Jul 29, 2010

Rispetto

The Rispetto is a 15th century Italian verse form. The name was taken from the purpose of the poetry, which was the poet paying respects to his lady love.

It consists of two rhyme quatrains with strict meter. The meter is usually iambic tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of ababccdd, abababcc, or abab cddc. A Heroic Rispetto is written in iambic pentameter, usually featuring the same rhyme scheme.

Meter is the organization of speech rhythms (stresses) into regular patterns. Poetry is organized by the division of each line of verse into "feet," metric units which each consist of a particular arrangement of strong and weak stresses. The most common metric unit is the iambic foot, in which an unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed one.

Meter is also determined by the number of feet in a line. A line with five feet is called pentameter; thus, a line of five iambs is known as "iambic pentameter" (the most common metrical form in English poetry).

The most common line lengths are:
trimeter: three feet
tetrameter: four feet
pentameter: five feet
hexameter: six feet (an "Alexandrine" when iambic)
heptameter: seven feet (a "fourteener" when iambic)

Though typically the Rispetto only had one stanza, it was not uncommon to have more. I, of course, chose to stick with one for my example. :-)


Unfated

We met by chance, it was not planned;
A glance, a touch, and we were lost
There’s no denying love’s demand -
We did not think about the cost.
We should have known life isn’t fair
When perfect love became despair;
Two lovers torn apart again,
Where once was love is naught but pain.

Jul 27, 2010

Fairy Tale Origins - Part XI
Cinderella, Part Two

For part one, go HERE


When someone talks about a “fairy tale ending” they’re almost always referring to the story of Cinderella. How many little girls dream of rising up and becoming a beautiful princess? And who doesn’t want to live happily ever after?

This story has been told across cultures for thousands of years before being made into numerous Hollywood movies. The identity of the Fairy Godmother changes often, and in fact she first showed up in Perrault's version, along with the pumpkin coach and the mice attendants which were all used in the Disney version.

One thing the early versions have in common, is that they revolve around the death of the true mother and the entrance of the wicked step-mother with her own daughters. The step-child is treated like a slave, while the step-sisters live in luxury. There is no fairy godmother to save the day, just the powerful magic of the dead.

Some scholars believe Perrault confused "vair" (an Old French word for "ermine or fur") with "verre" (Old French for "glass") when describing Cinderella’s shoes. Of course a prince looking for the owner of a “glass” slipper is very different from a prince who’s looking for the girl with the perfect “fur” slipper. Perhaps the prince wasn’t so noble after all. Other scholars believe that the tiny glass slipper can be equated to a small vagina, symbolizing virginity and the midnight curfew a taboo on pre-marital sex.

As with most fairy tales, the father is an ambiguous figure at best. Is he so blind that he can’t see what’s being done to his first daughter? Or does he just not want to cause disharmony in his new household? Yet he is the underlying, organizing principle. Without the absent father, there would have been no conflict, and therefore no story, much as in Snow White.

It’s not surprising that the Victorians preferred Perrault’s version of the fairy tale. It was a gentler, more elegant story. Cinderella is more virtuous, and less clearly self-motivated. The step-sisters are not obsessively cruel, merely vain and selfish. Not only does Cinderella forgive them in the end, she also finds husbands for them.

At its heart, Cinderella is a story concerned with relationships between women: between Cinderella and her mother; between the step-mother and her daughters; and between Cinderella and her step-family. It is not to her father that Cinderella turns for help — help must come from another source, such as the mother's ghost or the bones of a fish; a giant stork in a Javanese version; a talking doll in a Russian variant; the king of the frogs in an African version; or from spiders, eagle–women and spirits in Native American renditions.

Like most fairy tales, not only has the story changed subtly over the years, so has the character of Cinderella herself. She began as an intelligent, clever girl who overcame great hardships before she received magical assistance. Even then she needed to keep her wits about her to reach her happily ever after. Unfortunately, by the time Disney made his animated version in 1949, Cinderella had devolved into a long-suffering, passive character who would have been lost without her fairy godmother and little animal friends.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Cinderella fairy tale is the lie it perpetuates in the “happily ever after”. The term “fairy tale” itself has come to refer to a lie or fanciful untruth and Cinderella is no exception. “They lie to us by reducing our dreams to simplistic formulas that empower no one, neither those who wait for Happily Ever After to arrive on the back of a shining white horse, or those who seek it in a pretty face. By contrast, the oldest Ash Girl tales use simple language to tell stories that are not really simple at all. They go to the very heart of truth. They've spoken the truth for a thousand years.” From Terri Windling’s Cinderella: Ashes, Blood, and the Slipper of Glass.

