(12/7/01 11:26:49 am)
| Winter themes....|
I've been invited to write a story for possible inclusion in an annual winter holiday supplement for the local newspaper where I used to live. Any quick suggestions (I may be writing it this weekend) of winter themes, characters, stories, that I could base it around? (May fall back on my Nutcracker poems or a story on that, but I'd like to introduce them to something different.)
Topics I've come up with so far:
Sotry of the Christmas Rose
Snow White, Rose Red
I know the Santa references and Nativity are common, but I'm thinking of maybe trying something new. Any other suggestions?
Edited by: Kerrie at: 12/7/01 12:07:31 pm
(12/7/01 1:58:26 pm)
| Re: Winter themes....|
The Holly and the Ivy
I've always been pleasantly struck by how Pagan, as opposed to Christian, that Christmas hymn sounds. Masked Pagan too; not like 'Twas in the Snows of Wintertime, which was clearly written to appeal to the Native people of the area.
(12/7/01 2:58:42 pm)
| Wren Boys|
Take a look at the songs/ritual of the "Wren Boys"...the Wren as the King of Winter hunted by small boys and then brought dressed in ribbons as they go from house to house (getting candy...or drinks depending on big the "boys" are)usually singing. It happens after Christmas and signifies the turning of the year and heralds the eventual return to Spring.
Steeleye did a lovely version of the Wren boy's song--the title of which escapes me at the moment (who remembers titles when you remember words?)
(12/8/01 6:16:07 am)
| Pleased to see the king...|
As to Steeleye Span they've sung two variants about the wren ritual, "The King" on PLEASED TO SEE THE KING (an earlier and more traditionaly sung track) and "The Cutty Wren" on TIME (more uptempo but with VERY interesting lyrics).Both of these discs are currently available.
I once asked Neil Gaiman about the meaning of some of the lyrics in the later song (as we had just listened to it on a car CD player) and he had many interesting comments about the whole tradition of the celebration of the wren as well as particular lyrics. Alas the details have washed away in time, wish he was here to ask again...
(12/8/01 1:51:59 pm)
| Re: Winter themes....|
I'm all about Twelfth Night, with the cake and the holly and ivy and the King of Chaos. . . We used to have Twelfth Night parties in college. Fun! We'd also recite "The Mistletoe Bough," although I don't think the two are actually related.
Edited by: ZMethos at: 12/8/01 1:53:36 pm
(12/9/01 7:56:07 pm)
| Winter themes....|
Also, along Pagan lines, there are many, many interesting themes surrounding Winter's Solstice. I get frustrated that it is so close to Christmas - makes it hard to 'celebrate' it thoroughly in it's own right - but the whole idea of the *turning back the dark* and the accompanying imagery of candles and bonfires, holly and evergreens, frost and sunrise (think- Newgrange), I find very moving....
(12/9/01 8:59:17 pm)
| winter themes|
How fun! The pagan theme is good. You could look at the stories about King Wensceslas (spelling is probably off as usual). Sounds like the Wren boys tradition turned into the Wassailing of later songs.
The Snow Queen seems to be getting a lot of attention lately - you may want to stay away from that one. Other Anderson stories you could do something with are the Little Matchgirl or the Tin Soldier.
Another story that has winter/Christmas feel, while not a fairy tale, but could be woven into one is O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi.
I imagine there are quite a few Russian tales with winter themes. I just can't think of any right off.
(12/9/01 11:32:58 pm)
| Re: winter themes|
There's quite a bit of folklore surrounding Christmas; one of my favorites (that can be found in Briggs and Tongue, _Forgotten Folktales of the English Counties_) is about farm animals, who are allowed to speak for one hour (I think) on Christmas Eve, and the efforts of two brothers to use them to find a treasure. There's also wassailing/apple tree beliefs in Somerset, some of which have been worked into interesting tree-guardian-type narratives (check out Tongue, _Folklore of Somerset_). Also, werewolves are particularly associated with Christmas, for some reason; people born on Christmas can become werewolves, and the beasts are also very active around this time.
(12/12/01 8:07:29 am)
| snow child|
There is a Russian story about a couple who made a child out of snow and when the spring came she turned into mist. Anyone know of this tale?
(12/12/01 8:41:07 am)
| Snow Maiden|
Yep--schneegerochka. Or however it is spelled. I did a version in ONCE UPON A BEDTIME STORY. She stays with the old couple till spring, but promises to return when the snow comes back. And does.
(12/14/01 12:43:25 pm)
Thank for all of your suggestions! I did write a story loosely surrounding the Wren Boys tradition. It still needs work (a bunch!), but if anyone wants to read it so far (and a Snowflake Meditation), Ms. M. Pepper Langlinais has kindly posted them to my site hosted on her site:
Forest frosts and sugarplum dreams,