Sunday, March 18, 2012

And now for something completely different....

Totally unrelated to the stories and all, but just something I felt like saying. I probably sound really ticked off throughout most of this, and that's because the things I saw in these videos did irritate me. Part of it may be hormonally fueled rage, but I think anyone can admit that most of these need to be dealt with.

If you do a "Let's Play" of any video game, particularly a horror one, please follow these simple rules:

1. Post two versions-one with commentary and one without. It may be tricky to record, but a lot of people would rather simply see and hear the game itself, not you talking and commenting throughout. If they wanted to hear you screaming at the scary bits, they could watch reaction videos.

2. If you are doing a blind run, put a warning that you are doing so beforehand so watchers will know that there will be a lot of pointless wandering around to put up with. While some viewers don't mind, others hate this and will be driven up a wall by it.

3. That said, even when doing a blind run, don't pointlessly stand in corners talking or humming or whining, or stall by playing with rocks or whatever else is around that has no relevance to the plot, particularly while whimpering about how much you don't want to go into the next room or what have you. You knew what you were getting into when you started the game, grow a pair and PLAY THE DAMN GAME. No one is watching to listen to you bitch.

4. Running up to the monsters while yelling stupidly into your microphone only to whine about getting killed tends to piss people off. Stop it. 

5. If there is a painfully obvious solution staring you in the face, USE IT. This is why it helps to play the game through at least once beforehand, so we don't have to watch you standing around slobbering on yourself and pointlessly throwing things at a door while we shake the screen and scream at you to use the frikken' crowbar IT'S RIGHT THERE YOU FOUND IT IN THE SAME GODDAMNED ROOM WHAT DO YOU THINK THOSE THINGS ARE FOR?!

6. Whining and bitching pisses people off. STOP IT.

7. Wasting time is annoying. Don't do it. Just get on with the dang game, as everyone watching wants you to do. If you want to wander around one room commenting on everything in there, don't record and post it, do that on your own. That's not what people watch playthroughs for.

8. You may think that the little backstory you made up for that skull or dead pig is hilarious as you stand in one tiny room for fifteen minutes just talking about this one object instead of moving forward or doing anything, but it's not. It's really not. Shut the hell up.

9. Try to avoid shaky-cam or tilting the viewscreen as much as possible. Also, if you know that standing in darkness or staring at a particular thing will cause the view to go all wonky and start going in and out, avoid doing it. It makes a lot of viewers sick and generally serves no purpose. Also, if you can't see anything or where you are going, neither can the viewer. Try to keep things visible.

10. If there is a note being read by a character in the game, or something being said, particularly if it could be important, shut up. Don't talk over it about 'woah flashback isn't that weird blah blah blah' or any of that nonsense, the viewers want to hear what's going on in the game. It is more important than whatever inane blather is passing through your frontal lobe at that moment.

So yeah, a few things in some let's play videos that really irritated me. I watch things without ANY commentary at all if possible, with just the sounds of the game (I saw one of Arkham Asylum that did this SPLENDIDLY.) so as to better immerse themselves in it and get a better look at what the game is like before buying it themselves or, if they can't buy or play it for whatever reason, simply to see what it's all about. There have been a few cases where the commentary wasn't bad, and only occasional, but one particular series just frinked me right off and I wanted to reach through the computer and pop the guy a few times. GAH.

I probably need chocolate right now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Two Sisters-In-Law

Another story from India, also featuring Ganesh! I love that guy. This one's mostly a warning about greed.

A word of warning though: This one gets...kinda gross toward the end. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

The Two Sisters-In-Law

There were two sisters-in-law. One, the young brother's wife, was very rich. The other, the older brother's wife, was poor. 

Don't the firstborn sons usually get the lion's share of the inheritance and such, assuming that's how the younger got rich?
Every day, the poor sister-in-law would go to the rich sister-in-law's house, and grind the flour for her. She would grind the flour and sieve it through a fine cloth. She would take the cloth home, and in the evening, she would shake the cloth out and use the flour caught in it to make her husband some porridge.
One day, the rich sister-in-law's son saw his aunt preparing the porridge for her husband.
The child ran home and told his mother what he had seen. 'Ma, Aunt takes home the cloth she uses to sieve our flour, and makes a porridge out of the flour for Uncle.' 

Why was he following her home? Furthermore, why would he care if his poor Aunt used the leftover flour bits caught in the cloth to provide her husband with something to eat?
The rich sister-in-law was very angry. The next day she told the poor sister-in-law, 'From now on, you will leave behind the cloth you use to sieve my flour. And wash your hands before you go - I don't want you to take a grain of my flour home with you!' 