We all would like good to triumph, evil be punished, and justice prevail. Our sense of justice and fair play is rewarded in the story of Cinderella. She is treated badly by her step-mother and step-sisters but, though they seem to be in charge and “winning” at the beginning of the story, they are relegated to misery and disappointment at the end. Those who treat others badly do not prosper in fairy tales.

Jul 26, 2010

Manumission Monday

manumission ~ emancipation; freedom from slavery

You know, last week started out really well . . . I got rid of some of the excess books from my office and straightened up the papers. Giving up the games was much easier than I thought it would be, for the first half of the week anyway. As for the reading for reward purposes only . . . well, let’s just say I have five more books sitting on my desk to be added to the list for the reading challenge (three of which I read this weekend).

On the other hand, I did get all my posts done and posted in a timely fashion, and I even did a bonus post on Saturday for a cool hand-writing meme.

So, while I seem to be getting the game addiction somewhat under control, the reading for pleasure only didn’t last long. I think my mistake was reading while I ate lunch – once I started reading I wouldn’t want to stop. So this week we’re going to try not reading until after my writing and editing is done.

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: Part XI of my fairy tale series, which is part two of Cinderella.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Italian form of Rispetto.

Friday: Chapter 48 of the Space Opera. Who’s waiting for them at the space port, friend or foe? And more importantly, what had Nakeisha being going to tell Chaney right before they were rescued?

Elsewhere in my week:

I have no meetings this week. Be still my heart!

August will soon be upon us (where has the time gone??) and I need to start choosing the poems I’ll be reading on the 19th. This is not an easy task as I have to fill in about 20 – 30 minutes with poetry. AND to make matters worse, not only do I go on first, I’m followed by the town’s Poet Laureate.

Over on Random Writings, moving the flash piece to Saturday worked out rather well, so I’ll try it again this week. Also, my Pearl of Wisdom this week will be Point of View. Pop on over there to read my (deliberately) bad, 200 word, single sentence beginning to a novel.

And that’s pretty much it for the week. I feel like a slacker. :-)

Jul 24, 2010

Write On!

Yeah, I know. Normally I don't post on Saturdays but this was just too fun not to pass on. :-)

I saw this penmanship meme first on my e-friend Erica's blog, and then on my e-friend Adam's blog, so I figured the universe was trying to tell me something.

Instructions:

Write out the following on a piece of paper, then upload it so everyone can see:

1. Name/Blog Name.
2. Right handed, left handed or both?
3. Favorite letters to write?
4. Least favorite letters to write?
5. Write: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
6. Write in caps:

CRAB

HUMOR

KALEIDOSCOPE

PAJAMAS

GAZILLION

7. Favorite song lyrics?
8. Tag 7 people.
9. Any special note or drawing?

And here's my scan of my answers(click on the image to make it bigger):



And now you see why the computer is such a godsend. :-)

You might also note that the more I write, the less legible my writing becomes. Give it a try! You have nothing to lose but your pride! ;-)

Jul 22, 2010

Abecedarius

An abecedarius is a poem in which each line or stanza begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. To be honest, when I first came across this form I thought it was going to be a modern, invented form. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the Abecedarius is a very old form. It was often used in ancient cultures for sacred compositions, such as prayers, hymns and oracles.

Historically, alphabets have often been given significance similar to that of numerology, in which numbers are given mystical meaning. This could explain why abecedarii are often religious in nature.

One of the most highly regarded examples is Psalm 118 (or 119 by King James numbering). It consists of twenty-two eight-line stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Unfortunately, the translation does not reflect the Hebrew alphabetical sequence, although I did find a bible that listed the Hebrew letter at the beginning of each stanza.

In 1375, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote "An ABC", a translation of a French prayer into twenty-three eight-line stanzas that follow the medieval alphabet (minus J, U, V, and W).

The modern Abecedarian poem is most often used as a mnemonic device or word game. There are, however, many more serious examples such as Carolyn Forché’s forty-seven page poem, "On Earth," where she adheres not only to alphabetical order as a guide to the stanzas, but also the words themselves.

