Questions, Intuitions, Revisions:
Telling and Re-Telling Stories About Ourselves in the World
A College Seminar Course at Bryn Mawr College

Forum - Students' Fairy Tales and Analyses

Name:  Carol
Subject:  fairy tale
Date:  2001-09-26 13:05:57
Message Id:  299
Princess Carolina

Once long ago in the Kingdom of Kentuck lived Princess Carolina. Carolina was tall and fair and had especially beautiful feet with lovely high arches and 10 perfectly proportioned toes.
The castle where the Princess lived with her father and mother, the King and Queen, and her three brothers, the Princes, was rundown and remote. The King could not afford servants, so he treated the Queen and the Princess as his and the Princes' servants. "Draw my bath!," he would roar to whichever was nearby. "Where's my socks?" he would roar at the Queen every morning.
The Princes were known far and wide for their skills and heroism in the Games they played with their big wooden sticks and small hard balls. "Have you washed and ironed the Princes' uniforms that they will wear this day in the Gaming Competition?" roared the King to Princess Carolina. "Yes, Father, I am just finishing the third uniform" said Carolina. "You're too slow!" said the King, stomping off. As Carolina continued to iron, she noted the beautiful stitches, the raised embroidered numbers, and the fine cloth that the uniforms were made of. In contrast, her plain white blouse and shorts were made of thin cotton.
The King and Queen were unhappy with their only daughter. One day the King demanded that Carolina support the Princes in their Games by becoming a Leader of the Cheers. The Princess didn't want to do that. The Leaders of the Cheers wore silly short skirts and shouted silly slogans through bullhorns. She refused. The Princess wanted art and beauty in her life. To punish Carolina for disobeying him, the King forced the Queen to whack off the beautiful little pinky toe of the Princesses right foot. The Queen didn't want to do it, but the King demanded it, so it must be done.
"Alas, my foot is now ugly," the Princess thought silently as she watched drops of bright red blood fall onto the white tiles of the kitchen floor. "Now my foot will never fit perfectly into the glass slippers that Princes use to find their brides. I'll be the King's slave forever." After the Queen fled in horror from the kitchen, Caroline carefully picked up her severed toe, lovingly wrapped it in a bit of silk, and put it into a little box. She did not cry. Outside under a flowering cherry tree, where she escaped each night when the rest of the castle was asleep, where she gazed up at the bright white stars against the blackness and wished for beauty and art and maybe even for a Prince, she buried her poor little toe. The Princess came back night after night to dream of herself far, far away, in a Kingdom full of art and beauty.
On Sundays at the castle, cousins, aunts, and uncles gathered to feast around the big table. Chicken was always served. There was no need to call it "Fried Chicken" because it was always fried. Just call it "Chicken."
To prepare the chickens, the Queen and her sisters would chase the chickens around the henhouse until they caught some nice plump ones. With hatchets in hand, they would put the squawking chickens head on the chopping block and, with a quick chop, the chicken's head would drop to the ground. The chicken's body would hop up and run around the chicken yard spurting bright red blood on its white feathers. The womenfolk would then scald the chickens until all their feathers could be plucked off to lay their moist pink skin bare. After all the chickens were fried up extra crisp, the potatoes mashed, and the green beans cooked to death, the menfolk would take their places at the table. The women would serve the food to the men and hover around the table filling and refilling their plates with food and their goblets with sweet iced tea. After all their royal highnesses arose from the table to smoke cigarettes and get out their whittling knives, the womenfolk would sit at the table to eat the leftovers. Instead of sweet tea, they always drank black coffee with their food. Never with milk. It seemed to the Princess that the Queen and her sisters were always happier on Sundays than on any other day of the week, sitting around the table talking, eating, and drinking coffee.
Carolina was happier on Sundays too because, relieved of some of her kitchen duties, she was free to play with her cousins. They would climb and jump in the hayloft, swim in the creek, and tell each other stories. One of the stories Carolina's cousin told her was that all the males in the kingdom had little sticks and balls between their legs, extra equipment that they were very proud of. This, she explained, has something to do with the Games they played with their big wooden sticks and little hard balls. If a Prince was victorious in the Games, it meant that the little sticks and balls between their legs were very powerful, the best in the land, and they were greatly admired. "Why do the Leaders of the Cheers wear their silly skirts and cheer them on?, asked the Princess. "Because" said the cousin, "the Leaders of the Cheers have seen their Princes' little sticks and balls and have maybe even touched them." "That's why they cheer their Princes on at the Games. They want everyone to know that their Princes have the biggest and best sticks and balls across the land."
"Oh, I see. It's all about the men again. There's no glory in being a Leader of the Cheers. I'm glad I refused, even if I had to sacrifice my little pinky toe," said Carolina.
One Sunday evening, after all the chickens had been consumed, all the tea and coffee were gone, the cigarettes were smoked, and the whittled shavings of cedar sticks were swept up, Princess Carolina went outside to sit under her flowering cherry tree and dream her lovely dreams. As she looked up into the starry night, she saw one of the stars fall from the sky and turn into a perfect white dove. The dove perched on a branch of her tree. "The key is in the Green Castle," the dove said. "But how can I get there?" said the Princess. "You'll see. It will happen," said the dove as it flew back up into the starry sky.
The very next morning, the King entered the Queen's bedchambers to find her dead in her bed. Her heart had been plucked out. There it lay against the white sheets, a glob of bleeding red heart surrounded by a few stray white feathers.
The King was despondent. He was worried about who would draw his baths, find his socks, prepare his meals. He knew that Carolina would be too slow to do all of that and care for the Princes' uniforms. He determined immediately to leave the castle and travel across the land until he found a new wife.
The King of Kentuck after searching far and wide found his new bride, a widowed Queen who lived in the Green Castle in the Kingdom of PennsWoods. After they were married, the King and his new Queen sent for Carolina and her brothers, the Princes. Carolina packed all the fine uniforms and all of Carolina's white kitchen blouses and shorts and traveled seven days to reach their new home.
Carolina worried during every day of the journey, because she had heard stories about wicked stepmothers. When they finally arrived at the gates of the Green Castle, the Princess was amazed to see that the castle was three stories high, the kingdom full of chariots and beautifully dressed men and women, and most pleasingly that her new stepmother was kind and good. She was also rich and had servants to prepare the food and to keep the princes Gaming uniforms clean and pressed. Carolina was suddenly hopeful that she might find here in this Green Castle the art and beauty she had dreamed of. She realized that she would have to learn the language of this new land, which was very different from that spoken in the Kingdom of Kentuck. She noticed also that they roasted their chickens, and that now she would have to say "Fried Chicken" or "Roasted Chicken" if she wanted to be understood. It is "ice-ing" on top of a cake, not "aah-sin," she said over and over. Carolina practiced speaking their language until she was good enough.
One thing the Princess admired about her new stepmother was her ability to make beautiful music with a big stick. Carolina had no idea that something of beauty could come from one of the big wooden sticks. She had seen them used only in the Games. One day after listening entranced by the notes, Carolina asked her stepmother what the stick was. "It's called a bassoon, and it's made from carved zebrawood. It has holes poked into the wood in certain places," the stepmother said. "When I blow into this tube and put my fingers over the right holes, music comes out the other end." The stepmother then placed a beautiful piece called "Red River Valley" for Carolina. It was wonderful.
One day while exploring the grounds of the Green Castle, Carolina discovered an ivy-covered tower in a courtyard. She tried to open the door, but it was locked. "The key is in the Green Castle," she remembered the white dove saying to her. The Princess rushed into the castle to find her stepmother and excitedly asked her about the ivy-covered tower. Producing the golden key kept hung on a white silk rope, the stepmother explained that in the tower was a room called the Library, which housed Books, a place to keep written words of wisdom on paper. "There are ideas and pictures in the Books. Go see for yourself," said the stepmother.
Carolina was very excited. She rushed to the tower, placed the key in the lock, and ran up the steps to the Library. It was a quiet place with rows and rows of Books and down-stuffed chairs to sit on. She started leafing through the books she found on the shelves. She discovered a whole set of stories about a Princess Nancy from the Kingdom of Drew, who had her own open-top chariot and drove freely about the land picking up cute Princes and taking them with her on her adventures. She found another volume called "Gone With the Wind," about Princess Scarlett from the far off Kingdom of Tara. Tara was in the South, near the Kingdom of Kentuck, so Carolina couldn't wait to read Scarlett's story. Every day for the next twelve years, Princess Carolina went to the ivy-covered tower and chose a volume from the shelves. She was happy to finally have beauty and art in her life.
The King of Kentuck and his three Princes, however, had not come to such a good end. One day the King was served his Chicken Roasted instead of Fried. As he roared at the cook for preparing the wrong kind of chicken, he choked to death. The Princes found that without their father to urge them on they could no longer competed and win in the Games. They were forced to become fat salesmen of the big wooden sticks and balls needed to play the Games.
Widowed again, the good stepmother joined an opera company and moved to the New Kingdom of York, leaving the Green Castle and all the Books to Carolina, who found herself with everything she had longed for---except, of course, a proper Prince.

So, dear reader, this is what the Princess wants to happen next. She wants to meet a Knight,a Prince, or maybe even a kind Frog, perhaps one who has knowledge of medicine or science, who can fashion a little prosthetic right pinky toe. He will place the prosthesis on Carolina's toe and slip her again-lovely foot into a size 41 Birkenstock sandal. It will fit perfectly and they will live together happily ever after.

PS Thanks to Stephanie and Meg, whose words/ideas I borrowed (stick and Frog). Hope that's OK!

Name:  Carol
Subject:  her shrink's notes
Date:  2001-09-26 15:53:14
Message Id:  308
Psychiatric Patient Records
Dr. Cope-Land

Patient: Princess Carolina

Sept 1. Patient (Pt.) Princess w/symptoms of mild depression--sleep disorder, dwells on bad news, phobias/fears of wild animals, hatchets, blood. Aversion to eating chicken, esp. fried.

Pt. neatly dressed in long expensive velvet gown, wears attractive crown on long flowing hair. Employed in publishing biz. 3 children--boys. Affect normal. Mood somewhat sad. Concentration and attention seem good. States symptoms began few months earlier after family visit to faraway kingdom. Pt. claims feelings "stirred up" by visit.

Dr. C: Tell me about your childhood. Normal delivery? Any early illnesses? Good relationships with parents and sibs? Toilet training at normal age?

Princess C: Born at home on farm. Healthy. "Normal" family relationships. Out-house trained at normal age.

Dr. C: Any eating disorders?

Princess C: States she never liked fried chicken. But will eat anything else

Dr. C: (Note to self: she is carrying a few extra pounds.)

Dr. C: umm....our hour is just abt. up. Here's a prescription I'd like you to try.

Rx: 100 mg Zoloft, tid. Reg. exercise. Return visit l wk

Wk 2:

Dr. C: How are you feeling?

Princess C: Feeling little better--thinks Zoloft is kicking in

Dr. C: Let's talk more about yr. family. You say it was "normal" upbringing?

Princess C: Father ruled castle, mother weak/submissive. 3 Princes who played baseball. Parents pressure Princess to become cheerleader. Pt refuses, mother is forced by father to chop off Pt's little toe as punishment. Father treats Queen/Princess as his servants. Father "roars" commands. One recurring command for Princess to iron Princess uniforms. Father thought her "too slow." Pt. states that she frequently sat under flowing cherry tree/dreams of art, beauty, a Prince.

Dr. C: (Notes to self: Gender issue, In deep denial re "normal", Wild animal roars, Simpleton theme, and definitely was a virgin)

Dr C: Did you ever notice any families who were "different" from yrs?

Princess C: Pt responds that when her clan moved to a faraway Northern kingdom she noticed that family dynamics different there. Pt states that fathers there loved and respected their daughters, that boy Princes helped around the house, that mothers were strong and got to make some of the decisions. Noted that none of her new friends had to so sock and bath duties, iron b-ball uniforms.

Dr. C: How did you feel about yr new friends and their families?

Princess C: States she wished she belonged to their families. They spoke with nice accent, bought their chickens already cut up, roasted them. They also had books to escape into.

Dr C: What kind of books?

Princess C: Pt responds that she read lots of books after moving to the Green Castle. States that she liked Nancy Drew, Gone with the Wind, Of Human Bondage.

Dr C: ( Note to self: Hmm--all strong women well aware of power of inner resources.)

Dr C: Umm, our hour is just about up.

Rx: >Zoloft to 150 mg tid. More exercise, Return visit 1 wk.

Week 3:

Princess C: states feeling "much better." Has been wondering if anything in her childhood could be causing her symptoms?

Dr. C: Tell me more...

Princess C: states recurring childhood nightmares about bloody scenes--chickens with heads chopped off, globs of bleeding hearts, drops of blood on a kitchen floor. Pt states that it was the women of her clan who had to do all the bloody work. They gave blood for their men but no honor or glory was given back. States that when men give blood they are honored--given medals. Why aren't women seen as heroes? All that bloody work, and they didn't even get to sit down to Sunday dinner until the men were finished.

Dr. C: Is that why you don't like fried chicken? Umm, tell me more.

Princess C: You're probably right

Wk 4:

Dr. C: And how are you doing?

Princess C: reports "sleeping like a baby" Exercise seems to be helping.

Dr C: Suggest we talk more abt childhood. What was sister like?

Princess C: responds that she played bassoon. Sister used talent as way to escape castle. Pt wanted her own way to escape castle. Loved her sister but was nevertheless jealous of her talent. Pt. dreamed of being able to play piano. Sister also didn't want to be cheerleader and was resentful of princes-that's why she found her own stick to play with.

Dr C: (Note to self: Ah-Hah! Connection between baseball bat and bassoon.)

Princess C: reflects that maybe Books have been her "escape and rescue." Her "prince." Humm.

Dr. C: Can we talk about love life?

Princess C: states difficulty finding Prince. Has tried a couple of them but none just right. Admits to fantasy abt Prince or even Frog who can make her a toe and slip her foot into a perfectly fitting size 41 Birkenstock.

Dr C: (Note to self: Princess has big feet!)

Dr C: Will you be happy then?

Princess C: States that is not what she expects from her love relationship. States that we must draw on our inner resources before we can move outward and form meaningful relationships with other people. We must be strong and hopeful and use a stick for support along the way if we need it.

Dr. C: Well our hour is just about up. I'll see you next week.

Rx: Continue Zoloft, plenty of exercise, run personal ad for potential suitor.

Prognosis: Pt. Shd. Do well w/current regimen. Recognizes that she is resourceful/strong. Has acknowledged that weird family was dysfunctional. Pt. has hope for future. Long rest at quiet place would be helpful. I'll tell her abt. the castle @Bryn Mawr.

Username:  Anonymous
Date:  2001-09-26 20:13:25
Message Id:  311
College sem I fairy tale2 Meg Devereux

Once upon a time, a handsome sea captain retired from the sea, and moved with his young playful wife to a small farm way far away in the countryside. Late in life they were sent a child, a girl whom they called Meggie. She was born with eyes that shone with spirit, wisdom and soul. Her parents loved her very much, but they were busy and forgot to look deeply into her eyes.
Meggie wore corduroy overalls, sturdy brown shoes, and a brown jacket that had once belonged to her brother. Her curly hair was wild and her fingernails were ragged and not especially clean. One day she went off to school. There she saw little girls dressed in frocks all covered with flowers and with smooth white collars. The little girls' hair was neatly brushed and parted into smooth curls and held in place by shiny gold barrettes. And their fingernails were tidy and clean. Meggie was happy though to play with the boys and didn't think she needed a dress or barrettes. After a time, however, she longed for a dress and smooth hair. She went to her busy mother.
Her mother could sail a boat, shoot a gun, milk a cow, ride or drive a horse, pitch hay, clean a fish, pluck a fowl, but combing a child's hair, finding the part for a barrette, and conjuring up a dress with flowers were beyond her. Meggie would stand next to a window in the farmhouse and wrap herself in the old curtains that had once hung in the family's grander houses and pretend she was dressed for a ball. Seeing her at play, her mother remembered a childhood friend who lived in the City to the North, home to a huge bell called Liberty. She put pen to paper. Soon a large parcel arrived and what do you think?
In side the big brown box were four beautiful dresses all covered in flowers of the most delicate and yet brilliant hues. Each dress had a perfectly stitched white collar, puffy sleeves, a beautiful full sash and the finest embroidered smocking all over its bodice. As her mother handed her the dresses, she whispered the words "Liberty lawn": soft as silky down to the touch and fit for a princess. In fact the dresses had come from a princess who lived in a palace of marble floors and liveried servants. These dresses were her own daughter's out grown frocks, sewn just for her in a foreign land.
Meggie wore her new dresses every day even to play alone on the farm. They were a little big because she was thin as a rail and the princess's daughter was plump and round, but with the big sashes wrapped around her waist twice, the dresses were almost perfect. When Meggie twirled and whirled in the dresses the skirts became full-belled kaleidoscopes of color and entranced her with their richness. She would twirl and whirl. Twirl. Whirl. Twirl. Whirl Twirl. Whirl. Liberty. Liberty. Liberty.
When she was 12, Meggie learnt to ride the farm horse. She galloped over fields, soared over fences and streams racing to find the beginning of the wind, the edge of other lands, the endless blue of the sea and the place where the world ends and the universe begins.
When she turned 15, she had two visitors. Her Fairy Godmother, Hilda, was a tall thin crone swathed in dark earth-colored strips of velvet and crushed silk. Her gray and black hair was wild, her eyes wilder. Hilda told tales of the real world, stranger often than those of fantasy. From her, Meggie learned to love stories and history, indistinguishable in their richness. The second visitor was Fairy Godmother Nancy, round and soft and dressed in gossamer with little lights all around her hem. Nancy spoke to Meggie of her friends, the wise fairies and the elves who lived all over the gardens and of beauty all around. From her, Meggie learned to love the mystical and the beautiful.
Meggie grew to womanhood and journeyed to a far off land where those long ago twirling, whirling, Liberty dresses had their beginnings. She visited castles, palaces and cathedrals. She met people from many lands of different faiths, color and customs. She drank in new ideas, sights, thoughts, and explored tiny corners and open moors of the landscape. She married a young squire in the far off land and lived there.
The squire then took her back to the land of her birth, to the City to the North, home of the bell called Liberty. Meggie learned the ways of the city and its history. She donned antique garb and guided visitors through its old streets and showing them the bell called Liberty and the birthplace of her land's liberty. She loved the mystery of the city and its people. Though whirling had become a bit beyond her by then, she sometimes twirled in her antique dress. Although it was made of dull green homespun, she remembered the magic in the Liberty lawn of her youth.
Then the squire from the far off land left her for another. This felt a bit like Liberty. But not as she had imagined it.
In time, she worked in huge palaces of learning which housed treasures of art and science. This felt a bit like Liberty. But not quite as she had imagined it.
Eventually she met a prince of the city and married him with a bishop's blessing. This felt a bit more like Liberty. But again not quite as she had imagined it.
Meggie and the prince were sent three beautiful children. This felt like Liberty. Just as she had imagined it.
Their first-born was a girl. She had eyes that danced with her spirit. In them her mother and father saw the world's spirit. The second born was a son. He had eyes that shone with his wisdom. In them his mother and father saw the world's wisdom. The third born was yet another son. He had eyes that burned with his soul. In them his mother and father saw the world's soul. Their parents named them Liberty, Liberty, and Liberty for when they looked deeply into the children's eyes they felt a love so great and strong they were all, parents and children, set free.
Meggie dressed her daughter in Liberty dresses which were actually quite precious and caused some hardship for the family. But Meggie wanted her always to have Liberty. Her sons she dressed in sailor suits. Around their necks each wore a silken lanyard attached to a small silver whistle. These costumes too were precious and a bit beyond the family's means. Nonetheless it was important to Meggie that the boys have the same sense of Liberty.
The children climbed trees, camped in their big wood, sailed their little skiffs on the lake, rode their shaggy ponies over the meadows and through the streams. They laughed and sang and whistled all day long. Their beautiful and rich clothes were often mended by their mother who loved their Liberty but sometimes sighed and scolded about the tears and rents.
The children loved their mother as all children do. Because they didn't want her to be sad or cross, they soon stayed inside even on the balmiest days. They rarely left their third floor nursery at the top of the house. They put puzzles together. They read the big picture books. They painted pictures of the out of doors. They took turns on their big window seat just gazing out the window down at the wood, and over the meadows and the streams. Their cheeks paled. Their eyes dimmed. Gradually their wistful gazing turned to sleep, deeper and deeper sleep. Even Maggie's kisses could not wake them.
Meggie was distraught. She brought them sweet treats from the oven. They could not smell them. She brought them new kittens from the stable. They could not stroke them. She brought them new stories about pirates and princes. They could not hear them. She brought them pretty pictures of far off lands. They could not see them. She told them silly riddles. They could not laugh. In her sadness, she opened their wardrobe and there all neatly mended and pressed were their dresses and sailor suits. Meggie stroked each one and let her tears fall. Silently she wished her children had just come into the house from the meadows with smiles and laughter and new tears and rents in their clothing. As she held the fabric in her hands, the flowers on the dresses began to bloom afresh, and the little whistles began to sing.
She turned to her children with these clothes in her arms. She saw their cheeks blush with pink, their eyelids flutter, their eyes open and their faces break into smiles and life. Next they danced out from under their counterpanes. As their mother smiled, they threw on the dress and the suits and raced downstairs and out the door into the world. As Meggie was watching closely, she saw: the spirit, wisdom and soul burning again in their young eyes as they dashed past her. And if their mother was listening closely she might have heard the whispered refrain, "Liberty. Liberty. Liberty."