Wow. They tend to go overboard in faerie tales with how greedy the bad guys are, just for contrast and whatnot, but geez. Not even the spare bits of flour caught in the cloth? Or any that she might get on her hands, after she spends all day grinding it for you? Geez.
The poor sister-in-law did as she was told. That night, when her husband came home, he asked for his porridge as usual. But she had not been able to prepare the porridge that day. 'Sister-in-law did not let me bring the cloth home today,' she explained. Her husband was very angry, and stormed out of the house. 

What, it's her fault that his brother married a greedy, selfish bitch? Good grief. She's trying her best for you, dude, don't blame her over something like that. Why is it that one of the spouses always has to be a jerk in these stories if the main character is already married?
The poor sister-in-law shut herself in her room. She was a great devotee of Ganesh. Now, in her misery, she called his name and wept and wept. At last, sad and exhausted, and still calling 'Ganesh, Ganesh,' she fell asleep. 

Ganesh had heard her calling and came to find out what was wrong. 'Why are you sleeping?' he asked her. 

"...because I've been working all day and it's friggen' late?"
'Everyday I bring back the cloth I use to sieve the flour I grind for my sister-in-law, and use the flour caught in it to make my husband a porridge every evening,' she replied. 'Today my sister-in-law did not let me bring the cloth home, so I couldn't make the porridge. Now my husband is very angry with me and has stormed out of the house.'

'I have just had a large meal,' said Ganesh rubbing his tummy and looking pre-occupied, 'and I urgently need to...go.' 

Dude, you answered this woman's heartfelt prayers and you're not even listening to her? For a god of infinite Compassion, you're kind of rude.

'Go?' asked the poor sister-in-law.
'Yes...go,' replied Ganesh now looking desperate. 

He had mexican for dinner, you understand.
'Ah,' said the poor sister-in-law. 'I understand now. You need to 'go'. Well, what can I say? 'Go' wherever you wish to...not that there is much space.' And she shrugged her shoulders in irritation. 

See, this is what happens when you answer people's prayers and then show up talking about needing to answer the call of nature. You irritate them.
Ganesh looked gratefully at her, and, to the poor woman's horror, deposited a large pile of elephant dung on her floor. 

....Dude. Not cool.
'Umm, now I need something to wipe myself with,' said Ganesh. 

You just shat on her floor, man! Not even an apology?! I don't care if you are a god, that is NOT COOL.
The poor sister-in-law was very angry with Ganesh for the mess he had created. 'Wipe yourself with? What can I give you to wipe yourself with?' she cried. 'Wipe yourself on my head!' 

Uh, honey, I know you're angry but you probably shouldn't...
Ganesh took her at her word, and wiped his large behind on her head. And then he left. 


Come to think of it-he's an elephant. How did he not crush her head doing that?

The poor sister-in-law woke up with a cry. 

I probably would too after a night like that.

And what did she see? On the floor, not a pile of elephant dung, but a heap of glittering diamonds. And wound about in her hair, even shinier jewels and gems. 

Ganesh was noshing on Shiva's jewelry again. He just had a craving.
The next morning, she was busy counting the jewels and putting them away. She forgot that she had to go to the rich sister-in-law's house to grind the flour. The rich sister-in-law called her son and said, 'Go to your aunt's house and see why she hasn't come today.' 

You obviously aren't giving her anything in return for her grinding the flour, not even allowing her to take the leftover flour caught in the cloth home, so why should she come back? Also, if this woman's so rich, why does she keep sending her kid and not a servant?
The child went to his aunt's house and saw her counting the glittering jewels. He ran back to his mother. 'Ma, Aunt has become very rich. She has a pile of jewels in her house,' he said.
When the rich sister-in-law heard this, she went running to her sister-in-law's house. 'Where did you get these jewels from?' she asked.
The poor sister-in-law told her the whole story. 

"Okay, let's go over this again-Ganesh was here."
"He shat on your floor and wiped his colossal backside on your head."
"Then there were jewels everywhere this morning?"
"Pretty much."
"....were you eating those strange mushrooms growing in the yard again?"
The rich sister-in-law went running back home and told her husband what she had seen and heard. 'Tonight, I will give you no dinner, and you too must get angry with me and storm out of the house,' she said.
That evening, her husband did as she asked, and stormed out of the house. The rich woman emptied her house of everything, and calling out to Ganesh again and again, went to sleep.
Ganesh heard her calling and came to find out what the matter was. As he had done with the poor sister-in-law, he declared, 'I have just had a heavy meal, and I need to go.'

Okay, dude, seriously, you have got to stop showing up to answer prayers while needing to take a dump. It's impolite, and you don't really listen to people's problems when you're distracted like that.

The rich sister-in-law was overjoyed. This is exactly what she had been hoping for.


 'Ganeshji,' she said, 'my sister-in-law's house was a tiny house, mine is huge, and empty. So please 'go' wherever you wish to.'
Ganesh took her at her word and deposited large piles of elephant dung all over the house.
'Where should I wipe myself?' he asked once he was done.
'Ganeshji, please wipe yourself on my head,' the rich woman offered greedily. 

