The Clusmy Beauty and Her Aunts

This particular story comes from Celtic Lore- which a bit of light research shows me that it varies somewhat. In one story I read, the Beautiful Girl was clumsy and hapless- while in another she was simply lazy. Either way, the message of this story is questionable at best.

Let’s start with the Beautiful Girl, the daughter of a hardworking woman. Her mother was a decent talent at the spinning wheel. Good enough to support herself and her daughter at least. And once again no one has a name.. least of all the PROTAGONIST.

Now the mother, knowing that men get all hot under the collar for a woman who is good behind a spinning wheel, not a euphemism- apparently this was a desirable skill for a bride-to-be.  So like the future Mrs. Bennet, she tried to teach her daughter how to use a spinning wheel.

Here’s where things get a bit… muddled. The nicer interpretation tells of the straw breaking, the needle breaking, and basically everything falls apart whenever the Beautiful Girl tries to spin straw into thread. However, I am more inclined to believe that *cough* laziness was the root cause of the girl’s issue.

Either way, she could not spin thread, weave it into sheets, or sew it into shirts. No matter how desirable those skills may have been to her mother or any future suitors, that wasn’t happening.

Knowing this, what do you think happens when a Handsome Prince rides up and notices the Beautiful Girl?

At this time, the Beautiful Girl was getting a proper tongue lashing from her mother, which was probably justly deserved. And the Prince had to stop and defend the poor Beautiful Girl. Because her life is so hard… okay it was probably actually kind of hard being poor and all- but like she was pretty and she had the option to be lazy so it couldn’t have been too backbreaking.

Now the mother, upon seeing the Prince, she realized a few things. 1) He was the Prince, 2) He was in want of a wife, and 3) Would-be husbands love fiances who know how to make a shirt. So when he said,

“You must have a very bad child to make you scold so terribly. Sure it can’t be this handsome girl that vexed you!” Because pretty people can’t possibly be bad, what??

“Oh, please your Majesty, not at all,” She lied, “I was only checking her for working herself too much. Would your majesty believe it? She spins three pounds of flax in a day, weaves it into linen the next, and makes it all into shirts the day after.”

I have to wonder what her big plan was here. Like if you say she can do these things- do you think they’ll expect her to actually spin the thread and so on? What happens when her daughter can’t cash the checks she’s been writing?

“My gracious,” says the Prince, “she’s the very lady that will just fill my mother’s eye, and herself’s the greatest spinner in the kingdom. Will you put on your daughter’s bonnet and cloak, if you please, ma’am, and set her behind me?”

And with great delight the mother sent her daughter off with the Prince. Because he’s a Prince, there’s nothing potentially dangerous about this, whaaaat? Obviously, if he’s rich and powerful, he can’t be a bad guy.

Once he arrived at the castle, his mother was a bit shocked by the girl’s arrival. A poor peasant girl riding with the crowned prince was not a common sight. But she was beautiful after all, and if she was as good a spinner as her son claimed, that she might prove to be princess-material. Like I said, being good with a spinning wheel does wonders for a girl’s chances of getting married. 

Whilst talking with the Prince, the Beautiful Girl learned that if she wanted to marry him, impressing mother-dearest was the way to do it. Nevermind that she barely knows him- she could be a freaking princess. So when the queen requested she spin three pounds of flax into thread within two days… well the Beautiful Girl was less than excited. But she HAD to do it.

She was in quite a pickle- crying, saying “whoa is me,” the whole bit. The thread broke no matter how much she tried- it was impossible. At least until an old woman appeared, Colliagh Cushmōr was her name, which meant- Old woman Big-foot. And as she had quite giant feet, it was an adept name.

Now like the familiar Rumplestiltskin- Colliagh Cushmōr had a deal for her. She would spin the thread in exchange for coming to the Beautiful Girl’s wedding to the Prince. Putting the cart before the horse a bit, but hey, the Girl had nothing to lose. Of course she agreed and the flax was turned into thread just in time. The Queen was quite impressed. She had a good work and life balance, so they took the day off before the next challenge of weaving the threat was presented.

