There’s no real theme to this post; I’m just tying up some loose ends I’d forgotten about. Specifically, a couple of posts to Ephemera that I never boosted here.
First is a translation that I posted last October of a ghost story, of sorts, by Emilia Pardo Bazán. This is an interesting and ambiguous tale: is the protagonist mad, or possessed? It reminds me a little bit of The Horla, and also a little bit of “The Yellow Wallpaper.” See what you think.
Second is a version of the Snow White fairy tale, in verse, by Aleksandr Pushkin, called (in this version) “The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights” (1833). It’s a mix of the traditional Snow White narrative (Aarne-Thompson-Uther tale type 709), with a little bit of “East O’the Sun, West O’the Moon” (Aarne-Thompson-Uther 425 I think? — only in reverse).
In honor of the bicentennial year of Kinder und Hausmärchen, by the Brothers Grimm, here’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, retold using only the thousand most common English words, at least according to the Up-Goer Five Text Editor. It’s harder than you would think.
My narrative is based on D.L. Ashliman’s translation of the 1812 version of Snow White, abbreviated because it was getting really long. Note that in this version, the queen is Snow White’s biological mother, and despite what Disney would have us believe, the prince didn’t wake Snow White up with a kiss.
The Queen at her mirror. Illustration by W.C. Drupsteen, 1885
Now the queen was the most beautiful woman in all the land, and very proud of her beauty. She had a mirror, which she stood in front of every morning, and asked:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?
And the mirror always said:
You, my queen, are fairest of all.
And then she knew for certain that no one in the world was more beautiful than she.
— Brothers Grimm, Little Snow White (1812 version)
I’ve gotten to the age where I get Snow White. Or to be precise: I get the evil queen. When I was younger (young enough to be reading fairy tales for serious), the queen was the obligatory, generic villain. Kids don’t worry about motivation: stepparents hate their stepchildren, just because — that’s how it works. Why would the queen be jealous of Snow White? How can she possibly compare herself to Snow? She’s a mom! She’s old!
But I get it now.