Friday, July 17, 2015

Fairy Tale and Folktale Fridays #1: East of the Sun West of the Moon

Hey there!  Welcome to "Fairy Tale and Folktale Fridays," a new feature on my blog where I discuss about some fairy tales and folktales I have read throughout the years. 

East of the Sun West of the Moon

Type: Folktale

Country of Origin: Norway/Scandinavia

Main Character Hero or Heroine: Heroine

Recommended?: Yes!

Basically, this story is about a peasant family who was so poor that they could barely feed themselves and their large family.  One stormy night, a great white bear came to visit the peasant family and promised them that if they give him their youngest daughter, then he will make the family as rich as they are poor.  The family then agreed, despite the youngest daughter not being happy with this arrangement and the youngest daughter ended up going with the bear.  The youngest daughter spent some months with the white bear and she ended up becoming good friends with the white bear.  But whenever the young girl went to bed every night, she noticed that a young and handsome man laid in bed with her, but she was never able to see his true face due to the room being too dark and the young man disappearing during the day.  One day, the young girl told the white bear that she wished to see her family again and the white bear agreed to take the girl back to her family for a visit.  But, the bear made the girl promise that she should never tell her family what is really going on with her life with the white bear or else she will make them both very unhappy.  The young girl agreed, but as soon as she started talking to her mother, she accidentally revealed her life with the white bear and also spoke about the young man who laid in bed beside her every night.  Her mother than told the girl that in order to see the young man, she must take a candle with her and light it up whenever the young man comes into bed with her.  The young girl did as her mother told her and she took a candle with her and used it to light it up when the young man came into her bed that night.  Unfortunately, it turned out that the young man was under a spell by an evil troll queen as he was turned into the white bear during the day and a young man during the night and the only way to break the spell was to find someone who would love him as a bear during the day.  The young girl felt ashamed and asked the prince what she could do to save him.  The young prince told the girl that she must journey east of the sun and west of the moon to the troll queen's castle to break the spell and it was then that the young girl went on a journey to rescue the prince from the clutches of the Troll Queen!

I seriously loved this story!  Even though I haven't read much folktales from Norway, I have always enjoyed this tale because the heroine in this story actually goes and save the prince of her dreams instead of the other way around like in most fairy tales and folktales.  I also loved the fact that the winds play a huge role in this story as they help the girl get to her destination to the Troll Queen's castle and it was very unique in seeing winds actually take part in the plot of a folktale!  So far, the only version of this tale that I had read was the Rabbit Ears' version of this tale where Max Von Sydow narrated the story and it was fantastic! I would highly recommend this tale to fans of strong heroines and Norwegian folktales! 

1. What are your thoughts on the girl's parents suddenly giving up their daughter for riches?

For me, I was personally disgusted by this since I don't think that any parent should give up their children just for money, unless they couldn't afford to take care of their children.

2. Does this story remind you of "Beauty and the Beast?"

Yeah, this story reminded me a bit of "Beauty and the Beast" since both stories has the main heroine spending time with a beast or animal and must learn how to accept that beast or animal for who they are while making them see the power of true love.

3. Is the main heroine a good role model for children?

Definitely yes!  I think that the girl in this story did a great job at owning up to her own mistakes and tried to fix it in the end by rescuing the young prince after she accidentally broke her promise to him.  I think this would be a good lesson for children to learn about trying to fix any mistake they made so that they would take their responsibilities more seriously in the near future.

4. Would you like to be carried off by the winds?

Since I always have this strong desire to fly someday, I wouldn't mind being carried away by the winds as long as I am not thrown on a place that would kill me like a pointy building or several feet off the ground.

5. Have you read any other Norwegian folktales? 

So far, "East of the Sun West of the Moon" was the only Norwegian folktale I've read so far, but I am planning on reading more Norwegian folktales in the near future.  Please feel free to contact me about more Norwegian folktales to check out!

East by Edith Pattou

East of the Sun West of the Moon by Mercer Mayer

East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon by P.J. Lynch

East of the Sun West of the Moon by D.J. MacHale

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst


The Six Servants

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