When it came time to weave, of course she hadn’t a clue. Threads were tangled, the mechanism was like nothing she had never seen. But who could come along but… Colliach Cromanmōr. Sister to Colliach Cushmōr, who wanted nothing more than to come to the wedding as well. She’d weave the thread for the girl. Like her sister, she was a bit off- she “was mighty well-shouldered about the hips,” aka, she had quite a pear shape going.

The results were astounding, the Queen was impressed. She promised, should she make a proper shirt for the Prince, the Beautiful Girl could be married to him soon. And after spending a few days with the guy, that was all she ever wanted. For a poor, lazy girl, the servants, nice clothes, and good food might have also had something to do with that. 

Now guess what? No one appeared, the Beautiful Girl lost the man because for once she was done in by her flaws? Please, what kind of fairytale would that be? Nope, another sister- one with a big, red nose named Shron Mor Rua (the woman, not the nose). A dozen fine shirts were made, and everyone was ready to party.

The wedding was grand affair, but the Beautiful Girl’s mother-in-law being a bit of a nut, kept talking about all the sewing and spinning they’d do together. The jigs up hon, if she wants to see you weave, you’re done for. 

But the Beautiful Girl’s little friends had one more favor to do for her.

A footman came up and said to the bride, “Your ladyship’s aunt, Colliach Cushmōr, bade me ask might she come in.” The bride blushed and wished she was seven miles under the floor, but well became the prince. “Tell Mrs. Cushmōr,” said he, “that any relation of my bride’s will be always heartily welcome wherever she and I are.”

In came the woman with the big foot, and got a seat near the prince. The old queen didn’t like it much, and after a few words she asked rather spitefully, “Dear ma’am, what’s the reason your foot is so big?” “Musha, faith, your majesty, I was standing almost all my life at the spinning-wheel, and that’s the reason.” “I declare to you, my darling,” said the prince, “I’ll never allow you to spend one hour at the same spinning-wheel.”

If you haven’t guessed it, that’s exactly what happened with the other “Aunts.”

“May I ask, ma’am?” says the old queen, “why you’re so wide half-way between the head and the feet?” Rude.“That, your majesty, is owing to sitting all my life at the loom.”

“Ma’am,” says the old queen, “will you tell us, if you please, why your nose is so big and red?” Did no one teach this woman some manners? “Throth, your majesty, my head was bent down over the stitching all my life, and all the blood in my body ran into my nose.”

“My darling,” said the prince to Anty, “if ever I see a needle in your hand, I’ll run a hundred miles from you.” Wow he’s dramatic. 

And so the Princess never had to spin, weave, or sew ever and she lived happily-ever-after with her Prince.

So the lesson here is to lie, procrastinate, and be pretty because then you’ll always get your way. Great lesson. 

Actually, the interpretation was that you should not be lazy and procrastinate like the Beautiful Girl- since chances are you are not so pretty and are not lucky enough to have three powerful fairies on your side. Personally I find that a bit of a stretch, but whatever helps you sleep at night.

The end.

 

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Goose Girl Pt. 2

 

And back to the story! In case you need a reminder, Goose Boy Curdken is a creep trying to snag a piece of the Princess’s hair.

But, luckily the Princess cried,

“Blow, breezes, blow! Let Curdken’s hat go! Blow, breezes, blow! Let him after it go! O’er hills, dales, and rocks, away be it whirl’d, till the golden locks are all comb’d and curl’d”

So obviously the girl just needed a little time to herself to do her hair. And the wind blew so strong that it pulled Curdken’s hat off his head and it flew away. He chased after it and he didn’t come back until after she finished putting up her hair.

The girl can control the wind. The freaking Princess can tell the wind when to blow and how hard. How is she possibly afraid of a Waiting Maid? She has magic powers for goodness sake!

When Curdken came back he was quite sulky and mad. Serves you right dude. As they went home, the Princess called to Falada, reminder she’s supposed to be dead, 

“Falada, Falada, there thou art hanging!”

Falada answered,

“Bride, bride, there thou are ganging! Alas! Alas! If thy mother knew it, sadly, sadly her heart would rue it!”

Now since Falada can still magically talk, you’d think she’d be trying to tell SOMEONE that the Princess is actually the Goose Girl. But no, she just feels sad for her and rhymes dramatically. 