Ganesh did as she asked, and wiping his behind on her head, he disappeared.
The rich sister-in-law woke up, and what did she see? On the floor, not a heap of glittering diamonds, but a pile of elephant dung. And as for her hair - don't ask!!! 

Firstly, EEEEEEEEEWWW. Secondly....lady, you did ask for it. Like, specifically. You didn't have any hand towels or something you could've used? Jewels would come off of those just as easily as your head!
'Ganeshji, oh Ganeshji,' she wailed, 'Why did you do this to me? You gave my sister-in-law diamonds, and you left me with...this!' 

Wasn't it exactly what you were hoping for?
Ganesh appeared and said, 'Your sister-in-law is a good woman; she called me because she was in trouble. You are a greedy woman, you called me because you wanted even more wealth than you already have!'
'Ganeshji, I am sorry,' wept the rich sister-in-law. 'Can you please, please now remove your blessings from my house? I'll never be greedy again.' 
'First give half of your wealth to your sister-in-law and make sure you never treat her badly again,' said Ganesh. 'Only then will I clean up your house.' 

Well, you do have to consider that it's not just her wealth, it's her husbands since he probably earned it himself, so really, the greedy woman needs to be punished, but the poor woman's husband also needs a good kick in the pants since he evidently doesn't treat his wife too well, storming off like that, and if the younger was able to build a fortune for himself, why didn't the elder? Unless the younger simply married a rich woman or something, then that's understandable.

But really, Ganesh, you couldn't teach her a lesson without leaving shite all over her house and head? 

The rich sister-in-law called the poor sister-in-law and greeting her with great affection gave her half her money and jewels.
Ganesh, content, vanished, as did the mess in the rich sister-in-law's house. 

And that's why you don't mess with gods of Compassion who happen to be elephants, because they will happily leave shite all over your house and wipe their enormous backsides on your face. Have fun with that.

The Turnip Princess

This was one of 300 new stories recently rediscovered in Germany after having been locked away for 150 years, and I just had to do this one in particular because-c'mon, it's a turnip princess! You can't go wrong with a turnip! It's just not possible!

The Turnip Princess

A young prince lost his way in the forest and came to a cave. He passed the night there, and when he awoke there stood next to him an old woman with a bear and a dog. The old witch seemed very beautiful and wished that the prince would stay with her and marry her. He could not endure her, yet could not leave that place.

She's old, but beautiful and lusting after younger men? I didn't know the Dark Ages had cougars! Ones with pet bears and magic powers at that.

One day, the bear was alone with him and spoke to the prince: "Pull the rusty nail from the wall, so that I shall be delivered, and place it beneath a turnip in the field, and in this way you shall have a beautiful wife."

 Everyone knows the prettiest princesses come from turnips.

The prince seized the nail so strongly that the cave shook and the nail cracked loudly like a clap of thunder. Behind him a bear stood up from the ground like a man, bearded and with a crown on his head.

A bear? Not THE bear? So is this possibly a different bear? Are there several kings who got turned into bears, and can only be restored by nails being yanked out of the walls?

"Now I shall find a beautiful maiden," cried the prince and went forth nimbly.

Easy to convince, isn't he?

 He came to a field of turnips and was about to place the nail beneath one of them when there appeared above him a monster, so that he dropped the nail, pricked his finger on a hedge and bled until he fell down senseless. When he awoke he saw that he was elsewhere and that he had long slumbered, for his smooth chin was now frizzy with a blond beard.

Wait...just 'a monster'? No explanation, nothing on what it looked like or where it came from? The monster didn't bother to eat him, just dragged him off and left him there long enough for him to grow a beard? A frizzy blond one, at that. Usually we never find out the Prince's hair color.

He arose and set off across field and forest and searched through every turnip field but nowhere found what he was looking for. Day passed and night, too, and one evening, he sat down on a ridge beneath a bush, a flowering blackthorn with red blossoms on one branch. He broke off the branch, and because there was before him, amongst the other things on the ground, a large, white turnip, he stuck the blackthorn branch into the turnip and fell asleep.

 When things go wrong in your life, stab a turnip. It'll make you feel better.

When he awoke on the morrow, the turnip beside him looked like a large, open shell in which lay the nail, and the wall of the turnip resembled a nut-shell, whose kernel seemed to shape his picture. He saw there the little foot, the thin hand, the whole body, even the fine hair so delicately imprinted, just as the most beautiful girl would have.

So each and every turnip ever has contained a beautiful maiden? Geez. Remember, kids, every time you eat a turnip you're devouring a beautiful princess who you were destined to marry. Sorry, boys, you'll have to settle for that weird chick two doors down who smells like cats and chews her hair.

