Top Ten Tuesday #4

Hello everyone,

welcome to this new Top Ten Tuesday which is, I remember you a literary concept created by the blog Broke and Bookish (english) and adapted by Iani on her blog for the french speaker. The aim is to share about literature, books generally and all that you love about them. I insist on the fact that appealed to me : Sharing.

You are very welcome to answer the question every week and give me your opinio about it. Feel also free to ask me your own question, I will be pleased to answer to it.

Today I will give you my Top Ten favorite Fairytales. 


So I precise that Disney’s stories do not count for this one, we are speaking about literature and no matter how good Disney’s movies are they are not included in this category. Well, let’s start !

1- Peau d’âne (translated by Donkeyskin) 

Written by Charles Perrault, this fairytale presents the crazy story of a king who lose his wife and promise her to marry again only with a woman wiser and more beautiful than she was. The problem is that years passing by he only find one woman like this : his own daughter. So he tried to marry her. The poor children refuses of course but he is the king ! So she asks him some very difficult things to do and say that if she gets it she will marry him. A dress of time, a dress of moon and a dress of sun. But she got everything ! Finally she asks him to kill his favorite donkey, a gifted animal whose droppings were gold. But she got it, so following the advices of her fairy godmother she puts the skin on her shoulders and run away.

I do not want to spoil the end if ever you have not already read it but of course there is a prince and…etc. If you do not know, read it ! It is a very good one.

2- Les six cygnes (the six swans) 

It was a fairytale written by the Brothers Grimm but it exists different versions with slight differences. I lso love the Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen. To make the story short the princes are transformed in swans by their witch of stepmother but their sister who was not here is saved from the curse. To deliver her brothers she must not speak and laugh for seven years (in the Grimm’s version) or during the time she is making them shirts with nettle (in the danish version). She is accused of being herself a witch and is almost burned at the stake when the swans came and put the shirts, becoming handsome princes again.

I like this fairytale whatever the version because it shows the power of brotherhood and sisterhood in a family.

3- La belle au bois dormant (Sleeping Beauty)

From Charles Perrault again, I think everyone knows this fairytale thanks to the Disney’s movie. Let’s remind it a bit. There is a birth in a castle, everyone is happy except one of the fairy who was not invited to the party. So, she shows up and like the other fairies, makes a gift to the little princess. But unlike the others it is not about beauty, grace or any talent. It is a curse predicting that on the sixteenth birthday, the princess will prick her hand on a spindle and die. But another fairy who has not spoken yet tried to minimise the evil curse : yes the princess will prick her hand but instead of dying she would fall asleep for a century before being awakened by a kiss from a prince. Years pass and one day everything happened as it has been predicted. The princess fall asleep. And so the fairy make everyone sleep in the castle until the curse is broken. One hundred years later, a brave prince see this strange and isolated castle, he decided to go. And the end, you already know it I think. If not, go find it, the text is easily readible on internet.

4- La bergère et le ramoneur (The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep)

It is a simple romance, by H.C Andersen again, between two china figurines on a table. But their love is threatened by carved mahogany figure of a satyr who wants the shepherdess for wife. The two lovers tried to fly away, to live their love  together. The way is long, they pass by the stove pipe, climbing to the roof. But up there, under the immensity of the sky and all the stars, the shepherdess is afraid and ask her lover to bring her back to the table where they were.

5- L’homme à la peau d’ours (the man with a bear skin)

Written by Brothers Grimm, this fairytale look a bit like Donkeyskin. A young soldier came back from war with no money. He met the Devil who purposed a deal so the man can become rich. A bear just come out and is killed by the soldier. Satan, satisfied said that he is courageous and that he likes it. He touches the bear and only the skin remains. He gave to the soldier his green costume and the bear skin telling him to wear it during 7 years. During this time he must not wash, or cut his beard, his hair or his nails. If he succeed he will be rich for ever, if not he will belong to the Devil. The soldier accepts and immediately he felt many gold coins in his pockets.

