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Registered User
(10/18/04 11:41 am)
Trying to find existing fairy tale to match this idea:
i'm trying to think of a fairy tale or some kind of allegory that has a story about some kind of evil thing that sort of "warns" that it will become evil if such-and-such happens, or pleads that you lock it up if it becomes evil. like "i'm going to get evil now, so you'd better lock me up before i destroy you." any thoughts/suggestions?

Registered User
(10/18/04 12:54 pm)
Re: Trying to find existing fairy tale to match this idea:
That's an interesting thought... the only thing that I can think of is the cat in Sabriel (which isn't really a fairy tale and is by Garth Nix) who has to wear a collar with a special bell on it to keep it's power in check (I seem to remember that it's some sort of demon).

It must be in fairy tales though, it's such a prevelent theme in modern stories (so many stories from the Pet Shop of Horrors manga series for one (Daughter comes to mind)) and certianly a theme in almost anything involving werewolves...

The only stories from fairy tales where someone is warned not to do something is because it will cause harm, rather than cause someone to do harm... east of the sun, west of the moon perhaps being a good example, she breaks the terms of the curse and her man is whisked away (she of course has to set things right). Okay, maybe Blue Beard, but he never claimed to be good. And that's all about going places where one shouldn't.

Which isn't at all helpful, I'm sure.

You're trying to find stories with characters of dual nature who long to be good, but inadvertantly are forced toward their more bestial side, right?
Maybe look into japanese fairy tales... fox demons come to mind for some reason, anything that focuses on trickster characters might be a place to start...

When we say "The Man", we mean a certain gentleman. He's dead now, but we love him just the same. Don't get me wrong, we love him in a conjugal, biblical kind of way.

Unregistered User
(10/18/04 1:21 pm)
Many werewolf stories have this component--the man bitten wants not to be the slavering wolfman--but his transformation is controlled by the moon--unless he can get others to lock him up.

Helen J Pilinovsky
Registered User
(10/18/04 3:37 pm)
Re: Werewolf
If you're willing to go into ballads, you might think about some of the transformed monsters who have retained some consciousness, if not enough to entirely ward off their new instincts, i.e. "The Loathly Worm."

Registered User
(10/20/04 4:14 pm)
Re: Fairy Tales
The anime Pretear which is influenced by Snow White has that kind of theme. The "Disaster Queen" is the dark potential of the heroine, or a pretear (kind of earth mother/protector figure), so when she becomes a destructive force both sides think that needs to be shut away.

I would say that fairy tales with forbidden rooms and chambers are candidates, as are some of the "spirit wife" stories. Don't come into this room or else, and the bride becomes enraged, is revealed in true form, or vanishes. Or stories like the snow bride in Japan (one version of Yuki-Onna) where she tells the man she spares never to speak of what has happened or else she'll kill him. And years later after unknowingly marrying the self-same spirit, breaks the taboo.

There may be a swan or tennyo maiden version that falls under the above. I have several so I could search through them to see if I come across one. Otherwise, the Ceres series by Yuu Watase does touch on this. It's more though that the family wants to lock away the "evil" they perceive the tennyo blood to be rather than the maiden herself feeling she must be locked or hidden away. So the "hidden" happens but she rebels against it. Which is a kind of twist on the theme you're looking for.

Fruits Basket has a male character with a beast spirit that he wants kept in check by the bracelet he wears (looks to be a variant of Buddhist beads or something similar). So it's a variant of the cursed human tale-types.

I know I know a bunch more, so when they come to me I'll add them.

Unregistered User
(10/21/04 10:08 am)
Hmmm..I should have thought of my own novella "Demon" which I wrote for a punk/fantasy anthology called Bordertown (edited by Terri Windling). A very angry elvin kid calls forth the inner darkness from a young woman and transforms her into a demon (that he then uses to hunt others he doesn't like). The entire story is about her having to regain control of the beast within her (and become immune to the elvin call)--I wasn't interested in banishing the beast, but rather in recognizing it's ambiguous possibilites--which rightfully belonged to the young woman to exercise as she chooses.

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(10/21/04 9:49 pm)
It sounds to me like a motif from medaeval romances. Lewis used it in THE SILVER CHAIR, and he borrowed many things in Narnia from such sources.


