I have a crush on Peppermint Butler from Cartoon Network's Adventure Time. I didn't think he could get any more adorbs and then they went and put him in a holiday sweater. It completely covers up his subversive nefarious side with holiday magic.
This Daughter came home this week with a really, really old copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It could possibly be an original Guttenberg printing but then I checked out the copyright date. It was a close guess (1945) with this book having been in circulation since 1951. It’s in surprisingly good shape. The pages feel like rose petals under your fingers but for the most part are intact even after 60 years of middle schoolers pawing through it. Which is why I just LOVE old books. I’m happy that they survive and persist. I find them to be incredible, portable artifacts.*
I just randomly opened the book to this illustration and, no, I did not Photoshop the spots on that dog. Seriously. I did not. I swear it was like that.
Part of the fascination for This Daughter checking this copy out has to do with us watching NBC’s Grimm on Friday evenings. We enjoy seeing what they do with the Portland locations since they began filming here last summer. We also watch for friends that show up in the crowd scenes (hey P.J.!). In all truthiness I wasn’t too enamored with the show initially, but after a couple of episodes it’s grown on me like invasive ivy on an old growth fir. I’m sort of over the squishy CG animation (I can’t tell if it’s getting better or I’m just getting used to it) and I love seeing how Silas Weir Mitchell and Reggie Lee develop their characters Monroe, "The Big Bad Wolf" and Officer Wu.
From the beginning we have been having fun dissecting the running plot of the show and the Brothers Grimm fairy tale character references. And with our memories exhausted, we started perusing this book with obvious favorites in mind (Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, etc.)… and then we jumped into the random ones.
Like “The Salad.” *snort* Let me just say, you don’t get a more meandering-going-no-where-tale than “The Salad.” You just sort of let the crazy wash over you. I can’t imagine a literary agent or publishing editor even touching this drivel with a 10-foot pole in this day and age. Of course, I realize that these stories were all from “the oral tradition” but good grief, it’s not hard to see why “Little Red Riding Hood” rose to the top of the collection.
Best bedtime story ever, people.
Fairy tales seem to be big stuff having recently pushing out sparkly vampires and wizards for now. We’ve got ABC’s “Once Upon A Time,” Julia Roberts in “Mirror, Mirror,” Disney’s continuous loop of Princesses, “Puss In Boots,” and the list goes on. I’m guessing they’re a safe bet for The Suits in these desperate, copycat times.
Last summer there was a symposium at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Detroit with Dr. Don Haase who is a Professor of German Studies in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Wayne State University. Dr. Hasse not only “studies” fairy tales but the dude has written VOLUMES on it. Out right TOMES. This is serious business and I’m just nerdy enough to find that incredibly cool. I was leaving town right before his presentation (aww, snap!) but I found some of his work online once I got home. I had to go back and reread “The Salad” because clearly I forgot all of my classic literature symbolism education. Thus giving lettuce, donkeys, and giants a whole new meaning,
"...and all their library fines were waived. The End."
All Haase's heavy feminist messages aside we are still enjoying Grimm and it’s put us on a whole new literary track. Are there any other people out there that get into this stuff besides us?
That is besides, us and Dr. Haase.
*Check out Portland's Attic Journals. They would love to get their hands on this book.