To see some excellent examples of this form, click HERE.


And here is my own example:


A path lies before me
But before I make that first step
Careful consideration must be taken,
Direction must be chosen with care
Else all I have worked for will be
Forgotten, lost to time.
Gainsay me not
However you may feel.
Independence is gained at a cost,
Justified by circumstance perhaps but
Kindling forever a doubt that
Leaving the old behind
Might not be the wisest choice.
Nomadic wanderings are not the answer.
Oblivion beckons,
Paradise is waiting in the wings, filled with
Quixotic imaginings and
Ragamuffin dreams.
Sanctimonious souls preaching restraint
Taint the free will but leave me
Unmoved by their words.
Venomous thoughts seep through the cracks,
Waiting their turn for recognition like
Xenolith fragments in a rock.
Yearning to be elsewhere, the
Zephyr takes me away.

Jul 21, 2010

Hump Day Hunk



Don't you just want to slather him in . . . uh . . . sunscreen? ;-)

Jul 20, 2010

Fairy Tale Origins - Part X
Cinderella, Part One

The sheer number of variations of this fairy tale made it necessary to do this post in two parts. Look for part two next week.

Cinderella is one of the most recognized stories around the world. There’s much disagreement over how many versions exist, but the numbers range from 340 to over 2,000.

The story of Rhodopis, the Ancient Egyptian version of Cinderella, recorded by the Roman historian Strabo in the first century BC, is considered the oldest version of the story.

Rhodopis was born in Greece but was kidnapped by pirates and carried to Egypt where she was sold into slavery. Her owner was a kind old man but the other servant girls in the house taunted and teased Rhodopis because she looked so different. Because she had pale skin that burnt easily in the sun they called her Rosy Rhodopis.

Not surprisingly, she had no human friends only the animals. Sometimes, if she had any energy left from the hard day's work, she would sing and dance for her animal friends on the river bank. One evening as she was dancing the old man saw her and admired her so much he decided she deserved a special pair of shoes. The shoes were gilded with rose-red gold and the soles were leather.

One day, they received word that the Pharaoh was holding court in Memphis. Everyone in the kingdom was invited. The other servant girls attended, leaving Rhodopis behind with a whole list of chores. As she was washing clothes on the river bank, her slippers got wet. Wiping them off, she placed them in the sun to dry. As she turned back to her chores, a falcon (familiar of the god Horus) swooped down and carried off one of her slippers.

Back in Memphis, the Pharaoh was sitting on his throne when suddenly a falcon swooped down and dropped a slipper in his lap. Knowing this to be a sign from Horus, he decreed that all maidens in Egypt must try on the slipper and that the owner would be his queen. Eventually his search led him to Rhodopis, and when the slipper fit and she was declared his queen, the servant girls protested, saying not only was she a slave, she wasn’t even Egyptian. The Pharaoh replied: "She is the most Egyptian of all...for her eyes are as green as the Nile, her fair as feathery as papyrus, and her skin the pink of a lotus flower."

Rhodopis, full text version

A Chinese version of the story, by Tuan Ch'eng-Shih, appeared around 860. In this tale, the girl’s parents die and the girl is abused by her step-mother and her half-sister. Her mother is reborn as a fish, but is killed by the step-mother. A spirit tells the girl to save the bones of the fish and they will grant her magical wishes. When it’s time for the spring festival, the girl is left at home but the magic fish bones create a set of beautiful clothes, including a pair of gold slippers .

She goes to the festival and has a good time until she thinks her stepmother may have recognized her, so she leaves, accidentally leaving behind a golden slipper. The golden slipper is found and finally reaches the hands of a nearby King. Taken by its tiny size, he proclaims he will marry the girl whom the slipper fits. Eventually the shoe reaches the house where the girl is and after her step-mother and half-sister fail to fit the shoe she slips it on and it fits perfectly.

The step-mother tries to persuade the King that the girl is not the one he seeks, but the King sees through her attempts and punishes her by forbidding the girl to bring her stepfamily to live with them. Instead they’re banished to a cave where they live until the are crushed to death by stones.