Bruno Bettelheim stated that fairy tales help children meet their psychic needs by helping the child "to transcend the confines of a self centered existence". 1 He believed that fairy tales help a child to develop his intellect, emotions, imagination, and aspirations and help him recognize his problems and anxieties.2 In short he felt meaning in life will be obtained by becoming acquainted with fairy tales at an early age. Bettelheim seemed to believe fairy tales would set a child's feelings in order by providing archetypes for dependence, fear, love, anger, adventurousness, competence, jealousy, loneliness, and abandonment.3 They, he inferred, teach children the truth of their lives.4 Fairy tales, Bettelheim asserted confirmed children's complex and varied feelings and furthermore promised them optimism in less than happy life situations.5 In fact, he felt that the upbeat message contained in fairy tale made them "love gifts".6 Children deprived of these stories might feel disoriented and abandoned. Children reared on fairy tales understand true justice and never feel abandoned.7
Bettelheim felt that most successful fairy tales consist of an abandoned innocent who suffers betrayal and torment at the hand of step family and witches, is saved by a fairy godmother, fights dragons or other obstacles, separates from an early protector, finds true romantic love, and discovers autonomy. This is quite a formula.8
I agree with Bettelheim when he advises making the process of imparting fairy tales warm and intimate so that the child feels "understood in his most tender longings".9 In fact, I think the telling is more important than the tale alone for it is in the intimacy (into me see) that children are acknowledged and affirmed in the spirit and the mind. I think children's psychic needs can be met in part by parents who acknowledge their children for who they are as they were created and by parents who accept their children's feelings even when shocking or painful to the parent. I think introducing children to a transcendent, mystical and loving entity further helps to fulfill their psychic needs. Reynolds Price speaks of the un-churched undergraduate thirst for the mystical poets. He is not referring just to his own faith in a particular church and its God but to the wider universe of the spirit. Madeleine L'Engle and C.S. Lewis recognized in their tales children's craving for and delight in the transcendent.
In my tale, Maggie is loved but perhaps not for the person she feels she is. The dresses meet her needs, as they are soft (or nurturing). Beautiful (or aesthetically enriching). Intricately made by hand (or with great love). Flowering (or creatively encouraging). The dresses representing Liberty lead her on a developmental journey. As a prepubescent girl she transfers her love to riding a horse, a classic symbol of female empowerment and autonomy. As an adolescent she is receptive to two adult mentors who affirm and define her interests. Nancy and Hilda are offbeat and appeal to her as trustworthy ageless adults who seem to know her needs and desires better than her parents. Meggie, as a young adult, ventures on a quest to have more needs met. She travels, studies, and tries romantic love. Finally, in her own children she finds Liberty or freedom of unconditional love or agape. She looks deeply into their beings and is given the gift of seeing their spirit, soul and wisdom. Her needs are met in that she witnesses their essence. Through connecting with her children she sees the mystery she has been searching for, a deep and profound timeless love.
Bettelheim might recognize some of his criteria for fairy tale archetypal metaphors in this first section: the innocent abandoned, the magic gift, the fairy godparents, and the quest. But I think he would have thought the ending a bit preachy and spiritual and moral. I don't think it would be grounded in enough archetypes at the end: no prince to represent the balm of earthly love or kingdom to represent autonomy.
I feel that the second part of the tale (added in the second rewrite - thanks to a wise Fairy Godmother's advice) has more psychic truth for me. In it, Meggie is more fully evolved. Not only is she obviously adult, she has become a giver of love, no longer just a seeker. Even so it is human love, one limited by conscious or un conscious mixed motives. She wants her children to have what was not given freely to her from birth: recognition of a child's needs for softness, beauty, nurturing and creative encouragement. So despite some hardship she provides them with the special clothing that helped her on her journey. Dismayed by what to her is their carelessness of these special gifts she lets her children know, consciously or unconsciously, her disappointment. They feel for the first time something conditional in her love. The children respond by giving up their gifts of joy and laughter and retreating from life. Only by truly repenting and feeling her profound loss in a most authentic manner (and implicitly recognizing her control) does Meggie bring the children to life again. She has learned that love and spirit, soul and wisdom cannot be possessed or controlled or augmented by conditional gifts.
If the first half of my story is pretty much a Bettelheim fairy tale, I think the second half is more a parable. The gift given (the creation) is the children and their transcendent qualities. Even the landscape they inhabit is gift, a paradise of sorts. The gift taken away(sin or separation from self, others or God) is the conditional and controlling love shown through Meggie's disappointment of the torn clothing. The near death of the children is a realization of the gift being lost(judgement). The genuine remorse felt by Meggie is a realization that she misses the gift and is responsible for its loss(repentance). The revival of the children and their return to a bucolic paradise is the gift restored(redemption).
Formulaic? Yes, but my psychic needs are better met by this second formula of a parable. Maybe that's because the protagonist creates her own obstacles, becomes at least partially aware of her own responsibility for them through her grief and is given the means to make amends through the grace of her mourning. Of course the redemptive restoration of the children is still full of magic. Or mysticism. For me the second half holds a more integrated and profound Love gift. It also fills me with optimism for personal, but also universal, redemption. If it worked for an old cynic like me, it could, if taught with discernment, I feel, help many more. I think I feel this optimism because the protagonist loses such a huge gift and regains it. The struggle is nearly all internal but, to me, its resolution is tinged with external mystery and filled with " grace abounding". As an adult I am more consoled by the resolution of a realistic internal conflict than an external conflict of the archetypal fairy tale. Is this consolation a matter of a developmental change in perception of our place in the world as we move from childhood to adulthood? I suspect it is.

1Bettelheim, Bruno, "Reflections: The Uses of Enchantment." The New Yorker(December 8,1975): 50-114 Numbered for this article 1-15 p.1

Name:  Stephanie Johns
Date:  2001-09-26 21:18:47
Message Id:  312
Renee and the Owl

There once was a land many referred to as a jungle, but it was no ordinary jungle. It was a Concrete Jungle. Midnight-black asphalt and dinghy, grey cement comprise the landscape. It never gets dark in this jungle. Darkness is held at bay by the illuminations of neon signs proudly blinking, declaring, "Eat At Joe's."
None of the houses stand alone. They crowd together, touching each other, afraid of losing contact. Despite the best effort of the houses, those living inside have no connection to their neighbors. The houses squeeze together more, thinking that if they get close enough, a sense of community will develop. The only thing that develops is the bank account of the house builders.
The constant whir of too many motorized conveyances drowns the squawking of the crows and vultures sitting atop the beautiful capital building. The conveyances have a mystical power over the natives forcing them to use nothing but the foul machines. The people develop a thickening of the waist area from their dependency on the conveyances.
At the end of each driveway sits a carefully placed mound of garbage emanating a noxious odor. The foul air destroys any hope of vegetation. Passers-by are disoriented and confused by the garbage. Thinking it a new form of art, they carefully help themselves to the wonderful treasure, only to realize their bonanza is nothing more than a pile of rubbish, rubbish that infests their homes with thousands of little creepy-crawly creatures.
In addition to language, the people of this land use finger gestures to communicate. A particular favorite of the natives is to extend the third digit of either hand as a show of deep emotion.
Once upon a time, in a place far away from this jungle ? in a land of cows and plenty, a horrible ogre fell in love with a beautiful young woman named Renee. Unfortunately, Renee became ill. The ogre knew not how to accept someone who was unable to run and jump. He wanted a wife who was hearty and able to produce strong baby ogres, but Renee could never be that wife. The ogre was consumed with anger. Seeing Renee's differences reminded the ogre of what he wanted but knew he could never have in a wife. Renee could not be like the other ogre wives. The ogre felt he was lacking something in life because of Renee. The other ogres would never look up to him if his wife were different. Renee was a burden. The ogre became so enraged, that he traded three goats and a Dunkin Donuts coupon for a spell to banish Renee from his life.
The spell worked extremely well. Renee was forced to leave the land of plenty to move to the Concrete Jungle. Renee applied to the rulers of the jungle, but they were too busy to hear her plea. The rulers had more important things to discuss. A decision needed to be made as to fare to be served at the annual rulers' picnic.
The move had a devastating effect on Renee. The confined quarters, the constant noise, the horrid odors, the lack of stars in the night sky proved to be Renee's undoing. She became so weak she could no longer fight her illness. Before she could not run. In this land, she could no longer walk.
Renee sought a cure for her condition, but none were available. All of the really good spells had already been taken. There was, however, an old washerwoman with a stick. This was no ordinary stick. It had magical powers. Renee traded two chickens and a book of Anne Sexton poems for this magical device.
With the assistance of the stick, Renee was able to imitate a form of walking. More hobbling than walking, Renee was able to maneuver from here to there. But the stick had adverse side effects. Renee's illness was now evident to all and they assumed she was not whole, not good enough. "Carrying a stick does not change the inner strength and character of a person," Renee cried. But no one listened.
Renee was banished from using regular bathrooms. She was forced to use the one with the odd picture on it, the sign of a large circle with a protruding knob. The sign has no gender -- just a large circle signifying a blob -- a mass of wasted flesh.
Renee was denied employment because of the stick. "You can not do your job if you need to carry that tree limb. You are weak to depend on a piece of wood." She heard this time and time again. Without a means of supporting herself, Renee was forced to beg the rulers of the land. The rulers gave Renee a minimal pittance to get her to leave their beautiful capital building so they could return to planning their monthly luncheon. The allotment from the rulers was so small, Renee was forced daily to eat Ramen Noodles.
Renee knew there was a better life for her. She recognized the deep longing for more, but she did not know what to do. Renee wallowed in misery.
One day a boy from the concrete jungle tried to steal Renee's stick. Anger coursed through her veins. Finally, Renee had had enough. "How dare you take my magic stick?" she yelled. Renee walloped the young boy across the shoulders with her stick, and the boy fell to his knees. Renee smacked him again and again with her stick. The boy howled in agony. Renee realized that he was an evil spirit sent by the jungle natives who feared Renee. She continued to beat the boy-spirit until he transformed to his true shape of a snake and slithered away. He had failed in his attempt to rid the jungle of the Renee, a threat to the conformity of their lives. Different is irregular.
Flush with her success, Renee had a renewed sense of purpose. She knew she must end her misery, but how? Renee thought, "Wouldn't it be great if answers were sold at the corner McDonald's?" Finding no answers on the menu board, Renee returned home. As she hobbled slowly home, she heard a cry for help from inside a mailbox. Renee rescued an owl from within.
"I was trapped in this mailbox by an ignorant mob. You have saved me from being sent to Latvia. For this I will grant you anything from this Sears & Roebuck catalogue," said the sage old owl.
Renee thought of the fulfillment the owl could grant her, but sensing the loneliness the owl suffered, Renee made a different request. "I have but one humble desire. Would you become my friend?" she asked.
The owl was so touched that she became Renee's constant companion. The owl encouraged Renee to get an education, vaporizing anyone who would stand in the path of Renee reaching this goal.
Renee knows the education will not cure her illness. But she also know education will cure the illness of ignorance. Education is the strongest weapon she can have. Education eradicates insults. Education brings about understanding. Education leads to compassion. If everyone gets an education, hate would be gone from our lives. Renee is hoping that with her weapon of education, she will be able to find owls for others. And with the owls' help, an education can be had for all.

The author's voice is quite apparent in this fairy tale. Her sense of humor may not be pleasing or even obvious to all who read this "fancy." The vultures sitting atop the government building and the alternate forms of communication both testify to the wittiness of the author. She has even been called a "Quip Master" by some, albeit only by those administering the Meyers-Briggs test.
What is most apparent in this tale is the author's pain. The injustices inflicted by the regular world are harsh. When a person does not fit into that world, it becomes a nightmare. The degenderizing (I made up a word) of the handicap symbol is a severe blow to an already fragile ego of a disabled person. The reader yells, "Hooray!" as Renee uses her magic stick to beat the evil spirit, when, in truth, Renee is furious that she even has possession of the stick. If she were normal, an evil spirit would not have attacked her nor would she have had the need to defend herself.
Being ill is not the most severe blow to Renee. It is being perceived as being not good enough for the one she loves. Her body betrays her, the world betrays her, the one she loves betrays her. This can not be adequately put into words. Because of the confines of our language, the feelings of rage, humiliation and despair are not appropriately conveyed to the reader.
The ending seems unfinished and incomplete. It does not seem to reflect the true depth of feelings of the author. The ending lacks the same conviction and voice as the balance of the fairy tale. The ending leaves the reader feeling dissatisfied and resentful. The reader feels let down by the author. No real issues were resolved. It is great to have an idealistic dream for eradicating the problem of ignorance, but as no solutions were introduced, ignorance will continue to grow and even flourish.

Name:  Lisa Harrison
Subject:  Fairy Tale and Analysis
Date:  2001-09-26 23:36:02
Message Id:  313
The Princess's Journey

Long ago, in a palace constructed of brick and mortar, there lived a kind-hearted princess. The castle was more like a dungeon really, surrounded as it was by cement and asphalt. It was also most unfittingly named "Green Acres."

A quiet girl, the princess had an interesting face. Her dark owl eyes were keen and missed nothing. She had flaxen hair, which hung in frizzy tendrils down the length of her back. Early on, the princess had discovered she possessed two inexplicable magical powers: she was invisible to a great many people, and few seemed able to hear her voice. In addition to these gifts, she carried the burden of ignorance.

The princess lived at Green Acres with her MotherQueen, and brother DarkPrince, as well as the elders who ruled the house, GrandmotherQueen and GrandfatherKing.
Having been born to an unhappy couple, the princess's days had always been filled with sadness. The father, knowing he would never be King, left the palace in search of a new life, thus sending the MotherQueen into a bitter and resentful spell all the rest of her days. Unable to sleep in her former chambers, MotherQueen had moved into the princess's meager room, and there she would stay for the next fifteen years.

Nary a day would pass without GrandmotherQueen reminding the children and their MotherQueen that they were all welcome to stay in her castle as long as they wished, so long as they remembered to pay her copious amounts of gratitude on the 15th of every month.

Over the years, DarkPrince had come to despise the princess for her goodness, which he felt only magnified his (perceived) failings. He had been the sole heir before she came along, then DarkPrince was forced to share the scraps of attention with her, and there simply were not enough to go around. While the princess did indeed love her brother, these affections were tempered by the fear she had for his black moods and aggressive behavior. DarkPrince easily concealed from the elders his wild activities throughout the Kingdom and his abuse of magic pills and potions. The King and Queens were blind to his addictions, but the princess -- having witnessed much -- sought to confront DarkPrince and alert the elders of all she knew so that she might save him. Her magical powers, however, interfered greatly, and sadly no one heard her.

The princess adored her GrandfatherKing. A tall man, standing regally at 6 feet, 4 inches, he wore a head of thick, white hair and had the soul of a dove. She enjoyed walking hand-in-hand with him, and delighted in having to run four quick steps to equal his one. He was GrandmotherQueen's second King and therefore of no blood relation to the princess, yet their bond to one another was sound. This connection triggered much jealousy in GrandmotherQueen and she began to arrange for GrandfatherKing to spend more time in Noble City. When he was home for supper, GrandmotherQueen would often sprinkle her poisons into the GrandfatherKing's milk, in an attempt to sour his affections for the princess. But no matter how strong she mixed the tonic, the potion succeeded only in making him drowsy.