The prince stood up and began his search, and came at last to the old cave in the forest, but no one was there. He took out the nail and struck it into the wall of the cave, and at once the old woman and the bear were also there. "Tell me, for you know for certain," snarled the prince fiercely at the old woman, "where have you put the beautiful girl from the parlor?" The old woman giggled to hear this: "You have me, so why do you scorn me?"

Woah woah woah...beautiful girl from the parlor? What parlor? Didn't he meet them in a cave? It was just the cougar-witch, the bear and the dog then! What beautiful girl is he talking about? Also, how did he know sticking the nail in the wall of the cave would summon them? Explain!!

The bear nodded, too, and looked for the nail in the wall. "You are honest, to be sure," said the prince, "but I shall not be the old woman's fool again."

Honest? He's calling the old witch honest now? I mean true, she hasn't lied to him, but why is he pointing that out at this particular moment?

 "Just pull out the nail," growled the bear.

Do it, dude. You don't want to tick off bears. Particularly not the ones who become royalty.

 The prince reached for it and pulled it half out, looked about him and saw the bear as already half man, and the odious old woman almost as a beautiful and kind girl.

Firstly-odious old woman? Earlier she was described as an old but beautiful witch, and now she's odious? Did she just not bother to bathe the whole time he was getting dragged around by the monster? And how does someone LOOK kind? Kindness is a personality trait, you can't really tell that someone is kind just by looking.

 Thereupon he drew out the nail entirely and flew into her arms for she had been delivered from the spell laid upon her and the nail burnt up like fire, and the young bridal pair traveled with his father, the king, to his kingdom.

....The bear was HIS father the whole time, not hers? How did he not know his father had been turned into a bear? Did the kingdom not notice? Didn't his father think to tell him that once? He clearly possessed the power of speech as a bear-so why not just throw a hint, you know, something like; "Hey, kid, just so you know, I'm actually your father, the king. Yeah, I know, I'm a bit fuzzier now than you remember, I kind of pissed off a witch and forgot to shave for a while. So yeah. Could you take out that nail over there?" Also, what about the aforementioned monster? Did nothing happen with that? Where did it go? What was it? Where did it come from? What was it there FOR?

So many questions, and now I'll never be able to eat a turnip without thinking that there's a tiny beautiful lady inside that I'm chomping on.

......actually now I kind of want one. Weird.

How the Old Woman got her Wish

This one comes to us from India, and features one of my favorite Gods-Ganesh, of infinite compassion, clearer of obstacles, who holds the rat sacred. That alone gives it some mega-points. I'm particularly fond of Ganesh because of an awesome comic by the incredibly talented Ursula Vernon (The comic is called Digger, go read it! DO IT! And buy her prints and books!) and because gods who like rats are cool.

Anyway, to the story!

How the Old Woman got her Wish

Once there lived a blind old woman with her son and her son's wife. They were very poor.  

As are most faerie tale/folklore heroes, probably for relatability considering the times.
The old woman used to pray to Ganesh every day. Every day Ganesh would appear before her and say, 'Old woman, I am moved by your devotion. I will grant you one desire. So ask me for something, tell me what you want.'
The old woman would reply, 'I don't know what to ask for. There is nothing that I want.' 

Anyone else notice that the younger heroes of faerie tales and folk stories immediately wish for wealth or power or something like that, but the older ones, particularly the old ladies, are much more humble and usually don't ask for much, if anything at all?
Ganesh would say, 'Then ask your son and your daughter-in-law for advice - they may be able to tell you what to ask for.' But the old woman wouldn't. 

Dude, do what the god says. He's a god. He knows things.

This went on for a long time. One day the old woman gave in and agreed to do as Ganesh suggested and ask her son and her daughter-in-law for advice.
When she asked her son, the son replied, 'Ma, ask for wealth.'
When she asked her daughter-in-law, the daughter-in-law replied, 'Mother-in-law, ask for a grandson.' 

They're poor and the daughter in law wants to throw in a child so they can have yet another mouth to feed? Granted, women of that time (and to this day, in many cases) weren't considered of any worth unless they were producing children, so I guess I can understand. Considering how poor they are, the son's request isn't too far fetched either-he may sound greedy to most, but we don't know just how poor they are. For all we know they live in a box in the gutter at the end of the drainage ditch on the camel farm.
The old woman considered their advice and said to herself, 'They have told me what they want, not what I want. So let me ask my neighbor. Let me see what she will say.' 

Seeking an outside source for advice-she's already proving to be much smarter than those whipper-snapper heroes!

So the old woman went to her neighbor and said, 'Ganesh has told me to ask him for something. What do you think I should ask him for?'
The neighbor replied, 'Why should you ask for wealth or for a grandson? You still have a few more years to live. So ask for sight, so that you can see.' 