Ye XianWikipedia version
Ye Xian, a slightly different version

The earliest European tale, "La Gatta Cenerentola" or "The Hearth Cat", was written in 1634 by the Italian fairy-tale collector Giambattista Basile. It featured a wicked step mother and step sisters, magical transformations, a missing slipper, and a hunt by a king for the owner of the slipper. This one differs slightly from the earlier tales as the fish is replaced by a magical date tree and she has six nasty step-sisters.

La Gatta Cenerentola, full text version

In Rushen Coatie, a Scottish version of the tale, the dead mother comes back in the form of a cow to feed her starving child — until the suspicious step–sisters discover this and have it killed. The animal's bones retain the potent magic of the dead woman, providing the girl with clothes so that she can go to church and meet her prince.

Rushen Coatie, full text version

One of the most popular versions of Cinderella was written by Charles Perrault in 1697. It is believed this popularity was due to his additions to the story including the pumpkin, the fairy-godmother and the introduction of glass slippers.

Cinderella, full text version

Another well-known version, which is the one I’m most familiar with, was recorded by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1812. The tale is called "Aschenputtel" and the help comes not from a fairy-godmother but from a hazel tree that grows on her mother's grave. In this version, the stepsisters try to trick the prince by cutting off parts of their feet in order to get the slipper to fit. As the prince rides past the hazel tree with first one then a second false bride he is warned by a pair of birds and in the end finds his true bride. The birds peck out the stepsisters’ eyes and they become beggars for the rest of their lives.

Aschenputtel, full text

Next week we'll go into some detail about the origins and changes made to Cinderella.

Jul 19, 2010

Magnicaudate Monday

magnicaudate ~ having a long tail

Last week . . . last week I got my posts up on time on this blog, but did not get a flash piece done for my other blog on Friday. I outlined it on Thursday, then went to a poetry reading, and when I got home I focused on getting my serial instalment done (which ran longer than I’d planned). Then Friday I got busy doing other things and Saturday I didn’t even crack the lap top open. So, the flash was another miss.

This week is about discipline and organization. First up is clearing out the overflow of books and papers from my office. My office is really the best place for me to work, but it’s hard to concentrate with all the bags and boxes of books covered in cat hair and papers.

It’s also time to go cold turkey from the games again. They’re such a waste of time! I can tell myself that playing word games like Word Mojo or Text Twist are good for the mind, but there’s little redeeming value for the number of on-line jig saw puzzles I do. If I have to, I’ll have my hubby lock up my mouse.

I find the track pad on my lap top really annoying so I disabled it and have a wireless mouse. However, if I’m having trouble giving up the games I’ll enable it again and get rid of the mouse. Games are really annoying to play with the track pad. :-)

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: Part X of my fairy tale series will explore the ever popular Cinderella.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure. Maybe something with sand . . .

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Abecedarius, which looks like a lot of fun.

Friday: Chapter 47 of the Space Opera. Will Chaney and Nakeisha get rescued? Or is it time for another trip from the frying pan into the fire?

Elsewhere in my week:

Not only have I not reviewed the pile of books on my desk for my reading challenge, I’ve adding about six or eight more to it. Yikes! Gotta start getting them done and into the book database and then the bookcase.

I have a Scribe’s meeting tonight, and a meeting with my poetry group tomorrow night. I’m hoping someone from the group will volunteer to go through my poetry with me to help me choose the poems I’ll be reading in public in August. *gulp!*

I’m re-thinking my Random Writings blog (again!). I’m going to continue with the prompts on Monday and the Pearls of Wisdom on Wednesday (this week will be outlines), but I’m moving the flash post to Saturday. I really should put up some links to the previous posts for the Pearls of Wisdom too.

Despite the avalanche of books I have to read, I need to start using reading as a reward for writing. The problem is, I start reading a good book and I don’t want to put it down. This is where the discipline comes in.

I also need to find my password for Twitter so I can become more active on it. :-)

This looks like a lot for one week, but when you break it down it’s not that bad. Honest! So now that you know what’s on my plate, what’s on yours?

Jul 15, 2010

Gwawdodyn Hir

In the first half of the 13th century, the Welsh poets formed an order where the master craftsman, the pencerdd, won his position in competition and taught one or more apprentices. In 1450 the Welsh poetic meters were formalized by Einion Offeiriad and modified by Dafydd ab Edmwnd.