On many evenings, the princess would retire to her room to rest or read a favorite book, only to find MotherQueen sitting on the edge of the bed, mindlessly chatting on the phone, a small pile of used and twisted cigarettes smoldering in a nearby vessel of ashes. From her bed, the princess would stare at the smoke as it swirled endlessly out of the MotherQueen's nostrils and mouth, momentarily blurring the woman's physical beauty, while exposing her true Dragon features. How the princess wished the entire Kingdom could see the MotherQueen in her raw and beastly reptilian form.

Often the girl would pull the quilts over her head, trying to escape the fumes, but their weight proved too hot to bear. Seething, she would gaze across the room at the glow from the orange plastic lamp, wishing it were possible to blow it out from where she lay, in order that she might for once be able to rest in total darkness. She would scream out, but no one heard. The princess well remembered the times she'd dared to complain about the living conditions. The MotherQueen's Dragon head had turned swiftly, snapping at her "You spoiled cretin -- learn to sleep with the light on!"

MotherQueen was an unkempt woman caring little where she laid her garments. She'd seized all the space in the wardrobe, leaving three small drawers for all the princess's worldly goods. DarkPrince, who occupied the next room, begrudgingly shared a bit of his closet space with the princess.

Rising early for her schooling proved difficult, especially if MotherQueen had been out with other local Royals the night before -- and this happened often. The princess would cautiously rouse the snoring Dragon, as was her job, being certain to move quickly out of the way of its' wicked tail. Then, tiptoeing into the DarkPrince's shadowy chambers, she would hastily choose her day's dress, praying the noisy door hinges would not reveal her presence.

Downstairs, GrandmotherQueen and GrandfatherKing had already left the palace for their day's work, and the princess would not see them till after dusk. Dutifully, GrandmotherQueen would leave provisions on the table for the children each morning. She would also set enough coinage at their places so that they might afford riding the noble buses of the Kingdom to and from the palace.

Years passed, and the princess's existence continued much the same. She failed to thrive and thus was of smaller stature than her peers.

MotherQueen eventually took a new husband, and moved the princess out of the familiar Kingdom, keeping her locked in the ApartmentTower of their new dwelling. No friends or relatives ever came to call. DarkPrince had been granted special permission to stay with GrandmotherQueen at the palace, thereby fulfilling his wish to become an only child once more. MotherQueen's new mate was an old man - a drunken ogre. The princess avoided him at all costs, and learned to cook and clean for herself. Now that she had a room of her own, she was free to read vast amounts of books without anyone noticing. So began her long journey toward the Land of Knowledge - the bonds of ignorance loosening.

Inspired by stories in her books, yet limited by the views from her window, the princess started to plan her escape. One evening while MotherQueen was out; the princess was able to secure the keys from the ogre's fist as he lay snoring in an inebriated stupor at the dining table. The princess simply unlocked the main door and was free. She set out to discover the world and soon found work at various places of knowledge. It was there that she learned about the Secret Path to Enlightenment. She was told that she could free herself of ignorance if she traveled that Path, and once she made it to Enlightenment, there would be other opportunities.

When GrandmotherQueen heard about princess's escape and her discovery of the Secret Path, she angrily told all the members of the NobleFamily that the princess had proved to be an ungrateful child who had turned her back on her elders. "Who was she to go on this fool's mission?" GrandmotherQueen demanded, further reminding them that no other member of the NobleFamily had dared travel to Enlightenment before and the princess was shaming the family by so doing. Members of the NobleFamily joined in GrandmotherQueen's wrath and scorned the princess for her thoughtless and misguided actions. The princess, however, was defiant. She was angry to have had all knowledge of the Path hidden from her all these years. She was determined to journey onward.

Months passed, and at times the princess found herself longing to hear the voice of her gentle GrandfatherKing. He was older now, and his spirit had dimmed somewhat. GrandfatherKing had never spoken out against her like the others, and this was the only thought that comforted the princess. At times she even missed the ill attentions of DarkPrince - any companion would be better than such utter solitude.

Three years into her journey, the princess had grown weary. She came upon an orchard where the Path split into a multitude of trails, none of which was clearly labeled. Overwhelmed by her loneliness, she felt she would collapse. In need of nourishment, the princess took apples from one of the trees, and drank fresh water from the nearby creek. Still despondent, she began to question her mission and life in general. "Maybe I am on a fool's mission," she thought. For a moment, she considered turning back.

When she looked up she saw an elderly, disheveled man hobbling toward her. He crossed the water with the unmistakable purpose of interrupting her lonely respite. "He can see me," she thought, surprised; it had been so long since anyone had been able to. The man appeared to be a gentle soul and asked if he could sit with her. Usually, the princess was not one to be inhospitable, but at that moment she had to feign kindness in welcoming his company. She tried to smile and be charitable, but her spirits were low, and she did not want to visit with anyone -- much less this grimy stranger. "Why isn't my invisibility working now?" she wondered.

Within minutes, the man began telling the princess that he knew her history. As proof of his knowledge and wisdom, he proceeded to relay the details of her life, secrets that only she knew. Speechless, the princess's heart began to race, as it became clear that this man - the very one she nearly turned away - was a Messenger sent from the Future. He knew of her terrible unhappiness and assured her she would choose the right Path, and must continue on her journey. He brought for her the message of hope. Then the Messenger rose and bid her farewell, walking away. Standing now, but unable to move from her spot, the princess called after him, "Will I ever see you again?" she asked. And placing his hand over his heart, he replied "I'm here every day; I've always been here."

Tears streaming down her face, the princess turned and was again confronted with having to choose a route. Some of the trails were easy to eliminate, as they were most unwelcoming. One appeared dreary and threatening, another was filled with thorny bushes. The Path turning back was the scariest of all. Yet how was she to choose from among the others -all of which were equally inviting? One trail looked vibrant and colorful, another was brimming with nourishment. As she was trying to decide, the scent of lilacs and their promise of spring and life anew suddenly captivated her. She followed this course through a brief but harsh winter after which she was led into a warm and brilliant sunshine.

Overhead flew a mysterious, silver-winged metal bird, which alighted farther down the Path. Somewhat frightened, the princess hid behind a nearby bush. Her curiosity, however, refused to let her run. She went closer. Had this enormous horseless carriage come from the heavens? Slowly, the great door opened, and out stepped a beautiful man. He wore a fine hat, and was cloaked in ceremonial dark navy garb. His robe had silver stripes on the shoulders, and he wore a winged pin upon his chest. As he walked toward her, he spoke softly. "I've come from the Land of Your Future. My name is Love." His eyes were honest and welcoming. He extended his hand, and the princess was startled by the power of his touch. When he asked -- she quite forgot her own name, so he gave her a new one. He called her "Precious."

This kind man could not only see her, but listened to her as well. He took her into his flying carriage and showed her all the Kingdoms from above. The view was magnificent and put the Path to Enlightenment into great perspective. The princess could clearly see where she had veered from the Path at times, and traced her footprints back to where she found it again. From here she could also see the many other roads beyond Enlightenment. Everything made sense from this vantage point, and she marveled over how her steps along the way fit together like a puzzle, leading her to this very moment. Love explained to her that the Land of Your Future was nestled in the heart of Enlightenment.

The princess knew that she wanted to spend the rest of time in Love's arms. This elegant man wanted very much for her to be his wife. She accepted, and took his name, glad to have put aside her father's. With Love by her side, she learned to trust.

Together they built their own life and Kingdom on the highest hill in Enlightenment, and to this day, they rule their world and continue to live very happily.

The End


An Attempt at Psycho(!)-Analysis of:
The Princess's Journey

The story tells of the life of a girl growing up under unfortunate circumstances. She is small in stature and insignificant to her family.

When the girl comes of age, she escapes her oppressive environment to live her own life. Her journey on the "Path of Enlightenment" continues throughout the rest of the story, and the path is symbolic of life's learning.

Years later, the girl (weary from her travels) arrives at a place in the road that splits into many different trails leading to unknown places. Exhausted and overwhelmed, she must decide on her own which path to follow.

A Christ-like "Messenger" from another realm appears at this point (although the author tells me she is not particularly religious).

While traveling the new path, the girl meets "Love" (in the form of a man) for the first time in her life. She is in awe of "Love's' magnificence and "Love" carries her away, giving her a new perspective on her life's journey. She is not invisible to this man, and through "Love," she learns to trust.
* * * * *
The story works in that there is a definite shape. It has a beginning, middle and end. The descriptions and details are revealing and set up the story nicely. Its theme of finding love has universal appeal, and there is magic or mysticism sprinkled throughout.

One weakness of the story is that it is told on a personal level. (Lisa acknowledges she needs to pull back a bit more to appeal to a larger audience.)

This story may be powerful enough to meet the psychic needs of individuals who have grown up in neglect and without love, or it may seem to good to be true.

The author realizes the ending may be considered sappy to some, however she insists it is based in reality. Perhaps that fact in and of itself can give hope. To-date, Lisa and her husband have had a unique and loving relationship for 17 years.

Name:  Robin Landry
Subject:  The clock story
Date:  2001-09-26 23:37:22
Message Id:  314
There once was a man who liked to make clocks. He made silver and gold clocks, blue and purple clocks, digital clocks and clocks with many hands. His clocks had complex and fabulous mechanisms that chimed and groaned and wept at various minutes and hours. He once made a clock that signaled the ebb and flow of the tides; the mechanism based only on the pull of the moon.
His clocks were complex and perfect and much sought-after. The very rich paid vast sums for his clocks. Sometimes, he would donate a clock to a very poor family so that even though they had no bread they would still know the time and so not be completely impoverished. Those who were neither very rich nor very poor, however, were left with no way to tell the time until the clockmaker designed the glockenspiel for the top of City Hall.
The glockenspiel depicted the story of the Trojan War. Beginning at one o'clock in the afternoon, three carved wooden goddesses would compete in a corrupt beauty contest with a golden apple as the prize. The story would work its way around the clock until precisely at noon the next day, the miniature walls of Troy would fall and the rubble would smolder until one o' clock came around again and it all started over, while heroic songs chimed at every hour.
The clockmaker was proud of this glockenspiel. It had taken many years to complete and had employed forty families of woodcarvers. It was also the pride of the town, for people came from all around to see the marvel atop City Hall and put coins in large binoculars to better see the delicate carving on the face of Aphrodite or the great detail on the shield of Achilles.
The townspeople soon began to refer to time with the images from the glockenspiel. "Meet me when Achilles drags Hector around the walls," they would say, or, "Let's have dinner at half past the sacrifice of Iphigenia."
The townspeople were well educated enough to know most of the story on the glockenspiel, but hardly anyone had made a study of it or given much thought to it at all. In spite of this, people began to form opinions about the story.
The trouble started with a letter to the paper.

"Dear people,
I'm writing to express the depth of my pride in our beautiful and fascinating glockenspiel. In its depiction of the heroic victory of the ancient Greeks at the city of Troy, it instills in all of us a sense of pride in our city and an example to our children of the glory of heroism and the necessary sacrifices that come in times of war that ensure eventual victory. In spite of their differences, the Greeks came together and through strength and intelligence won a victory over a people who had greatly wronged them. The example of this great story is a lesson to us all.
Huzzah for the glockenspiel."

The very next day, there were two letters in response. The first of these two was brief and largely ignored, from a professor of Classics at the university. She pointed out that technically there were no actual Greeks at the time of the Trojan War, and that the people in question referred to themselves as Achaeans.
The next letter was much longer and received a great deal more attention.
"Dear people,
I am moved to respond to yesterday's letter in reference to our beautiful glockenspiel. I fear the author of that letter has deeply misunderstood the significance of the example set by the sublime and deathless tale told atop City Hall every day.
The story is an example for us all, young and old alike, of the futility and waste of war. In the story, we see many lives lost and a great city laid waste, all over one woman. We see that there were no winners in this war. At the end, in spite of their supposed victory, what did the Greeks have? Menelaus got his faithless wife back and Achilles lost his life. If they had never gone to war, what would be different? Menelaus could have found another wife. Achilles would still be alive. Everyone would be at peace.
This story is a warning. Peace is the only way."

There was a third letter the next day, again largely ignored, from the same professor of Classics. She pointed out that it was a mistake to ascribe the desire to bring about the return of Helen as the sole cause of the Trojan War, a misunderstanding that stemmed from an ignorance of the Homeric concepts of time/ kai/ dike/.
The two letters that anyone paid any attention to became the subjects of conversation throughout the town. Example or warning? Peace or war? The townspeople began to take sides on the issue.
"If we all stick together," one side claimed, "we can do anything, in spite of our differences. That's the message of the clock."
"No," cried the other side, "the message is that we need to look at the underlying systemic causes of war to see the futility of the whole enterprise. War is not the answer. That's the real message."
The two sides became angry with one another. "You're destroying our coherence as a group with your cowardly insistence on seeing the story as a warning," the argument went. "We need group unity to survive a crisis, and by disagreeing with us, you're destroying our unity."
"That's a specious argument," went the response. "We need to understand a crisis in order to survive it, and your insistence on unity undermines understanding."
People began to wear buttons proclaiming various slogans that identified the side of the argument on which the wearer stood. Marriages broke up over the argument. Young people became estranged from their parents. Finally, things got so out of hand that a meeting of the whole town was called to resolve the issue. The people met in the town square at the hour of the embassy to Achilles.
Speakers from both sides presented eloquent defenses of both interpretations. A professor of Classics stood up and told them they were all wrong and needed to learn Homeric Greek to really understand, but everyone ignored her.
Finally, the town appealed as a group to the clock maker. "Please tell us," they begged, "why did you choose that story for our clock? What were you trying to say to us? Tell us the answer, so we can all go home."
The clock maker, astonished that anyone would see him as an authority on the subject, stood to speak. An expectant hush fell over the crowd.
"Well," he said, "it was a respectable old story with lots of different characters that would keep the hours interesting. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I didn't know it meant anything at all. After all, it's just a story."
The meeting dispersed quietly.
Over the next few days, the town remained unusually quiet. People seemed lost and confused, and they went about their days with a sense of detachment and purposelessness. The old argument was forgotten, but it was not replaced. There was a vacancy.
Eventually, things picked up and life went on, but the town had changed. The glockenspiel was no longer a source of wonder and curiosity. It became merely background. The clockmaker's elaborate constructions fell out of fashion as people began to favor very simple and severe designs for clocks. New houses were built to look like large shoeboxes, with none of the fanciful details that had once been popular.
The glockenspiel became a source of embarrassment for the town. It represented the old, the outdated, the uselessly fantastic. The binoculars were pulled up and the lenses converted to useful scientific instruments. No one was interested in the details of craftsmanship that now seemed such a waste of time.
Shortly after the binoculars disappeared, a letter was printed in the paper.

"Dear people,
It is in the best interests of our modern and prosperous city to remove the awful old glockenspiel from City Hall and replace it with a large lighted electronic atomic clock. The new clock would keep accurate time and align us with the fast pace of the modern world, without all the distracting and useless detail of the present glockenspiel. The glockenspiel is an embarrassing reminder of a childish phase in the development of our city.
Tear down the glockenspiel!"

The townspeople took up the cause with enthusiasm. They appealed to the clock maker to construct a large and sensible electronic atomic clock to replace the glockenspiel.
The clock maker, who was tired of making boxy alarm clocks in the new fashion, wept when he heard the plan. He loved the old glockenspiel and had no sympathy or understanding for the new taste for the plain and sensible.
"Don't you find the glockenspiel beautiful any more? Look at the carvings! Think of the exquisite complexity of the mechanism! The new clock you want is dull and sterile. I won't make it."
The townspeople were angry. They called the clockmaker old and reactionary and out of date. They said his glockenspiel represented bourgeois sentimentality. They said that real art was minimalist and conceptual in nature, and that the glockenspiel was tasteless in its pointless representational form.
All this baffled the clock maker. Had the world changed so that beauty wasn't beautiful any more? In sadness and confusion, he went down to the university to talk to learned people and find out what was going on.
A certain professor of Classics was delighted to see him. She had been waiting a long time to talk to him.
"What has happened?" the clock maker asked her. "Why doesn't anyone like the glockenspiel any more?"
The professor said, "People have a hard time seeing beauty naked, just as it is. They need an interpretation for it, a structure and a framework. They need meaning. They need to be able to read themselves in a story. If you take that away from them, the story looks pointless rather than beautiful."
"What can I do?" asked the clock maker. "How do I give them back meaning? I don't even know how the meaning got there in the first place. The idea for the glockenspiel just seemed beautiful, for its own sake."
"That's just as it should be," she replied. "No one, not even the greatest artist of all, can tell people their own truths for them. People find truth in art, but it's not always the same truth for different people. An artist can't do that on purpose. A great deal of bad art has been created in just that attempt. But just because you don't put it there doesn't mean it's not present in the art."
"So there's nothing I can do? They either disagree about the story or they ignore it?"
The professor smiled. "Argument isn't always a bad thing. Let me see what I can do for you. I don't want the glockenspiel to come down, either."
The next day, a brightly-colored full-page advertisement appeared in the newspaper. It announced the formation of a night class at the university, open to all the townspeople, on the subject of the Trojan War.
Only a few furtive students attended the first class. The professor opened with a lively lecture on the motivation of the wrath of Achilles. Soon, the students opened up and the class ended with a passionate discussion of the role of women in history.
The next class was slightly better attended, and the one after that even more so, as word spread, quietly but swiftly, of the joyful stimulation to be found in the discussion of complex ideas that could not be easily resolved.
There were no more letters to the paper on the subject of the glockenspiel. Discussion of its removal died down to nothing, and eventually even the binoculars were reinstalled. Arguments over the meaning of the story on the clock continued, but they were engaged with knowledge of the material and a respect for other points of view that had been unknown in the original argument.
Everyone lived happily ever after.

