11th September 2014

The swineherdess

Adapted from http://www.andersenstories.com/en/andersen_fairy-tales/the_swineherd

There was once a poor Princess, who had a kingdom. Her kingdom was very small, but still quite large enough to marry upon; and she wished to marry.

It was certainly rather cool of her to say to the Empress’s daughter, “Will you have me?” But so she did; for her name was renowned far and wide and there were a hundred princes who would have answered, “Yes!” and “Thank you kindly.” We shall see what this prince said.


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4th September 2014

Gossip Wolf and the Fox (The Fox and Her Cousin)

Adapted from the Brother’s Grimm 


The he-wolf sired a young one and invited the fox to be the godmother. “After all, she is a near relative of ours,” said he, “she has a good understanding and much talent; she can instruct my little daughter and help her forward in the world.” The fox, too, appeared quite honest and said, “Worthy Mr. Gossip, I thank you for the honor which you are doing me; I will, however, conduct myself in such a way that you shall be repaid for it.”

She enjoyed herself at the feast and made marry; afterwards she said, “Dear Mr. Gossip, it is our duty to take care of the child, it must have good food that it may be strong. I know a sheep-fold from which we might fetch a nice morsel.” The wolf was pleased with the ditty and he went out with the fox to the farmyard. She pointed to the fold from afar and said, “You will be able to creep in there without being seen and in the meantime I will look about on the other side to see if I can pick up a chicken.” She, however, did not go there but sat down at the entrance to the forest, stretched her legs and rested.

The he-wolf crept into the stable. A dog was lying there and it made such a noise that the peasants came running out, caught Gossip Wolf and poured a strong burning mixture, which had been prepared for washing, over his skin. At last he escaped and dragged himself outside. There lay the fox, who pretended to be full of complaints and said, “Ah dear Master Gossip, how ill I have fared, the peasants have fallen on me and have broken every limb I have; if you do not want me to lie where I am and perish, you must carry me away.”

The he-wolf himself was only able to go away slowly but he was in such concern about the fox that he took her on his back and slowly carried her perfectly safe and sound to his house. Then the fox cried to him, “Farewell, dear Master Gossip, may the roasting you have had do you good,” laughed heartily at him and bounded off. 

2nd September 2014

The Little Merboy Part 4 of 4

Adapted from http://www.andersenstories.com/en/andersen_fairy-tales/the_little_mermaid

So he passed quickly through the wood and the marsh and between the rushing whirlpools. He saw that in his mother’s palace the torches in the ballroom were extinguished and all within asleep. But he did not venture to go in to them, for now he was dumb and going to leave them forever. He felt as if his heart would break. He stole into the garden, took a flower from the flower-beds of each of his brothers, kissed his hand a thousand times towards the palace and then rose up through the dark blue waters. The sun had not risen when he came in sight of the princess’s palace and approached the beautiful marble steps but the moon shone clear and bright. Then the little merboy drank the magic draught and it seemed as if a two-edged sword went through his delicate body: he fell into a swoon and lay like one dead. When the sun arose and shone over the sea he recovered and felt a sharp pain but just before him stood the handsome young princess. She fixed her coal-black eyes upon him so earnestly that he cast down his own and then became aware that his fish’s tail was gone and that he had as pretty a pair of white legs and tiny feet as any little boy could have but he had no clothes, so he wrapped himself in his long, thick hair. The princess asked him who he was and where he came from and he looked at her mildly and sorrowfully with his deep blue eyes but he could not speak. Every step he took was as the witch had said it would be, he felt as if he was treading upon the points of needles or sharp knives but he bore it willingly and stepped as lightly by the princess’s side as a soap-bubble so that she and all who saw him wondered at his graceful-swaying movements. He was soon arrayed in costly robes of silk and muslin and was the most beautiful creature in the palace but he was dumb and could neither speak nor sing.

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28th August 2014

The Little Merboy Part 3 of 4

Adapted from http://www.andersenstories.com/en/andersen_fairy-tales/the_little_mermaid

“If human beings are not drowned,” asked the little merboy, “can they live forever? do they never die as we do here in the sea?”