Not a bad suggestion. If she could see she may very well be more capable of helping to provide for her family, to help with that whole 'poor' problem.
The old woman returned home and thought to herself, 'To keep my son and daughter-in-law happy, I should ask Ganesh for what they want. To make myself happy, I should ask him for what I want. So what should I ask for - wealth, a grandson, or my sight?' 

I foresee a clever solution.
The next day, Ganesh appeared again, and as usual, said, 'Ask me for something, old woman, tell me what you want.'
The old woman had made up her mind. She knew exactly what she wanted. She replied, 'I want to see my grandson drinking milk from a golden bowl. Give me that.' 

And there it is! Old women in these stories are clever. Well, either clever or witches who want to eat children. So...yeah. Kudos to this lady!
Ganesh laughed and replied, 'Old woman, you have tricked me! You have asked me for everything! But a promise is a promise and you shall have what you want.' 

Kudos to Ganesh as well for being so good-humored about it all. Not a lot of gods or spirits or fae types appreciate being tricked, even harmlessly so.
Ganesh gave her what she wanted - and the desires of all three, the old woman, her son, and her daughter-in-law, were fulfilled.

And that's why you don't mess with little old ladies, because they're very smart, can trick you out of the clothes on your back and probably have a god or other supernatural being of some kind in their corner!

Cap 'o Rushes

This one's been told and retold many times, and each time something changes a little more, but the overall theme is the same. It's been compared to Cinderella, but really, what faerie tale worth it's salt (haha, see what I did there? You will!) hasn't been?

So, without further ado, The Cap O' Rushes

Long long time ago, there lived a rich man and his three daughters.

One day, the rich man asked his daughters, 'How much do you love me, my dears?'

Because parents should always question their children on these things.

'Why, Father,' said the first daughter, ' I love you as much as life itself.'

'Oh, Father,' said the second daughter, 'I love you more than all the world.'

The rich man was very pleased. 

"Haha, my self worth is validated by the cliche` words of small children! Clearly I am awesome!"

 Then he turned to his youngest daughter, and asked, 'And how much do you love me, my little one?'

Being pure and innocent, she replied 'Daddy, I love you as much as I love salt because without salt, nothing has any taste.'

An odd thing to say, but she's probably very young, so I can cut her some slack on that. Plus I like salty things. Potato chips rule all.

Though spoken in innocence, this made the rich man very angry. 'You don't love me at all!', he exclaimed. 'You will no longer live in my house or be my daughter!' he said. He threw his youngest daughter out of the house, and shut the door.

Another example of parental oversensitivity and abandonment. Why do the adults in these stories have such thin skin? Someone says that the plume on a hat is a bit much for the style, and people will scream for their blood! How dare anyone mock my fashion sense! OFF WITH THEIR HEAD! Plus, she's probably a small child, so he gets bonus points in the suck department for that.
The poor girl wandered on and on by herself, till she came to a riverbank where tall, green rushes grew. She cut the rushes and wove herself a cloak and a hood to hide her beautiful clothes. She then went to a large house that she could see, and knocked at the kitchen door.

Huh, for a rich kid she seems to have some self-reliance skills if she knows how to weave that well, and knows that having rich clothes out on the roads and such alone could get her in trouble.

'What do you want?' asked the cook, as she opened the door and saw the girl in her cloak of rushes.
'I have nowhere to go, and nowhere to stay,' said the girl. 'I'll do any sort of work for you, and ask only for food and a roof to sleep under in return.'
'Well,' said the cook. 'I do need someone to scrub the floor and wash the dishes and scour the pans. If you are willing to do that, you are welcome to stay.'

Huh, lucky kid, first house she shows up at has work for her. Things seem to work out pretty well for rich kids in these stories, unless they're bratty and don't learn better.
So the girl became a scullery maid in the large house. All day long she would scrub and clean. At night she would go to sleep in a little corner of the kitchen.

Better than sleeping out in the woods, though if she had done that she probably would have met an inexplicably talking bear who she could have fed her jerk father to. Yesss....she should have done that. Gotten a giant bear minion to devour those who opposed her, to release in her old home and watch as it tore apart the father who scorned her love!

Issues? I don't have issues, what are you talking about?
The girl would never take her cloak of rushes off, not even at night. If someone asked her her name, she wouldn't answer. So, since she wouldn't give a name and she wouldn't take her hood and cloak of rushes off, the other maids began calling her Cap o' Rushes.

Kind of a mouthful for a little girl, isn't it? I'd call her Cappie or something.
Cap o' Rushes stayed in that big house for many days, doing all that she was asked to do.
One evening the other maids said to her, 'There is a great dance tonight in the next village, and the servants have leave to go and watch the rich folk dance. Will you come with us?'
But Cap o' Rushes said she was far too tired to go that far. She lay down in her corner and pretended to go to sleep.

"They'll never suspect the little girl in the, no, they'll never suspect usssss...."

