of wandered when looking for a picture for this post, but there are actually scissors in this story and someone does actually throw them, so the picture does make a bit of sense.

Once upon a time there was a tailor who was not a very nice guy, but his wife was pious and industrious. She did her best to please him, but it was never good enough. He would often scold her and beat her. The authorities of the area soon got wind of this terrible behavior and brought him to prison where he had to eat bread and water. After a while, he was forced to promise never to beat his wife again, but to live with her in peace, and share joy and sorrow with her. He agreed, but was soon falling into his old habits. He wouldn’t beat her though. He would grab her hair and try to pull it out. She would run away out into the yard, but then this would happen(I have to quote exactly what the story says):

“But he ran after her with his yard-measure and scissors, and chased her about, and threw the yard-measure and scissors at her, and whatever else came his way. When he hit her, he laughed, and when he missed her, he stormed and swore.”

The neighbors soon got tired of all of this and called the authorities. They reminded him of the promise he had kept, but in response to this promise he said:

“Dear Gentlemen, I have kept my word, I have not beaten her, but have shared joy and sorrow with her.”

The authorities called “liar” on the tailor, but then he explained himself.

“I have not beaten her, but just because she looked so strange I wanted to comb her hair with my hand; she, however, got away from me, and left me quite spitefully. Then I hurried after her, and in order to bring her back to her duty, I threw at her as a well-meant reminder whatever came readily to hand. I have shared joy and sorrow with her also, for whenever I hit her I was full of joy, and she of sorrow, and if I missed her, then she was joyful, and I sorry.”

The authorities looked at him like a deer looks at on-coming headlights not believing there could be such a d*** of a man and sentenced him to what he deserved.

The End

Observations

I have a low tolerance for men beating their wives. So whatever this guy got, I hope it was terrible.

I once knew a woman who chased her husband around the yard with an axe because he came home drunk. True story. She was always so happy and you could never imagine her doing such a thing, but apparently she knew how to put on her big girl panties.

Themes

You know, even though this guy is a jerk, people are still going to laugh at his exploits because they’re going to think it’s funny and clever, when really he was just being a d***.

“Hahaha, it’s funny so that makes it ok!”

NOT

Sometimes people use humor to deflect the severity of a situation, which is what this jerk was trying to do, but hopefully he got what he deserved. Sometimes people make fun of a situation and they get off. People laugh and forgive the trespass even if it was a severe trespass. Just because it’s funny doesn’t mean you get to let the person off. You’ve got to stick to your guns. We do sometimes, as a people, have to enforce societal rules and one of those rules is that you should not beat your wife.

People used to say that this was between a husband and a wife. Mothers would not come to their daughters’ aid when they were being beaten because that was between she and her husband. Attitudes have changed, which is an improvement. If you know your neighbor beats his wife, it’s kind of your responsibility to say something to the police. This community in this story came to this woman’s aid. Bravo, people, bravo. You’ve just gotten the “Best Grimm’s Village” medal as far as I’m concerned.

Overall

It takes a village.


The Stolen Farthings

The Stolen FarthingsThe Stolen Farthings

I know you’re wondering, so I’ll go ahead and explain. The reason that there is a picture from Super Mario World for the this post is because this is a lesser-known Grimm’s fairy tale and no one has really created illustrations for it. It is a ghost story, so I thought ghosts were appropriate. It also deals with coins and so does Super Mario. In my head, this all makes sense.

Once upon a time there was a man and a visitor sitting in the man’s house. All of a sudden, in walks a little boy. He doesn’t really pay any attention to anyone, but walks into another room of the house. No one knows who this little boy is and they pretty much ignore it. This happened around noon.

The next day, the same exact thing happened. A little boy randomly walks into this house, doesn’t say anything and everyone ignores him. Then it happens again a third day. The stranger finally asks the man what is up with that. The man says he doesn’t know who the boy is and has never seen him before in his life. So they go investigate. They go into a room and see the little boy kneeling on the floor trying to get between two of the floor boards, but when the boy notices that the men are there, he disappears. Poof.

They start asking around, because this is obviously very strange. They ask someone called “the mother” about this boy. The mother says they are describing her son, who died about a month previously. She had given him two farthings to give to a beggar man, but he kept them instead thinking to buy a cookie with them. He hid them between the floor-boards, but he died before he was able to use them. His ghost came back to look for the coins out of guilt. The mother and father gave the coins to the beggar man and the little boy’s ghost was never seen again.

