This Advent calendar will be a series of original fairytale fics and poetry, inspired by a fairytale tarot.
Since it's the 2nd today, you will have today's and yesterday's tale in the first batch.
The sorting will be an easy affair; I will do it with my eyes shut and move the mouse all over the fairytale tarot album on my FB, then stop. Where it rests, that will be the fairytale that will inspire the story or poem of the day. As the week goes on, more and more tales will be discarded...
Here are some spoilers:
*The Little Mermaid will be retold in abstract terms, like a Pugh Rogefeldt song, from the prince's POV --the heroine is called Éponine and the fiancée is Joline; referencing both Les Mis and Dolly Parton--. (Joline in my heart, Éponine on my mind... the fear that, in loving, I have been unkind...)
*Red Riding Hood will be the Finta Nonna, the original tale I blogged in Miss Dermark's Dirtiest Stories; macabre Eucharist and all!
*Snow White will be the Slavic version with the seven bogatyrs --and a Yuuri on Ice AU, with Czarevich Viktor and foreign tavern boy Yuuri; and evil Czarina Lilia!
*Rumplestiltskin will be a Tyrionsa story set at the Red Keep and pretty close to canon --Spinning Copper into Gold--, for which there already is a bunny since I took the plunge into Westeros
*A Slavic story of an ice maiden and a fire boy will be a superb Lyaegar AU, with some Ramayana overtones (or rather Ravanayana, for the enemy was no bloodthirsty ten-headed rakshasa, but an enlightened ruler; history is written by the winners) and those of a superb French film called Les enfants de la pluie (another one I recommend): The true story of the damsel and the dragon. Quenched and Thawed
*Peter Pan and The Flying Ship will get mashed up as a Ship of Lost Souls full of young people in steampunk skies, with Petyr(onella) Paan as the captain...
*Rapunzel will be autobiographical, with the blond maiden and her ivory tower full of cannons and a star fort as a metaphor for my own childhood and adolescence in isolation, first imposed by my elders, then self-imposed...
Anyway, on to the advent calendar itself! Let us begin, and when we reach Christmas Eve, we shall know so much more than we already know! There are 24 rabbit holes to explore as this month goes on, so are you ready to take the two first plunges?
Story the First:
Princess of Wands (Page of Wands) -
MESSYHEAD/KATE CRACKERNUTS (LURVEHÄTTA)
Arya is afoot again.
They've searched all over Winterfell, far and wide, left and right...
Indeed, Sansa wonders how this little hoyden can be her sister, with those messy dark braids, those tattered breeches, the hands of a blacksmith, that tendency to write with the left hand, and more inclination for straddling a pony or sparring with the lads.
Sansa, the prim and proper lady, full of grace, reddish hair perfectly sleek, perfectly ironed azure silks to fit her eyes, skill in music and the fine arts, is far more Tully than Stark.
After a few hours, they find her half on all fours in a corner of the courtyard, Bran helping the poor thing to get back up again, but the young girl shrugging her brother's attempt aside. Maester Luwin washes those bloody, scraped knees as Arya steels herself not to wince. Sansa just looks aside, daydreaming about ballrooms and right-hand-kissing.
The next day, it's Sansa herself who is missing at the breakfast table... and that in spite of her favourite, lemoncakes, having been freshly baked.
For a quarter only has her older sister tarried, when Arya storms upstairs with a tray of three lemoncakes in her right palm, a little clenched left fist rapping vigorously on Sansa's door.
KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK and the scent of lemoncakes. The door opens merely ajar, Sansa reaching out for a cake. A single cyan right eye, like a forget-me-not, looks slightly teary.
She lets Arya in. Tense at feeling that little Messyhead Crackernuts may upset her perfectly folded bedsheets, the wardrobe full of perfectly-placed ensembles next to the dressing table with the mirror above, and the string instruments in the music corner, and even stain the flowered tapestry on the floor --everything is just right, the Sansa way (for she does everything right), the way it should be...
...except Sansa herself. A pocket of pus the size of a pea mars the left wing of her nose. It makes her wince ever since before she saw its poison-green tinge in the mirror. Ever since the sharp pain has woken her up this morning.
Stuffing her mouth full of lemoncake in quite an unladylike manner, she turns her back to her sister and fidgets with her head sunken in thought. She will not even come down to see her friends, parents, and siblings, or to have Luwin tend to her...
