(8/4/01 1:11:28 pm)
| disguises theme|
i have a quick question for any knowledgeable story readers/tellers etc.
here is the basic plot of events
-character leaves for some reason
-character comes back in disguise, does some crowd-wowing deed
- character reveals himself (usually to the antagonist)
in what stories has this happened? all i can think of is the Illiad. More examples would be much appreciated! thanks
(8/4/01 3:08:11 pm)
| Merchant of Venice|
For some reason I am not thinking of fairy tales at the moment with this plot device, but "The Merchant of Venice" is always one of the first to come to my mind. Shakespeare enjoyed that device.
(8/4/01 10:32:43 pm)
Rochester did it to Jane Eyre, not that it's a folk tale, when he attends his own party as a fortune teller.
(Hi - I lurk more than I post.)
(8/5/01 2:21:19 am)
| Heroes in disguise|
Hi marknetic fields,
the main ingredients listed fit a lot of fairy tales, I think especially of a type where I do not know the English title: Eisenhans by the brothers Grimm. It can be found in a lot of East-European fairy tales, too. The basic plot is the son of the king frees a "wild man" or spirit of nature from his fathers prison. He is sent away and serves - usually as gardener - at the court of another king. Very often he sticks his head in a well and gets golden hair, which he has to cover by orders of the spirit. War breaks out and he is secretly given an armor by the spirit he freed. He returns again as gardener, but is discovered later. Very often he fights three battles and asks the king to wound him on purpose as the last battle is finished, so they will have a sign by which to recognize him.
There are many sub-variants to the theme.
Of course, there are others that fit your description. I read a charming version of "Seven daughters and seven sons" a short while ago. There, in an Arabic country, a girl (one of seven daughters) disguises herself as a man to become a successful merchant. She moves to another town where she sets up business and becomes friends with the king. Her business is very successful, which could be described as impressing people, too. She flees the town she moved to when the king becomes suspicious that she might be a woman, after all. On her way home, she frees her 7 cousins from slavery, which they were sold into upon going bankrupt with their business. At home, she is treated as a heroine and even gets to marry the king she ran away from.
I suppose there are millions of other tales out there...
(8/6/01 1:01:10 am)
| One example|
I believe this plot outline was quite a popular one in middle English poetry, and is all about "the faithful steward". One classic example springs to mind: a poem called Sir Orfeo (by anonymous) which was very popular in its day, and is based on the story of Orpheus and Euridyce.
There is this king, Sir Orfeo, whose wife is snatched off to fairyland by the fairy king. Orfeo is distraught with grief and decides to become a hermit, leaving his kingdom in the capable hands of his steward. Off he goes into the wilderness & grows a long beard so that he's unrecognisable. Eventually he finds a way into fairyland and rescues his queen by means of charming the fairy court with his beautiful lute-playing. This done he returns to his kingdom, & wows the crowd with his music. He tests the steward to find out if he is still faithful, until the steward recognises the lute & gives Orfeo back his kingdom.
This steward is particularly faithful because of course he could easily have just put Orfeo in jail & thrown away the key.
A modern translation of the poem is here: icg.fas.harvard.edu/~chau...orfeo.html
Another thought: you mention the Iliad but it strikes me that the faithful steward theme also underpins the plot of the Odyssey as well.
Hope this helps
(8/6/01 4:14:13 am)
| good stuff here|
thanks everyone, keep em coming if you got em!!!!!
(8/6/01 6:37:27 am)
| Not a fairy tale|
But I did just remember Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, too. He works in disguise most of the time with periodic revelations to Javert.