The End

Observations

I’m a little confused about the family situation in this story. The man, whose house it is, is called “the father” in this story. Would that make “the mother” his wife? If so, why does he say he’s never seen this kid before in his life? Does he mean that he hasn’t seen the ghost that the visitor has seen? Does this mean he saw the ghost, but doesn’t recognize the boy? If that is what it means, wouldn’t that make the boy his son? Why would he deny knowing his son? If it’s not his son, how does his wife have this secret kid that he doesn’t know about? Did they just get married? Is the kid from a previous marriage, but he died before the woman got married to her new husband, but neglected to tell him that she had a child who died? I just don’t know. So basically, we’re discussing some screwed up living arrangement or maybe these people are just called “mother” and  “father” for the heck of it.

Themes

Some of the stories in Grimm’s are kind of ghostly. We’ve gotten a few stories about people being supposedly dead and talking to loved ones left behind. We’ve discussed haunted castles filled with demons. This is really the first story in the Grimm’s anthology that talks about a dead person showing up as a ghost, who stays dead. In some of the other stories, people die or rather they’re murdered because that’s how it always happens and they take the form of a tree or a duck or whatever and eventually come back to life. This story doesn’t work like that. This little boy is dead, dead, dead.

We don’t know how he died; it’s either going to be an accident or a disease since he wasn’t murdered by an evil step-mother. He dies, but feels guilty about those farthings he hid away rather than imparting them unto the poor. We’ve heard this story before. We’ve all heard the ghost stories about the ghost who comes back with unfinished business. It’s a pretty common movie plot. They just felt so bad about not finishing their Earthly duties that they had to stick around for a while instead of moving on or stepping into the light, whatever the case may be.

It’s a common theme, but it’s a powerful theme. A lot of us believe in ghosts, don’t try to deny it. We believe in the idea of spirits. We believe in the idea that the soul is a thing that can be separated from the body. Generally, we just have a hunch that spirits exist, but when someone actually comes up with an encounter of a spirit, that gets our attention. If a dead person, who you know is dead, shows up to tell you something, you listen; it’s a big deal. There are skeptics, of course, and there is nothing wrong with being a skeptic, but  for most people this type of story gets our attention and touches something deeper within us more so than your typical fairy tale would touch.

The message here is, do the things you’re supposed to do in life so you don’t have to feel guilty about not doing them after you die.

Overall

Oh, poor kid.


My Household

My Household My Household

Caution* The people in this tale may or may not have gotten into ergot laden bread; they might also just be crazy. It’s short so I’m just going to type it.

“Whither, do you go?” ‘To Walpe.” “I to Walpe, you to Walpe, so, so, together we’ll go.”

“Have you a man? What is his name?” “Cham.” “My man Cham, your man Cham; I to Walpe, you to Walpe; so, so, together we’ll go.”

“Have you a child; how is he style?” “Wild.” “My child Wild, your child Wild; my man Cham, your man Cham; I to Walpe, you to Walpe, so, so, together we’ll go.”

“Have you a cradle? How do you call your cradle?” “Hippodadle.” “My cradle Hippodadle, your cradle Hippodadle, my child Wild, your child Wild, my man Cham, your man Cham; I to Walpe, you to Walpe, so, so, together we’ll go.”

“Have you a drudge? What name has your drudge?” “From-work-do-not-budge.” “My drudge From-work-do-not-budge, your drudge From-work-do-not-budge; my cradle Hippodadle, your cradle Hippodadle; my child Wild, your child Wild; my man Cham, your man Cham; I to Walpe, so, so, together we’ll go.”

The End

(Thank goodness)

Observations

First of all, these people are crazy, but I’m going to pose you a theory in a moment, that might clear some of this up.

Walpe, apparently isn’t a real place. I tried looking it up. It’s not a German city of any amount, but it could still be a very small village or something similar.

A drudge is another work for servant. So when this story talks of a drudge, we’re really talking about someone who worked for these people and was called “From-work-do-not-budge.” Apparently, these people were some severe taskmasters.

Cham is not a German name, I did look into that. It’s either Irish or Hebew. So the origins of this story might have some far-off roots.

I don’t know why someone would name a cradle. I couldn’t find any tradition of naming a cradle in my research. The most likely thing I can think that this tale might have been referencing is a cradle-naming ceremony. Obviously, this is a ceremony in which you would name your baby, or maybe you baby had a “cradle name,” in essence a name your child is called until they reach a certain age or reach certain milestones. Hippodadle is a terrible name if that is the case.

