Jack the Dullard-an Old Story Told Anew

Jack the Dullard-an Old Story Told AnewJack the Dullard-an Old Story Told Anew

There was once a princess who declared that she would marry any man who could come before her and have a proper conversation. Many men had tried, but when they got into the presence of the princess they became shy and tongue twister.

Two brothers decided they would go and try for the hand of the princess. Both were learned and considered themselves to have a good chance. One of them even had the Latin dictionary memorized. Their father gave each of them a nice horse to ride to the castle on, but they forgot about their youngest brother.

The youngest brother was named Jack and no one talked about him because he wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box. Jack wanted to try for the princess too. The brothers thought he was stupid and the father declared that he would not give Jack a horse. Jack decided to ride the goat.

On the way to the castle, Jack found several things he said he was going to give to the princess–a dead crow, a piece of a shoe, and some clay, which is said was of the finest sort and put in his pockets.

All three brothers arrived at the castle. The first went in. The princess said she was going to have dinner and the first brother couldn’t think of anything to say. The princess ordered him out.

Next went the second brother. The princess said she was having dinner and the second brother likewise didn’t have much to say; he did manage to sputter a few words and sounds though.

It was Jack’s turn now. The princess said she was going to have dinner, maybe peasant. Jack asked if he might roast his crow at the same time. The princess said he certainly could. The conversation evolved and ended up with Jack using the shoe piece as a platter and the clay as gravy.

The princess finally asked Jack what he would do about the men judging his conversation and writing everything down. Jack pulled some of the mud out of his pocket and flung it at one of the men. The princess thought this was wonderful and married Jack, who eventually became king.

Observations

It’s not very likely that a king would let his daughter marry anybody who fulfilled some contest requirement. King’s daughters were for strategic alliances, not fun and games. So this concept is a little far-fetched, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make for a good story.

There are many variations of this story. There are multiple Grimm’s fairy tales that have a similar story line. There is always that one brother whom no one thinks can accomplish the task, but it turns out he is the only one who can because he is blessed in his simplicity and lack of skill in such a way that is fortuitous.

"Carlo VI di Francia, Maestro di Boucicaut, codice Ms. Français 165 della Biblioteca Universitaria di Ginevra" by Meister des Maréchal de Boucicaut - De Vecchi-Cerchiari, I tempi dell'arte, volume 2, Bompiani, Milano 1999.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carlo_VI_di_Francia,_Maestro_di_Boucicaut,_codice_Ms._Fran%C3%A7ais_165_della_Biblioteca_Universitaria_di_Ginevra.jpg#/media/File:Carlo_VI_di_Francia,_Maestro_di_Boucicaut,_codice_Ms._Fran%C3%A7ais_165_della_Biblioteca_Universitaria_di_Ginevra.jpgThemes

The whole idea here is to count that person whom you think doesn’t count. You would be surprised what he/she can actually do. Does it matter that Jack may have had a mental handicap? Well, for this story, no; in a matter of a man ruling a country, yeah, probably; it probably matters a lot, but countries have had mentally unstable rulers before. Who was that guy that thought he was a glass animal? Ah, yes, Charles VI of France; the dude needed help.

This story is about the underdog. Don’t count that guy out.

Overall

Was this princess like five? Why would you marry a man who threw mud in some guy’s face unless you were five?

Weigh In

What do you think happened to the brothers after this story?

What do you imagine happened to the country under Jack’s leadership?

The Sea-Hare

The Sea-HareThe Sea-Hare

What is it exactly? Well, it’s a type of mollusk that lives in the ocean and was referred to as a “sea-hare” back in the day because it was derived from the Latin lepus marinus, they called it that because the two things sticking up in front kind of look like bunny ears. This story involves a sea-hare.

Once upon a time there was a princess who had a castle, but she also had an apartment in her castle with twelve windows that looked out every possible direction. She could already see better than your average person, but each window made her vision even better. Through the first window she could see alright, but by the twelfth window she saw everything above the Earth and under the Earth. Nothing could be hidden from her.

She liked her freedom. She declared that she would only marry a man who could hide himself from her in such a way that she couldn’t find him. If she did find him, he got his head cut off and stuck on a post. There were currently ninety-seven posts with heads on them.

Three brothers got the idea that they could hide themselves from her. The first one hid in a lime-pit, but she found him and had his head cut off. The second brother hid in a cellar in the palace, but she found him and had his head cut off. The third brother made a deal with the princess. He suggested that they wait a day before he hid, but that she would also give him one out of three. She could find him twice, but if she didn’t find him the third time, she had to marry him. She agreed.

