Today, February 26th, is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day! I was delighted to learn that fairy tales had their own holiday, and for once, Murphy’s Law didn’t trip me up. Normally, I’d find out about this sort of thing only after it passed, but I actually came across this info a week ago. I’m still enjoying that. 🙂
As a child I loved fairy tales, and I never quite outgrew them. In fact, filling in the plot holes and expanding the characterization became the basis for the first seven novels I wrote, although I put quite a bit of my own stuff in there as well. I ended up penning an entire trilogy to tell my version of Hansel and Gretel.
But I still enjoy rereading the originals, especially the work of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. And with all the stuff out there about #OurOwnVoices, fairy tales are something I can truly claim. Since I’m of mixed European descent (Irish, French, English, German, Swedish), these stories are my cultural heritage.
The point of the day is to tell someone a fairy tale, but I don’t dare here. I started writing one for you, and it took off and started having a life of its own. If you’re interested, it’s based off Grimm’s “The Golden Key,” which wasn’t even an entire tale (really, it was more like a story prompt–it was just begging to be finished). Once I set the story in a remote valley just after WWI in Germany, named the main characters Dieter and Gerda, and filled in the plot holes, it had grown well beyond flash fiction. It might even end up being a novelette.
And forget actually telling you my favorite fairy tale here because I’ve already tried that–and the draft ended up being a duology that clocked in at about 230,000 words. I even took a road trip to write it, since I set my story on the California Trail. I live at the very end of it, in gold country, but I’d never traveled the entire route before, and I couldn’t truly picture it just from images on the internet. I had to walk the ground. We even burned cow chips in our campfire, buffalo chips being in short supply these days. Hey, when I research something, I don’t hold back.
But if you’re interested to know what my favorite fairy tale is, then it’s “Snow White and Rose Red,” also by Grimm, which has nothing at all to do with the more famous “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” However, I do have a link for you, for a site that has more restraint than me and will just stick to the canonical version: https://www.worldoftales.com/fairy_tales/Brothers_Grimm/Grimm_fairy_stories/Snow-White_And_Rose-Red.html.
If I were to describe the original, I’d lift a line from Tolkien and use Treebeard’s description of an Elvish song, “…lighthearted, quick worded, and soon over.”
As an aside to all the bloggers reading this, if you’re looking for a blog post and you’re stumped (it happens to the best of us), I highly recommend popping into the site where I learned about Tell a Fairy Tale Day in the first place, National Day Calendar (https://nationaldaycalendar.com/) It lists American holidays, but they have an international version, too, and really, some of these holidays are so much fun that I don’t think anyone will care.
This is a very small sample of the quirky days from just this month:
- National Carrot Cake Day
- Create a Vacuum Day
- World Nutella Day
- National Kite Flying Day
- National Umbrella Day
- Do a Grouch a Favor Day
- Random Acts of Kindness Day
- National Margarita Day, and
- Public Sleeping Day
You need never run short of ideas again, especially if you like to cook, although in my case Carrot Cake Day would be more likely to include a funny story about a cake misadventure we had while camping. That holiday was earlier this month, but I hope I’ll remember to check it in time next year.
But since today is all about fairy tales, I’d like to hear from all of you on the subject. What’s been your favorite fairy tale, fable, myth, or legend? 🙂