Themes

There is no theme. This story is a nursery rhyme. People probably clapped their hands when they said this or skipped rope, or rolled hoops down the road, you know,  whatever people liked to do back then. Maybe people would say this and see how fast they could say it before they became all tongue-tied. Maybe two people would say this and take turns saying their parts. The story really means nothing, except that maybe this person has a stalker or it’s only one person.

It’s not really a theme, it’s just a thought that popped into my head. This second person could be a stalker. She’s doing everything the first woman is doing. Oh you’re gong to town? Me too! Oh your husband is named Cham. Mine too! It seems a little much for a coincidence.

Alternately, maybe it’s just one person and she’s out of her freaking mind. I keep thinking of the whole Gollum/Smeagol deal. Precious. If these two people talking are really one person, it would make a lot of sense that all their stuff has the same name. Precious.

Overall

There is WAY too much punctuation in this darn story. There are practically more punctuation marks than there are letters. Let’s write a story in just punctuation marks and see how far we get!

$ <3 @, @ <3 &. -&, @_____, $+<3 @ :)

That doesn’t make any sense at all. It sort of made sense when I started out, but it doesn’t now.


 

Iron Hans

Iron HansIron Hans

If you had your choice of guardian who would it be? Godzilla? Santa Claus? A power ranger? A bigfoot like man? You know you would pick the bigfoot like man.

Once upon a time there was a king. He sent a huntsman into the nearby forest to bring back some game, well, the huntsman never came back. So he sent another huntsman. That guy didn’t come back either. He sent a third huntsman and that guy also didn’t come back. So he declared the forest was off-limits and forgot about it for a while. After some time, another huntsman came and asked him to go into the forest. The king told him it was too dangerous, but the huntsman was like, “Look I can do this.” The king agreed. The huntsman went into the forest with his dog. He saw a pool of water, there he saw a great hand reach out of the water and grab his dog. When he saw this, he knew he needed to come back with reinforcements.

He told the king and the king sent him back with a bunch of men. There they drained the pond and found a large man at the bottom. He was very hairy and the hair was the color of rust. They took him back to the castle and put him in an iron cage. Only the queen had the key. They left him there. One day the young prince was playing ball and his ball happened to go into the cage. The prince asked the creature in the cage to give him the ball back, but the man said no. He said he would give him the ball if the prince unlocked the cage. The boy said he could not do this. For two more days the boy asked for his ball. The man told him the key was under his mother’s pillow and he should take it. The boy did as instructed. He unlocked the door and let the man out. The man gave him the ball. The prince asked the man not to leave because everyone would be mad at him when they found out. The man told the boy that wasn’t going to happen because he was going to take him along.

The man put the boy up on his shoulder and walked away with him into the woods.There he made a bed of moss for him and treated him very well. He showed him a pool of water. He told him that his job was not to let anything fall into the water and taint it. The boy was good at his job for a while, but one day he hurt his finger and stuck it in the water. When he withdrew it, his finger was gold. The man knew that the prince had put his finger in the water. He said he would let it slide this one time. The next day the prince accidentally let a piece of hair fall into the water. The man knew. He said he would forgive the prince again. The next day, the boy was so entranced with his reflection in the water that he leaded over and his hair fell into the water. It turned to gold. The man said this was the last straw. He knew the prince was mainly good, but he couldn’t stay with him in the forest anymore. He told him to go out into the world and make his own way. He told him that whenever he needed or wanted something, he should go into the forest all call for Iron Hans.

The boy went on his way and got a job at a castle. There he was a kitchen boy. He always wore a cap because he didn’t want to show his golden hair. He served food to the king’s table and was told it was rude to leave his cap on. He said he had a bad sore and could not take his hat off. He was soon switched to the garden where he would dig and plant. One day his cap was off and the princess happened to be watching. She asked for a bouquet of flowers. He took her wildflowers. The gardener told him that he couldn’t take wildflowers to the princess, but the prince was like, “Yes, I can they smell better.”

He took the flowers to her and she pulled of his cap. Afterwards she gave him gold ducats, which he then gave to the gardener so his children could play with. She asked for a bouquet again. Again he made her one up. Again she tried to pull off his cap, but she wasn’t as successful as the first time. She gave him golden ducats again, again the prince gives them away. The third time the prince doesn’t let her pull his cap off, but she gives him money anyway.