The youngest brother went out to hunt. He was about to shoot a raven, but the raven told him not to shoot. He would reward him for his kindness. The man did not shoot.

He then saw a large fish swim to the surface of a pond. The fish cried out that he not shoot. The fish promised a reward. The man let the fish swim away.

Then the man saw a fox. He was going to shoot it, but the fox called to him and told him to come and pull a thorn out of his foot. The man did so and was going to skin the fox anyway, but the fox told the man to let him live and he would be rewarded. The man let the fox go.

The next day was the day for the man to hide. He thought about where he could hide that she wouldn’t see, but he couldn’t think of anywhere. Finally, he called to the raven. He asked the raven where he should hide that the princess would not see. The raven broke an egg in two and hid the man inside of it. The princess started her search. She could not find the man and became worried, but she got up to the eleventh window and she finally saw him. She ordered the raven shot.

The man was to hide again. This time he called to the fish he spared. The fish hid the man inside of his stomach. The princess started her search. She looked and looked, but did not find the man until the twelfth window.

The princess told the man she was looking forward to seeing his head on the hundredth post.

Then it was time for him to hide again. The man called to the fox. The fox led him to a spring. The fox jumped in and became a merchant. The man jumped in and became a sea-hare. The merchant took the sea-hare to the market where many people wondered over it. The princess happened to be at the market as well. She liked the sea-hare so much that she bought it. The merchant offered this advice to the man, he should crawl up behind the princess’s braid when she was performing her search.

The princess went home and began her search. She looked. She looked and looked. The sea-hare had crawled up behind her braid and hid there. The princess became so upset that she slammed the twelfth window down that all the windows in the castles busted to pieces.

The princess felt the sea-hare below her braid and grabbed it and threw it. The sea-hare went back to the fox and they both went back to the spring to regain their proper forms. The man went back to the castle where the princess married him and subjugated herself to a man. The man never told her that he had help hiding from her. She thought he did it on his own and was impressed.

The End

The Sea-HareObservations

Does anyone else think this is weird? I mean, that thing is a mollusk. I’m all about picking up snails and stuff, but…gross. I really want to hope that this story means some other kind of animal other than the one pictured up above, but from the research I did, that’s what these people meant when they said “sea-hare.”

This story is like a really demented game of hide and go seek. I can envision the movie now:

I can imagine it now. There is a woman called The Seeker who is black in the heart. She rules from her castle with twelve windows that look out on all directions. She entices men to gain control of her kingdom. They must simply survive a game of hide and seek with her. Little do they know that she has special vision and can see almost anything. Posts with heads line the road going up to the castle. Suitor number one, suitor number three, all the way up until ninety-seven. Three brothers are offered the task of subduing The Seeker by their father. It’s his final dying wish, that his three sons subdue the evil woman in the next kingdom over who says she needs no man. They go in together with all their brotherly love, but she finds firs the oldest brother and then the middle brother without even trying. It’s up to the youngest, probably named Hans, to survive and the subdue the princess. He has three spirit animals which appear to him along the way and help him to hide himself from the princess. The first two spirit animals fail, but the third helps the man transform into something he’s not. The man hides right under her nose and she doesn’t think to look there, so she loses. She has to cede her power and herself to the rule of a man.

I’m half-joking about “being subdued by a man” in this post, but I’m not joking on the other half. This princess knew that if she married she would be ruled over by a man. That’s how things went in that day and age. She knew she wouldn’t be able to make choices of her own. She had quite enjoyed ruling herself and wanted to continue. She became a bit violent in doing so. She was protecting herself and fighting with everything she had. She did not want to be subjugated by a man. She eventually lost as it was bound to happen because of the time period. She was a woman living in a world that was very much a man’s world.

She actually reminds me very much of Queen Elizabeth, not the current one, the red-headed one famed for being “The Virgin Queen.” Elizabeth chose to stay unmarried. She knew that a marriage on her part would leave her not ruling her country and could possibly put England in some very difficult places. She chose to keep her power by staying single. The virgin part was probably a load of crap. She was the queen she probably had a “pool boy” or a “stable boy,” who just happened to have a six-pack and arms of steel just hanging around, waiting, for when Elizabeth needed to see him in her private chambers… for… you know… business.

The Sea-HareThemes

She thought she knew everything. She thought she was untouchable, but she didn’t look right under her own nose. Her downfall came from inside. No one had ever thought to hide on the other side of her windows. Sure, she had good vision, but the windows were the tools she used to secure her victories. Without the windows, she was merely a woman who had sharp eyes.