Name:  Robin Landry
Subject:  Analysis
Date:  2001-09-26 23:39:51
Message Id:  315
The Story on the Clock: An Analysis

"The Story on the Clock," a fairy tale by the little-known American writer Robin Landry, is an ambitious story that attempts to tackle several large and important issues.
Where it is most effective, and where it functions as a true fairy tale, is where it illustrates the transformation of consciousness that a child must go through to achieve a mature appreciation of art.
The townspeople represent the growing child. At first, a child has a wide-eyed and naïve wonder before beauty. It is often said that children are natural artists, and the clockmaker in the story is an eternal child, forever in this state of unthinking wonder.
Conflict comes with adolescence. The adolescence of the townspeople represents the confusion of a teenager, struggling to make sense of the world. The townspeople become mired in argument and confusion because they have not fully realized the depths of the implications inherent in art. Similarly, the adolescent often rebels against society because of perceived contradictions that are only dimly understood.
In a quest to resolve these contradictions, the world starts to seem pointless and the adolescent can fall into a state of existential angst. Uncertain of life's purpose, the adolescent sometimes turns to what seems to an outside observer like pointless, random destruction. The adolescent in this state rejects what was once a source of joy.
The intervention of a mature fully realized adult saves the adolescent from this unsatisfactory state. It is interesting that the catalyst for the change, the one who brings the unfulfilled adolescent and the adult mentor together, is the rejected component of self, the childlike artist. This aspect of the self, though devalued, is actually of crucial importance for continued growth.
The intervention of the professor, who takes on the role usually reserved for the fairy godmother in classical fairy tales, is necessary for the growth process. The professor performs an act of magic in returning art to the town. This caring and powerful adult figure represents the guide to maturity.
In the end, the old formula of "happily ever after" refers to the deep and integrated appreciation for the complexity of interpretation that comes with educated maturity.
This story could conceivably serve as a guide for a person mired in the stage of rebellious conflict or the stage of philosophical emptiness. Such a person might read this story and see that others, too, have felt this way, but that such feelings need not become a permanent part of an adult worldview.
However, the magical and overly simplistic way in which the professor corrects the problem might cause the reader to reject the story as a source of comfort. Such solutions may be effective in a children's fairy tale, but this tale is clearly aimed at an older audience. The audience knows quite well that a university extension course is not enough to bring about "happily ever after." This is a weakness in the story that the author may wish to address if she chooses to subject the story to further revisions.

Name:  Emma
Subject:  Emma's Tale & Analysis
Date:  2001-09-27 00:31:59
Message Id:  317
Emma Torres
September 27 Assignment
Analyze Your Fairy Tale

The stories we've read, our class discussions, and the interpretive material I've managed to research all address the fairy tale as a form that explores the forces of our subconscious. The consensus seems to be that the fairy tale is uniquely suited to examine the psychic landscape of 'self,' and of our relationship to others with whom we have formative emotional ties. Thus the fairy tale takes us on a very particular journey, and it is one that primarily leads inward. This aspect of the fairy tale would seem to limit its use when we want, in our life of learning, to tell stories that journey outward.

Before Zen, mountains were mountains and trees were trees.
During Zen, mountains were thrones of the spirits and trees were the voices of wisdom.
After Zen, mountains were mountains and trees were trees.

In Women Who Run With the Wolves (Ballantine, 1992), the 'old saying' quoted above about Zen enlightenment is interpreted by Pinkola Estes as "Life is supposed to become mundane again."

I prefer an interpretation closer to what Jamake Highwater in his book, The Primal Mind (Meridian, 1981), describes as "the metaphor...of knowing things by turning into them." Highwater further expresses this concept using the words of an Indian holy person: "The apple is a very complicated thing...but for the apple tree it is easy."

I feel that in attempting to shape my 'life of learning' as a fairy tale, I experienced this inward-journey aspect of the form as a limitation.
My story of this woman on a boat out in the middle of a dangerous ocean is meant to be a story of a woman gaining physical courage. That's not to say there are no inner emotional states such as fear, for instance, that one must overcome to be brave. It's also not meant to deny that the need to be brave cannot be interpreted in psychological terms. I only want to point out that the test of her courage, the goal, is not primarily meant to attain psychological growth that will help her cope with emotional relationships. It is a trial meant to attain her capacity for action in the physical landscape.

Such tales are usually told in the form of a hero's quest. In such tales one has moved beyond the mundane. "...beyond the community circle, beyond everyday demands, assumptions, possibilities." (Familiar Mysteries: The Truth in Myth; Lowry, Oxford University Press, 1982. p. 78)

Therefore, it might have been more productive to conceive of and try to write my story as a re-telling of a tale of quest. At this point, I only have time to expand the beginning of the tale so as to open the tale with what Joseph Campbell terms 'the call to adventure.' This revision could go something like this:

Some long time ago, there was a woman who went to stay in a palm-thatched hut on a peaceful hillside far from her mother's home. Every day, the woman delighted in picture-postcard sunrises and sunsets that blazed over the little bay at the foot of the hill. And each afternoon she would walk along the beautiful sandy shore.

Until one day from out beyond the bay where the water was dark and deep--a place the woman had never been to--there appeared a wooden boat. It was old, its paint was cracked, and at the helm was an odd looking man in a straw hat. She quickly hid behind a boulder to watch him bring his vessel to shore.

It happened that the woman caught sight of a light shining from a plastic tub tucked under a plank near where the boatman sat. The woman stretched and strained to look out from behind the boulder without being seen, but the old man caught her spying on him and cried out. "A piece of your bread and a drink of tea for a glimpse of the silver light!" he demanded.

The woman had indeed brought lunch in her daypack, and she offered it to the boatman who tore into the bread and gulped the drink. While he satisfied his hunger and thirst the woman stepped onto the boat. Unable to contain her curiosity, she lifted the tattered sarong draped over the bucket, and saw it contained the wriggling life of all the silvery-skinned fish on earth. She was so startled she accidentally kicked over the bucket. And when she did, the silver light disappeared. Now there were only a few gray fish flopping about in the boat.

The man spat out his bread, spraying crumbs that caught in his wispy beard.

She apologized a hundred times, but the boatman would not be calmed. He told her the fish would never again allow a fisherman to catch them unless she went to the place where they lived and asked permission, however belatedly, to glimpse their radiance.

Well, the woman had never been out to the dark waters so far beyond her comfortable thatched hut, and she didn't want to go now. But what would become of the peaceful hillside village if the men could no longer catch fish to feed their families? What if the villagers found out she was the cause of their misery? She'd surely have her tourist visa revoked. Then she'd have to leave this tropical paradise. And so she agreed.

(And now I pick up with the previous draft, making what revisions I can as I go along...)

A Fairy Fish Tale

Soon, the old man's vessel seemed little more than a rowboat as it was tossed about in the vast Andaman Sea. At 14 feet, it was too narrow, too low in the water, and much, much to far from land. As she struggled to steady her fear the woman could only lament, "Why did I ever do this?"
The boatman ignored her, and busied himself with attaching hooks to a fishing line. First he threaded one, then another, and another. When there were a dozen or so hooks hanging from his pole-each with a smear of fishmeal-the boatman dropped the line into the ocean. Suddenly hundreds of small fish appeared alongside the boat.

But the woman was too terrified to be curious. When her gaze followed his hooks into the ocean, she saw only the deep-water nothingness. She cursed her fate with every ocean wave that lifted and dropped the little vessel, until finally she cried out, "How could you bring me onto an ocean with all these waves crashing around?"
As soon as she had said this, the ocean grew deathly still. Not a wave, not a ripple disturbed its dark surface. The woman no longer had the waves to fear, and this calmed her. Now with the sun high in the sky, the ocean placid, and the boatman stubbornly silent, the woman found it hard to stay awake. Soon, she was lulled into a sleep so deep as to be empty of dreams. Yet she had not been asleep but a moment when a cold gust of wind woke her. The sky, which had been so blue a moment ago, was filled with dark clouds spinning themselves into a fury. The ocean, which had been so calm, was again in roar. Both stirred up by the boatman's temper. The little boat was pitching so badly the woman again wanted to cry out in fear. But just as she opened her mouth a great wave rolled over the boat, knocking them both into the water.
The woman sank long and deep without uttering a single sound because she didn't want to open her mouth and swallow the entire ocean. She wanted to kick her legs and flail her arms. And her movements soon alerted an ocean's worth of silvery-skinned fish to her presence. When she saw them, she remembered what she had to do. She stilled her fear long enough to give the fish what they were due. And by their silvery glow, as they surrounded her, she managed to see the boatman's fishing line. She grabbed hold of it. And even as the sharp hooks bloodied her hands, she would not let go. She pulled herself, hand over hand, along that fishing line until she finally reached the boat. She saw the boatman in the distance, swimming like the old fish he was, into the horizon...and leaving her to go it alone.

Name:  Louise
Subject:  Hope
Date:  2001-09-27 08:50:05
Message Id:  319

Their once was little girl named Hope. Her fondest memories of her childhood were of her favorite teacher Mr. Lucky Charm. Mr. Lucky Charm wasn't your typical teacher in looks or technique. He was completely bald with a wide bright smile, and mischievous eyes. He was of Irish descent; he actually looked a bit like a leprechaun only taller, and of course he taught the children every Irish song he knew; he had them sing them over and over again. Some of Hopes favorites till this day are "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" and TOO-A-LOO-RA-LOO-RAL
Mr. Lucky Charm's classroom was a happy place. It was where a child was given the opportunity to be his/her self. He taught Hope to play an instrument. She played the flute, and enjoyed her art class too. In art class she remembered doing charcoal drawings and abstract designs of wonderful bright colors.
As Hope approached the last semester of here favorite school, where she was so happy, her parents began to talk about sending her to the local Penguin school, because they felt she would get a better education there and it would be safer. The Penguin School was a place where hope was erased from each child. At the Penguin School, the penguins instructors were scary, they all wore black robes, and didn't smile. They looked alike too and their faces were unexpressive. You weren't allowed to speak, or laugh either.
Hope was depressed at the thought of not being with her friends; she really wanted to go on with them to the Happiness Junior High. She longed to continue with the same education, she was getting. It felt so right for her.
She remembered skipping through the schoolyard and just feeling pure joy about her life and who she was. That was to change for her very soon. It wouldn't be long before her pure joy would turn to deep sadness.
She cried, she kicked, she screamed for her parents to see it her way, but to no avail. She had to put on my strait jacket and go the sanitarium. It felt so wrong. She was being imprisoned. She was being restricted, stifled, and smothered with conformities, and alikeness.
In this school she had to dress alike, talk alike, and sing alike. Her individuality was erased and it was so hurtful and disillusioning; she believed she would never find her way back to feeling all was right in her world.
Well the day came, and Hope hated it. She remembered it being gray and gloomy out. It seemed to be that way a lot. Penguin schooling was rigid, and hurtful. She didn't want to be alike. She wanted to be herself. She wanted to sing Irish songs and play volleyball out in the playground with her old friends, enjoy a well-rounded education that offered a banquet to choose from. She felt so afraid.
Every Thursday, she had to go to Penguin school extra early in order to go to worship. She had to be there by 8 AM. The Penguin teacher had yardsticks, long thick yardsticks. She was told that if we didn't sing loudly, she would have to stay after school and get the yardstick across their knuckles. Her classmates and she looked like rows of cut out dolls. They were different on the inside, but no one seemed to care about that.
The next five years she learned to accept that this was where she was, and where she needed to be in order to receive her Penguin Diploma. She did receive it, but Instead of gaining, she felt she had lost something very important along the way: her identity.
For many years after graduation, she wondered from job to job, never really feeling any of them were for her. Whatever the job was, she did well, and gave all she could, but always felt something was missing. Then one day, years later- call it fate, or call it an act of God, call it whatever you wish-Hope calls it a miracle. She decided to get in touch with the local college, to ask what classes they might be offering. When she explained her situation to them, they suggested she call another telephone number, for displaced penguin workers/ penguin homemakers. That sounded like her. She had felt displaced for a very long time, so this was a tiny, tiny ray of hope for Hope.
She was accepted into their Job Training Program, which offered enrollment into Job Training School. When she began her classes there, she never dreamed that all that hurt and disappointment that she had felt in the past would come to the surface. She thought since she had buried for so long it had disappeared. She didn't expect an emotional ride, but there was, like it or not and it was very overwhelming.
Hope didn't know it at the time but she had a fairy godmother at the Job Training School. Her godmother was a beautiful and kind woman that had experience with helping displaced penguins. Carol was her name. Carol was supportive and caring, and knew instantly what Hope needed. And she gave it. When she was frightened of her new journey, Godmother Carol would say, "Hope just take one step at the time, it is going to turn out fine." She listened to Carol, and little by little regained her identity. Finally she is not displaced.
Hope feels, her path to success may not be the traditional one, but it may be more enriching. Education enriches the soul, and touches the heart many times when you least
expect it. Especially when a beautiful fairy godmother reaches out her hand to help you.
She gave hope in what seemed to be hopeless situation. This is what we are doing now by reaching out our hand to each other; we are giving each other hope.

That's An Irish Lullaby
Over in Killarney
Many years ago,
Me Mither sang a song to me
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good ould Irish way,
And l'd give the world if she could sing
That song to me this day.
"Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don't you cry!
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that's an Irish lullaby."
Oft in dreams I wander
To that cot again,
I feel her arms a-huggin' me
As when she held me then.
And I hear her voice a -hummin'
To me as in days of yore,
When she used to rock me fast asleep
Outside the cabin door.

Fairy Tale Analysis of "Hope"

The story "Hope" speaks out about the unconscious needs of a child yearning to stay in her fairy tale magical thinking world. The tone of the beginning writing is lighthearted, but takes a turn towards sadness and disappointment because she feels as though she has been wakened out of a wonderful peaceful sleep. This dramatic change in her life makes her feel insecure about the world she lives in.

The story brings out the conflict she is having with her parents about maintaining her own "identity." She will not give in without a fight. She explains in detail, her feelings about this excruciating painful experience. The words used in this explanation are strong. Straitjackets, sanitarium, imprisoned, restricted, stifled, and smothered these are all very troubling words.
The reader gets the feeling of not being able to breath, and not being able to be true to one's self. The use of these words brings out how the child within has become deadened inside, and she has had to give up "self", in order to survive and cope in a very difficult situation.
She is still longing and struggling for the fairy tale not to end and if it had to end it would end with, "happily ever after."
She wants to continue the dream of skipping through the schoolyard and singing TOO-A-LOO-RA-LOO-RAL with her classmates. The child is still resisting the call to "WAKE UP, GROW UP."

As we move through the story, we sense a rise to hope within and this is accomplished by using that very word "hope." Its tone changes and lifts the reader's spirits into a more optimistic one.
As she explains the help of a fairy godmother "Carol", you sense she is more of a surrogate mother figure for the child within. It is this "mother love" that was missing, and needed in her world to help her feel secure and to help her in her journey towards self-actualization.
As the story progresses the shape continues on the path of hope and achievement in education. Finally she is not displaced, in the end of this story, we sensed she has attained an inner sense of security and is now able to make her own decisions about her world.

In reflection of the happenings of the past days...maybe the reason so many of us feel so uneasy and helpless is because we feel we have no control of what is going to happen in our world. I feel that the bombing of the World Trade Center was a call to "WAKE UP." I feel, we as a country in many ways were in fairy tale land and now it is time for us to grow up. We also need hope, and we can give that to one another by reaching out and offering hope in finding solutions to make ours world a better place to live.

Name:  Zoë Anspacher
Date:  2001-09-28 11:37:12
Message Id:  324







I saw myself in a tear.


extending my neck,

the wet reflection

became clearer.

My rib-bone tremored.

I closed my ear.

I fell under myself

and clung to my feet,

waiting for the terror,











To look upon the face of Violinno

is to look at once at life and death.

It's like peeling one eye to the sun

and dangling the other above a black hole.

Since the first hairless toe touched this earth,

many people have climbed up and tried to see,

covering their eyes with polymer cups,

slathering their skin with ultra-violet silicone gel.

Up-trudging their condensed binary motives they go,

up to the old gray rock.


The rock is so tall it looks like a mountain from below.

But it is like


the closer you get to the finish,

the smaller the original job looks.


And most are surprised at how delicate the stone

appears, and


cannot believe that here,

on this humble throne,

Violinno rests like a sculpture unfinished,

not waiting,


rapt in repose,

purity enclosed.


Violinno is like the stone with its natural pairs:

Hard yet


fast compared to the speed of a universe expanding,

slow compared to a planet dying.


When Violinno weeps

it is not like a woman

weeping over her lost keys,

lost kids, lost time;

mind turned to dust

running muddy eye rivers,

not like that whine.


Ask the ones who walked away from

the corpse pits,

the gas,

the shoveled shells where

lives once lived.

They know about the weeping

versus the whine.

Ask Viktor Frankl about those tears

cried when the heart is so strong

it can stand naked,

bruised side out.


Violinno knows the power in tears.


The urge to hide crying

was this always human?

The urge to see the bad man cry,

or else make him a demon,

make him die,

was this always there?


We could ask Violinno,

but, we must go to the beginning

when Violinno had not yet been seen.


It was before we found our brother planet,

before the great Unity of Nations,

when things were still created for sale,

and scarcely could be found

a creation for the sake of beauty alone.

So many lives were bound and wrapped,

tied up in packaging.


How could it be so?

We must look back even further,

to the time when the continents divided

and, of course, the people did too.

The division multiplied over time.

As division afflicted the colonies,

like an incurable epidemic, soon

countries divided, then-

can you believe?-

People were divided by ownership,

and by sex, and by melanin,

even brothers and sisters

floated apart.



they were so divided

that each was separated from the rest

and called individuals.

So near danger were they

that they could not see.


The division accelerated.

Individuals began to divide!

Whole persons separated,

first into two, then into three.

And being broken in pieces they

could not well align with one another.


The next 100 generations suffered.

Soon they were born divided-yes!

The infants were born pieced

exactly twice that

of their parents.


Now it was even harder to see

Violinno was at the tips of their fingers.

Some felt the impulse,

some knew the hand could teach the brain,

but it was too late.



There was yet no agreement

no standard worldwide.

No "Yes, I too want to and will

do at least X, at a minimum."

There was only one universal language.

Everyone thought it was math, but again,

so close, they didn't see.

What contained math,

the math container

was bigger than math.

And it could describe the unwriteable.


There was an enchanted fountain

underneath a lake.

Stranger things have been discovered!

Like life where it shouldn't be.

So don't disbelieve either

that the fountain sang this very song:


"Raindrops go now with me.

Nature orchestrate my melody.

Clear, silent, clear.

One singing tree.

Answer the question.

Answer the plea.

Exhume Violinno

from the sea."


And One Singing Tree


came forth and replied:

"Here I am, ready for the master luthier

ready for my surgery.

Now who will sacrifice

their guts for my strings?

The strings will contain


infinite notes, like Calculus,

half-tones, semi-tones,

perfect fifth.

Through constant divisions

the strings will give

Violinno the power to disarm

evil, transform with a gift."