Between 1435 and 1535 the Welsh poets began to hold the eisteddfod - a bardic assembly to regulate the profession and issue licenses to those completing stages of apprenticeship. The last of the “old”, or professional, Welsh poets died in 1666, leaving the art to be kept alive by amateurs in the clergy or gentry. Revived interest in the strict forms came in the 19th century, and the eisteddfod has become an annual event, drawing poets and other artists to the prestigious competition.

The Gwawdodyn (gwow DOED in heer) is one of the 24 official meters of Welsh poetry. It is categorized in the awdl class, which comprises half of the official Welsh meters. It is a six line poem consisting of a quatrain of nine syllable lines, followed by a Toddaid (TOETH-eyed), a couplet of one ten syllable line and one nine syllable line.

Schematic:
xxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxa
xxxxbxxxxb
xxxxxxxxa

or

xxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxxb
xxxbxxxxa

In more modern versions, there is no rhyme, however for my examples I chose the first rhyme scheme. The hardest part for me was actually working with nine syllable lines, my mental default seems to be eight syllables.



Nightmare

Nightmare

Pray, what is it that you dream at night
That shreds your rest with so much delight
Leaving you poised on the verge of flight
Wrapping you up in its talons tight;
With eyes open wide and no where to hide
Cower in fear until the first light.

Jul 14, 2010

Hump Day Hunk



Don't you just want to run your hands through his . . . hair? ;-)

Jul 13, 2010

Fairy Tale Origins - Part IX
The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea, one of Hans Christian Andersen's shortest yet best-known stories, first appeared in his first collection of Tales Told For Children in 1835. The unbound, 61-page booklet also included the Tinderbox, Little Claus and Big Claus, and Little Ida’s Flowers.

In his preface to the second volume of Tales and Stories (1863) Andersen claims to have heard the story in childhood, but the tale was not a traditional one in Denmark. There is, however, a Swedish version, "Princess Who Lay on Seven Peas", which tells of an orphan child who pretends to be a princess on the advice of her cat. After undergoing many tests, the last of which was having seven peas placed under her mattress, the girl claims to have slept poorly, thereby proving she is a real princess.

While the folk-tale heroine relies on deception, Andersen’s is relies on her sensitivity. One stormy night, a bedraggled girl seeks refuge at the castle. Although the girl claims to be a princess, the queen tests her claim by placing a single pea under 20 mattresses and 20 featherbeds. The next morning, the girl bemoans her sleeplessness, claiming the presence of ‘something so hard that I am black and blue all over’. That’s all the proof the queen needs. The girl and the prince are married and the pea is enshrined in a museum.

Tales of extreme sensitivity are not common but there are a few. The 11th-century Kathasaritsagara by Somadeva tells of a young man who claims to be especially fastidious about beds. After sleeping in a bed on top of seven mattresses, and newly made with clean sheets, the young man rises in great pain. A crooked red mark is discovered on his body, and upon investigation a hair is found on the bottommost mattress of the bed.

An Italian tale called "The Most Sensitive Woman" tells of a prince who wishes to marry “the most sensitive woman in the world.” He rejects a woman who is in great pain because of a pulled hair, a woman who was mad sick by a wrinkle in the sheet she slept on, and finally finds a woman whose foot is bandaged after a jasmine petal fell on it.

From India we have the Three Delicate Wives of King Virtue-Banner, a tale told to a kind by a goblin. The first wife is injured when a lotus petal falls on her. The second is burned by moonbeams. The third is bruised by the sound of pestles grinding grain. At the end the goblin asks the king to decide who is most delicate.

Unlike the folk heroine of his source material for the story, Andersen's princess has no need to resort to deceit to establish her identity; her sensitivity is enough to validate her nobility. For Andersen, "true" nobility derived not from an individual's birth but from their sensitivity.

The Princess and the Pea is told from the aristocratic perspective of the young prince seeking a royal bride. This reflects Andersen's preoccupation with issues of class as well as, by his own direct admission elsewhere, his feelings of personal fragility.

Andersen’s Princess and the Pea was not well-received by critics: "[the story] seems to the reviewer not only indelicate but indefensible, in so far as the child might absorb the false idea that great ladies must always be so terribly thin-skinned." One literary journal failed to mention his Tales Told For Children at all, while another advised Andersen not to waste his time writing "wonder stories".