We’ve mentioned this before, you’re not infallible. You may think you can do no wrong, but there will come a time when someone bests you. There will be someone can beat you at your own game. You may be on the top for a while, but the longer you stay, the more likely you are to topple.

This princess had her period of ruling just the way she wanted, but she became too sure of herself and it led to her downfall. What is the saying? “Pride goeth before the downfall,” I think it’s something like that anyway. She was scared of what might happen, but she was also sure of herself because of all the times she had won. There is nothing wrong with being confident in your abilities, but there will come a time when your confidence just isn’t enough. We don’t like to think about those times, but they do happen.

It’s kind of sad how this story was about the end of an era for a person. She wasn’t very nice: I’m not trying to make you get behind this princess as your role model, but it’s still sad that she fell. She had power. She had money. She had notoriety. She had her freedom. She had her gifts. She had kept all of these things through ninety-nine men, but then one comes along to change her life forever. It would be a love story anywhere else. Sometimes as women we give up a lot for “love” or what we think is “love.” Sometimes we’re right and it is love and sometimes we’re severely wrong, but we already gave up so much. We gave up what we were. We gave up our person. This is what happened to this princess. She didn’t necessarily give her person up for love, she gave it up because she got married. I seriously doubt this guy loved her. He knew of her terrible doings and most likely only married her for her wealth and status. They probably reached some kind of tolerance after a few years, but I doubt they were happily married at any point in their lives.

Overall

Who combines a story about a strange ocean mollusk with a blood-thirsty princess? Killer Snails!


 

The Water of Life

The Water of LifeSummary

The Water of Life is a self-explanatory title. This story has to do with a rumored fountain which brings forth healing waters and maybe even waters of immortality. It really depends on who you talk to. People have searched for the water of life for years, in fact, one of America’s main explorers, De Soto, was looking for the water of life when he came to the Americas, I’m sure gold and gemstones were welcome as well.

Once upon a time a king was sick nigh unto death. A cure could not be found for him. His sons lamented, but one day an old man told them there was a cure yet to be found. The water of life could heal their father. The oldest son wanted to go out in search of the water of life. He did so, at much protest from the father.

Along the way, he came to a path where he found a little man. The little man asked the eldest prince what he was doing. The eldest prince called the little man a pipsqueak, a shrimp to be precise, and told him it wasn’t any of his business. He traveled on up the road, but the mountains got so close, he was soon stuck and could not go forward, backward, or any way at all.

After a while, it was the second son’s turn to search for the water of life. He went down the same road and met the same little man. When the little man asked him what he was up to, the second prince replied that the little man was a shrimp and it wasn’t any of his business. The second brother rode on and was soon stuck in much the same manner as the first.

The third brother set out as well. He came to the little man, but when the little man asked him what he was doing, the youngest son did not reply by calling the man a shrimp. The third son informed the little man that he was searching for the water of life to heal his dying father and that his two brothers had gone before him. The little man said he would help the prince because he had not been a jerk. The little man says the water of life is in the courtyard of an enchanted castle. The prince must have an iron wand and two loaves of bread to get into the castle.

The prince must strike the wand three times against the iron door of the castle. This would cause the door to open, but there would be two lions there. He should throw a loaf each to the lions, they would be satisfied. He should hurry to fetch the water out of the fountain because he must be back outside of the castle before the hour struck twelve, otherwise, he would be stuck there. The prince did all of this, but got a little distracted once inside the castle.

He went into one room and found some enchanted princes, whose rings he stole. He found a sword and a loaf of bread in that room as well. He went further one and found a beautiful maiden. She kissed him and said that he had set her free. He should come back in a year so they could get married. She told him to hurry so he didn’t get stuck inside of the castle. He got the water, but saw a big beautiful bed on the way out of the castle. The sight of it made him weary and he stopped to rest. He was soon asleep, and woke up with only a few minutes to spare before the clock struck twelve. He raced out of the castle with his newly acquired items.

The little man was waiting for him. He told the prince that the sword would defeat any enemy and the loaf of bread would never lessen. The youngest prince asked after his older brothers and the little man told him they were stuck and could not be released. The youngest begged and begged for his older brothers to be set free and finally, the little man relented, but with a warning. The older brothers possessed dark hearts and the youngest should be very careful.

All three brothers made their way towards home. On the way they encountered a kingdom wracked by famine and warfare. The youngest used his never-ending loaf of bread to feed all of the people and lent the sword king of that land to defeat his enemies. The brothers encountered two more countries like this on their way home. They had to board a ship to sail home. While the youngest brother was sleeping aboard the ship, the older two brothers plotted. They surmised that if their brother showed up with the water of life and cured the king, the kingdom would be awarded to him. They switched out his water with seawater on the ship.