Then once again came Violinno,

our gift we left unwrapped for so long.

The hybrid energy of

nature and humanity

was here.



Oh Violinno where are you now?

Soft innocent faces are gone.

A chorus of confident sound

is now dust on the ground.

The people,

the place

that fertilized Freedom

will return to its roots.

Do you comfort them now,

the dead buried and crushed,

along with our open call

to nobility?


The problem with power

is always the same.

The one who can wield,

can go insane.


inherent in life

holds responsible the creators.

Is there anyone who hasn't once asked,

"Why God, why?"

But the question reveals

the true sentiment.

God must be crazy

to kill and torment.


We will find Violinno

where we all find ourselves


turned back to finish our start,

at death

witnessing our birth.


We think we know the picture of birth

the story it tells

We think we know the distance

between heaven

and hell.

But it's a trick

because now

we are born invisible

even to time,

swaddled in chaos.


Aftermath Came Music

Only Violinno found the place

where Bamad Man was, all

laden with guilt from his

plot's fulfillment

that turned people into dust,

that made crappy movies

laugh at themselves madly,

like a murderer cackles to the cadaver

thrilling and scaring himself.

Violinno found the black hole in his universe,

the antimatter he had for a heart, and

saw the question in nature and

the question in art.

Violinno played carefully

with strange gentleness,

not fearing for her life,

but because a wound so deep, she knew,

holds an eruption of tears

that can drown a soul.


The Flies

Hanging lightly onto the planet,

tethered to the earth

I fly in circles.

I cannot let go.

Bound to clutch the handle of this space balloon

or drift out to infinity to



No, I must face you

Tug-boat Earth.

If I want to ride your wake,

take your one-way-only

trip to



Looking down,

my eye is dirtied at the sight:

A filthy fly,

two filthy flies, more,

beat their thick wings dumbly,

stickying the atmosphere.

Sickening, I see it,

and yet I don't.

But I know it happened

when the flies pause to wash their hands

before they eat death for dessert.


The picture is a negative

still developing the ghostly reverse image.


down, down, I go

-still-! to get a bite.

Hide, hide, the unsaid.

No! The drear-cheer music should not play.

The cashier should not say

"Have a nice day."


A smile seems wrong.

Tears, tears, a dream

is gone, the dream of fruition,

of hope in all the small details

that seemed to say

"Yes, slowly our cooperation is

increasing, our beliefs are expanding,

our fears are releasing."


Growing up knowing

it was always there,

the ability to self-destruct,

made me look

for signs, all the time;

signs of progress,

like the human harmony

of peaceful eyes meeting on the A-train,

or the aerial sensation of

traffic orchestration,

and my

own tolerance



Crickets! Stop!

Stop your Huckleberry Finn song;

Don't remember green grass

with the burnt ground so near!


Now I ask,

do you remember,

did you ever,

burn ants as a child

with a magnifying glass?

A lot of kids did.

I never told them that

I didn't stop playing because

I was bored,

I stopped playing because of

the kick-stomp. The kick-stomp

sensation in my gut

made me feel bad about killing an ant.


Ask someone random,

they'll probably say,

if they played with the sun's

rays and killed ants the same way,

they had the kick-stomp, too.

But it went away, it went away

in some people.

Where did it go?


Growing up hearing about nuclear war,

we heard funny things,

like they said if we were hit by a nuclear

bomb, we would all die,

but, the ants would still live.


by Zoë Anspacher



Name:  Eveline Stang
Subject:  A Fairy Tale
Date:  2001-09-28 12:18:08
Message Id:  325
Eveline A. Stang
September 26, 2001

Draft B
A Fairy Tale

Long, long ago, on a far away island lived a sad princess. The small castle she lived in kept her safe from the gnomes and goblins beyond its walls, but the princess dreamed of a different life. For many years, the princess wove secret thoughts of freedom and adventure until one day she had a wonderful idea. She decided to set out on a quest. The king and queen, who loved their daughter, worried for her safety and were naturally much opposed to the idea. The king reasoned, the queen pleaded, but the princess stood firm. I will take thy wisdom, father, and thy kindness, mother, with me and all will be well.
The next day, with heavy hearts, the royal couple bade their daughter farewell as she set forth on her journey. The princess took only the simplest of clothes with her so that she would not be recognized, a few gold coins her mother had given her, and a silver flute that was a gift from her father. Across the drawbridge and down the hill she went with an eager step and a song in her heart. Without any trouble at all, she found her way to the shore where a ferryman was waiting to take passengers across the waters. The old man seemed kind and friendly, and, while they journeyed across the sea, the princess felt quite at ease chatting to him about her plans to see the world. Dear child, are you acquainted with anyone, either friends or family, in the country that you will be visiting? he asked. No, no one at all, said the princess rather matter-of-factly. But, I am not afraid, she added stoutly, for I am eager to explore the wonders and beauty of the world. Well, if you are ever in need of anything, anything at all, I know of a good man, Marius, who lives in the village of Ruprio. Ask anyone there and they will know of him. Marius will be glad to be of service. Please remember that he can help you. The princess, somewhat surprised at the ferryman's earnestness, thanked him politely for his kindness. However, she had no intention of seeking help from anyone, as she was quite stubborn about doing things on her own. After many leagues they reached the opposite shore. They exchanged goodbyes and good wishes, and the princess set off on foot once again. The golden sun smiled upon her, the birds sang, and the trees swayed gently in the fragrant breeze. She delighted in all that she saw, and several hours passed happily as she trudged through the beautiful countryside. How wonderful the world was outside her small castle.
As evening approached, she began to think of where she would rest for the night. Across the valley, at the edge of a deep forest, she noticed the outline of a large, imposing-looking house, and set forth towards it. As she neared her destination, it became evident that the house was in much need of repair. Summoning up her courage (even princesses feel a little nervous, at times), she knocked briskly on the large, oak door, and, after some time, an old woman bent with age answered. Good evening, good woman. My name is Rosalinde. I am seeking shelter for the night, and I would be most grateful if you would be so kind as to take me in. I can pay you for your trouble. The old woman looked the girl up and down suspiciously. Finally, she opened the door wider and said in a brusque manner, This place has become shabby and faded, as you can see. I don't want your money, but if you would like to stay here a little and help me make some repairs, then, come in, do come in. The princess took pity on the old woman, and, as she had nowhere else to go, decided to delay her journey for just a short while. She was grateful for a supper of milk, bread and melted cheese, and, feeling quite worn out, was led to a little room on the second floor where she fell fast asleep and dreamt about her first great day of adventure.
The princess stayed for one week and worked very hard. She washed windows and floors, cleaned the kitchen, and repainted the outside shutters. She even learned how to cook a little. The old woman seemed very pleased, and so the princess stayed another week, and then another - until she forgot all about her quest to seek adventure. One day, however, the princess overheard the old woman mumbling in her sleep. I will keep her here. I will never let her go. She will be my slave for as long as I live. With a shock, the princess suddenly remembered who she was and why she had come to this country. And, because she was an honest (and naive) girl she waited until the old woman woke up to tell her that it was time for her to go. Upon hearing this, the old woman flew into a rage, accusing her of ingratitude and calling our princess all manner of names. But, Rosalinde managed to run away into the woods and was soon a good distance away.
I won't let anything like that happen again, she thought, as she re-embarked upon her journey. Dark rain clouds were gathering when two swans caught sight of the young girl and offered to fly her beyond the dense forest. After several days, they came upon a pretty town situated on the banks of a river. The skies were wide open there, and at night the moon hung low and full glowing like a huge lantern. What a wonderful place this is. I think I will stop here for a few days, she decided. As they gently set her down, Rosalinde thanked the swans for their kindness, and gave them each a generous piece of bread before they flew southwards.
The princess explored the cobble-stoned streets and the quaint shops, and soon chanced upon an inn, and inquired about taking a room there. The innkeeper seemed a jolly, hospitable man and offered her a pleasant chamber with a view of the river. However, to the princessí great dismay, when she opened her little purse to pay for it, she found that the gold coins her mother had given her were gone. The innkeeper took pity on her and offered her shelter for the night. Worn out from the adventures of the day, the princess soon fell fast asleep. The next morning he had a suggestion. ìMy daughter may be able to take you in. Her husband has been away with the crusades from some time, and she has her hands full with her children. Perhaps you could stay with her in exchange for watching over them. For the first time, the princess thought of her home and her parents far, far away. But, how will I be able to return home without money? she asked. Well now, you look like an industrious girl. You may work here at my inn until you have saved enough to get back. the innkeeper offered generously. And that is exactly what the princess did. By day she worked hard cleaning tables and serving meals to the townsfolk. But the cook was often cross and given to scolding her, and the hours were long. During the evenings and sometimes her free hours, she would take care of the innkeeperís grandchildren. But the innkeeperís daughter was not kind, and her children were very unruly for they had acquired bad habits from the gnomes and mischievous forest creatures they were left to play with. Sometimes, the only way the princess could get any rest was by putting the children to sleep with the gentle songs she played on her silver flute. The days passed into weeks, the weeks passed into months. Gradually, she forgot about who she was, where she was from, and her quest to seek adventure. The princess, overworked and exhausted, became very sad.
One day, one of the kitchen maids whom the princess had befriended told her about a wizard who had come to the little town. Would the princess like to go with her to see him perform? Delighted with the idea, the princess accompanied the girl to the town square where many of the people had gathered to watch. The wizard was indeed gifted and performed many miraculous feats. After the show, long lines of people gathered to enquire about their futures. The princess awaited her turn anxiously. At last, after all the others had consulted with him, she was summoned into his tent. The wizard looked at her with great tenderness. Holding a mirror to her face he said, Princess, love has been seeking you, yet it has eluded you. Your quest for adventure has given you freedom beyond your castle, but it has also brought you into the world with all its temporal joys and sorrows. You thought adventure would bring you happiness, but, instead it has brought you sorrow. Look now to your heart and find your true quest--has it not been for love? And what is real love, if not freedom? Clasp my hand and come meet your future.
The wizard's words opened the heart and mind of Rosalinde, and all her sadness melted as snow before the sun. As she looked at him with joy and gratitude, the wizard transformed into the form of the elderly ferryman, the two noble swans, the innkeeper, and finally into that of a youth-- the face of a stranger, yet someone vaguely familiar.
The summer breezes took Marius of Ruprio and Rosalinde to other lands and other castles. Together they had many adventures: they climbed mountains that were hard and steep, they crossed turbulent rivers of joy and sorrow, they flew close to the sunís firey rays, and, finally, as they grew old and wise, they learned to ride the great beam of love with gratitude in their hearts.

A Brief Analysis
The above story is an attempt to write an autobiographical account using some of the features found in the traditional fairy tale.
The writer objectifies the story by placing it in the realm of a distant time and place, with the use of a traditional opening phrase: long, long ago, on a far away island. The reader understands that the characters belong to a different world because their personalities take the form of a princess, a king, a queen, and a wizard with passing references to gnomes and goblins, as well.
A few magical elements are found in the story as seen, for example, in the swans who communicate with and transport the princess, the silver flute which can put naughty children to sleep, and the wizard who takes Rosalinde to other worlds.
The writer has chosen specific symbols to represent certain ideas. First of all, the choice of princess was made because the story has to represent someone special. The king and queen are symbols of control. The home of the princess is described as a small castle which refers to the narrow world of experience in which she lives. The island is chosen as symbol for the isolation that she feels i.e., she feels cut off from the rest of the world. A benevolent force, one that looks out for the innocent beginner or traveler of life is represented by the personas of the ferryman, the swans, the innkeeper, and the wizard. The body of water she crosses to get to the other side is a symbol for consciousness. Rosalinde needs to make the transition from the consciousness of the introvert to the consciousness of the extrovert in order to experience the world. The forest represents fear of the unknown; and, the old womanís dilapidated house is meant to portray the shadow side of the world--its limitations, disappointments, and negative aspects. It is in this house that Rosalinde, who begins her adventures with such optimism (and naivete), becomes burdened by self-imposed expectations; her eagerness to please the old woman is motivated by the expectation to be appreciated (loved) in return. She creates, in effect, another small castle for herself. After she seemingly learns from this experience, she is rescued by benevolent forces in the form of the two swans (two is used here because in the actual life of the writer, two individuals helped her to reach her next destination), who take her over the forest of fear and place her in a seemingly happier setting. However, Rosalinde is still prone to being a victim of circumstance. Because of her youth and lack of experience, she doesnít see the implications of a situation. Once again, Rosalinde becomes despondent because she doesnít seem to have control over her destiny.
The wizard represents wisdom, experience, and unconditional love, and the mirror he holds to up to her is the mirror of truth. When Rosalinde faces the truth about herself, she grows up. She discovers that her notions of happiness (represented by the quest for adventure) are false, and that the world is an unreliable and empty place without a true understanding of love.
The story has a medieval quality to it because of the references to castles, quests, and royalty. A chivalric element is also present in the form of rescue of the princess from unhappy situations--although the rescues are accomplished without the white horse!
The writer has tried to give a certain shape to the story by presenting it in the form of a journey that has an purposeful beginning, a middle, and an end.
The adventures of Marius and Rosalinde in the form of landscapes such as mountains, rivers, and the sun, refer to life's experiences, to life's ups and downs.
Finally, true to fairy tale tradition, the writer cannot seem to escape including a moral element to the story which in this case would be that life is both shadow and light, good and bad, joy and suffering, and that the ultimate aim would be to learn from life's experiences to ultimately rise above the dual nature of reality. The solution offered is typically altruistic of this writer--she hopes to discover the transcendental nature of life through self-lessness and unconditional love.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, God is in my heart, but rather, I am in the heart of God.
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate loveís ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Name:  Marie Laure
Subject:  Knawlchen
Date:  2001-09-28 12:29:43
Message Id:  326
Once upon a time in a big city crowded with people, cars, and buildings,
where there were no gardens but only flowers that grow in pots, lived a
woman with her youngest daughter Knawlchen. She was not exactly
what someone
could call pretty but she was not ugly either. Her brown, smooth satin
complexion did not belie her origin. She was as sweet as honey and
could have been her nickname. She wanted to find meaning for her
being in
this world. The day had arrived when she had to leave home.
Her mother had taught her every bit of information and skill with which
herself had knowledge. The day she set off for her journey her mother
her a necklace of dark red stones with a pendant on it in a shape of a
seashell cone. When she was younger, her mother had received a
similar gift
from her mother, which she herself had received from her mother; it has
like this for generations. The necklace was to protect and guide
in her quest. Her mother explained to her how to use it: "Rub it any time
you need it, and it will indicate which route to take and more." Then, her
mother kissed her for the last time before she set off late that morning.
After she went through several lands full of towns just like the one she
grew up in, Knawlchen penetrated a forest at last. Deep down in the
she came upon gigantic walls. On one side was drawn a dark door
filled with
sculptures representing disorder and chaos. When Knawlchen saw the
door, a
cold breeze went down her back. She shivered. Nevertheless, that did
stop her. She carefully looked for a way to get in, even though she could
not readily find it. In deep reflection, she sat near the door. She believed
the door was the first important thing she had discovered since she left
home because and her necklace had guided her to this point. She
decided to
wait. She just needed to figure out what to do and how to do it. She
for something to happen.
Finally, two cats appeared; one black and one white. Both cats meowed
times while rubbing themselves on the young girlís legs. Then each cat
in an opposite direction. Knawlchen listened to her necklace and
the white cat heading to the East side of the wall. It went through an
opening, which surely had not existed before. Knawlchen followed the
cat on the trail that went downward a considerable degree. Soon after
the cat disappeared, but a huge field of hair lay in front of Knawlchen.
could not believe her eyes. There was a mix of three different hair colors:
black, blonde, and red. Knawlchen was confused. She decided to
consult her
necklace. With its help, she spent seven days and seven nights
the hair by color so she could plant each strand as if it was a seed.
After she planted the hair, she noticed another door at the end of a field
in which she heard running water. This time the passage was a lot
since it was made of spider webs. On the other side of the wall lay a
of blood. With the help of her necklace, she spent seven days and seven
nights separating water from blood. Then she took the blood and
sprayed the
field of hair.
In the next land, Knawlchen found a tall mountain made of human
bones. One
more time, she spent seven days and nights sorting the menís bones
from the
womenís. With the menís bones, she nourished the field of hair and
Knawlchen used the womenís bones to build herself a bridge, which
went from
one bank of the river to the other. Once on the other side, she walked
through another door. She could not see because it was pitch dark, so
When the sun grew high in the sky, she opened her eyes. She was in a
courtyard surrounded by six doors. Four of the doors were labeled
Summer, Fall, and Winter. When she opened the door of Spring, she
saw the
most magnificent green garden. All the flowers, trees and bushes were
different shades of the precious stone jade. The young girl looked at this
sparkly beauty. It was peaceful. She felt hope. Then she opened
door, where she found another gorgeous garden composed of golden
fruits and
grains. Knawlchen looked at this blazing beauty and felt herself
immersed in
compassion. She closed Summer and opened the door with Fall written
on it.
What she saw there was beyond her imagination. She had no words to
it. A spectrum of brown, red, orange and yellow composed the leaves of
trees, which were made of precious stones. Knawlchen looked at the
delightful sight and felt herself immersed in love. At last, she opened the
door with Winter written on it. Standing at the threshold, she saw the
crystal snow hanging down on the trees and bushes. Because the
flowers were
made of diamonds, she was able to hear music coming from their
bells. This
time, as she looked at this twinkling sight she felt spiritual. She thought
that everybody should be allowed to see those gardens. She
herself how could she make these jewels accessible to everybody.
When she opened one of the two remaining doors, she entered a forest.
she found a spring and drank some of the water. Then she walked
farther into
the woods and she found berry bushes from which she nourished
Knawlchen walked more and she met ten little imps. She told them the
story and asked them if they knew the owner of this place. "Yes," said an
imp with a long beard. "The Witch Lamia lives at the end of the trail you
are on right now." Knawlchen said goodbye to the little imps and
on her journey on a path by the river until the trail arrived at an immense
castle elevated by human skulls.
As she approached the entranceway, she saw a gardener and asked
him where
she could find Lamia. He showed her the way to the witch and left.
saw a body which was half woman and half wolf. There was something
about her look. Knawlchen once more told her entire story and
asked Lamia for permission to destroy the walls that enclosed the
She explained to her, her wishes to allow people who lived in towns to
life under another light. Lamia listened and finally said, "You may go
my kingdom on the condition that you guess the key that opens the sole
to freedom. Otherwise, I will eat you and throw your bones with the rest
those who dared to come here." On these words, the gardener
reappeared with
a white table built out of bones on which lay three keys. He set the table
in front of the young girl for her to take one. Discreetly, Knawlchen
consulted her necklace and extracted the left key on the side of the table.
She knew she had the correct key since she was asked to leave right
Before she left, she asked Lamia, "why are the other seekers dead?"
happened to them?" Lamia told her, "Most people are simply not ready
what they ask for."
On her way out Knawlchen saw the field she had built with her hand,
covered with vegetation. Surprisingly the walls were gone. People and
animals were relaxing. She even recognized a group of friends sitting
a fire. As she walked toward them, she was delighted to find an empty
available between two people. To the left of the space was "Devotion",
to the right was "Duty". On that empty seat was written Knowledge, the
translation of her name. After a while she set back home. On her way
she met with the white cat who has let her through her first entrance.
petted the cat. To her surprised, he turned to be a handsome prince
who has
been imprisoned by Lamia. Her courage broke the spell away. As they
it was the beginning of the afternoon. He took her to his castle and they
shared everything they knew and pledged their love. From then on,
she undertook was a manifestation of what she experienced in the

Fairy Tale Analyses

In the Fairy Tale, "Knawlchen", there are three stages of development.
First, she is willing to stand alone and courageously go on a quest to
acquire self knowledge. In the second part, she is using her intuitive
to make decisions and gather information to find knowledge. In the third
final stage, she is transforming and integrating what she has learned to
give back to her world.