As soon as the other servants had left, and the house was empty, Cap o' Rushes threw off her cloak and hood of rushes, and dressed in her fine clothes, went to the dance. There she was the most beautiful girl of all. The son of her master was at the dance as well. He could not take his eyes off the girl, and danced with her all evening.

I'll let this one slide on the principal that, being the Master's son, he may never have met her since she probably stayed in the kitchens working and all, and he probably didn't take notice of the servants. If he had ever seen her before, then unless she wove a ski mask out of those rushes too someone should have recognized her!
'Who are you?' he asked her. 'Where do you live?' But Cap o' Rushes only smiled and gave no answer. Well before the dance was over, Cap o' Rushes slipped off home. She quickly put on her hood and cloak of rushes again, and lay down in her corner, pretending to be fast asleep.

The other maids and servants returned home very excited. 'Why, Cap o' Rushes!' they said. 'You missed the most beautiful lady there ever was. She danced all evening with the master's son, and then vanished into thin air. Nobody knows where she came from, and where she went off to.'
'Oh,' said Cap o' Rushes, 'I would have liked to see that lovely lady!'

Now those guys don't get a free pass. They know her! They work with her every day! Unless that cloak has a face concealer of some kind, they should have darn well recognized her! Do they not look each other in the face or something?
The next evening there was a dance again. 'Come with us, Cap o' Rushes,' said the other maids and servants. 'Maybe the beautiful lady will be there again tonight, and you can see her.'
But Cap o' Rushes said she was too be tired to go all that way, and pretended to fall asleep in her corner again. 

"My Preciousssss...."

As soon as the house was empty, she threw off her hood and cloak of rushes, and dressed in her fine clothes, went to the dance again.

The master's son was at the dance again, hoping the beautiful lady would come again. When he saw Cap o' Rushes he rushed up to her, and wouldn't leave her side all evening. But as before, Cap o' Rushes would tell him nothing about herself, and slipped off before the dance was over.
The other maids and servants came home to find her sleeping in her corner as before. 'O Cap o' Rushes, ' they sighed. 'The beautiful lady was there again. The master's son danced with her all evening, and with no one else.'
'O', said Cap o' Rushes again. ' I would have loved to see that!'

I'm guessing from the references to the beautiful 'lady' and not 'girl' that she is in fact a bit older, maybe mid-teens or older. In that case she should be even MORE easily recognizable, because kids are a bit harder to tell apart sometimes (they all look the same to me!) than an adult, who's features are more pronounced and refined. They should be able to recognize her unless her face is concealed, and if it is that's kinda creepy.
The following evening there was another dance. Again the others begged Cap o' Rushes to come with them, again she refused, but went later to the dance dressed in fine clothes. The master's son was waiting for her, and danced with her all evening.

So she hasn't changed clothes once this whole time? Geez. I mean I know hygiene wasn't what it is now back then but still, I hope she at least bathed.
'I don't know who you are,' said the master's son to Cap o' Rushes that evening. 'But if I lose you, I will pine away and die for you.' And he gave her a ring to put on her finger, to remember him by.

And of course, he knew her size perfectly. Am I the only one who's noticed they never address how someone can always provide the character with a ring or hat or dress or whatever that is perfectly fitted, regardless of whether or not they've met before? Sometimes entire wardrobes are provided that all fit as if custom-made, when they've never met before!

Also, note that there is no mention of them having really spoken or anything-they just danced together and she was prettier than all the other girls, so he says he'll die without her. Because falling in love with someone you don't know based purely on appearance is the right way to go!

Once again, Cap o' Rushes slipped off before the dance was over, and the other maids and servants found her sleeping in her corner when they came back home. 'O, Cap o' Rushes,' they said, 'You've missed the beautiful lady forever, for now there are no more dances.'
Cap o' Rushes said nothing, but turned over and went back to sleep.


The master's son tried to find the beautiful lady. But nobody knew anything about her, and no one had ever seen her, except at the dances. Soon the master's on was ill with love and longing for his beautiful lady, and nobody knew how to help him or make him better.

"Doctor, do you know what is wrong with my boy?" "I'm afraid so...going by these symptoms-the starry, longing gaze, the lack of appetite, that horrible rash-" "You don't mean-?!" "Yep. Your son is infected with Love."
One morning the cook was making gruel for the master's son. 'What are you doing?' asked Cap o' Rushes. 'Making gruel for the master' son,' said the cook. 'Maybe eating it will make him feel better.'
'Let me do it,' said Cap o' Rushes. ' I know how to make good gruel.'

There's a such thing as good gruel?

'Very well, ' said the cook, and went off to do her work. Cap o' Rushes made the gruel, and poured it into a bowl. She dropped the ring the master's son had given her into the bowl of gruel, and gave it to the cook to take upstairs.