When they got home, the youngest brother tried to cure the king with his sea water, but the king was sicker than before. One of the older brothers swooped in with the water and cured the father. The father was glad to be well, but the older brothers told him that his youngest son had sought his life and had done nothing to help at all. The king issued a bounty on the son’s head. He sent his huntsman out with his son one day. The huntsman feels sorry for the son, so he doesn’t kill him. The huntsman and the prince switched clothes so no one would try to kill him.

The third prince went forth into the world. While he was gone, believed to be dead, three wagons of gold and jewels arrived as gratitude to the youngest son for saving the three kingdoms. The king thought that maybe he had made a mistake in having his son murdered and lamented it. The huntsman told the king that his son still lived and the king was happy. He sent forth a decree that his son would be welcomed back and forgiven.

Meanwhile, the princess who was the marry the prince had the road to her castle paved with gold. She told her servants that the first man who came straight towards her on top of the road, was the man for her. The first brother thought to marry the princess, but he thought it would be a shame for his horse to walk on top of the golden road, and thus, walked beside the road. He was turned away at the castle. The second brother did likewise and was also turned away. The third brother came and walked all over the golden road. The princess knew this was her man. They got married and the third son found out his father had forgiven him. He spilled his guts to the king about everything that had happened. The king wanted to punish the older two brothers, but they had already went to sea and no one heard from them again.

The End

The Water of LifeObservations

I have already mentioned that the water of life is a common theme in both stories and history. For a long time, people thought the water of life or the fountain of youth was a real thing. It’s not, you can quit hoping that it is. I do have to wonder why it is always some mythical water that can cure people. Why not mythical orange juice? Orange juice is pretty tasty, too bad it’s so high in sugar. Did you know that once upon a time, waters used to be touted as healing? I know we have been discussing this already, but really, in real life, not just some mythical fountain of youth. People would travel to various mineral-rich hot springs in order to treat their bodily ailments. Doctors used to recommend that people travel to take the waters in this place or that.

There was actually a bit of science to this. It wasn’t purely hogwash. There were times when people were deficient in various minerals and soaking in these mineral-rich waters helped them out. We tend to ignore that whole daily vitamin thing we keep hearing about, but it’s actually something you need. If your body does get deficient in various vitamins and minerals it can cause problems, like scurvy, but drinking some orange juice will fix that up. So the idea that water can be healing, isn’t entirely false.

A road paved of gold huh? That sounds familiar, you know, kind of like the yellow brick road? Baum was actually pushing a political agenda when he wrote his Oz series all about how he thought silver should be the money standard in the United States instead of gold. I don’t see this story pushing any political agenda by having a golden road. This story was only trying to make the point that the third brother was so smitten by his love that he didn’t even notice he was walking on a golden road.

The guy in this story gets distracted by a bed, sounds like someone I know.

The Water of LifeThemes

It’s not nice to call people names. The two older brothers in this tale call the little man names and are trapped for some time and also they don’t get any help. The little man knows how to help on this quest, but they just call him a shrimp and tell him it’s none of his business. Sometimes help can come from some unexpected places. Just because someone isn’t a big, tall, muscly Prince Charming doesn’t mean that he can’t rescue the girl.

There is  kind of a broad scope in this tale. The two older brothers are not punished by their father or by their kingdom. They are punished seemingly by no one, or let’s just go ahead and say that they’re punished by God or the universe, whichever you want to pick. Vengeance doesn’t happen. The king is not able to put vengeance out upon his two older sons. God does it or the universe does it. It’s really two things. This tale isn’t outright religious, but it’s still there. You do have to remember that the people passing these tales around were religious, maybe not going to mass everyday religious, but religious enough. They knew that A) in the Bible it says that God says vengeance is his and no one else’s and B) that people are eventually punished for their wrongdoings even if it’s not while they’re alive upon this Earth. We have to take comfort in the fact that one day those terrible bullies from middle school will be punished by God and not by us with our fantasies of running them over as their wife is leaving them for an overweight trucker, or whatever.

The king and his youngest son move on with their lives instead of obsessing over trying to get back at those who have wronged them. That is a nice message. It’s not an obvious message, which would be more helpful, but it’s still nice that it’s there. To live life, you have to move on after someone hurts you or does you wrong. It’s not something you can dwell upon, that’s a sure way to get an ulcer or an eye twitch. The king kind of wants to seek vengeance out, but forgets about it, no doubt, as he rejoices in the marriage of his son, and probably the birth of subsequent grandchildren.