The Princess and the Pea (full text)

Jul 12, 2010

Macilent Monday

macilent ~ lean; excessively thin

I have to admit I did far more reading than writing last week, but with the heat I didn’t feel like doing much else. As much as I love summer, I love it for the green-ness, not for the heat. I was born in a snow storm, which makes me a true winter’s child.

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: Part IX of my fairy tale series will feature the Princess and the Pea.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Welsh form of Gwawdodyn Hir.

Friday: Chapter 46 of the Space Opera.

Elsewhere in my week:

I have a few more plot holes in Forever and For Always before I can call it done, but it’s getting close, so when I’m not doing my blog posts I’ll be working on that.

I’ve fallen way behind on reviewing the books I’ve been reading for my reading challenge, so I’d like to start catching up on that. Maybe a review or two a day.

Other than that, I’ll be trying to stay cool. A neat trick during our present heat wave. What about you? What’s your week ahead look like?

Jul 8, 2010

Hexaduad

The Hexaduad is a verse form comprised of one stanza of six rhyming couplets or twelve lines. There is some dispute as to its origins. While it’s widely believed to be an Old English form, there is no history or example of the original form. Counting syllables was not typical of Old English poetry and it is suspected that the Hexaduad is a fairly recent invention.

The structure is fairly simple:
1st couplet has 2 syllables per line
2nd couplet has 6 syllables per line
3rd couplet has 8 syllables per line
4th couplet has 4 syllables per line
5th couplet has 6 syllables per line
6th couplet has 4 syllables per line
the rhyme scheme is aa bb cc dd ee ff

Schematic:
xa
xa
xxxxxb
xxxxxb
xxxxxxxc
xxxxxxxc
xxxd
xxxd
xxxxxe
xxxxxe
xxxf
xxxf

I highly recommend this form for anyone who wants to ease into a rhyming/syllabic poetry form. I think what makes this one fairly easy is the mono-rhyme couplets. I also think (as you will see by my example) I’ve been reading too much erotica lately. ;-)



CAUGHT

I yearn
I burn
For what, I cannot say
I feel I am the prey
Of unasked for dark desires
that consume me with their fires
The day’s too long
The ache too strong
I wait for things unseen
That happened in a dream
At last, the night
My dreams take flight

Jul 7, 2010

Jul 6, 2010

Fairy Tale Origins - Part VIII
Goldilocks and the Three Bears

One interesting aspects of the Goldilocks tale is that the original story didn’t even feature a golden-haired child as the central character. There were three bears, but they were visited by a she-fox. The fox was later replaced with an old, crone-like woman. The woman was later replaced by a little girl named “Silver Hair”. “Silver Hair” was later changed to “Golden Hair”, and then finally “Goldilocks”.

The earliest recorded version of the tale is found in a collection of early children's books in the Toronto Public Library. This is a homemade book titled, The Story of The Three Bears. Eleanor Mure wrote and illustrated the story as a gift for her four-year-old nephew in 1831 from a story she already knew through oral tradition.

In 1837 it was published by Robert Southey in his collection of essays titled, The Doctor. The fourth volume contained the story, "Story of the Three Bears." This version has been so influential that for a time it was thought to be the origin of the story.

In both stories, the main character is not a young girl, but a nameless, homeless and ill-tempered old woman who intentionally breaks into the bears’ home, but there the similarity ends. Mure’s old woman has her courtesy visit rebuffed by the bears and, in a pique, she decides to inspect their home anyway. In Southey’s version there doesn’t appear to be a reason for the home invasion.

Mure's version differs further from Southey in that the bears' dishes are filled with milk rather than porridge. At the end of the tale, the bears try first to burn the old woman, then to drown her, and being unsuccessful in both attempts on her life, finally "chuck her aloft on St. Paul's church-yard steeple". Southey's old woman jumps out a window and runs away.

It’s believed that both Southey and Mure were influenced by the tale of Scrapefoot, an English tale which features a fox as the intruder. It is further believed that this may be the earliest variant with the old woman mistakenly replacing the fox/vixen through the simple confusion between the terms for a harridan, old woman, or she-fox.

Twelve years after Southey's story was published, Joseph Cundall changed the old woman into a young girl named 'Silver Hair' in the version he published in his Treasury of Pleasure Books for Young Children (1849). In 1858 the character was dubbed 'Silver-Locks' in Aunt Mavor's Nursery Tales. Next she became 'Golden Hair' around 1868 in Aunt Friendly's Nursery Book. Finally, in Old Nursery Stories and Rhymes, illustrated by John Hassall (circa 1904), she became Goldilocks. The name stuck and has been used the most often ever since.