In the introduction, before Knawlchen sets off, she must be willing to
her nurturing family and the comfort of her home. By doing so, she is
breaking away from her identity as a child. She calls on her inner
and intuition to give her courage to set off alone. The necklace and
that she receives as a gift is a legacy from her ancestors. With it she
the protection and wisdom of the women in her family. Finally she
the blessing of her mother. "Late that morning" is a metaphor that gives
information on her age. Knawlchen is at the end of a cycle, which in this
case is the transition from her teen age years to her womanhood. By
the forest she enters the wild and unknown world.
She listens and relies on her inner voice. Indeed the necklace and She
willing to be patient and confront her frustration and fears in order to
gain entrance in to the world of knowledge. In the book Women Who
Runs With
the Wolves, by Clarissa P. Estes, the door symbolically represents a
barrier to truth. The cats represent the forest of good and evil at
apparently seems equal but she has the intuition to make the right
The tasks that she undergoes are tests to enter in a place even greater
what she has ever experienced before. This is the place where she
the secret resources of life. The particles of hair that she separates train
her to refine discernment. The blood is a representation of the
flow of life. The bones are to represent her inner strength and
endurance to
fulfill her tasks and challenges. After she had proven that she was able
overcome obstacles and find creative solutions to problems, she had to
go everything she knew. She trustingly enters in a dark void. As she let
her preconceives notions, she was able to transform and open up to
beauty and knowledge. Armed with her new knowledge she has to
confront the
ultimate power "the Witch Lamia" that will help her integrates her
into the world. The finding of the key to the exit door is the freedom from
control and ignorance.
After that Knawlchen had received her spiritual nourishment, she is
able to
nourish herself. The gardener is the protector who cultivates and
regenerates energy. Finally, Knawlchen does not only find who she is
but she
has the recognition of others. In the meeting with her prince, there is a
merging of inner knowledge and the outer manifestation of her life path.

Knowlchen had become fully realized and integrated person.

Name:  Robin Landry
Subject:  Boat Girl Script
Date:  2001-09-28 16:53:04
Message Id:  327
Script for “The Boat Girl”

Louise: Sue, the Boat Girl
Emma: Narrator
Ann: The Boat Girl’s Father, a Carpenter
Lisa: The Boat Girl’s Mother, a Maid
Meg: River Spirit
Carol and Gail and a Large Sheet: The Waterford River
Everyone Else: Townspeople of Waterford

(As we begin, the River is flowing…)

Narrator: reads first paragraph (from “Beside the banks… “ to “…carried with pride.”

(All Townspeople [including Carpenter and Maid] shoulder their “boats” here and gather by the river.)

Narrator: reads second paragraph (from “At first…” to “…roiling river.”)

(As this paragraph is read, the Townspeople pantomime the action: two Townspeople shrug off their backpacks only to be pushed into the River. The River can roil and the Heretics can thrash and churn effectively here. All Townspeople then clear the scene. The River continues.)

Narrator: And so it came to pass in the town of Waterford that a young maid and a carpenter fell in love.

(Maid and Carpenter here hold hands and beam happily.)

Narrator: Soon they were married and the carpenter set about the task of building a new house in which they would live. They were very happy in their little house on a hill overlooking the river, but the carpenter and his wife felt an emptiness in their lives….

(Maid and Carpenter here improvise some lines expressing longing for a child)

Carpenter: (picking up hammer) I’m off to work, dear! (leaves)

Maid: (assumes prayerful pose, looking towards River) River Spirits please bless us with a child. I’ll be the best mother I can be if only I can have this one wish.

Narrator: At long last the Spirit granted her wish and she delivered a daughter.

(Boat Girl joins her parents here. All hold hands and beam happily. Some improvisations about how happy parents are with child)

Narrator: reads paragraph 4 (from “The man and his wife… “ to “ …boats of their own.”)

(Several “townspeople” quietly slip off backpacks and become “children” here. Children join Sue near the river. )

(Sue and town children improvise about wish for grownup boats)

Narrator: reads paragraph 5 and 6 (from “At long last the day arrived… “ to “…she yearned.”

(As the Narrator is reading, Sue, the children, the parents, and the townspeople pantomime the action as it is being described. Everyone can sing “Gulla Gulla” as the children get boated. As Sue is feeling more and more isolated, the various characters leave until Sue is all alone and looking very sad and weighed down.)

Narrator: reads paragraph 7 (from “From her little house . . .” to “ . . . for understanding)

(During the reading, Sue looks solemn and melancholy)

Sue: River Spirit, please help me to understand why I feel this way!

(River Spirit appears from the River and beckons to Sue)

Narrator: No one else seemed to notice the mysterious figure. Sue could not dismiss this change in the river, and deep within she, too, felt a change taking place. Each day Sue felt drawn to her lookout perch and the inner peace she felt when gazing upon the beckoning figure.

Narrator: But it happened one day that a stranger came to Waterford.

(The townspeople surround the River Spirit, who has no boat, and improvise some jeers for her boatlessness. Sue, peering from under her boat, is amazed.)

Narrator: Never before had Sue seen a full grown adult unencumbered by a boat. She felt pained to see the crowd of people that she knew and loved jeer this woman, who Sue began to recognize as the misty figure in her cherished vision. She saw that the expression on the stranger’s face remained calm and serene, as if nourished by an inner peace. Sue longed to know this sense of well-being, but as she stared into her eyes, poof! The woman disappeared into thin air.

(River Spirit goes back into River)
River Spirit: I have been searching for you, Sue. My journey has taken me from village to village, and at last we meet! I know you are unhappy here. Cast off the weight of this boat from your shoulders and come with me to a place where no one drag such an object, and people dance the day away.

(Sue casts off the boat and stands up straight, smiling and looking gleeful.)

Narrator: As she clapped her hands with glee, scales began to form on her arms and body. When the transformation was complete, the two fish swam away together.

(Sue and River Spirit link arms and dance away surrounded by River, who moves with them off the scene.)

Narrator: With grateful acknowledgement to the Buddha, who said, “To remain with a belief that no longer serves its usefulness is like continuing to carry the raft after you have crossed the river.”

The End

Name:  Lisa
Subject:  Clockmaker Script
Date:  2001-09-29 13:21:52
Message Id:  330
The Clockmaker script is 99% complete. I'm awaiting "approval" from my co-producers, Meg and Gail -- then, I'll email a copy to each of you in a Microsoft Word document.

P.S. Don't forget your crowns and magic wands.

Name:  Gail DeCoux
Subject:  The Boat Girl
Date:  2001-09-29 15:15:49
Message Id:  331
The Boat Girl

Beside the banks of the mighty Waterford River, under the sheltering branches of tall pine and oak trees, lies a busy village of the same name. Waterford is a town with traditions as old as the hardwoods that surround it. The ancient trees and the rolling waterway provide a livelihood for most of its inhabitants, and in fact, it is just this proximity to these natural resources that drew the villagers there in the first place, supporting a lifestyle that continues even to this day. Waterfordians come from a long line of boat builders who cherish and promote their traditions in every way they can. They take such tremendous pride in the fine workmanship of each vessel turned out by their artisans that long ago they decreed that all inhabitants of the town, upon reaching the age of reason, should be presented with their own boats, to be carried with pride.
At first, according to the town legend, some townsfolk complained that carrying a boat around all day long was much too cumbersome, but they were roundly scorned by the others for lack of civic pride. After all, they were told, Waterford was such a model community that Waterfordians should be honored to be chosen to display their craft for the entire world to see. It was pronounced that this outward display would attract new members to their community, which would result in greater boat production and, it would follow, greater wealth for all. Many quickly learned to adapt. The most outspoken of the protestors, however, were met with a most cruel fate. Plunged into the river’s raging waters with neither boat nor paddle for protection, heretics were doomed to thrash and churn relentlessly below the surface of the roiling river.

And so it came to pass in the town of Waterford that a young maid and a carpenter fell in love. Soon they were married and the carpenter set about the task of building a new house in which they would live. They were very happy in their little house on a hill overlooking the river, but the carpenter and his wife felt an emptiness in their lives, and they longed for a child. Every morning the carpenter picked up his toolbox and went off to work. And every day the wife prayed very hard to the River Spirits asking her to bless her with a child. She promised them that she would be the best mother she could be if only she would be granted this one wish. At long last the Spirit granted her wish and she delivered a daughter.
The man and his wife were filled with joy and named their girl Sue-Z-Q, after a famous boat in their village. The little family lived in peace and harmony amongst the boat people. As the daughter grew to young girlhood she became fascinated by the adults in her town. She longed to be a grownup and carry the cherished boat the way her parents and the other adults did. She often played with her friends on the banks of the river, sailing their toy boats back and forth and dreaming of the day when they would receive real boats of their own.
At long last the day arrived. The children assembled on the mossy banks of the river. The crowd that gathered for the ceremony sang out joyously “Gulla Gulla” as Sue and the others received their boats. Sue’s heart burst with pride as she was handed her boat and began to slip it over her shoulders. It really was quite heavy and Sue found that in order to keep it from dragging on the ground she had to crouch a little. But the look of love and pride that shone on her parents’ faces more than made up for any discomfort. Sue wanted to dance and sing along with the well-wishers, but was finding it difficult to maneuver her boat. The other children seemed to be having trouble, too, but the grown-ups said they’d all get used to it soon enough.
But Sue didn’t. She found it difficult to play most games, and dancing, which had made her feel light and free, now made her feel silly and self-conscious. As she watched her friends becoming increasingly comfortable in their boats, Sue began to feel more and more uneasy in hers. In spite of her outward appearance, inside Sue was feeling troubled and confused. She did not know the sense of happiness she believed that others enjoyed. Her growing sense of isolation caused her to question her own value--Perhaps she wasn’t worthy enough to carry a boat. There were times when she felt like an outsider in her own village. Sue wondered if she would always feel this way, or if there was a way to find the peace of mind for which she yearned.
From her little house on the hill, Sue often gazed solemnly out her window. Beyond her yard the path led down to the bustling town that hugged the water’s edge. Watching the familiar sight of life in the village made her feel safe and secure. But it was the presence of the river, the life force of the village that captivated her. She felt drawn to the magic of its deep, dark, mysterious waters and longed to understand their meaning. Her Mother had taught Sue how to pray to the River Spirits for special favors. Sue now prayed every day for understanding.
One day as Sue peered from her window her eyes began to focus on something that she had never noticed before. A misty cloud had formed just above the surface of the water. Within its swirling movement Sue thought she saw a beckoning figure suddenly emerge and just as quickly disappear. No one else appeared to notice. Sue could not dismiss this change in the river, and deep within she, too, felt a change taking place. Each day Sue felt drawn to her lookout perch and the inner peace she felt when gazing upon the beckoning figure.
It happened one day that a stranger came to Waterford. As Sue walked along the riverbank she almost missed seeing the newcomer. With the weight of her boat straining her back and shoulders, Sue had taken to walking with her head bowed. She could only tilt her head slightly and lift her eyes in order to see above her. But the sound of a commotion nearby caused her to strain her eyes to see. People had gathered around a woman beside the shore, standing fully erect and boatless! Never before had Sue seen a full grown adult unencumbered by a boat. She felt pained to see the crowd of people that she knew and loved jeer this woman, who Sue began to recognize as the misty figure in her cherished vision. She saw that the expression on the stranger’s face remained calm and serene, as if nourished by an inner peace. Sue longed to know this sense of well being, but as she stared into her eyes, poof! --The woman disappeared into thin air. Just then, a golden fish emerged from the water and spoke to Sue in a beautiful and gentle voice: “I have been searching for you.’ The fish said. ‘My journey has taken me from village to village and at last we meet! I know you are unhappy here. Cast off the weight of this boat from your shoulders and come with me to a place where no one drags around such an object, and people dance the day away.” Sue was overjoyed. She immediately cast aside her boat and was amazed to be able to stand upright again. As she clapped her hands with glee, scales began to form on her arms and body. When the transformation was complete, the two fish swam away together.

With grateful acknowledgement, (paraphrased to the best of my memory):
To remain with a belief that no longer serves its usefulness is like continuing to carry the raft after you have crossed the river.
The Budda

Name:  Gail Decoux
Subject:  The Boat Girl: An Analysis
Date:  2001-09-29 15:18:39
Message Id:  332
The Boat Girl: An Analysis

“The Boat Girl” is an appealing story told in the fairy tale form. This initial offering by newcomer Gail DeCoux describes the angst of an ordinary young girl, with the not so ordinary name Sue-Z-Q, who undergoes multiple transformations. Apparently influenced by Bruno Bettelheim’s “The Uses of Enchantment,” the author has crafted her tale on several levels in order to appeal to a wider audience. She has done so with some success, but not without some sacrifice.
On its simplest level the story involves our aforementioned hero who, already burdened with an inscrutable name, is also made to bear a boat on her back. She is joined by a talking fish, a river that is at once both cruel and kind, and the river spirits that dwell beneath its waters. The thick forest that surrounds the village holds secrets that will be revealed. In “The Uses of Enchantment” Bettelheim writes: “For a story to truly hold a child’s attention, it must entertain him and arouse his curiosity.” (1) In true fairy tale form these characters and their actions are meant to entertain and to capture the imagination of young readers as well as provide an enriching experience.
There is also another level of meaning to be found in “The Boat Girl.” In reference to folk fairy tales Bettelheim also writes: “…from them a child can learn more about the inner problems of man, and about solutions to his own (and our) predicaments in any society, than he can from any other type of story within his comprehension.” (2) In this regard the author has deviated from the classic fairy tale form in representing the inner conflict of Sue. Typically, the hero sets out on some sort of journey or adventure, or is in some way tested by external forces, in order to overcome an obstacle
Sue’s battles are from within. . Bettelheim states that, “…our greatest need and most difficult achievement is to find meaning in life.” (3) One could argue that this search is meaningless, for there is no definitive answer to this question. Each of us, however, must search for our own meaning in order to acquire psychological maturity and the inner peace that follows. The author describes the deep psychological distress that Sue experiences in her struggle to find meaning, rather than presenting it in symbolic form. Purists may feel shortchanged. (Perhaps the outward physical change in Sue could have transpired more gradually, along with her psychological changes. Also, the parents play a minor role here, and no mention is made of brothers or sisters. These are regarded as classic fairy tale vehicles to demonstrate relinquishing childhood dependencies, gaining a feeling of self-hood and self-worth, and a sense of moral obligation). (4)
In yet another deviation from the norm, the two fish swim off together. Again, Bettelheim: “…it is even more important…that the child be provided with images of heroes that have to go out into the world by themselves and…find themselves secure places by following the way that is right for them with deep inner confidence.” (5) But this reviewer thinks that the author may have had something else in mind. The other fish symbolizes the embracing of new ideologies, the forming of new and meaningful relationships, which, may themselves fall away as greater levels of knowledge and understanding are gained. Thus, the search for meaning is never over, but continues throughout one’s lifetime.
Most readers, however, will exult along with Sue in her ultimate victory over the constraints of old beliefs as she realizes that in order to be true to herself she must break free of former bonds --many of which are still held dear-- and embrace her true beliefs. She effects her own transformation by drawing on her inner strengths and resources, symbolically shown by growing scales on her body. With this comes her redemption.