Overall

It’s kind of a cute tale. I feel bad for the youngest son always getting the raw end of the deal as far as his brothers are concerned.


The Three Feathers

The Three FeathersSummary

The Three Feathers is going to sound quite familiar to you guys. It sounds awfully familiar to me. You will elements in this tale from recently analyzed tales, but you will also see something a little different from other tales. It’s quite the quirk.

Once upon a time there was a king who had three sons. The older two were clever, but the youngest was not so bright and was called….wait for it…Simpleton. Who knew?! Seriously, did you see that coming? The king was trying to decide which of his three sons would inherit the kingdom. He told his sons to go out into the world and bring him back the most beautiful carpet. No, I don’t know why he wanted a really beautiful carpet.

The king had three feathers which he blew into the air. He admonished each of his sons to follow a feather. One of the feathers went east. One of the feathers went west. The last feather simply drifted straight up then came back down to the ground. The two oldest brothers followed the east and west feathers while the youngest, Simpleton, sat down on the ground where the third feather had landed. His older brothers took the time to make fun of him before they left on their journeys.

The older brothers, figured that their younger brother could not possibly come back with a beautiful carpet and simply went to the first peasants they saw and asked for handkerchiefs as their carpets. Simpleton, had been sitting, but he noticed something. He noticed a trap door in the ground. He opened it. There were some steps that went down and down. He came to a door. He knocked at it. He heard somebody inside talking.

“Little green waiting-maid,

Waiting-maid with the limping leg,

Little dog of the limping leg,

Hop hither and thither,

And quickly see who is without.”

Simpleton was a bit surprised when the door opened to reveal a giant toad around which sad a bunch of little toads. The large toad asked what he wanted and he told her that he wanted the most beautiful carpet in all the world.

“Little green waiting-maid,

Waiting-maid with the limping leg,

Little dog of the limping leg,

Hop hither and thither,

And bring me the great Box.”

A young toad brought the great box and inside of it was the most beautiful carpet. It’s equal could not be matched.

All three brothers brought their findings back to the king. The older two their handkerchiefs and Simpleton, his beautiful carpet. The king said that Simpleton should be the next king. The older brothers weren’t pleased with this arrangement and begged their father to issue another challenge. He told them to bring back the most beautiful ring.  He, once again, blew his feathers out into the air. One went east. One went west. The last feather drifted up into the air and came back down. The oldest brothers took off east and west. Simpleton went down the trap door again.

The large toad asked what Simpleton wanted. He told her that he wanted the most beautiful ring. She had her little toads bring her the big box again. Inside was the most beautiful ring. It sparkled with jewels and the workmanship was so fine it could not be matched. The older two brothers knocked the nails out of an old carriage ring and took that to the king, but Simpleton came with his beautiful ring.

Once again, the king declares Simpleton the next heir, but the brothers begged for another challenge. The king said that whosoever brings back the most beautiful woman will inherit the kingdom. He blew his feathers into the air again. One went east. One went west. The other drifted up into the air and came back down again. The two oldest went their former ways and Simpleton went down the trapdoor again.

The toad asked him what he wanted. He told her that he wanted the most beautiful maiden. The large toad said that she wasn’t there at present, but she could take a message…I’m joking. She said that the most beautiful maiden was not there are the moment, but Simpleton could surely have her. The large toad gave simpleton a yellow turnip with six mice. Simpleton is simple, but he doesn’t quite get the turnip and mice. The large toad tells him to grab a little toad from her congregation and put it inside the turnip. He randomly grabs a little toad and places it inside the turnip.

The little toad had barely been in the turnip a moment before she turned into the most beautiful maiden. The turnip turned into a carriage and the mice turned into horses. Simpleton kissed the maiden and drove back with her, in the carriage to the king. The older two brothers had simply brought peasant women with them back to the king.

The king, again, declares Simpleton the next heir. The brothers aren’t happy about this and propose a new challenge.They propose that whichever maiden could jump through a hoop, that the man who brought that maiden would be king. The two peasant women were able to jump through the hoop, but stumbled on the way back down to the ground. Simpleton’s toad maiden, on the other hand, was able to jump through the hoop gracefully like a deer. Simpleton became king and ruled wisely for a length of time.

The End

The Three FeathersObservations

The girl is a toad, not the man, the girl. That’s quite interesting. I haven’t been seeing a lot of these fairy tale roles reversed in my study of the Grimm’s anthology. This is really the first instance, in which, I’ve seen a character type reversed. It’s interesting. Granted, it’s not exactly a frog, but a toad is close enough.