"Trust me, sis!" Arya's left hand vigorously slaps her on the back. Sansa turns around. Arya smiles a wistful smile, that broken incisor that makes her look even cheekier comes to view. She saunters to the dressing table and takes up a sewing needle, then, straddling her sister's lap, pierces the pocket of pus and squeezes as strong as she can.
Blood and pus ooze out as Sansa screams like a banshee, her eyes clouded with tears, as Arya pins the needle to her sleeve. "Luwin will have to boil this needle clean."
In normal circumstances, Sansa would have dried up her tears and stanched the blood on a handkerchief. However, now she clasps her little sister and uses Arya's messy dark hair to cleanse herself of these fluids, no matter how unclean those half-undone braids may be.
"Thank... you... Arya..." the elder Stark girl sobs thankfully, as the younger one nestles in her soft royal blue skirt.
Story the Second:
Nine of Cups
SALMACIS AND HERMAPHRODITUS
I was always the odd one out
I only had a shawl for a clue
alone among all of my kindred
in the end, the yearning was too strong
liquid mirror, who's the fairest one of all?
I've walked through ice and fire, through storm and flood
but I still haven't found what I seek
but I still haven't sought what to find
a sprig of lavender would be nice in my hair
my head swims, my throat's seared, flames dance before my eyes
this clump of lavender bushes will be fine, won't it?
the sound of rushing freshwater smites upon my ears
braiding, with lithe and gentle fingers, these scented stalks
I bend the knees, cup both my hands, and quaff liquid crystal
the corsage fits my right wrist perfectly
it tastes like refreshing spearmint, that grows all around
gulp, gulp, there must be a thirsty stranger at the spring
coursing down my throat, this draught quenches the inner flame
a stripling or a maiden? A young person, seen from behind...
splashing on my face, the perspiration is washed off
I tie my hair back in a golden sun of a bun
now a rest in the shade until the afternoon falls
those sharp features... that dark shade on his lip... it's a he!!
the chirp of cicadas lulls me off to sleep
Now I stand right before you; you're in for a surprise!
Fair stranger, I have been waiting for you!!
She's popped up like a traitor, without forewarning!!
If not as a sweetheart, as a sister or a friend...
Flustered, I turn my head to the left as she clasps me!
At least I've kissed his right cheekbone! Shy pretty boy...
L-leave me al-lone, or I will l-l-leave this pl-lace!
He turns to the pond, not seeing me saunter behind him...
At last alone... ready to have a swim in peace...
this mastic bush provides the perfect hiding place to watch
my right foot, refreshed, shivers pleasantly; the left one plunges in
now he casts off his cloak... such dazzling white shoulder blades!
undressed, I wade until I stand up to the waist
his shapely legs cleave the water like a frog's
so free and so fresh I have never felt on land
this blaze sears me like a raisin in the sun
so fresh and so free I have never felt on land
only he can quench my insides, that no longer can hold this flame...
even the remembrance of my quest has dissolved
she clasps me around the waist, plunging me underwater
he kicks, and writhes; I hold him even tighter
my lips are sealed to keep precious air within me
his shut lips constantly turn away from mine
at last all my limbs falter, my lips part, my lungs are flooded...
precious diamonds of air rise to the surface as he grows pale...
is this the way things should end?
is this the way things should end?
I make a wish to live through this icy, liquid darkness
I make a wish to give my own life to save his own
and the wish comes true, indeed
and the wish comes true, of course
both male and female, both dead and alive, and neither
both female and male, both alive and dead, and neither
and all who touch this spring may share our fate
and all who touch this spring will share our fate
Messyhead/Lurvehätta/Kate Crackernuts is a fairytale that is very rarely heard of, type 711. It concerns two sisters (usually royalty), one of them a prim and proper lady, the other one a tomboy to a higher or lesser degree (Lurvehätta, a fiery redhead who rides a billy goat in what is more than just Thor cosplay, actually surpasses Kate in badassery, pluck, and sheroism, having hunted trolls for a few years, before the story proper unfurls). When her more feminine sister gets enchanted with a curse that mars her appearance, Lurvehätta/Kate goes on a quest to confront the creatures of the night who cast the curse and save her sister's looks. (Of course she wins!)
Needless (Needleless!) to say a fluffy Arya*Sansa story would fit this premise to a T.
A retelling of this tale type I recommend is Lavanya and Deepika, from Demeter's Spicebox/Delinquent Spice (Lavanya is the tomboy/odd child, and Deepika the proper one; their mother a barren warrior queen conceived them through enchantment, and the sisters get each one a shoe from the same pair, the left and the right, for protection as a symbol of their union).