Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Turnip Princess

I picked up the trade paper version of "Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales" at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. In the 1850s, Franz Xaver von Schonwerth collected hundred of folk tales in northern Bavaria. These sat in boxes until they were rediscovered in a German city archive a few years ago. This volume is over 70 of these stories, cleaned up and translated to English. Several variations on Cinderella, Thumbelina, and others. Many are completely off the walls, many are bloody, several are crude. As one of the prefaces says, it's all about action, "what happens next".

I have made a habit of reading fairy and folk tales of all cultures over the years. I bought this as a real book in thoughts of passing it on to my granddaughter. But I don't think these would hold her attention. And increasingly, I really question the wisdom of exposing young children, particularly females, to the traditional fairy tale genre. Like the Disney "princesses" thing, which drives me crazy, I don't think these are good life lessons for raising modern females. Finding your prince and "living happily ever after" I would characterize as a way less than optimal life strategy for a modern female.

So this book won't be going to my granddaughter. Maybe when she's grown if she becomes a folk tale aficionado, she can have it with the rest of my collection.

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