This story reminds me of the movie Stardust. It’s a great little movie, especially if you want to see Robert De Niro dressed in women’s clothing prancing around a room. In the beginning of the movie, the king sends his seven sons after his necklace. Whichever heir to the throne brings it back and turns it back to its original color, will be the next king. Both stories have that same sort of ring to them.

So many of these stories have royal brothers vying for the crown. It’s not a Grimm’s thing, it’s a history thing. That’s what happened. I’m sure in some areas of the world it still happens. We don’t foresee Prince Harry trying to knock Prince William off, but you never know. Brothers who were heirs to the crown, would kill each other. It’s happened many times. They would kill each other overtly or do it secretly. It’s happened over, and over, and over again. These stories are pointing out a very real and historically accurate tradition. It’s sad that it’s a tradition, but it’s very real.

There has got to be some sort of symbolism in the idea of east and west versus home. I don’t really know what that would be, but it definitely means something. We do tend to think of east and west of us as more exotic locations. East of me, is the Atlantic Ocean, which could be quite exotic I suppose. West of me, is the rest of the United States. Where I’m at is where I’m at. Back in the olden days, people didn’t travel too far from home, so anything east or west of themselves, was quite exciting and mysterious.

I like the toads. My brother and I used to go out at night with a flashlight and a bucket to catch toads. They come out at night looking for bugs and they’re quite easy to catch. I don’t know why we caught a bunch of toads, and, no, they do not cause warts, but we caught toads. It was an interesting past time. I’m still in the habit of picking up a toad every once in a while.

Part of me wonders if these were hallucinogenic toads. Toads usually don’t congregate together. They can actually have toxins in their skin that make you hallucinate, but usually that’s if you live in South America or Australia, where everything kills you. The behavior of these toads is odd. Why is there this congregation of toads underneath the castle? Is it like sacred toad land? Is the giant toad like a high priestess? Someone could have a lot of fun with this story.

Turnips were the first Jack-O’-lanterns. I just thought you should know.

All these poor third sons being called Simpleton has got to be a real drag for these boys. You can’t go around calling someone an idiot their entire lives and expect them to turn out normal. The story does state that Simpleton ruled for a length of time, not until he died, not happily ever after, but a length of time. This, to me, mean that he was deposed at some point. By who? His brothers of course. If Simpleton really does have some sort of cognitive disabilities, he is not fit to rule an entire kingdom. This probably became very evident when he ordered a national Bathe in Jello day for the entire kingdom. We don’t often look at the consequences of these stories. We don’t look at what happens after the end.

The Three FeathersThemes

Sometimes it pays to be the most humble. Simpleton is humble because he has been humiliated by his family. He’s humble because he doesn’t know any different. The story clearly states that he’s got a few screws loose. He’s humble because he doesn’t expect to succeed. He is blessed for his humility, but maybe it’s not the best blessing. I touched on this just a paragraph ago. He’s probably not mentally fit enough to rule a kingdom. If his brothers thought that he couldn’t find a carpet by himself, then he certainly cannot rule a kingdom. There is always the possibility that Simpleton is not simple, but maybe his mind doesn’t work the same way as the minds of his brothers and they think he is simple, but he’s not.

Maybe Simpleton turned out to be a great ruler who made wise decisions, but do you really want a person ruling your country who has been emotionally and verbally abused their entire life? On the other hand, do you want someone ruling your kingdom who has been verbally and mentally abusive to their own little brother his entire life? It’s a two-sided coin. You’re choosing between bad and worse, if you choose at all, because this isn’t a democracy it’s a monarchy.

People who are abused as children, even if it’s just verbal and mental abuse, do not magically transform into fully functioning adults when they hit a certain age or milestone. Simpleton is not going to transform into this amazing king whom everybody loves and respects simply because he made friends with some toads, who may or may not even be real. Simpleton is probably going to need some therapy, which wasn’t a thing during this time. So there would certainly be some cause for concern as far as Simpleton being the ruling power of this kingdom.

We have this idea of the underdog winning. It’s a nice sentiment and it is that, a sentiment. We usually associate the underdog with change or an underlying truth coming to light. If the underdog wins, it’s going to bring about change. If the underdog wins, someone has brought a harsh truth to light that the usual guys can’t explain away. We root for the underdog, ideally. We like the idea of the underdog. We like the idea of Clark Kent, a big dork, being Superman. We like to say that we like the underdog. We like to say we’re non-conformist or that we want Rand Paul to be president, whatever the case may be. People like to talk. That’s what a lot of all this underdog-rooting is, just talk.