During many years he travelled the world, each time more scary with his long beard, scarying many people. Hotels accepted him only because he paid much. Only the poors were not afraid of him because he was nice with them. One day he heard someone crying, it was a man who couldn’t pay for his room. Bearskin gave him money, and grateful the man bring him home and say that he will gave him one of his daughter to marry. The two eldest refused to marry a monster but the youngest said that because he had been that nice she would marry him. Bear skin gave him half his ring and told her that he would come back in three years.

He finishes his years and the Devil came again, very angry. He asks for his green costume but the soldier ask him to wash him first. Then he came back to the home of his fiancée without saying who he was. Everyone was nice to him, now he was an handsome soldier again, especially the two eldest girls. He make fell his half ring in his glass, making the youngest daughter blushes when she realised who he was. They married and lived happily ever after…..

6- La petite sirène (the little mermaid)

Very famous fairytale by H.C Andersen, which still famous today evenmore in Denmark the country of its author whose most famous monument is a statue of the mermaid in Copenhagen.

The story is about a little mermaid who dreams of going on the earth. One day, she saves a prince in a storm and fall in love with him. So she made a pack with a sea witch to have a potion which would give her legs. But the deal has its price : each step would be as if she walk on a thousand of needles, if the prince marry another woman she would be transformed in meerschaum and finally she has to pay the witch with her voice. She accepted everything by the love for her prince and so became a woman. The prince finds her, takes care of her and becomes her friend. But he marry someone else, thinking recognize the one who has saved him from drowning. But because she had suffered so much, she did not become meerschaum but was saved by the daughter of the air and became one of them.

7- Le vaillant petit tailleur (The valiant little tailor)

By Brother Grimm, this story is about a little tailor who kills sevenflies with one swipe of his hand, or « blow. » Very proud he wrote « Seven at one blow » on his belt and decide to go discover the world. He met a giant who read his belt and thinks « seven men ». The giant challenged the little tailor but this one is very smart. When the Giant squeezes water from a boulder, the tailor squeezes milk, or whey, from cheese. The Giant throws a rock far into the air, and it eventually lands. The tailor counters the feat by tossing a bird that flies away into the sky; the Giant believes the small bird is a « rock » which is thrown so far that it never lands.

Then the tailor will enter in the royal service and accomplish many incredible things for his country as capturing a unicorn or a wild boar ravaging the land. Finally the tailor marry the King’s daughter and become himself the future king. And it all begin with seven flies !!

8- La princesse au petit pois (The princess and the pea)

It is a H.C Andersen’s fairytale again but I really like his stories. This one is dealing with the universe of princesship. What is a real princess ? It’s a very delicate person, able to feel a small pea through 20 mattresses and 20 feather-bed. In a story the young girl spend an awful night persuage there was some horrible stuff to bruise her during the night. The prince is sure he has found his real princess.

I find this story extremely sweet because i am myself very sensitive for sleeping so my mum often calls me her princess and the pea. That’s maybe why i like it !

9- Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard)

The most famous is the one from Perrault. This story was based on the life of Henry VIII of England who had 6 wives and who made executed 2 of them. In the fairytale Bluebeard kill his wife to keep the secret of the murder of his other wives. It is also a way to see if he can trust his wife. He give her the keys of all the rooms of the house and tell him not to open the tiny cabinet. Of course, she’ll go check and found the corpses of all the others wives. Bluebeard learnt it and decide to kill her too. But the young man will be save by her brothers and could make again her life and forget all about her terrific husband.

10- Le pécheur et sa femme (the fisherman and his wife)

I really liked this fairytale by the Brothers Grimm. It is about not wanting too much ! And greediness can be one of the human problems. This fairytale is dealing perfectly with it, I think.

A poor fisherman once catches a golden flounder who claims that he is an enchanted prince. The fisherman let him go, so the fish gives him a wish. Because he is very poor, the fisherman asks for a nice house. When he come back home, he find a nice cottage. He explains all the story to this wife who said that he could have asked for more. And each time, she wondered what she could ask for more. First, it’s a bigger house, then more lands… She became queen, empress and finally, one day ask to be the equal of God. The flounder face to so much greediness cancelled all the wishes given and the fisherman and his wife came back to their poverty.

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