(9/16/03 12:47 pm)
John Fowles' Short Story "The Cloud"|
I have been reading the The Ebony Tower by John Fowles, a
collection of short stories. The last story in the novel is entitled
"The Cloud", and has an aunt telling a niece a fairy tale
as part of the narrative. While the fairy tale sounds familiar,
I cannot place it with anything that I have in my collection. It
could be simply an amalgamation of tales, though.
Princess is separated from her parents and they do not notice her absence due to their inability to count. The princess is raised by the kind animals of the forest and warned about the evil hunter - man. On her seventeenth birthday she travels to where she lost her family and meets a hunter, who is also a prince. Prince falls in love, but cannot marry her because he believes her not to be a princess.
Wise man who can change into an owl allows the princess to either have the proper clothing or the proper castle. She chooses the clothing and goes off and woos the prince. The prince's parents will allow the marriage, once they see the princess's castle. She takes them to a swamp and makes the castle appear (using the words of the hooting owl) and her clothes disappear. Disgusted, the whole royal family runs off, leaving her there.
The wise man takes pity and makes the princess and the prince immortal, until such a time that the prince realizes that possessions and royalty do not matter - only love matters. The story ends with the princess searching for her lost prince, calling out his name - Folio.
Can anyone shed light on this?
(9/23/03 2:05 pm)
It's been awhile since I read it, but I've always assumed Fowles created his fairy tale out of whole cloth, but that like Byatt, he knew his source material and the elements that make up such a tale, so borrowed and stitched wisely.
(9/23/03 7:59 pm)
That's what I had figured as well, especially with the blatant anti-materialism the story suggests.
I was merely hoping to find out if I was wrong. *grin*
Thank you for your response.