So that's where all those guys who drop the ring into the drink got the idea! Figures a girl came up with it first.
The master' son finished the gruel, and saw the ring lying at the bottom of the bowl. He recognized the ring as the one he had give his beautiful lady. 'Who made this gruel?' he asked the cook. 'Cap o' Rushes did, ' said the cook. 'Send her to me,' commanded the master's son.
Cap o' Rushes went into the master's son's room, still dressed in her hood and cloak of rushes. 'Where did you get this ring?' asked the master's son, not recognizing his beautiful lady under the hood and cloak of rushes.

He's so in love with her that he's been ill from sheer longing and he can't recognize her? That cloak has to have a mask of some kind.

 'From him that gave it me,' answered Cap o' Rushes, throwing off her hood and cloak and standing there in her fine clothes.

Fine clothes that smelt entirely rank from being constantly worn and not washed once for several weeks.

The master's son was overjoyed to find his beautiful lady. But Cap o' Rushes still did not tell him her real name or who she was.

That must have been awkward.
Soon a wedding was arranged between the master's on and Cap o' Rushes. People from all over were invited to the wedding feast, including Cap o' Rushes own father. Before the feast, Cap o' Rushes went into the kitchen and told the cook to put no salt in any of the dishes she prepared for the feast.
'But that will make the food taste horrible,' protested the cook.
'Never mind,' said Cap o' Rushes. 'Just do as I say.'

"I don't care if the food tastes like old shoe leather covered in mud and goat feces, you'll serve it anyway! No I don't care about what it'll do to your reputation! I HAVE A PLAN!"
The guests arrived for the wedding feast, including Cap o' Rushes' father. The guests sat down to eat, but could not swallow a single bite - the saltless food tasted so terrible!
Suddenly, Cap o' Rushes' father burst out crying. 'What is the matter?' asked the others.

You mean it isn't normal to burst into tears at dinner? Huh. That etiquette book lied to me.

'I once had a daughter who said she loved me as much as food loved salt,' he wept. 'I didn't understand what she meant, and threw her out of the house. Now, eating this food without salt, I realize she loved me very much!'

"It's taken the bland taste of this donkey shite to make me realize that maybe I shouldn't have been a total jerkass to my children and tested their love for me constantly!"
Then Cap o' Rushes stood up and put her arms around her father. 'Here I am, Father,' she said. 'Your very own daughter!'Her father was overjoyed to see her safe and sound.

"Oh my gosh, I totally didn't notice it was you walking down the aisle the whole time I was here at the wedding! Even though I've known you your whole life and should have been able to recognize my own child!"
Cap o' Rushes and the master's son lived happily ever after, and so did her father and her sisters.

So, we never learn her real name, then?

This one's interesting in that the father and sisters live happily at the end, and are evidently forgiven. Usually the guilty party gets some form of comeuppance or punishment, or at least are banished from the life of whoever it is they wronged, but here they are forgiven and live just as happily as everyone else. Granted, it was only one stupid mistake on the part of the father, and the sisters never really did anything, so I suppose it makes sense. Though people have gotten the axe for next to nothing in faerie tales I guess it's just a case-by-case basis, really. Something that-dare I say it-must be taken with a grain of salt? 


The She-Wolf

My BF and I both love wolves, so it shouldn't be surprising to anyone that one of my first posts is about a wolf. This story is an old Croatian tale, published in 1889 in Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources. The story will be in black, my commentary in purple. 

The She-Wolf

There was an enchanted mill, so that no one could stay there, because a she-wolf always haunted it.

 So...if a wolf (sorry, she-wolf) shows up somewhere, that makes it magical? Couldn't someone just try and shoo it out the door with a broom or something? Or call the huntsman?

 A soldier went once into the mill to sleep. He made a fire in the parlor, went up into the garret above, bored a hole with an auger in the floor, and peeped down into the parlor.

Because it's perfectly normal to put holes in the floor to peep through before you go to bed. Personally I can't sleep unless I take a jackhammer to the tile to peer down into the piping first.

Also, why is the soldier sleeping there? Was there no town nearby for him to find an inn or beg for shelter from? People don't build mills out in the middle of nowhere, there must have been a town somewhere relatively close by!
A she-wolf came in and looked about the mill to see whether she could find anything to eat. She found nothing, and then went to the fire, and said, "Skin down! Skin down! Skin down!" She raised herself upon her hind-legs, and her skin fell down. She took the skin, and hung it on a peg, and out of the wolf came a damsel. The damsel went to the fire, and fell asleep there. 

See, people, this is what society has done. No one is comfortable in their own skins anymore, not even to sleep! Even a young she-wolf feels the need to remove her own flesh just to feel comfortable enough to sleep now because of the harsh and unrealistic standards placed on them by those magazines and runway models.


He came down from the garret, took the skin, nailed it fast to the mill-wheel, then came into the mill, shouted over her, and said, "Good morning, damsel! How do you do?"