(1). Bruno Bettelheim, “The Uses of Enchantment,” paragraph 2.
(2). Ibid. para. 3.
(3). Ibid. para. 1.
(4). Ibid. para. 5.
(5). Ibid. para. 12

Name:  Stacy
Subject:  Fairy Tale
Date:  2001-10-07 20:47:53
Message Id:  409
The Daughter’s Journey

Once upon a time, there was a small peasant family that lived on the outskirts of a faraway kingdom. Their dwelling, four mud walls joined by a thatched roof, was small but suitable for their simple, earthy needs. Everyday the wife, the husband, and their young daughter arose with the sun and went about their simple, earthy tasks. The daughter carried water from the stream to the simple, earthy cook station outside their dwelling, while the wife prepared breakfast. The two passed the day cooking, washing, and weaving, until the husband returned from his day in the field, where he planted ad tilled according to the king’s command. They enjoyed a simple, earthy meal together before retiring with the sun. And so the years passed.
One night, after the daughter had spent fifteen years in the simple, earthy dwelling devoting herself to simple, earthy chores, the Wise Woman appeared to her in a dream. “You must go west,” said the omnipotent presence.
“Follow the setting sun,
And where the willows weep and the waters run,
Where the salmon leap with pleasure –
There you will find great treasure.”
When the daughter awoke at daybreak, infused with the spirit of the Wise Woman, she proclaimed with conviction, “I must embark on a journey to the West.” So she gathered her simple, earthy belongings – her woolen stockings, her knitted shawl, her wooden hairbrush, her woven sandals – and set them in her deerskin bag with her daily ration of bread and goat’s milk cheese. Then she went to her mother.
“Mother,” said she, “I must embark on a journey to the West.”
“Beware the cockleburs that will cling to your clothing; do not let them damage your skin,” cautioned her mother, and then she bid her daughter farewell.
Then the daughter went to her father, who was on his way to the field, and she said, “Father, I must embark on a journey to the West.”
“Beware the coyotes that will hound at your back; do not let them overtake you,” warned her father, and then he, too, bid her farewell.
So the daughter turned to the West and set forth upon her journey.
Follow the setting sun, and where the willows weep and the waters run, where the salmon leap with pleasure – there you will find great treasure, she thought, as she ambled down the narrow path, the rising sun warming her back. She hummed and whistled and marveled at her good fortune, until very soon she came upon a fork in the road.
“Oh, no!” cried she. “Which path am I to choose? The Wise Woman did not warn me of a fork in the road, and I do not know my way.”
So she sat down on a nearby rock and sobbed.
But then she heard the flutter of wings overhead, and glancing up, she saw a white dove circling above. She watched it curiously at first, as it spiraled and soared, and then more attentively as it flew off over the leftmost path.
“Perhaps this is a sign,” she thought and peered more closely down the two paths. In the rightmost trail, she noticed cocklebur plants that she had overlooked before.
“Aha!” she exclaimed in delight. “These must be the cockleburs that my mother warned me about. The dove was right in choosing the left-hand trail.”
So once more in high spirits she set out upon her journey to the West.
Soon she noticed that the light was diminishing. Tall pines loomed ominously overhead and thick underbrush muffled her tread underfoot; the path seemed to be drawing her further and further into a deep forest. Suddenly an eerie howl emanated from the foliage. It was answered by a chorus of similar howls from all sides. Terrified, the daughter broke into a run, stumbling over tree roots and tearing through underbrush as the howls intensified around her. Thrashing and flailing, her heart pounding, her breath coming rapidly, she almost missed the fluttering of wings overhead. But there it was – a light rustle amidst resounding howls that sent her nerves into spasms. Looking up, she saw the white dove alight upon a nearby pine.
“Aha!” she exclaimed. “This must be an omen to remind me of my father’s warning. These are the coyotes he cautioned me against. I will take shelter under that tree and wait for their pursuit to subside.”
Gradually the howls receded, and once more, joyful of spirit and light of step, the daughter set out upon her journey to the West.
Soon the thick underbrush gave way to a fine sand, the tall pines to an occasional cactus, the dim light of the forest to the glaring sunlight of midday: the daughter was in the desert. At first the simple landscape seemed a welcomed respite from the overgrown interior of the forest, and she skipped down the dusty path, humming to herself. Follow the setting sun, and where the willows weep and the waters run, where the salmon leap with pleasure – there you will find great treasure. Suddenly, however, she was struck by the immense silence of her surroundings; not a coyote howled, nor did a bird chirp, nor an insect buzz, nor a light breeze rustle. The silence gaped. The daughter trembled and looked about her…nothing. The landscape was completely barren. The blue of the sky merely blurred with the beige of the interminable sand. Even the path beneath her feet had disappeared. She looked skyward for a sign but none appeared – no white dove to guide her, no parental warning to steer her from harm. Not even the sun offered solace: directly overhead, it could not point her westward.
Disheartened, she longed for companionship, for guidance and for comfort. Weary, she longed to rest, but dared not for fear that the sun’s vicious rays would claim the last bit of her energy. Famished, she longed to eat some of her rations, but refrained for fear that the sustenance would only further aggravate her parched throat. She had no choice but to move on, to rely on her intuition for a sense of direction, to keep going one fatigued step at a time.
Hours passed. Her feet ached. Her head throbbed from the heat. Her stomach grumbled and turned for want of nourishment. Her throat cried out for water. No delight seeped into her voice now, no joy found its way into her spirit, no levity into her step. Yet the unfeeling desert spread out ceaselessly in all directions, a world unto itself, without beginning, without end…Suddenly a lump appeared on the distant horizon, and then another.
“I must be nearing the West,” thought she, and pressed onward with what little zeal she could muster.
The lumps became rocks and all of a sudden her heart sank.
“It’s a cliff!” she cried, but then, peering down, she caught her breath. Several hundred feet below a stream wound its way through the rocks; within its waters fish leaped, along its bank willows drooped. “This must be the West!” she exclaimed with great delight. “Great treasure awaits me below.” And with that she slung her deerskin bag over her shoulder and lowered her foot carefully over the ledge.
Inch by inch, she descended the rocky cliff, all the while repeating to herself the words of the Wise Woman: Follow the setting sun, and where the willows weep and the waters run, where the salmon leap with pleasure – there you will find great treasure. The going was slow and strenuous, but at last, sore and blistered, exhausted and bleeding, she lowered herself onto the grassy bank. Peering across the crystal surface of the stream, she caught a distinct glimmering underneath one of the willows.
“It’s there,” she whispered in awe, for the place had an untouchable quality about it. “My treasure awaits me.” Without a second thought, she plunged into the stream, the last barrier that separated her from her long-sought destination, and fought the current before securing her footing on the opposite bank.
But there was nothing there. No treasure. Try as she might, the daughter could not locate the source of the glimmer. It must have been an illusion created from the sunlight on the water, she concluded, and sat down on a nearby rock and sobbed.
Suddenly a soft fluttering broke the stillness, and glancing upward, the daughter watched the white dove alight atop the willow and break into song: Seek not, my little maiden, outward treasure, but look within for bounty beyond measure.
Bounty beyond measure? thought she. Bounty beyond measure! scoffed she.
“I have no bounty,” said she aloud, suddenly bitter. “I left my home behind. I left my family behind. I left my simple life behind. I left my possessions behind, save for the bare necessities. Now even these are gone, claimed by the stream’s current in my haste to uncover my treasure. Treasure, ha! This world holds no treasure for me.”
And with that she stomped off down the bank, indignation and betrayal frothing in her eyes, obscuring her vision.
But gradually, as the sun began to wane, she realized that she could no longer ignore her plight. Night would come, and with it, untold dangers. So she set about gathering berries and nuts to satiate her raging stomach and leaves for makeshift bedding. Then she retired for the night underneath a willow.
The rising sun roused her from her slumber.
“What beauty!” murmured she, marveling at the dozens of tiny rainbows that danced over the surface of the stream in the early morning light.
“What tranquility!” whispered she, pondering the gentle movement of the stream alongside the unperturbed austerity of the willows.
“What tenacity! What vivacity!” exclaimed she, as she watched the salmon leap, slowly but surely making their way upstream, one triumphant arc after another.
Infused with the spirit of these discoveries, she was spurred into action.
“I will embark on a new journey,” asserted she with newfound conviction. Turning to the stream, she declared, “I have survived the forest,” and to the willows, “I have conquered the desert,” and to the salmon, “I have vanquished the rocky cliff,” and to the dawning day, “I am ready to take on the world!” And thus, without any further ado, she set off with elation in her heart and confidence in her stride.
The Wise Woman had not sanctified this journey. That did not quench her spirit. She had stowed no parental advice safely in her mind. That did not deter her. The white dove was nowhere to be seen. That did not intimidate her. What awaited her, she could not fathom. But whatever the outcome, whatever the trials along the way, she knew that ultimately she would not be disappointed.
Perhaps the dove’s words held some hint of truth after all.

Name:  Stacy
Subject:  Fairy Tale Analysis
Date:  2001-10-07 20:49:38
Message Id:  410
Paper #1: Analysis of “The Daughter’s Journey”

The theme of a journey is firmly entrenched in literature. Readers continue to identify with Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre as she struggles to discover herself, her potential, her values, or with Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara, or Jane Austen’s Emma, or Zora Neale Hurston’s Janie, or Barbara Kingsolver’s Taylor Greer, or…the list is endless. Why, then, if such a theme has been so well documented, does the modern writer often revert back to trampled ground, grasping that thread of old – that idea of a journey– and re-entwining it to encompass new lifestyles, new issues, new societal conflicts? What charm does this format hold for the author? And then, what charm does it hold for the reader that she continues to relish it age after age? In his essay titled “Reflections: The Uses of Enchantment,” Bruno Bettelheim defers to Freud in claiming that “only by struggling courageously against what seems like overwhelming odds can man succeed in wringing meaning out of human existence” (3), and it is precisely this quest for life’s meaning that constitutes “our greatest need and most difficult achievement” (1). Thus, quite simply, man tends to embrace those themes he finds most applicable to his existence. As a curious, pondering, dissatisfied being, he attempts to create meaning and order in an often chaotic universe. How does he accomplish this? By taking the complex whole and dividing it into distinct, manageable stages – in essence, by formulating a journey story: life corresponds to a well-defined series of events, each with certain prerequisites that must be observed before the next level can be reached. Man finds comfort in the tale for he can empathize with the journeyer: he understands the hardships, the pain, and the sacrifice that each stage requires but he also knows that endurance will carry him to the next level, allowing him to rejoice in the fruition of this perseverance.
So why, then, would one place the traditional journey story in fairy tale format? If it is man, not child, who hungers to structure, order, and quantify his existence, why impress adult problems on an innocent, developing mind? Children already tend to have an insular view of the world, free from the quandaries of their older counterparts. Must we expose them prematurely to man’s dilemmas? As with all issues of child psychology and maturation, there is no clear-cut answer. It has been observed, however, that children tend to retain fairy tales and the like well into their adult years. Thus, it would make sense that by allowing a child to associate with this concept – that of life as a journey with tangible obstacles and subsequent resolutions – early, even when she may not recognize its implications, we might provide a suitable foundation to which the adult may revert back when life’s incongruities leave her yearning for the predictability of a journeyistic progression. Bettelheim goes one step further to conclude that this idea of surmounting obstacles to create meaning is “exactly the message that fairy tales get across to the child in manifold form: that a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable – is part of the human condition – but that if, instead of shying away, one steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles in the end and emerges victorious” (3). In other words, fairy tales have at their core the journey concept, which in turn, has at its core humanity’s quest for the meaning of life. Thus, in order to foster understanding, the journey concept is not only applicable to fairy tales; it is essential.
Analyzing one such fairy tale, “The Daughter’s Journey,” we can see how the journey concept seeks to make meaning out of a child’s transition to adulthood. In presenting the process as a series of concrete steps that are overcome in turn, the tale captures an often ambiguous and traumatic period in man’s life in manageable parts. Although the child may not initially recognize the symbolic nature of the tale – in that it represents the journey out of childhood – it will trigger subconscious reactions that, as an adult, she may recall in order to assess its meaning in the progression of her own life, to add coherence to her own such journey. What such meaning might this tale offer? Let us take a closer look.
The tale’s opening paragraph, with its traditional “Once upon a time” and reference to a “faraway kingdom,” signals to the child that this is no everyday story of the here and now. In other words, she need not worry that the events soon to be recalled will overtake her tomorrow; rather it allows her to pleasantly muse and ponder the “what ifs” of this distant tale. The child derives equal comfort in the predictable setting: the daughter in the story goes about her “simple, earthy” life with no apprehension of the future or the dangers that it may entail. She is firmly rooted in her family life, in her relationship to the natural world and in the simplicity that these facets endow. Thus the child slowly immerses herself into a reassuring world without trouble.
As the tale continues, we see “the daughter” emerge as the central character, and perhaps wonder why she lacks a name. For the child, however, this is no source of consternation: without a name, the child may fashion the character into whomever she wants her to be. Perhaps the child sees herself in the character, or perhaps she finds a close friend; whomever she chooses, the imagination that went into deriving an identity for the main character heightens the child’s connection with the story and her consciousness of its applicability to her life.
Before long, the child encounters another figure – the Wise Woman who appears to the daughter in a dream. The tale refers to her as an “omnipotent presence” but gives no indication of her true identity. To the child’s mind, this is of little relevance. Thirteen such women appear at the feast of Briar Rose, a Wild Man inhabits a deep pool in “Iron John,” a wolf takes on human attributes in “Little Red Riding Hood”– such paranormal details are the substance of fairy tales and so the child merely takes them in stride without question as to why or whence they come. Yet to the adult reader, this explanation is no longer satisfactory. Who is this Wise Woman? we ask. What does she represent and why does she urge the daughter on a journey? If we interpret the daughter’s journey as a symbolic passage out of childhood and into life’s challenges, then the Wise Woman must represent the instigator of this transition. But who or what might this instigator be? Again, there is no obvious answer; the lack of description of the Wise Woman allows for ambiguity, which in turn, reflects the fact that this instigator varies from child to child. For some, she may be a person – a family member, an acquaintance, a mentor – and for others she may represent an internal voice, a type of subconscious entity, and for still others she may be a specific event, a moment, an epiphany, a sudden realization of the complexity of the world. Regardless of the form, this instigator speaks to each child in a similar way: “You are no longer a child,” it says. “There is a wide, complex world beyond your simple, childlike existence, and you must go and explore it.” So, still naïve and innocent, the maturing child – here symbolized by the daughter – embraces the idea of a journey; as of yet she has had no experience beyond her simple, protected childhood so the prospect of an adventure poses excitement, not apprehension.
At this transitional stage, the daughter separates from her mother and father. The child reader again takes this in stride; she is accustomed to deceased fairy tale mothers, insubstantial fairy tale fathers, and wicked fairy tale steprelatives, so the fact that her parents are so nonchalant about the proposed journey stimulates no second thought. But we are not so easily satisfied. Are the parents not concerned for the well-being of their only daughter? Should they not try to dissuade her or at least offer considerable assistance? Again, if we understand this tale as a maturation journey, then the mother and father can only act in one way: they allow the daughter to go. They understand the necessity of severing the close maternal and paternal ties in the maturation process, so they leave her with bits of advice, symbolic of lessons that they instilled in their daughter during the developmental period. The daughter is thus armed with parental wisdom, yet, as she must be to fulfill the journey to adulthood, she is alone.
The daughter’s simplistic view of the world is shattered when she comes upon her first obstacle: a fork in the road. Like any child newly severed from the comfort and protection of her caregivers, the idea of making a decision entirely on her own is frightening. Perhaps the child reader has encountered a similar situation. Perhaps she, too, responded with tears. But the tale does not stop here: it not only offers an obstacle with which the child can empathize but also poses a resolution from which she can derive guidance. The daughter in the tale notices a white dove, which serves as a memory trigger to her mother’s caution. How, then, does this apply to the child reader? If the white dove is seen as the child’s conscience, pure in its innocence, then it makes sense that this symbol would bring her back to her parents’ teachings and that she would, in all trusting and confidence, heed her parents’ advice. Thus at this point in her development, the child still relies heavily on parental guidance.
She soon encounters another obstacle – the arrival of the wolf pack. This one is slightly more serious, more threatening to the inexperienced journeyer than the former. Yet she is not so far removed from her childhood as to forget the teachings of her parents, and once again they come to her rescue.
The third obstacle, however, poses a more critical concern. Here, surrounded by the merciless desert, she has moved beyond the naïveté of childhood (hence, no white dove rushes to her aid) and beyond the limited reins of her parents (hence, no parental wisdom seeks immediate attention). Now, no longer is she physically alone, but she is psychologically isolated as well. What does she do? Does she “sit down on a nearby rock and sob” as she did at the first obstacle? Of course not. She has matured beyond the scope of childhood and must face the new challenge directly, however daunting it may be. And the child reader, in following the daughter’s journey, realizes, perhaps unconsciously, that this is the natural progression that she must eventually follow in her own life: she leaves the direct aegis of her parents, enters into a semi-dependent state during which they continue to influence her decision-making, but then reaches an independent phase when her own survival is directly rooted in her own ability to endure. Even if the child cannot explicitly relate this progression, she understands the concept, such that later in life, when she is faced with a similar predicament, she can apply the daughter’s plight and the daughter’s response to that plight to her own situation.
True, the daughter does show newfound perseverance and strength, but, as the reader has known from the start of the journey, this effort is not without purpose: the daughter has a tangible end in sight – the treasure promised her by the Wise Woman. What happens when she realizes that there is no treasure, that her strenuous journey was ostensibly in vain? She sits down on a nearby rock and sobs, just as she did fresh out of childhood. So then has there been no growth, no progression, no maturation? we ask, perhaps feeling that our own journey in following the tale was in vain. Has she not already learned the futility of inaction in the face of adversity? Our logical side concludes that she must have grown, but our questioning, doubtful aspect hungers for a reason for this seemingly childish behavior. Why does the daughter sit down and feel sorry for herself? Quite simply, this behavior teaches the child reader that it is acceptable to cry; it is okay to feel frustrated, neglected, and upset, and to succumb momentarily to these feelings. Even as adults, extreme frustration and feelings of inadequacy and of failure are often met with tears. This is okay, the child learns. It is not, however, permissible to wallow in these feelings of self-pity. The daughter in the story goes so far as to express bitterness, to deny her successes, to shield herself in pessimism, to allow “indignation and betrayal” to get the better of her reason. These are natural responses to which the child can relate. Thus the tale conjures up emotions that the child already feels, and in doing so, allows the child to cope with them in a constructive manner. As Bettelheim asserts, fairy tales “give these anxieties [these upsetting feelings] form and body and show ways to overcome them” (12). This is pivotal in the child’s psychological development: she learns that unpleasant emotions merely reflect her humanity, and that, like others before her, she can address these emotions and rise above them. To this end, the daughter in the story does not end in disgust or self-pity; she awakens refreshed to a new day, a new beginning, a new opportunity, and chooses to focus on the beauty and vivacity that surround her, rather than on the hopelessness of her own failure. So, too, the child learns to focus on the positive aspects of a trying experience, to see the good when the evil threatens to overpower her. This, she learns, can be a source of strength. Just as the daughter in the tale is newly invigorated, so, too, can the child be strengthened, elated, and confident when she focuses on her own personal successes along the way in place of dwelling upon a disappointing outcome.
In this way, the child, like the daughter who finds truth in the words of the white dove (i.e. her purest, well-intentioned conscience), comprehends that her real treasure is intangible. It stems not from external reward for hard work, but from the strength and wisdom derived from her personal journey, her own maturation process.
Thus “The Daughter’s Journey” first captures the child’s imagination and subsequently impresses upon her the need for parental separation, and the value of struggling actively through hardship, of recognizing and managing upsetting emotions, and of ultimately emerging confident and victorious, all of which satisfy Bettelheim’s criteria for an effective fairy tale. What, then, is this story lacking? What features might be adverse to Bettelheim’s perception of a worthy tale? At the outset, he would undoubtedly criticize its lack of universality and tradition: the story is obviously intended for girls, and yet it shows the female in an atypical role as adventurous and in the end, single-handedly victorious. Where is the daughter’s “significant other”? Bettelheim might ask. Does she not desire to be loved? Does she not want to be comforted by a constant companion against the uncertainties of mortal existence? His reasons for posing such questions are certainly valid: “Existential anxieties and dilemmas,” according to Bettelheim, stem from “the need to be loved and the fear that one is thought worthless; [from] the love of life and the fear of death” (4). A fairy tale must, therefore, address itself to these serious concerns. Does “The Daughter’s Journey” satisfy this prerequisite? Hardly. Must it then be deemed a failure, at least in light of an effective fairy tale? Hardly. Simply put, in this day and age, such a finale no longer seems entirely applicable. True, it is important that a young girl recognize that “forming a truly satisfying bond to another” can “take the sting out of recognition of the narrow limits of our time on this earth.” But is it not equally imperative that she recognize her own merits and learn to act independently beyond the realm of her previously-restricted potential? Can she not experience the “happily ever after” without becoming a queen or a princess, without living eternally under the auspices of her male counterpart? Certainly. This is precisely the philosophy that “The Daughter’s Journey” espouses: a female character is fully capable of embarking independently on that well-documented journey that is life, of conquering the challenges that befall her, and of ultimately emerging wise, strong, and genuinely happy.