People may express the desire for the underdog to win, but when it comes down to it, they don’t want the change. They don’t fully embrace the ideals. They’re too comfortable with the bubbles created by their usual guys. If you need examples, simply look at our most recent presidential election. People really wanted the “change” that Obama promised when he got elected the first time. That change didn’t happen or didn’t happen the way people expected, so people sought new leaders. Romney was nice, but he was a Mormon and that made him a huge underdog. Ron Paul also had some great ideas, but he wasn’t associated with the democratic party or the republican party and that made him weird and unusual to most people. Both Romney and Paul, ended up being underdogs. People talked a lot about how they liked either one, but did they make it happen?

Nope. Out of all that talk and all the campaigning, did the underdogs win? No. People stayed with what they were comfortable with.

Why did I bring a little bit of politics into this post? I did this to illustrate a point. This idea of the underdog winning, is far-fetched. It doesn’t happen in real life nearly as often as it happens in stories. That’s why these are fairy tales. We don’t get to have the underdog win very often in real life. Look at these people who have recently leaked government secrets. What happened to them? Prison and asylum in other countries. They were the underdogs and they did not win. We, as a society, don’t let the underdogs win. We want what’s comfortable. We want what’s already inside our bubble.

The people of this kingdom in this story, are expecting one of the older brothers to rule A) because they’re older and B) because they were the most likely candidates. They don’t expect the youngest brother to get anywhere near the throne because he’s not the oldest, he’s not likely, and he is simple. The entire kingdom knows about this through whispers, probably. They’re not going to be happy about this. They’re not going to be comfortable with this. In fact, all of these tales mentioning the underdog winning in the end, are probably not going to have great results. It’s just too different from normal life.

So, yes, I am calling “bull-crap” on stories like this.

Overall

I really liked the toads. I feel bad for this poor kid being called Simpleton. His real name is probably George or something, but everyone pretty much goes around calling him an idiot. That’s not an easy life for somebody. I also really liked the idea of the beautiful woman being a toad. That’s something to think about.


The Queen Bee

The Queen BeeSummary

The Queen Bee is a tale that holes some of the similarities to the tale of The Golden Bird. Both tales speak of three brothers who seek a quest, but the youngest, considered the family idiot, is the one to complete the task.

Once upon a time there were three brothers. The older two were lost in the world. The youngest, called Simpleton, set out to find them. The brothers were not lost in a geographic sense, they were lost because of their riotous living. When Simpleton found the brothers, they mocked him because he was simple and would not be able to find his own way in the world.

The three brothers traveled away together. They came to an ant hill. The older two brothers wanted to smash the anthill to watch all of the ants scatter and carry their eggs out. Simpleton told them, “Leave the creatures in peace, I will not suffer you to kill them.” The brothers went on their way without killing the ants. They came to a pond with many ducks. The older two brothers wanted to catch a couple of the ducks and roast them. The youngest brother said the same thing and the ducks were not harmed. At length they came to a beehive full of honey. The older brothers wanted to build a fire to smoke the bees out in order to get all of the honey, but Simpleton gave the same advice. The bees were not harmed.

After a while, the three  brothers came to a castle where there were stone horses in the stable. They went inside to all of the rooms. In one room they found a door with a glass pane in it. They could see inside the room and see a little old man. They called to him once, but he did not answer. They called to him a second time, but he did not answer. They called to him a third time, he did not say anything, but got up and let them in the room. He led them to a table that was  beautifully set. All the brothers ate their fill and were led to bedrooms for the night.

The next morning, the little man got the eldest brother. He brought him to a stone table on which were inscribed three challenges. If the challenges were completed the enchantment on the castle would be taken away.

The first task was to pick up a thousand pearls in the forest from the princess’s necklace. The eldest brother only found three. Because he failed, he was turned to stone. The next day, the second brother was tested, but he did not even find two hundred pearls. He was also turned to stone. The third day, it was Simpleton’s turn. Simpleton was soon overwhelmed with how difficult the task was. He sat down on a rock to cry. The king of the ants which he had saved from his brothers just happened to show up with five thousand ants. These ants gathered up all of the princess’s pearls and put them in a heap for Simpleton.

Simpleton had completed the first task. The second task was the fetch the key to the princess’s bedchamber. It was at the bottom of the lake. Because Simpleton had saved the ducks on the lake, the ducks dove down under the water and brought him the key. Simpleton had completed the second task. The third task was very difficult. There were three princesses and they all looked exactly alike. The only way to tell the difference between them, was by figuring out what they had eaten before they went to sleep. One daughter had eaten a bit of sugar, another had eaten syrup and the third had eaten honey. The daughter who had eaten honey was the youngest daughter to the king and was the daughter which must be sought out by Simpleton.

