From the prologue:
As a young girl, lying on my bed in my knotty-pine attic room, I would drown out the sounds of my parents arguing with tales I told myself. I imagined the knots in the wood were the heads of girls, children like myself, being swept down a river in a storm and rescued by another family far away. These were my earliest fairy tales....
Elaine Auerbach's fine book returns to the age-old medium of the fairy tale to address women "who have been through the mill." (And isn't that all of us?) The depth of her insight could be almost too painful were it not laced with delicious bits of humor and with genuine compassion for all of those involved in the archetypical plots she so richly re-imagines.
--Christine Downing, Author of The Goddess: Mythological Images of the Feminine and many other books.
Fairy tales have been written down and re-written, revisited and transformed for centuries to conform with the goals of their societies. Elaine Auerbach has bravely undertaken the task of writing stories for women, rather than children, specifically women who have gone through trials and transformations that beset us in our own era--"been through the mill" as she says.
--Joan Gould, Author of Spinning Straw Into Gold
There was a miller who had a beautiful daughter named Bliss. His wife had died giving birth and the miller cherished Bliss even more because she was all the family he had. He loved her dearly.
Bliss had grown up working next to her father at the mill. They would grind the wheat and corn for the townspeople, taking a part for themselves in payment when coins were scarce. The townspeople loved them for their generosity and good natures. One young handsome man who courted Bliss often praised her for her kindness and her beauty and he was betrothed to her. They were to be married after the harvest.
Now it was the spring, the time when fields should have been planted, when birds should be returning and the rains should have been warming. But winter would not leave.
"Something is wrong," said the miller to Bliss one cold day. The winds blew with all their force, keeping the townspeople from working in the fields and forcing them to use up their dwindling stores of grain to eat--even the grain they should be using for seed. "Spring should have been here weeks ago. If it doesn't come soon, our town will run out of grain and we'll face famine now and again in the fall since there won't be seed to plant or time for the crops to grow."
"But it will be all right in the end, won't it father?" asked Bliss, who was accustomed to being taken care of first by her father and now by her husband-to-be. Even though there was less and less food, her betrothed often brought her small delicacies such as fresh berries from the forest or the only egg his hen had laid that day.
"Yes, I suppose so," said her father, but it was without conviction since his goal was not to worry Bliss. In truth, he was extremely concerned and he knew that unless this weather ended soon, there would be widespread famine with no grain to grind.
That very night, after Bliss was asleep, the miller went out and stood in the spot where the moonlight was the brightest. This was a time when people no longer said they believed in fairies and elves. Yet, the miller knew the sprites were still around and he suspected they could tell him where spring was hiding or being hidden.
To learn where spring was, what happens to Bliss and what she learns, visit Amazon.com to buy the illustrated book in paperback or on Kindle.
Q. Is this book suitable for children?
A. It is primarily directed to women and teens but children as young as five have enjoyed the stories when I did reading groups.
Q. Are these original tales or variations of classic tales?
A. Both. Most are original but call upon well known fairy tale creatures such as elves and trolls. There is a story about what happened to Sleeping Beauty after she awoke.
Q. Why are these tales for women?
A. They deal with situation sadly familiar to many women: love, marriage, infidelity, overwork.
Q. Are these fairy tales with bad endings?
A. Not at all. They end with the main character in a better situation. But often after facing fairy tale problems.
The Miller's Daughter--Will she go to serve the Fairy Queen and save the town or save herself?
The Four Wishes--- Frank was tired of Claire's nagging. And then he was given three wishes.
The Unicorn in the Maze---Hope loved Adam. But he was a Unicorn.
The Legend of the Birds--Can a Sparrow and a Robin be a couple?
The Thorn Girl--Can a young woman raised among thorns find happiness?
The Ondine--She followed the path of all Ondines who are bewitched by a man. And then she didn't.
The Woman Who Married a Bear--So many things turned him to a bear. Can she live with such a man?
The Evil Troll Shape-Shifter--He looked kind and sweet but he had other motives.
The Stone Mermaid--She was given a stone every day to make her strong. But what happens when the weight bent her over?
The Jewel--Her jewel made her feel safe. And then it was stolen.
What Lovers Want--A turtle and a farmer. Can they find happiness?
Forget-Me-Not--The voice was internal. Or was it?
Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up--And doesn't like what she sees. Will the prophecy be fulfilled?
Here's a peek at the stories.