Registered User
(10/25/04 5:51 am)
Re: Beast
Beast warns Beauty not to follow him at night. He goes out and tracks and hunts a deer and devours it, she finds him sated and bloody. Not sure which version this is, but I thought it a perfect touch.


Unregistered User
(10/27/04 5:04 pm)
I haven't read it in a while, but didn't Tam Lin warn the girl in the story that he would be turned into different things but not to be afraid of him and hold on to him?

the pin cushion queen
Registered User
(10/27/04 5:36 pm)
Re: *subject*
The first thing comes to my mind is the werewolves and in Beauty&Beast there's also a theme like that. Beast warns the beauty in the fairy tale.

Veronica Schanoes
Registered User
(10/27/04 5:48 pm)
Re: *subject*
I was just at a story-telling performance in which a Japanese story that I know I've heard before was told. In short, it goes like this:

A young, handsome, good-hearted, but poor farmer was walking home in a terrible snowstorm when he saw an injured bird fluttering down to the ground. He went over to it and found a beautiful white crane with a terrible wound. He bound up the wound with his own clothing and did what he could to help the bird. It recovered and flew away and he went home.

Later that night there was a knock at his door. Opening the door, he found a beautiful, graceful, elegant young woman. "I have to come to live with you and be your wife," she said. So the couple stayed together, and they did not have much but they were very very happy.

But it was a long, hard winter, and it looked as though their meager store of food was going to run out. They did not know what to do, for times were hard and there is little work for a farmer in the dead of winter. So the woman thought to herself "Other women weave; I will weave cloth for my husband to sell." She told her husband her plan and he built her a loom. She said to him "I will weave cloth to sell, but you must promise me never to look in on me while I am weaving." "I promise," said her husband.

For three days behind closed doors she wove constantly, pausing neither to sleep nor to eat. When she finally emerged, she brought with her the most beautiful cloth her husband had ever seen--its whiteness had a purity and a shimmer unmatched by any other cloth. Her husband thanked her and begged her to sleep, for she was drained. He took the cloth to the nearby village and got a very good price for it indeed, for it was the finest cloth anybody had ever seen. So for a time the poor farmer and his wife had enough.

But the winter continued and soon enough that money ran out. The couple did not know what to do and the husband cried because he could not provide for himself and his wife. Once again, the wife decided to go to her loom and weave, and once again she told her husband "You must promise never to look in while I am weaving." "I promise," said her husband.

This time the wife wove for four days and four nights, stopping neither to eat nor to sleep. When finally she emerged she was exhausted and could barely move, but she brought with her a fabric so white, so fine, that it looked like it was made of snow. It shone, it glowed with whiteness and purity. The farmer took this cloth to the village and got an even better price than before. The man who bought the cloth also bought the farmer a drink, and he asked him "How does your wife make such beautiful cloth? What kind of thread does she use?" The farmer did not know; his wife never bought thread. The man told him "Cloth such as this, so fine, would fetch a high, high price in the city! If your wife weaves more cloth I will be your partner, and sell the cloth in the city, and we will share the proceeds. You need never work again!"

The farmer was ecstatic. When he went home he told his wife of his plans. The woman listened in silence but a tear slid down her face. "Well," she told her husband, "I will weave for you one more time. But you must promise not to look in on me while I am weaving." "I promise," said her husband.

So she went in her room, closed the door, and began weaving. But whereas before her husband had been patient, he was no longer the simple farmer he had been. Now he was consumed by curiosity. What was his wife doing? How could she weave without thread? Eventually he could stand it no longer, and on the fifth day he edged the doors open and peeped in. What he saw made him cry out in shock. Sitting at the loom was not a woman, but a snow-white crane plucking feathers from its breast and weaving them into a shimmering, shining fabric. But the crane was plucked almost bare and was now bleeding. The farmer screamed and the crane turned its head toward him. Then he fell down in a faint.

When the farmer awoke the crane had gone and his wife was nowhere to be seen. Next to him was folded the most beautiful cloth he had ever seen, a white so bright as to hurt the eyes, with a line of deep red down the center. He ran outside in time to see a crane flying away in the distance, and he heard words carried back on the breeze: "I was the crane you saved and I loved you, but now I must leave, for you have betrayed me." He never saw his wife, or the crane, again.

Does that help? It's not a monster story, it's a bit like east of the sun, west of the moon (without the happy ending), but it has the creature who doesn't want to change, doesn't want to leave, but is forced to.