“Yes,” replied the old gentleman, “they must also die and their term of life is even shorter than ours. We sometimes live to three hundred years but when we cease to exist here we only become the foam on the surface of the water and we have not even a grave down here of those we love. We have not immortal souls, we shall never live again, but, like the green sea-weed when once it has been cut off, we can never flourish more. Human beings, on the contrary, have a soul which lives forever, lives after the body has been turned to dust. It rises up through the clear pure air beyond the glittering stars. As we rise out of the water and behold the land of the earth, so do they rise to unknown and glorious regions which we shall never see.”

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21st August 2014

The Little Merboy Part 2 of 4

Adapted from from http://www.andersenstories.com/en/andersen_fairy-tales/the_little_mermaid

At least he reached his fifteenth year. “Well, now you are grown up,” said the old man, his grandfather, “so you must let me adorn you like your other brothers.” And he placed a wreath of white lilies in his hair and every flower leaf was half a pearl. Then the old man ordered eight great oysters to attach themselves to the tail of the prince to show his high rank.

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19th August 2014

The Little Merboy Part 1 of 4

Adapted from 


Far out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as the prettiest cornflower and as clear as crystal, it is very, very deep; so deep indeed that no cable could fathom it. Many church steeples piled one upon another would not reach from the ground beneath to the surface of the water above. There dwell the Sea Queen and her subjects. We must not imagine that there is nothing at the bottom of the sea but bare yellow sand. No indeed; the most singular flowers and plants grow there; the leaves and stems of which are so pliant that the slightest agitation of the water causes them to stir as if they had life. Fishes both large and small glide between the branches, as birds fly among the trees here upon land. In the deepest spot of all stands the castle of the Sea Queen. Its walls are built of coral and the long gothic windows are f the clearest amber. The roof is formed of shells that open and close as the water flows over them. Their appearance is very beautiful, for in each lies a glittering pearl which would be fit for the diadem of a king.

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14th August 2014


Adapted from the Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

There was one upon a time a couple of rich folks who had twelve daughters and when the youngest was grown up she would not stay at home any longer but would go out into the world and seek her fortune. Her mother and father said that they thought she was very well off at home and that she was welcome to stay with them but she could not rest and said that she must and would go, so at last they have to give her leave. When she had walked a long way she came to a Queen’s palace. There she asked for a place and got it.

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12th August 2014

The House in the Wood

Adapted from The Pink Fairy Book by Andrew Lang 

A poor woodcutter lived with her husband and three sons in a little hut on the borders of a great forest.

One morning as she was going to her work, she said to her husband, “Let our eldest son bring me my lunch into the wood and so that he shall not lose his way, I will take a bag of millet with me and sprinkle the seed on the path.”

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7th August 2014

Joanna and the Beanstalk

Adapted from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

Joanna Sells the Cow

Once upon a time there was a poor widower who lived in a little cottage with his only daughter Joanna.

Joanna was a giddy thoughtless girl but very kind-hearted and affectionate. There had been a hard winter and after it the poor man suffered from fever and ague. Joanna did no work as yet and by degrees they grew dreadfully poor. The widower saw that there was no means of keeping Joanna and himself from starvation but by selling his cow; so one morning he said to his daughter, “I am too weak to go myself, Joanna, so you must take the cow to market for me and sell it.”

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6th August 2014

The Empress’s New Clothes

Adapted from http://fpd.iwarp.com/andersenMN.html

Many years ago, there was an Empress who was so excessively fond of new clothes that she spent all her money in dress. She did not trouble herself in the least about her soldiers nor did she care to go either to the theatre or the chase, except for the opportunities then afforded her for displaying her new clothes. She had a different suit for each hour of the day and as of any other queen or empress one is accustomed to say, “she is sitting in council,” it was always said of her, “The Empress is sitting in her wardrobe.”

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In this project I'm switching all sexes in many well-known fairy tales, myths and legends. I try to change as little as possible other than the sex of the characters and possibly a name or two. I want to explore how just changing the sex of a character changes the tone of a story.

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