Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fairy Tale Variations

Over the course of the last several months, I've been outlining a fairy tale retelling. It had been a long time since I'd read the fairy tale, but I thought it was a little known variation of East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Nope. With a little help from my mother-in-law, I discovered that the tale is actually called The Unusual Nightingale. And while there are quite a few retellings of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, I haven't been able to find one for The Unusual Nightingale.

Yes, this makes me happy.

Why did I make the mistake in the first place? There are a lot of similarities between the two fairy tales. The Unusual Nightingale begins more like Beauty and the Beast, but the ending is more like East of the Sun, West of the Moon. And the story that I've been outlining isn't really any of them. It has bits of a nursery rhyme and an old story that inspired Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, and I'm searching for a historical culture that I can anchor it in. I don't know how much of the fairy tale will be left when I've written and revised it, but it's a good place to begin. How many variations of Cinderella are there?

Do YOU have a favorite fairy tale?


  1. I'm considering various fairy tales now, more for inspiration than a retelling. I need to look up this one!

  2. Oh, I love fairy-tale retellings! (Duh.) And it's obvious that there can't be too many of any one because I think there are something like 5000 versions of Cinderella. Have fun!

  3. I love fairy tales and retellings.

    My favorites are Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin.

  4. I've heard of The Emperor's Nightingale, but not The Unusual Nightingale. Have fun creating your own version. I've never tried to do that, but I do love fairy tales, especially Rapunzel and Beauty and the Beast and The Snow Queen (the original versions, I mean).

  5. Probably Beauty and the Beast and The Ugly Duckling.
    Rapunzel and Rumpelstilstkin, too.


  6. Awww, I love fairytales!!! I can't really pick a favorite, although I like the Italian Cinderella. I was working on a Snow White retelling for a dwarf in love for a little while.

    But anyway, here I am, to thank you for your sweet comment on my MSFV entry! You were very kind.

    Good luck on your WIPs!

  7. This sounds like so much fun! I love little-known fairy tales.

  8. I have started reading Narnia, though it is a bit late....

    1. I don't think it's ever too late to read those ones. I'm reading them to my kids right now.

  9. I've never actually read "The Unusual Nightingale" that I can recall so now I'm curious about that.

    As to your Cinderella question, there are a lot of versions of Cinderella, nearly every country probably has a few different ones....

    I like two of the Russian versions which include a tale in which the protagonist is sent by her wicked step mother to work for Baba Yaga. There's also another version in which she gets help from a Birch Tree, rather than a fairy god mother.
    There's also an Estonian versions "Tuhkatriinu" in which the girl wants to go to church and so goes to her mothers grave to get her mothers spirit to give her the clothes.

    In other stories an animal or a river takes the Cinderella characters shoe to the King (or Princess in one version in which Cinderella is a boy) and than they set out on a journey to find the owner.