Because Simpleton had also saved a hive of bees, the queen of that hive came to his aid. She tasted the lips of all three of the daughters and stayed on the mouth of the daughter that had eaten the honey. Because Simpleton found the right princess, the enchantment was ended. Everyone who had been turned to stone was alive again. Simpleton married the youngest daughter and the older brothers married the two older sisters.

The End

The Queen BeeObservations

This story does remind me of The Golden Bird. Simpleton and the youngest son in that tale were both thought to be a few crayons short of a box, but they did accomplish great things despite their simplicity. The older brothers in each tale looked down on their youngest brother. I am kind of glad all the brothers in this tale lived. I was getting depressed with all these siblings dying because of their ill-deeds.

This story is really more theme heavy and is too like other tales to really have many observations.

I will say that any family who decides to call one of the children “Simpleton” isn’t very nice. There is probably some emotional abuse going on in that household.

The Queen BeeThemes

This tale is three-heavy. I think I’m going to make that a new word, well, at least a new word for me. Someday, maybe, I’ll write a dictionary according to me, not that many people would be interested in such a thing. We have three brothers. They try to kill three things. They have three chances. There are three tasks. There are three sisters. Three, three, three, and… oh yeah, three. We’ve already established three as this number of completeness. It’s a number of proving. When three things are performed, a result can happen.

We have this recurring theme that you should not be cruel to animal life. It’s here again and, this time, it’s even more extreme than some of the other tales in which we’ve encountered the theme. Usually, we’re talking about dogs or a donkey, or whatever, but this tale has us talking about ducks, ants, and bees. Some of us can understand the duck thing. We don’t go around killing ducks generally. If you saw a duck, your first thought would probably not be to kill it. You would more likely feed it bread by the pond. I do say that as a generality, of course, there are people who do hunt ducks and their first thought would be to actually kill it.

As far as the bees and ants, most of us aren’t very fond of bees an ants. They both bite/sting and it freaking hurts. If you see an ant nest in your yard, your first thought is to demolish it. For the past two years, it has been my pleasure to get my water hose and spray the little ant colonies ants try to create in my driveway. If I spray them enough times, they either are so demoralized or they have lost so many of their numbers that they simply give up trying to live there. I’m not exactly a champion of ants. I just poisoned some with boric acid a couple of weeks ago.

Even though I’m quite the ant murderer, I do get what this story is saying. These are still living creatures. You’re not supposed to kill them for the heck of it. You’re not supposed to hold magnifying glasses over them on a sunny day and watch them burn.

The bees are something I am kinder towards. I haven’t been stung in years, so that’s probably why I’ve been kinder to them. Bees pollinate flowers including the flowers that make your food. They also make honey, which tastes great, so I tend to let bees do their own thing. There are people who freaking hate bees though and will kill any type of bee-looking thing. Is it a yellow jacket? Is it a hornet? Is it a honey bee? They don’t care. It’s dead. There are people who will kill bees for the heck of it, even though they totally shouldn’t because we’re having a bit of a bee shortage these days. These people are jerks. Bees aren’t cuddly. You’re not going to have pet bees. You’re not going to get a bee hive for your kids. Bees are not really an animal that you would consider a cause to champion for, yes, bees are technically in the kingdom of animalia, they are animals, insects are under the umbrella of animalia. One a side note, spiders are not insects, they’re arachnids, still animals, but not insects.

Most of us don’t look at insects in the same way that we look at kittens, which is totally fine with me. As a result, we don’t feel the same kind of pity for insects, which isn’t that big of a deal in our every day lives, but if you’re a nature-loving person, it might be something that gets to you. It might irritate you a little that life, even a small life, isn’t respected. This story just goes to show us  that life if life. Death is death and torture is torture.

Good deeds are good to do. If you do a good deed, the person who receives that deed might pay you back, or they might pass the deed on. It happens. Good things can happen when people do good things. This youngest brother, Simpleton, saves these animals from his brothers’ wrath and cruelty, and is paid back. These animals come to help him when he needed it most. That’s just a great story right there.

Overall

This story isn’t heavy on culture, history, or politics, but it is heavy on morals. We should respect all forms of life. We should do good deeds to people. We also should not assume that just because a person is simple that they cannot do great things. I like this story. It’s cute and clever in ways that many stories aren’t.