|The Grimm Project: Tale I|
When I was about nine, imagining myself to be the same age as the girl in the tale, I equated the Frog Prince with this pain-in-the-ass alarm clock that I had bought myself that looked like a softball. When you wanted to make it snooze, you whizzed the ball against the wall, where it would land with what was initially a very satisfying thud. I imagined the Princess throwing the Frog with as much hateful might as she could muster, the same passionate hatred with which I threw my alarm when I didn't want to get up in the morning (which was, if I'm being honest, every single school day). Now, the only problem with this ball/clock was that, when your 10-minute snooze was up, it would blare again and you had to get OUT of bed to turn it off (I imagine this is probably the point, but it absolutely infuriated me as a young girl ... they should make alarm-clock boomerangs).
|If you want to really annoy your tween-age kids, order them a softball alarm clock. They'll think they are going to love it. April fools.|
Speaking of worms, this tale, nowadays, seems very disturbing, mainly because the girl hurls her future lover (mandated thus by her father) into the wall because she finds him completely repulsive. He has a "thick, ugly head"; he comes "creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble staircase"; the girl is "afraid of the cold frog which she did not like to touch" that wants to lie in her "silken bed" with her, so afraid that her heart beats violently when he is near (the phallic/sexual imagery here is obvious). What is interesting to me is that the girl doesn't play the victim, accepting the frog's overtures. Instead, she literally tries to kill him.
This is what I love about the original Grimm tales. They are filled with the unexpected. Most of today's versions are like morbidly obese cats that have gorged themselves on old stories and that only lie in the sunshine. The Grimm tales are lithe and lively. They are also filled with some of the most exquisite language, as the opening lines of this tale reveal. In old times, when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face. So simple, and yet so evocative.
I hope you keep reading to see what else lies in store. A/J
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