The family of bears underwent a few changes as well. Instead of Father Bear, Mother Bear and Baby Bear, earlier versions called them “Great Huge Bear”, “Middling Bear” and “Little Small Wee Bear”. What was originally a fearsome oral tale became a cozy family story with only a hint of menace.

The number three is a common theme in many fairy tales, but more so in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In the Mure and Southey versions, before entering the house, the old woman takes three actions: looking in the window, looking through the keyhole, then lifting the latch.

There are three bowls of porridge, three chairs, three beds and of course three bears. Goldilocks tries the bowls of porridge, chairs, and beds successively, each time finding the third "just right". There are also three sequences of the bears discovering in turn that someone has been eating from their porridge, sitting in their chairs, and finally, lying in their beds.

Author Christopher Booker characterizes this as the "dialectical three", where "the first is wrong in one way, the second in another or opposite way, and only the third, in the middle, is just right." Booker continues "This idea that the way forward lies in finding an exact middle path between opposites is of extraordinary importance in storytelling".

As a morality tale, the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is somewhat unique in that it raises many psychological issues, but gives no solutions. There is no true resolution to Goldilocks’ problem – she just runs away, never to be seen again, and the bears go on with their unchanged lives.

However, even without a resolution, there is still a lesson to be learned: as you grow and learn to find your way you’ll be faced with many choices, some hard, some easy, and some just right. You need to know yourself to choose wisely.

Scrapefoot
Story of Three Bears
The Story of the Three Bears
Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Jul 5, 2010

Morphean Monday

morphean ~ of, like or pertaining to dreams

Last week pretty much went by in a haze. I got my posts done, and up on time, except for the flash piece I was supposed to finish for Random Writings. I almost had it finished and then I changed the story line in such a way it’s turning into a much longer piece. I think I need to get back into some kind of rhythm when it comes to my flash fiction.

Didn’t do so well on my “Finish the Damn Book” Challenge. When I have two blogs I’m doing posts for each week, it’s a little hard not to start something new before I get my required novel words in each day. I started out strong, but began to seriously slack off as the week went on. I’d like to blame the holiday weekend, but that would be a lie. *sigh* Hopefully I’ll do better this week.

Looks like my dry spell is over. I hadn’t been reading lately but I read five books in a row last week. The two that stand out the most are Fairyville, by Emma Holly (a really great erotic romance) and the Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen (a wonderful contemporary story with a little magic thrown in for good measure).

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: Part VIII of my fairy tale series will on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Wednesday: Will feature a special hunk for my Yankie friends.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is a form called Hexaduad.

Friday: Chapter 45 of the Space Opera. Chapter 44 was intended to be a little more graphic, but then this whole electricity thing cropped up. What’s up with that?

Elsewhere in my week:

This is the first Monday of the month which means there’s a Scribe’s meeting tonight.

If you want to know what’s happening this week on my Random Writings blog, click HERE

And that's pretty much my week ahead. How about you? How was your holiday? Read any good books lately?

Jul 1, 2010

Rime Couée

The Rime Couée is a verse form of 12th century Provencal troubadours. The are some who believe it to be the predecessor of the Burns Stanza, a more popular Scots form, but I have found nothing to support this.

It consists of two rhymes. First there is a rhyming couplet of normally of eight syllables then a third and shorter line of six. The two couplets rhyme as do the two shorter lines. This gives us a suggested pattern :

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x b
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x b

The Rime Couée can have any number of stanzas, as long as it keeps the syllable count. The rhyme scheme can either be aabaab or aabccb. In my example you may notice the first stanza is mono-rhymed. This wasn’t deliberate, it was done purely by accident. :-)


The Tryst

The scent of lilac in the air
The summer sun upon her hair
Her beauty, oh, so rare
Passersby will stop and stare
Such a vision, meant to share
She is so very fair.

Preoccupied, she sees them not
She waits for he whose eye she caught
It was love at first sight
She was certain this was the spot
There was no chance that he forgot
She prayed he was all right

At last she hears a certain pace
And then beholds a much-loved face
Her fears are soon forgot
And though he feels he’s in disgrace
She warms his heart with her embrace
And once again he’s caught.