If think we’ve reached the part of the story where things start to get really interesting because the Princess now has weird wind magic… you’re wrong. The next day is a repeat of yesterday’s events. Curdken acts like a creep, the Princess has the wind blow his hat away while she finishes doing her hair, and she talks to Falada on the wall as they head home.

Now Curdken has had enough. The Goose Girl won’t let him harass her, she keeps talking to a magical decapitated horse- who wouldn’t go to his boss and complain. Sarcasm people, sarcasm. So Curdken apparently has the kind of pull to go complain to the King and go,

“Dude, I can’t work with her. She’s always crying and talking to that head of a horse hanging upon the wall.” Paraphrasing. 

“And the head answers, ‘Bride, bride, there thou are ganging! Alas! Alas! If thy mother knew it, sadly, sadly her heart would rue it!'”

Here is where I imagine the King going, “Um… the DEAD horse? Like the decapitated horse head on the wall? It can TALK? What are you smoking?” Then, after a moment go, “Wait, bride? Like the Princess my son is supposed to marry?”

So like any logical king, our dear old King told Curdken to go about his business and he would watch it all unfold. Because he totally has nothing better to do than invest in the wild stories of his Goose Guy. Doesn’t he have people to do this for him?

And it all unfolds just as Curdken told him- although he did conveniently leave out the part about him trying to steal a lock of the poor girl’s hair.

Dear old King decided to call the Goose Girl aside and asked her why she talked to Falada. Why does no one care about the wind magic?! Like all good heroines, the Princess… burst into tears and said she would lose her life if she told him.

But he begged so hard, she gave in and told him the truth. Because that’s totally the lesson we want to children to learn. Beg and whine until you get what you want. He ordered royal clothes, that were somehow magically in her size and totally fit, and gazed upon her beauty. Now I understand why he gets on so well with Curdken. He’s an older creep taking a younger creep under his wing.

The King told his son the whole story, that his new fiance was actually a waiting maid. Who at least had a spine and a brain… but you know the real Princess is pretty and humble so that makes everything better.

Here is where the nefarious plot began. A grand feast was prepared. At the head of the table stood the Young King, the Waiting Maid in disguise, and the real Princess. That had to be some awkward dinner conversation since the Waiting Maid doesn’t know she’s been had. Everyone whispered about the beautiful girl- no one recognizing her as the Goose Girl.

After everyone ate and drank their fill, the Old King stood up and pulled the old Hamlet trick. He told a story about how a Princess was threatened into giving her clothes and status to her Maid. The Maid was to be married to a handsome prince while the Princess would be left with nothing. It was all very dramatic I’m sure.

Then the Old King turned to the Waiting Maid and asked her what the Maid’s punishment should be. Her response?

“Nothing better than that she should be thrown into a cask stuck around with sharp nails, and the two while horses should be put to it, and should drag it from street to street till she is dead.”

Tell us how you really feel. 

To which the Old King went, “Thou art she! And since thou hast judged thyself, it shall so done to thee.”

Now if the Princess was such a good and humble person, I feel like she should have interjected here. Like I know what she did was kind of bad- but that’s one painful death! Couldn’t she just get off with a few decades in the dungeon? But nooo, the Princess was secretly #bloodthirsty.

Then the Young King was married to his true wife, and they reigned over the kingdom in peace and happiness all their lives.

Peace if you don’t count the screams of the Waiting Maid you condemned to a violent death… But you know, the bland as white bread Princess was pretty and humble. And had wind magic. 

The End.

The Goose Girl Pt. 1

This story comes from the Grimm Brothers fairy tales. My personal sarcastic remarks will be in italics. 

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Princess loved by her mother the queen. She was super pretty and stuff, really loved by her mother and the people. Because of course. So the Princess was engaged to a far off prince since she born. And the time came that she needed to go marry him.

Her mother sent her off with golden this and that- jewels, cups, you name it, she has it. And a waiting-maid because she is a princess after all. Now there is no mention that anyone else went them. No knights, no servant- how are they traveling basically alone through foreign territory. How does no one see this as a problem?

Now the mother sent her daughter off with a lock of her hair. Theoretically, it’s a charm that can help her somewhere down the road. Oh, and she sent her off with a talking horse named Falada. How can the horse talk? Why is she the first character in this story with a name? Who knows. And off they went.

