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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge — Favorite Fairy Tale or Legend and why

It’s time again for the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Today’s topic is: Favorite Fairy Tale or Legend and why 

This was oddly difficult for me. I’m an avid reader (obviously) and cut my teeth on books of fairy tales and legends, but when I saw this topic, I came up completely blank. Here’s where my brain went instead…to two classic poems that I loved enough to memorize. Not exactly the same, I know, but the best I could do. 🙂

The first one, and totally out of character for me because it’s so tragic, and those of you who know me IRL know I hate an unhappy ending. However, when I was a tween, it was desperately romantic.

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

“…though hell should bar the way.” ::: swoon ::: I remember thinking how much I wanted that kind of desperate, all-consuming love.

And then the anguish and desperation that Bess must have felt being used to bring him in to his doom…

She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

That she refused to be the reason he died, that she was willing to give her life for him. My young heart beat for this poem…

And the author was so clever, so smart, so brilliant. Building that tension as her lover grew near…

Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horsehoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?

This poem is mastery.

The other one I memorized didn’t stir my heart. Instead, it arose from my absolute obsession with the movie, “Xanadu” in the 80s (don’t judge me). When they’re trying to think of a name for their new place, Kira steps forward and quotes, “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, a stately pleasure dome decree…” and Gene Kelly’s character responded, “Where Alph, the sacred river, ran, Through caverns measureless to man, Down to a sunless sea.”

And since I’d already shredded material for my muse costume, and learned how to roller skate so I could be JUST like Olivia Newton-John, I knew I had to memorize the poem. Took me awhile to find it, as it’s NOT called Xanadu, and this was pre-Google, so…

If you’re interested in reading the drug-induced poetry that inspired the name of my favorite film as a teen, here’s a link (and yes, I can still quote most of it):

Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylore Coleridge

I’ll share the first verse:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Hey! There is nothing wrong with Xanadu! It’s a fun movie. But yes, those are great choices, and I think they definitely qualify as fairy tales or legends.

  2. “A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw…” I found those poems early in life and liked them, too, for so long that they seem like childhood fairy tales, though both definitely contain Adult Content.

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