So...she, who is a wolf, didn't hear or smell the guy coming down from the garret or nailing her skin to the mill-wheel? She must be a very deep sleeper.

Also, I've got to ask of the soldier- WHY?! Why would you take someone's shed skin and nail it to something, much less a mill-wheel? What the heck, dude? I wouldn't even TOUCH the thing! You don't know where she's been!

She began to scream, "Skin on me! Skin on me! Skin on me!" But the skin could not come down, for it was fast nailed.
The pair married and had two children. 

Because there's nothing more romantic and endearing than having someone steal your skin and nail it to the wall. It's only logical that you'd totally want to jump the bones of the guy who would do that, even if you had never seen him before and didn't know his ass from Adam.

 Really, now.

As soon as the elder son got to know that his mother was a wolf, he said to her, "Mamma! Mamma! I have heard that you are a wolf." 

....and who did he hear this from? I'm pretty sure the soldier wouldn't want anyone to know that he got hitched to a she-wolf. That sort of thing usually doesn't fly with the relatives.

His mother replied, "What nonsense are you talking! How can you say that I am a wolf?" 

"Well, there was that time you slaughtered all our chickens with your teeth while running around on all fours, and the howling at the moon at ungodly hours, and your particular method of personal grooming-"

Though I gotta give the mom credit for at least trying here. Obviously he didn't hear about it from her.

The father of the two children went one day into the field to plow, and his son said, "Papa, let me, too, go with you." 

I'm all about plowing today!

His father said, "Come." 

Not going to say it, not going to say it, NOT GOING TO SAY IT....

When they had come to the field, the son asked his father, "Papa, is it true that our mother is a wolf?"

The father said, "It is." 

...Why would you tell your kid that? Would it be so hard to just say; "What? A wolf? Kid, does she look like a wolf to you?"
"But the things with the chicken and the-"
"She's just a free spirit."
"But what about the raw deer and how she cleans herse-"

The son inquired, "And where is her skin?" 

His father said, "There it is, on the mill-wheel." 

Wait, it's been there this whole time? Long enough for you two to get married and have two children and one of those children to get old enough to start asking questions like that? Good grief, either that thing's rotted to a state of gross, or it's got some pretty nice preservation spells on it. Either way if it hasn't been washed this whole time it's gotta reek.

No sooner had the son got home, than he said at once to his mother, "Mamma! Mamma! You are a wolf! I know where your skin is." 

And the prize for 'Weirdest thing to hear from your kid' goes to...

His mother asked him, "Where is my skin?" 

He said, "There, on the mill-wheel." 

"I was wondering why our bread tasted funny..."

His mother said to him, "Thank you, sonny, for rescuing me." Then she went away, and was never heard from again.

Parental abandonment for the win! Seriously, no tearful goodbye or explanation that she just can't stay or anything? She's just like, "Later, suckas! Dinner's in the fridge, you'd better make it last!"

Because wolves are totally known for ditching their kids.

This one's a typical animal bride tale-they usually have to do with something that allows the bride to transform, usually the skin which is shed, and a man taking that away from them and forcing them to marry them. There is almost always a child born, sometimes more than one, who discovers their mother's true nature and returns her skin to her, whether by getting it and physically handing it over or simply telling them where it is. The mother takes her true form again, and either gives a tearful farewell, takes their child who is half of whatever they are and thus belongs in their world, or simply runs off without a backwards glance. Sometimes the father is killed. Occasionally he's the one who grants the female her freedom again. Sometimes she even falls in love with them, or cares so much for her child/children that she destroys whatever it is that ties her to her original self, such as in the story "The Prince and the Tortoise" in which the tortoise burns her shell so that she might never be tempted to return to her old self. They follow the same basic formula, but depending on a few changes in the story can have very different morals. So, read into that, and the story itself, what you will.

Greetings, Earthlings!

Greetings all! This is Mink, just starting out in a new blogging venture. I wondered what to blog about for a while, whether doing movie reviews or whatever-but that wouldn't be any good because I'm a technically homeless shut-in (I live with my boyfriend and his parents right now due to lack of employment) and barely see any movies or anything, so by the time I got around to actually seeing anything there'd already be a thousand reviews for it. So...that'd be rather pointless, since I don't know crap about any of that. However, my art idol made a post on her livejournal lampooning some old folk stories she'd come across and what she thought of them-and I thought, yeah! I could do that! I don't know movies or modern events because I've spent my whole life under a rock buried in the desert with a cactus being the only one around to talk to, but I know about faerie tales! So, without further ado, I will be posting old faerie tales, folk legends and such, and annotating them. When I am eventually able to afford a drawing tablet I'll probably do little pictures to go along with them. I hope you guys will enjoy it, maybe read a few stories you wouldn't have found otherwise and get a few laughs out of it in the bargain!