As people do need water to survive, at some point during the journey, the Princess wanted a drink of water from the stream. She asked her Waiting-maid to use her gold chalice to get her some to drink. And the Waiting-maid said,

“Get it yourself.” Yup, quality service here. Who vetted this girl? 

And the frightened Princess, coward, got off her horse and didn’t even bother with the chalice. She just stuck her head into the water. This happened twice on their journey.  And the second time, out came her mother’s lock of hair. Because she put in between her boobs. Like all that gold and silver and she didn’t even spring for a locket. And the hair said, yes, the hair talks,

“Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it, sadly, sadly her heart would rue it.”

At this point, the Waiting-maid realized the Princess was in her power. Because the hair apparently was magical and protected the Princess?? It’s not clear. By the end of the journey, the Princess had switched clothes and horses with the Waiting-maid. The servant girl threatened to kill the Princess should she reveal her true identity as they set off towards the Prince’s castle.

Here’s where Falada comes in- she saw the entire exchange. Which is why the Waiting-maid was greeted like the Princess as the Prince’s castle, she promptly ordered to have Falada killed. She’s one smart cookie that way.  She told the King that her beautiful companion was just a servant she kept as company on her journey- he should give her some kind of job. I mean she’s an equal opportunity villain, I guess. 

Now the Princess didn’t just sit there quietly and do what she was told. She asked they cut off the head of dear Falada and hang her up on the gate near where she worked. Remind me not to be this girl’s friend. And like, really? This is what you do? You are the Princess- do something! 

The King didn’t actually have a job for the Princess, but he figured she could help his guy who herds his geese. Because every kingdom has a geese guy. Duh. So she became the meek, humble, and gentle Goose Girl. Obviously, those were the important things. Go on, stay a Goose Girl because at least you are meek and humble. 

So apparently the Princess didn’t mind the goose herding too much. Sure the pay was probably minimal and her standard of living went way down- but the Waiting Maid wasn’t going to kill her. And I am lead to the conclusion that the Waiting Maid must have been a ninja or something to make her so afraid. The only real downside was Curdken- the goose boy.

Why does Curdken have a name? Why does the talking horse have a name? Why doesn’t the freaking main character of this story have a name besides Princess? We will never know. 

Now chances are Curdken was not much good at anything if his only job in the entire world was herding the King’s geese. Personally, I always imagined him having a short and wide build, dull blond hair that covers his eyes in that kind of bowl cut look, freckles, and teeth ever too slightly large for his mouth. But to each his own.

The other reason that Curdken was probably given the job goose boy was to keep him out of trouble with normal human beings. Like it might actually be a pretty adept job description for him once we get to this next part.

When the Princess would wait for the geese to you know- run around, eat, do whatever it is geese do- she’d comb her hair. I get it, she’s bored, she let down her waving locks of hair, “which were all of pure gold.” And Curdken saw this, his first reaction was to run over to her and try to pull out some of her hair. The guy’s a creep. 

So you want to know what happens next?? Stay tuned for Part 2 in a couple days!

 

New Idea

Since entering college, I have been researching fairy tales for one reason or another. At first if was out of pure curiosity- spurred by my new love of Into the Woods. But now I have several stories- currently a play and graphic novel- that exist in fairy tale style worlds.

Soon I’ll have research a plenty for dozens of different sources- not just the Grimm Brothers. There are more writers of fairy tales than those cheeky German brothers.

Now as much as I love Disney, everyone who has read one original fairy tale knows that the stories have been sanitized and rewritten to be happier and age appropriate.

Here’s where I come in. Instead of blogging constantly about my random musing- which I will anyway- I will devote at least one post a week about a fairy tale and pointing out just how messed up they really are.

Stay tuned.

Celebrity Crushes

Ah yes, the celebrity crush. The thing most teenage girls are mocked for. The reason why female celebrities have restraining orders against half the male population. That may be an alternative fact. But you get my point. Celebrity crushes tend to be either immature or creepy. There is almost nothing in between.

