Ah! Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and love is in the air.
It’s a day when every man wishes for his true love and every girl wants a kiss from her Prince Charming. Wait . . . what am I saying?
Prince Charming? That cipher? Who needs him?! Well, okay, so maybe character development is never particularly deep in fairy tales. But still, the Prince Charming archetype kind of bothers me. This character exists largely as a plot device. A background character meant to facilitate a happy ending. So, no thanks! No Prince Charmings here!
For Valentine’s Day, why don’t we instead look to a fairy tale couple who are together at the beginning of the story as well. I’m talking about another of my favorite Grimm fairy tales “Jorinda and Joringel”. Now this story, unlike a lot of fairy tales, rarely travelled far from its German roots. Though, a variant has been found in
Flower of Dew”. Kentucky
Our story starts, not with the young couple though. It starts with a little backstory about the antagonist, a witch who lives in an old castle in the middle of a forest. This witch could lure animals to her. Also, anyone who came within a hundred paces of the castle was forced to freeze in place. However, any innocent maiden who came within a hundred paces would be changed into a songbird and closed up in a cage. Now, we turn to our titular couple. You see, our girl Jorinda and her beau Joringel are engaged to be married and they’re still in the early days of it, so they like nothing better than being together. They were a solid duo, like Mickey and Minnie, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm or Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Now, one day they decide to take a walk so they can talk in peace. Now, as they’re walking, they accidentally walk too close to the old castle. Joringel found himself unable to move, like a statue (unlike those angel statues in Doctor Who. They move when no one’s looking. Creeeepy!) And Jorinda found herself changed into a little Nightingale.
There, the old witch appeared before them as an owl and after transforming into her usual self, gathered up Jorinda to be one of her pets and unfroze Joringel so he could run off to fight another day. This, of course, is not the end of the story. A reunion is coming. Nothing can keep these two lovebirds (um, might be a poor choice of words there) apart forever. Joringel has a rescue to stage. Want to know how he does it?
Well, then get yourself a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and find out. Oh, you want a hint, huh? Well, I will tell you this, it involves one of these:
But that’s all you’re getting out of me!
Now I open the floor to discussion. Fairy tale geeks one and all, speak up. I want to know: Which fairy tales have YOU feeling the love?