There soon came to be a war. The prince wanted to fight. They told him he was only a gardening lad and couldn’t fight. If he wanted to fight he better go and find his own horse. He went to the stable and there was nothing left but a hobbled horse. He rode this horse to the forest and called out, “Iron Hans,” three times. Iron Hans appeared and asked him what he needed. He said he needed a good horse, some armor and some men. Iron Hans granted it all. The boy was able to help the king defeat his enemies, but no one knew who had done it because no one recognized the prince. Hans had asked for his crippled horse on the way back to the castle.

The king and the princess wanted to know who this mysterious knight was. They decreed that the princess would throw a golden apple and whosoever should catch it was the knight who had aided the king. The prince went back to the forest and asked to catch the apple. Iron Hans said it was pretty much already done. He also outfitted the prince in some new armor. He caught the apple, but gave it away to the gardener’s children. The king was not able to tell what knight had caught the apple or who he was. For two more days, the princess threw an apple and for two more days, the prince caught it.

The king was fed up with this and had people lie in wait on the third day. He told them to pursue the mysterious knight to find out who he was. The prince had to gallop away fast on his horse, but he was not fast enough. Someone caught his cap and saw that he had golden hair. They revealed this to the king. When the king discussed this with his daughter, she knew who the knight was. The prince was called in.

It was verified that the prince did indeed have golden hair. The king was a bit surprised that a gardening boy could do all of this, but the prince was like, “No, I’m a prince. My dad is a king.” The king was like, “Well, in that case, what do you want?” The prince said he would like to marry the princess. The king thought this was a good idea, so they were married. At the wedding this stately king came to the feast and embraces the prince as if he knows him. He reveals that he is Iron Hans and everything that is his will belong to the prince

The End

Iron HansObservations

How does, “I lived in the forest with a hairy man for a while,” go down when you tell your new girlfriend?

Iron Hans kidnapped this prince. I’m pretty sure that’s some sort of crime. You can’t go around kidnapping royal children, although, it’s happened. If you’re a king, or famous, people consider that you have money to spare, so you’ve got money to pay ransom. It’s almost a guaranteed payout. It’s a terrible way to look at it, but it’s logical. Although, Iron Hans didn’t ask for any money, he just straight up took the prince. The story never says he saw his parents again, which is kind of sad.

What did Iron Hans do with the huntsmen who were sent into the forest? He pulled the dog under the water, but what about the men? Did he eat them? How did he live under water? There are so many questions.

Why am I thinking of Elton John? Why? I guess because he’s flamboyant and having golden hair seems like a flamboyant thing to do.

Why is this princess so obsessed with the prince’s golden hair? It seems a little strange that she pays him to look at it. She rips off an item of his clothing and then pays him afterwards. Does that not sound a little prostitution-ish? Does she call him dirty names afterwards and tell him to clean himself up?

Iron HansThemes

The number three just happens all over this story. Three this. Three that. Three blind mice. See how they run. They all ran after the farmer’s wife.

Both Hans’ and the prince’s skills, accomplishments, and wealth do not fit the outward appearance that they possess. Iron Hans is practically a giant, a kidnapping giant I might add, who is hairy like a yeti, or Bigfoot. You wouldn’t think he had tons of money, but he does. He’s got a pond that turns things into gold. He apparently has armor and a lavishly appointed stable. You know who is going to mind right now? That big bear guy from The Hobbit, Beorn. The more I think of Iron Hans, the more I think of Beorn, maybe they’re cousins or something.

Likewise, the prince works as a gardening boy. You wouldn’t think he was a prince and had beautiful golden hair. No, he’s got this secret identity. He goes to the woods to change into his crime-fighting clothes, but completely pretends to be someone else the rest of the time. He treats money like it’s nothing. I’ve got it, he’s Batman. Bruce Wayne has lots of money. You wouldn’t think he spent his nights fighting crime, but, no, it totally turns out that he is Batman. This prince actually fits many of the behaviors that our comic book superheroes possess. In a sense, he is something of a superhero, but with a benefactor. He’s got this benefactor, who is also his kidnapper, who gives him the means he needs to succeed in life.  Iron Hans makes the prince into something of a superhero. He’s a protegé in a sense, but a stolen protegé. Steal a kid and raise them up the way you would want them to go, it all makes perfect sense.

There are secret identities galore in this story.

The point is, you may think a person can do A, B, and C simply by looking at their outward appearance, but it turns out the outward appearance is a pretty poor measure of what a person can do. Iron Hans was really a king and the prince was really a prince, even though he looked like a gardening boy. No one would have thought the boy that planted the flowers fought in wars and had beautiful golden hair.

Overall

I don’t know– I think the princess in this story is kind of weird.