However, by mocking these celebrity crushes, media has overlooked the positive aspects of a celebrity crush. Like the fact that it gives young girls a safe space to imagine and dream about an ideal man in a romantic way- without the pressure, and disappointing reality of teenage boys.

Most teenage boys are not going to be sweet, patient, and kind. Most of them are not traditionally handsome with muscles and acne free faces. Also, not all of them are amazingly talented singers or dancers.

Because they are normal teenage boys. They haven’t spent their entire lives training as a singer or dancer. They don’t have the money to invest in acne treatments or time necessary to develop a vast array of muscles. A vast majority of them can barely finish their homework and get enough sleep at night.

But tween and teen girls need that dream crush. It’s a way to start sorting out feelings and understanding sexuality. It feels fairly accurate to say that a good number of my LGBT+ figured out their sexuality in part from- celebrity crushes.

For many of my friends, Kate McKinnon is both a celebrity crush and a role model. She’s a talented, funny, beautiful, and openly lesbian woman. And that means the world to so many people who are struggling to find themselves. Which is pretty amazing.

Other times, having a celebrity crush acts as a coping mechanism for being single. For example, while you may not have someone to go home to at the end of the day- you can at least watch your celeb crush in a video or on TV. It’s not quite in the same ballpark as an actual relationship- but when you get tired of a celebrity crush, it’s a much cleaner break up.

Now where celebrity crushes really become dangerous, are when they become obsessions. It’s one thing to spend a couple hundred dollars to go to your fav’s concert. It’s another to buy their used kleenx. Going out to LA and hoping to see them around is fine. Breaking into their house, not so much.

It’s finding that line between reality and fiction. For some people, it’s an easy line to warp. And for others, playing in fiction is a way of coping and understanding the world in a safe way.

So media may continue to mock in the faces of teenage girls and their interests, know that sometimes they just need to figure out the world in their own way. Because if you’ve been a teenage girl, you know it’s not fun. And sometimes the safety of your own imagination is all that can protect you.

Dedicated

What does it mean to be dedicated? To be a hard worker?

I mean it was hard work for me to get out of bed this morning. I was so comfortable, and once I was scrolling through Facebook or watching cooking videos on YouTube, what more could a person possibly want?

But some- okay- most people cannot appreciate the Herculean effort that comes from getting out of bed. In fact, in an age where jobs, specifically well-paying jobs in the arts, are hard to come by, everyone is a hard worker.

Everyone has to work harder than the other guy, be dedicated and stubborn, and determined. And as a person who has few other skills to claim besides being a “hard worker” and perhaps one of the most quietly determined people you will ever meet- I am offended.

And before you ask, yes, I am quiet. In real life. Most of the time.

So now job seekers have to get up earlier, spend more time in college (accruing more debt) to get a specialized masters degree in who-knows-what, along with taking just about any internship that comes our way in an attempt to prove that we are talented and hardworking.

Which, just so you know, in the arts- your lovely internship is probably not paid. Or if it’s a stipend, it’s about one to three dollars an hour. Congrats though on getting that boring job that no one wants, which most likely is not what you actually want to do, and essentially acts as a place-holder on your resume. Good job, great hustle.

As a writer, I can’t help wondering… how the heck do I get an internship that allows me to- well-write! I’m assuming my preferred idea of getting a job writing short scripts about wizards and dragons is out- but surely I can manage a position writing for a magazine of some sort.

No? No. Okay. That’s cool. I’ll take the social media internships then along with random pre-production internships if I can get my paws on them. Which I normally can’t. And they never email me back. Hmmm… It’s almost like they don’t like me.

But all kidding aside, I am a hard worker- like the majority of the population. And I am dedicated. I have been writing at least since high school, I have at least four feature scripts under my belt along with countless shorter ones. I’ve even succumbed to the pressure of actually reading my unused school books about “How to Write” (essentially).

So how does one stand out beyond the crowd? Fight to leave their mark on this world with their wit and wisdom?

Well I don’t want all that. That’s so much pressure. I’ll settle for being gainfully employed for more than minimum wage.

Perhaps that is my skill beyond all others. I will be dedicated to finding a perfectly fine job that keeps me above the poverty line and writing.

Myths, magic, and legends would be the favored topics, but I don’t want to sound greedy.