edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
This is a retelling of Ricky-of-the-Tuft, an old fairy-tale whose definitive version was written by Charles Perrault. I first encountered the story, in a slightly condensed and 'child-friendly' version, when I was seven or eight years old.

I've always liked the story, but I've also always been vaguely bothered by it -- especially since the edited version with which I am most familiar removes Perrault's ambiguity about the change in Ricky's appearance. I dislike the way the princess's younger sister completely vanishes from the story once Ricky and the princess make the first half of their bargain. I dislike the way that, while we are told that the princess is cursed with stupidity, when she first meets Ricky she talks perfectly sensibly. I dislike the way the fairy godmother rigs the situation, and the underlying implication that she was matchmaking between Ricky and the princess. Finally, I dislike the common fairy tale trope where readers are expected to feel at least moderate sympathy for people who try to weasel out of hasty bargains. It's one thing if the story glories in trickery -- a Coyote story, an Anansi story -- but it's another altogether if the bargain is ultimately kept and shown to be a good thing, and yet the weasel gets a happy ending anyway.

"Beauty" is, among other things, an attempt to work through or circumvent those issues. It's also a tribute to a story and genre I love very much, and a gift for my father and sister. (It was meant as a Christmas gift for '05, but took a lot longer to write than I expected, so they didn't get it until Thanksgiving of '06 -- eleven months late! They were very gracious about the delay.)

I had to split the story in half because of post length, but it's really a long single piece.

Beauty, part 1 )

Part 2
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
This is a retelling of Ricky-of-the-Tuft, an old fairy-tale whose definitive version was written by Charles Perrault. I first encountered the story, in a slightly condensed and 'child-friendly' version, when I was seven or eight years old.

I've always liked the story, but I've also always been vaguely bothered by it -- especially since the edited version with which I am most familiar removes Perrault's ambiguity about the change in Ricky's appearance. I dislike the way the princess's younger sister completely vanishes from the story once Ricky and the princess make the first half of their bargain. I dislike the way that, while we are told that the princess is cursed with stupidity, when she first meets Ricky she talks perfectly sensibly. I dislike the way the fairy godmother rigs the situation, and the underlying implication that she was matchmaking between Ricky and the princess. Finally, I dislike the common fairy tale trope where readers are expected to feel at least moderate sympathy for people who try to weasel out of hasty bargains. It's one thing if the story glories in trickery -- a Coyote story, an Anansi story -- but it's another altogether if the bargain is ultimately kept and shown to be a good thing, and yet the weasel gets a happy ending anyway.

"Beauty" is, among other things, an attempt to work through or circumvent those issues. It's also a tribute to a story and genre I love very much, and a gift for my father and sister. (It was meant as a Christmas gift for '05, but took a lot longer to write than I expected, so they didn't get it until Thanksgiving of '06 -- eleven months late! They were very gracious about the delay.)

I had to split the story in half because of post length, but it's really a long single piece.

Beauty, part 1 )

Part 2

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edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Elizabeth Culmer

July 2017

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