The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats
What makes this fairy tale stand out from the others is its almost mythic themes of life and death and rebirth. We have two opposing main characters set up against each other in a battle over the lives of seven children. On the one hand a self-centered, devouring dark wolf who wishes to kill and eat the children. On the other is a self-sacrificing, saving light mother who wishes to protect and nurture the children. In between them are the mother goat’s seven kids who have to learn to distinguish between the two.
The fairy tale opens with the mother saying good-bye to her children as she is going into market to buy food for her family. She tells the children not to let anyone in but her and to beware the big bad wolf. He has black fur denoting his evil while the mother has white fur denoting her purity and goodness. She also tells the children that the wolf has a deep gruff voice while hers is soft and melodic. The children promise their mother they will remember all of this and off she goes to market.
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Beauty and the Beast’s Origins
The Golden Ass was written in the late 2nd century and was the only latin novel to survive in its entirety.
In the course of the story, told in several “books”, many other inset stories were related including, in book four, the story of Cupid and Psyche. This rendering of the story is the oldest recorded telling of this ancient fairy tale and is presented as a retelling so its origins go even farther back. It has been suggested that the tale was changed slightly to suit what was going on in the novel so how the myth originally went no one knows anymore.
In the novel the protagonist was transformed into, well, a golden ass and in this particular book he has been stolen by thieves. The thieves throw the protagonist into a cave along with a young woman they had also kidnapped. The young woman is scared and crying so an old woman, in league with the thieves, tells her the story of Cupid and Psyche.
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