But speaking of Storybook Land, we've been thinking about fairy tales off and on since...well, since forever, technically, but moreso since umadoshi posted a link to an article about how fairy tales started out even more horrifying than we thought. We didn't read the article, because we've read enough about fairy tales to already know the horrifying original Grimm version of Sleeping Beauty, for example, and we're not really fans.
We were kind of snooty about it, too. We were all, "Whatever, the Grimms came around after Charles Perrault, and his fairy tales are much less disturbing." We had this theory that in the time between Perrault and the Grimms, a bunch of movie executives and/or fanfic writers (or that era's equivalent) came along and tried to spice the stories up by making them darker and edgier. Or we did...until last night!
See, this week's Primary lesson is about Joseph Smith, and it spends a lot of time talking about what life was like when he was a kid. His family did a lot of farming, and one of the things they grew was flax so that they could make linen. And I thought, "Cool! We should grow flax and make linen, too!" So I looked it up on Wikipedia, and after I read the whole article about rhetting and hackling and stuff, I got to the end and it mentioned something about the earliest known version of Sleeping Beauty involving a splinter of flax.
The story is called Sun, Moon, and Talia, and it involves flax because the flax splinter is what puts the sleeping beauty (Talia) to sleep. The story was pretty much exactly like we'd read about the earliest Grimm version of Sleeping Beauty, only this one came from much earlier, even before Perrault, in an Italian collection called the Pentamerone (with a Napolitan title that translates to "Entertainment for Little Ones"). And when we found out about that, we were like, "Oh man, we are such rookies when it comes to fairy tales." I read one other story from it, and it was pretty disturbing, too.
So apparently, we have a cycle. Giambattista Basile didn't write the Pentamerone; he compiled it. The stories were already wandering around before then, so it would be fascinating to know where they evolved from and what the original originals were like (Athena has a theory that Cinderella originally comes from the story of Ruth). As they're getting told, they get changed however the storyteller thinks will make them more interesting and/or dramatic. Basile writes them down when they're all dark and edgy. Then Perrault comes along and cleans them up. The Grimms come along and write down the dark and edgy version again. Walt Disney comes along and cleans them up again. Newer movies come along and make them dark and edgy again. It's all a theory of course, but at any rate, the history of these stories is pretty fascinating.
Today I'm thankful for learning new things about fairy tales, dreams of growing flax (we probably won't, but it's fun to imagine), making good progress at work today, feeling like there's a chance of one day getting our schedule in order, and getting to watch Kamisama Kiss on Tuesday.