Quotes taken from the following source:
Bettelheim, Bruno. "Reflections: The Uses of Enchantment." The New Yorker
(December 8, 1975): 1-15.

Name:  mel schottenstein
Subject:  fairy tale
Date:  2001-10-10 10:28:37
Message Id:  443
Melinda Schottenstein
English Seminar
Professor Nutting
September 11, 2001
Samantha’s Dream Date: A Fairy Tale
Everything would have been so much easier, Samantha thought to herself, if only she were someone else. Why, why, why couldn’t she shed her pale sallow skin and dress herself in someone else’s! What cruel magic had been responsible for placing her in this body, in this town, at this school? Boring—that’s what her life had become; she dreaded how every new day would pass her by in such monotonously similar ways. And this was the time of day that she dreaded the most—lunchtime. She found it incredibly intimidating having to choose a place to eat. Terrified at the thought of eating alone, she scanned the cafeteria to find an open seat. At first glance, she only saw available seats with sixth and seventh graders. Unwilling (and slightly embarrassed) to be seen with “children,” she continued her search. A mixture of hunger and fear brewed in her stomach as she looked around the cafeteria. On the far side of the cafeteria, she spotted a table with one seat left. To Samantha’s disappointment, she found Andrea Lufwa sitting there with the rest of her fashion-conscious clique. Curvy and blonde with a magical smile, Andrea was the toast of the school and the object of the boys’ desires. Samantha knew that if she sat with Andrea, the most snobby and popular girl in the school, she would be scorned and ridiculed.
With her palms sweating and her heart pumping, she walked over to the front of the food line, desperately trying to find a different face, a friendly one. The stench of honeyed ham and salted green beans filled the air and made Samantha feel even worse. Tired of this monotonous daily game of Musical Chairs, Samantha ate her lunch at the end of an empty table. She sat there alone and silent. As she drank her soda, drops of condensation ran down the outside of the can, falling to the table in a small puddle. It reminded Samantha of tears--tears she desperately needed to cry.

The next morning, as Samantha ate cereal, her mother asked, “Are you going to the Prom this Friday?”
Samantha replied, “I don’t know. No one has asked me. Besides, the Millers asked me to baby-sit on Friday.”
“Oh Samantha, stop making excuses! I’m sure the Millers can find someone else.” Samantha’s mother interjected. “I want you to go out and have a good time. Why don’t you ask a boy to go with you? Or go with some of your friends?”
“Nobody wants to go with me!” she shouted. “Mom, I’m not popular! I’m not Andrea Lufwa!”
“You don’t need to be Andrea Lufwa to go to the Prom,” said her mother. “There are plenty of girls who aren’t Andrea Lufwa.”
“Alright, Alright! I’ll think about it,” Samantha barked at her mother as she finished eating.
As Samantha drove to school, her mind swam with optimistic images as she envisioned herself in a beautiful dress—like one she imagined Andrea would wear—being escorted to the Prom by Will Cartwright, the most popular boy in school. She had long, blonde, Andrea-like hair and she had a magical, dazzling Andrea-like smile. And she was the talk of the Prom—all the boys wanted a dance with her and every girl wanted to be her. The best part, though, came at the end of this imaginary evening when Will walked Samantha to her door and … and … and he kissed her good night.
The sound of a horn woke Samantha from her dream. She found herself sitting behind the steering wheel, stuck in a line of cars waiting to turn into the school parking lot. Much to her horror, Samantha did not remember anything of her drive there. She did, however, remember her vision and it gave Samantha a smidgen of hope. She resolved to ask Will Cartwright to the Prom.
Samantha parked her car and headed for the main doors to the school. As she walked, raindrops fell around her, peppering the parking lot with small wet marks. Ominous clouds filled the sky, casting an oppressive light on Samantha. She could not help but think this was a dark omen. As she reached the doors to the school, a solitary drop of rain hit her cheek and ran down her face.
Samantha sat uncomfortably at her desk awaiting class to begin. An obnoxious odor of hair spray and imposter perfume lingered in the air. Her nose followed the pungent trail to a collection of desks occupied by a few of the girls in Andrea Lufwa’s clique. Each of the girls slightly resembled the other, except for slight differences. Jacqueline, the tallest girl, was second in command (outranked only by Andrea herself). The other two girls had no authority in the clique. The shorter of the two, Tiffany, giggled incessantly. Jenna, the quietest of the group, usually just sat in a daze, twirling a lock of her hair. Most of the time Samantha ignored their constant gossip. Today, however, the topic of conversation was about the very boy Samantha had been thinking about. She listened intently as each word fell from their mouths.
“Did you hear that Andrea is going to ask Will Cartwright to the Prom this Friday?” Jacqueline casually mentioned.
“No, I had no idea. She’s so lucky,” Tiffany replied with a hint of jealousy. “She can get any guy.”
“When is Andrea going to ask him?” a curious Jenna inquired from her trance.
“I don’t know. She’ll probably call him tonight though,” Jacqueline answered.
Samantha turned away. She was devastated. She gripped her pencil tightly in frustration. Her knuckles turned white from the pressure. It was beyond her belief that anyone could be so cruel to her. As she reached for her notebook, Samantha thought to herself, Andrea can choose from any guy in school. Why did she have to take Will from me? Then the thought occurred to her that she had never told anyone she liked Will. Nobody knew—not Andrea, her clique, and most importantly, not Will. She decided to beat Andrea by calling Will immediately after school.
That afternoon, Samantha closed the door to her bedroom, leaned against her door and took a few deep breaths. Her hands started shaking and her palms sweating. Samantha was so nervous that she felt dizzy. “I know I have to relax,” she thought. “The worst that can happen is that I will not go to the Prom.” Samantha picked up the phone and dialed the number to Will’s house. She was so nervous that she could hear her heart pounding.
“Hello, is anyone there?” a voice on the other end of the telephone answered.
Samantha froze with fear and hung up the phone. She knew if she wanted this date, she would have to face her fear of rejection.
Once again Samantha picked up the phone.
“Hello, Cartwright residence,” a voice answered on the other line.
Samantha nervously spoke into the telephone, “This is Samantha Enola. May I speak with Will.” She was placed on hold. The dead silence seemed to go on forever. Samantha made such few phone calls that she did not know what to do during her wait. She bit her nails anxiously as she awaited Will’s answer. Then, Will picked up the phone. Samantha gripped the telephone tightly.
“Hello, Will, this is Samantha. You may not know me. I sit behind you in Mrs. Lugash’s class,” Samantha spoke tensely.
“Oh, I think I remember you,” Will replied, though he sounded unsure of himself.
Samantha replied, “I was wondering whether or not you’ll be going to the Prom this Friday.”
“Andrea Lufwa asked me, so I’m going with her,” then he paused. “Why do you ask?”
“Oh, no reason. I was just curious,” replied Samantha with sadness breaking through her voice. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” After this wretched sentence, Samantha choked up and swiftly ended the call. She placed the phone back on the base and began to cry.

The following day at school, Samantha went from class to class trying to forget about last night’s trauma. She could not focus on her work as well as usual. She went from each class trying to escape the constant chatter about the dance. Then, came English class.
In English class, Andrea approached Samantha at her desk.
“Hey Samantha, are you going to the Prom this Friday?” Andrea cynically asked.
“I don’t know. I might have to visit my grandparents,” Samantha apprehensively stated. She did not want Andrea to know the truth for fear that she would be ridiculed.
“Oh, I thought you weren’t going to the Prom because you don’t have a date,” Andrea replied with a smirk on her face. She continued, “because I am going with Will and you’re not.”
“Andrea, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Samantha replied angrily. Andrea gave her one last condescending glare, then moved across the room to her desk. She gossiped with her clique until the bell rang.
Samantha was humiliated from this encounter. She looked around the classroom, wondering if anyone witnessed the spectacle. As Samantha looked around the room, one person caught her gaze. A boy who looked at once both familiar and incredibly strange. Suddenly, his eyes met hers, and, at that moment, before the boy could return to his task—he was writing something in a notebook—she saw that each of his eyes possessed a different, magical color: one green, the other blue.
After school, as Samantha gathered her books from her locker, she found a note addressed to her. She swiftly put it inside her book bag so it would not seen by anyone. Samantha scurried out of the building and drove to her house. On her way home, she tried to imagine what was written on the poorly folded paper. Her first thought about the letter was that it was another of Andrea’s pranks--a cynical joke to make her life a bit worse.
Once she was safe in her bedroom, Samantha opened the letter. To her surprise it was a letter asking her to the Prom. It was written by one of her peers, Jonathan Penn. She vaguely remembered Jonathan Penn, but had a difficult time calling his image to memory. She decided to look him up in her yearbook from last year. Samantha skimmed through the yearbook until she came to her class pictures. As Samantha ran her finger along the first row of faces, one face stood out from the others--Will Cartwright. Samantha paused for a moment as she stared at his face. A whirlwind of emotions moved through her. She then moved farther down to the face of Jonathan Penn. Samantha studied his face and recognized him immediately. He was the same person who was watching her during her fight with Andrea. She remembered the brief moment their eyes locked. Before he looked down, Jonathan’s stare communicated what a thousand words could not--he understood her pain. Samantha began to wonder, Do we have anything in common?

During study hall, Samantha decided to thank Jonathan for his note. This, of course, was just an excuse for her to talk with him. She was nervous, gripping the note tensely as she walked towards him. Samantha could not help herself from studying his hand as it moved effortlessly across a sheet of notebook paper. She presumed this notebook once held the letter he had written her. As Samantha approached, she took a deep breath and spoke:
“Jonathan, I wanted to thank you for your note. I thought it was—”
“What note?” Jonathan interrupted nervously. “I’m sorry but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, Jonathan, stop joking! You know, the one where you asked me to the Prom tomorrow night,” Samantha replied.
“Prom? Note? Sam … um … I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
When Samantha heard those dreadful words, she abruptly turned around and ran out of the room and hid in the girl’s restroom. After some minutes she reentered the hall, and, to her surprise, Jonathan was waiting there patiently, leaning against a set of lockers directly across from the door.
“I don’t want to talk to you, so go away,” ordered Samantha. “You humiliated me in front of the entire class. Was this some kind of sick joke?”
“Sam, I really had nothing to do with the note. You’ve got to believe me. I would never do anything like that,” replied Jonathan.
Samantha looked into his eyes, and saw the truth of his statement. Then, she asked, “Well, if you didn’t write it, who did?”
Jonathan responded, “Don’t you know who would try to trick you?”
“I do,” interrupted Samantha, then continued, “and her name is Andrea Lufwa.” Just then the bell rang and Samantha asked Jonathan if he would meet her after school to discuss the matter further. He agreed. Samantha said goodbye to him and headed off to her next class.
When school ended the two met by the cafeteria.
“Jonathan, thanks for meeting me here,” Samantha asked.
“No problem. What’s up?” Jonathan replied.
“Well, Andrea is definitely the one who wrote the letter. I overheard her cronies talking about writing something or other last class period. She makes me so . . . so angry that I could just—”
“I understand completely, Sam,” Jonathan interrupted, then continued, “but don’t let her get to you.”
Samantha responded, “That’s easy for you to say, but you aren’t the butt of Andrea’s sick jokes.”
“I’m not?” said Jonathan. “Wasn’t my name the one signed at the bottom of the letter?”
“OK, so both of us have been had,” remarked Samantha understandingly. “The important question to ask is, what do we do about it?”
Jonathan began speaking, “I think we should go to the Prom together—you know, as a couple—and make it look like we are having a great time. It would frustrate Andrea to see us there, especially if we make it a point to thank her for hooking us up. What do you think?”
Samantha stood motionless for a moment, thinking about what Jonathan had proposed. Strange way to get a date, she thought, but what the heck. Then Samantha replied, “Jonathan, I think that’s a great idea. It should really upset Andrea!”
“Great. I’ll pick you up tomorrow night at 7:00. See you then.”
“Bye,” said Samantha as they parted.
As Samantha drove home, she rolled the window down and let the wind caress her face. A small insect struck the windshield, and Samantha’s eye automatically focused in on it. How tragic, she thought, that it never saw me coming. A strange vision appeared to Samantha just then. Andrea. Her face. Samantha kept seeing Andrea’s face and it was wearing a look of jealousy. She would have the last laugh on the person she had always wanted to be.
Jonathan arrived at Samantha’s house promptly at 7:00. He was very well dressed in a black tuxedo and a satin, seafoam-colored bow that exactly matched, curiously enough, her gown. When Samantha welcomed him at her front door, he greeted her with a white orchid corsage that was still wet with water from the florist. She was flattered by this gesture of kindness and blushed. The two walked to Jonathan’s car and left for the Prom.
When they arrived at the place on the river where the riverboat was moored, they were excited at how the boat had been magically transformed into a pulsating discotheque by members of the student council. Before walking in, Jonathan had asked to hold Samantha’s hand--a pretense, he told her, that would certainly upset Andrea. She agreed to the plan, and in they strode, happily swaying their locked hands.
The beat from the music energized the student body. Students glided in various directions, moving to the changing rhythms. Samantha and Jonathan maneuvered their way through the frenzied crowd to the snack table. There they encountered Andrea, gossiping with her followers.
Jonathan unclenched his hand from Samantha’s and placed his arm around her. Andrea looked at the couple in astonishment, and asked:
“Did you come to the dance together?”
Samantha looked at her triumphantly and said, “Yes, of course, we came together. Wasn’t that your plan?”
“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about?” declared Andrea.
“Well, I’m sure you do know what I’m talking about,” replied Samantha, then continued. “Yesterday, I overheard Jacqueline, Jenna and Tiffany talking about a certain note they were going to forge.”
Andrea seemed caught off guard.
“A note? Forge a note? Of course we forge notes! How the hell do you think we spend so much time in the restrooms? And besides, like we’d bother forging a note having to do with you!”
“Whatever,” said Samantha, then continued sardonically, “I just want to thank you for steering Jonathan my way.”
At this, Andrea stormed off. After a few angry steps, she turned to her clique and ordered them to follow her. One by one, Jacqueline, Jenna and Tiffany turned their backs on her. Andrea mumbled something under her breath, then walked over to where Will was standing.
The three rebellious members of Andrea’s clique left Samantha and Jonathan at the snack table, and began to spread the news of Samantha’s exchange with Andrea. Soon the whole gym was talking about Andrea’s “defeat.” Eventually, Will got word of it, and asked to take Andrea home early--she would not soon forget this night.
Jonathan and Samantha danced until the DJ stopped playing music. After they left the Prom, Jonathan drove Samantha home. He took the long way there, and they talked and laughed together. When they finally arrived at her home, it was apparent that neither wanted to part company. Jonathan asked Samantha if he could walk her to her door. Once on the porch, Samantha spoke:
“Jonathan, I had a wonderful time tonight. Thanks for everything.”
“I had a great time too, Sam.”
Samantha looked down at her hand. It was being gently caressed by Jonathan. She gripped his hand, saying, “It was so silly of Andrea to try to fool us.”
“Yes,” said Jonathan. “But about that note, Sam.”
“Yes, Jonathan?” Her eyes were looking deeply into his—one green, one blue.
“I need to tell you. I really did write it. You see, Sam, I’ve had eyes for you for so, so long.”
“Yes, Sam,” he said. “Really. Now . . . would you mind if I kissed you?”
“Mind?” said Samantha. “I’ve been waiting for that all night long, Jonathan.”
“Oh, Sam, stop being so formal,” said her date. “Please . . . call me ‘Joan.’”
Samantha looked carefully at the person before her, suddenly noticing the delicate trace of cheekbones and the pair of long eyelashes. As her date leaned ever closer toward her, Samantha reflected how her evening had turned out to be so very different from her dreams. And yet… was different so bad?
The kiss was magical. The world spun around her in a flurry. Her senses blurred, and for a moment, she knew how Andrea must have felt, being kissed so many times. Then, with a blast of cool spring air, it was over. Samantha felt as though she had been wrenched from the moment. She opened her eyes, expecting to find Jonathan – no, Joan smiling at her, but… Joan was across the street, embracing someone else with a seafoam-colored prom gown. How could this be? One minute Joan was kissing her, and the next…
A light breeze blew her hair in front of her eyes, and as Samantha reached up to push it away, she noticed the hair was blonde, the nails finely manicured. Samantha felt sick as she looked down at her clothes. She was wearing a black crepe dress that did not belong to her. It was Andrea’s dress. In fact, Samantha realized with horror as she recognized the face of the person in Joan’s arms, she now was Andrea.
Prom night was always magical. But this was a magic far beyond the twinkle of lights and the excitement of a first kiss. Joan’s kiss – something about Joan’s kiss and those mysterious bi-colored eyes – had catapulted Samantha into the body of Andrea. And Andrea had become her, Samantha guessed. She stared across the street at her own face, her own dress, her own Joan…
Samantha felt a great loss as the new Andrea led Joan up the steps to the front door. It was too late – they disappeared inside, and Samantha had no way of letting Joan know that she – the real Samantha – was trapped outside in the body of her rival.
But wasn’t this what she had wished for all along? Samantha pulled her thin shawl tighter around her shoulders as she sat down on the curb. Hadn’t she wished to live Andrea’s life, to be Andrea? The spring air turned cold and Samantha waited, shivering.

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