Friday, January 29, 2010

Tales of Love to Warm the Winter Nights


My Sweet Rose
by
John William Waterhouse, 1908
The Story of the Yara
from the Pink Fairy Tale book collected by Andrew Lang

Down in the south, where the sun shines so hotly that everything and everybody sleeps all day, and even the great forests seem silent, except early in the morning and late in the evening--down in this country there once lived a young man and a maiden. The girl had been born in the town, and had scarcely ever left it; but the young man was a native of another country, and had only come to the city near the great river because he could find no work to do where he was.

A few months after his arrival, when the days were cooler, and the people did not sleep so much as usual, a great feast was held a little way out of the town, and to this feast everyone flocked from thirty miles and more. Some walked and some rode, some came in beautiful golden coaches; but all had on splendid dresses of red or blue, while wreaths of flowers rested on their hair.

It was the first time that the youth had been present on such an occasion, and he stood silently aside watching the graceful dances and the pretty games played by the young people. And as he watched, he noticed one girl, dressed in white with scarlet pomegranates in her hair, who seemed to him lovelier than all the rest.

When the feast was over, and the young man returned home, his manner was so strange that it drew the attention of all his friends.

Through his work next day the youth continued to see the girl's face, throwing the ball to her companions, or threading her way between them as she danced. At night sleep fled from him, and after tossing for hours on his bed, he would get up and plunge into a deep pool that lay a little way in the forest.

This state of things went on for some weeks, then at last chance favoured him. One evening, as he was passing near the house where she lived, he saw her standing with her back to the wall, trying to beat off with her fan the attacks of a savage dog that was leaping at her throat. Alonzo, for such was his name, sprang forward, and with one blow of his fist stretched the creature dead upon the road. He then helped the frightened and half- fainting girl into the large cool veranda where her parents were sitting, and from that hour he was a welcome guest in the house, and it was not long before he was the promised husband of Julia...
Click here for the rest of the story.


The Story of the Queen of the Flowery Isles
from The Grey Fairy Tale Book Collected by Andrew Lang


There once lived a queen who ruled over the Flowery Isles, whose husband, to her extreme grief, died a few years after their marriage. On being left a widow she devoted herself almost entirely to the education of the two charming princesses, her only children. The elder of them was so lovely that as she grew up her mother greatly feared she would excite the jealousy of the Queen of all the Isles, who prided herself on being the most beautiful woman in the world, and insisted on all rivals bowing before her charms.

In order the better to gratify her vanity she had urged the king, her husband, to make war on all the surrounding islands, and as his greatest wish was to please her, the only conditions he imposed on any newly-conquered country was that each princess of every royal house should attend his court as soon as she was fifteen years old, and do homage to the transcendent beauty of his queen.

The queen of the Flowery Isles, well aware of this law, was fully determined to present her daughter to the proud queen as soon as her fifteenth birthday was past.

The queen herself had heard a rumour of the young princess’s great beauty, and awaited her visit with some anxiety, which soon developed into jealousy, for when the interview took place it was impossible not to be dazzled by such radiant charms, and she was obliged to admit that she had never beheld anyone so exquisitely lovely.

Of course she thought in her own mind ‘excepting myself!’ for nothing could have made her believe it possible that anyone could eclipse her.

But the outspoken admiration of the entire court soon undeceived her, and made her so angry that she pretended illness and retired to her own rooms, so as to avoid witnessing the princess’s triumph. She also sent word to the Queen of the Flowery Isles that she was sorry not to be well enough to see her again, and advised her to return to her own states with the princess, her daughter.

This message was entrusted to one of the great ladies of the court, who was an old friend of the Queen of the Flowery Isles, and who advised her not to wait to take a formal leave but to go home as fast as she could.

The queen was not slow to take the hint, and lost no time in obeying it. Being well aware of the magic powers of the incensed queen, she warned her daughter that she was threatened by some great danger if she left the palace for any reason whatever during the next six months.

The princess promised obedience, and no pains were spared to make the time pass pleasantly for her. The six months were nearly at an end, and on the very last day a splendid fĂȘte was to take place in a lovely meadow quite near the palace. The princess, who had been able to watch all the preparations from her window, implored her mother to let her go as far as the meadow; and the queen, thinking all risk must be over, consented, and promised to take her there herself.

The whole court was delighted to see their much-loved princess at liberty, and everyone set off in high glee to join in the fĂȘte.

The princess, overjoyed at being once more in the open air, was walking a little in advance of her party when suddenly the earth opened under her feet and closed again after swallowing her up!...
Click here for the rest of the story.

Keep the romance blooming with these tales of love.

From the cities of love and lights; offerings from the SurLaLune website by Giambattista Basile and Charles Perrault.
http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/pentamerone/
http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/perrault.html

Greek Mythology - Seven beautiful, yet tragic love stories.
http://thanasis.com/love.htm

Chien Nang - A beautiful adaptation of a Chinese love story from Texas storyteller Mary Grace Ketner found in Charms and Changelings by Ruth Manning-Sanders.
http://talesandlegends.net/storied-women/chien-nang.html

Immortal Love Legends: From About.com timeless Hindu love stories.
http://tinyurl.com/45fqqp

The Lady of Stavoren:
A Dutch legend retold and adapted by Aaron Shepherd.
http://tinyurl.com/4y5zpg


Need a little trivia to sweeten up your Valentine’s Day storytelling venues?

The History of Valentine’s Day: From the History Channel, enough inside information on romance to make you swoon.
http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day

Esther Howland – Mother of the American Valentine: “The story of one visionary, whose talent, imagination, dedication, and perseverance created a fascinating industry….”
http://telebody.com/valentines/howland.htm


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Karen Chace 2010 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at storybug@aol.com. Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.