Showing posts from March, 2017

Beauty and the Beast: King of the Wood

She asked for a rose.  Her father reaches out to pluck one.  Suddenly, a Beast appears, furious, accusing him of theft.  The penalty is death.  Or the surrender of his daughter. But why such a harsh penalty for plucking a rose?  Much has been said - or invented - on the possible meaning of the rose.  When the last petal falls, the Beast's fate is sealed eternally.  It is the first thing he has learned to love.  It symbolises virginity; the plucking of the rose mirrors the deflowering of the daughter; the aristocratic Beast is excercising his  droit du seigneur  over Beauty, the merchant's child. But why should the plucking of a flower carry such a heavy penalty?  And why does the same motif occur in other fairy tales?  For example, Rapunzel , in which the father must sacrifice his child as payment for picking herbs from the Witch's garden. One answer may lie in ancient mythology.  Most ancient polytheistic religions have sacred groves, where it is forbidden to break the bra

The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3

Image Last Saturday, I had a wonderful night out in Nottingham, at the launch of The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3, an anthology of fairy tales for grown-ups. As one of the contributing authors, it was great to meet my fellow writers, sign books together and listen to readings from each other's stories.  It was particularly special for me, as I missed last year's launch for The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2 due to illness.  It was also great to spend Sunday's journey home reading everyone else's stories, along with notes on the inspiration behind them, and of course the wonderful illustrations by Emma Howitt. I'm not going to go through every story here, but I will mention some of my favourites: The Web and the Wildwood by Lynden Wade I LOVE the Lady of Shalott, and medieval romance, so this story was ideal for me.  It has a woman in a tower, a unico