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Fairy Tale Tuesday No.38 – King Thrushbeard

20 May

I have always loved fairy tales, but I read King Thrush-Beard recently and found it absolutely revolting. I don’t argue that the princess was a heroine, but I am dumbfounded by this notion that women need to be saved from themselves – and their every abhorrent vice. With the exception of Beauty and the Beast, this story really has no correlation in the fairy tale world. The Beast had the luxury of finding true love with someone who could see his true beauty. Yet, over and over this trope of the defiant shrew, who must be humiliated and broken out of her willfulness, is seen throughout literature. No, she doesn’t get to be loved despite her many flaws, instead she must be broken and reforged.
Beyond the Dreamline gives an even more detailed analysis below.

Beyond the Dreamline

I encountered this story for the first time in an Abbey Classics copy of Grimms Fairy Tales and I have to admit I’ve held a bit of a grudge against the book ever since. Up until then, I don’t think any fairy tale had struck me as being really sexist – just badly told. ‘King Thrushbeard’, though, choked up my feminist filters with its narrative injustice. Also known as ‘King Grisly-Beard’, it is one of the more obscure works of the Grimm canon, but somehow it’s survived its way into the 21 st century. Having already reviewed two of my other Most Hated fairy tales – Perrault’s ‘Patient Griselda’ and Ruth Manning Sanders’ ‘My Lady Sea’ – I’m ready to dissect this one.

It begins with a king who, having a beautiful daughter of marriageable age, is attempting to nag her into choosing a husband.He chooses the speed dating method…

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Posted by on 20/05/2014 in UNCATEGORIZED

 

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