I've heard this tale at least twice, but I don't have a source. Sorry.

Registered User
(10/27/04 6:16 pm)
Re: Subject
Veronica, that story is called The Crane Wife. There's various versions of it. A slightly different version of the tale is in Folktales of Japan edited by Keigo Seki. I don't have my copy of Davis' Legends of Japan with me at the moment, but I'm pretty sure it'd be in there too.

Unregistered User
(11/6/04 5:07 pm)
lock me up
Ok.. evolving into a modern day fairy tale (in my opinion) the Harry Potter books.. in the Prisoner from Azkaban (I think) .. there is discussion about how the people who are both human and animal ( Animagus).. well Professor Lupin and the lot had this house they would go to during these times.. and the sense of "locking us up for our/your own good" was very present.

I would recommend it.. and the audio cassette is extremely well done.


Registered User
(11/19/04 11:45 am)
Re: lock me up
The warning reminds me a little bit of Melusine. Doesn't she warn her husband not to come into the bathroom ever? I can't quite remember now. But it seems like when he comes in and sees her transformed body he breaks his promise to her and she flees.

Unregistered User
(11/22/04 3:20 pm)
The 10th Kingdom
More along the lines of werewolves, and not really a fairy tale, but in the book and in the TV miniseries/LONG-@$$ movie Wolf tells Virginia (heroine) that she needs to tie him up at the full moon, or he'll eat her. He actually does get free and maul some chickens, but then he's accused of... BUMBUMBUM! Murder! Anyway, don't know if that helped or not.

aka Greensleeves
Registered User
(11/26/04 3:45 pm)

Re: The 10th Kingdom
Well, Pandora is warned not to open the jar she's received as a wedding gift (though obviously the jar itself does not warn her); and the husbands of selkies must hide their seal skins, because if the selkies ever find them, they'll return to the sea forever... but do the selkie wives *tell* their human husbands this? And is the return to the sea dangerous/evil?

Stephanie in the prairie

Unregistered User
(12/5/04 1:29 pm)
A horror tale?
Though not exactly what the first poster wanted, I remember of a rather common camp fire tale along the same lines.

A man met a beautiful woman with long hair (often heard it as Red, though Black is just as common), who always has a ribbon around her neck (usually black), no matter what she wore. Even on her wedding day she swore the black ribbon, and despite all her husband's inquries, she shook her head, and replied that she must never take it off.

The man in all his curiousity took a pair of scissors, and while she slept, he --SNIP--! cut the ribbon off, her head tumbled to the floor, and she looked up with baleful eyes saying:

"I had warn you to never take it off!" -- most often the stories end there, but one person I heard, the head flew off, leaving the decapiatated body in the bed.

Unregistered User
(12/6/04 1:46 pm)
Jephthah's Daughter

I'm trying to find fairy tale or folklore parallels with the Biblical story of Jephthah's daughter--he vowed to God that if he won a big battle, he would sacrifice whatever first meet him when he returned home, and naturally, it was, oops, his only child.

I know there are fairy tales with similar caution themes about rash promises or bargains taken too literally. But I can't think of any, apart from Rumplestiltskin and Beauty and the Beast. Can you help?

Thank you!

Richard Parks
Registered User
(12/6/04 2:43 pm)
Re: Jephthah's Daughter
A close fit would be the Japanese legend of the Hakkenden, or "Eight Dog Warriors." A daimyo promises his daughter in marriage to the one who brings him the head of an enemy. The one who brings him that severed head turns out to be a dog.

evil little pixie
Registered User
(12/7/04 8:39 am)
Re: Jephthah's Daughter
I sort of remember a story that I think was from the same book of Swedish fairy tales as the one about the deadly chairs (see post awhile ago). A king sailing home promised he'd sacrifice the first living thing he saw when he got back home to the sea witch (or goddess, or queen, can't remember), and it turned out to be his son, who was about 5 years old. He tried to get out of it by sacrificing a couple of animals instead, but the sea reached out and took the kid anyway- I think. I can't remember what happened next- it may even have been the same story as the one with deadly chairs. Sorry I can't give you specifics- the only copy of that book I've ever seen was a very old one in my elementary school library.

Unregistered User
(12/12/04 11:15 am)
Thank You
Thank you for both of these. It was very helpful. If you do recall the name of the children's book (or can direct me to the location of the previous post), I would be grateful.

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