Friday, June 23, 2006

Andrew Lang, thy Disciple is Faithful

I just tidied my bedtable drawer and found ten pens (there are more on the bookshelves), eight boxes of matches, two boxes of ink cartridges, two pairs of scissors, one pair of clippers, three nail files and two buffers, a little stack of post-it notes, a very useful folder of little sticky page markers, two reels of dental floss, various tubes and tubs of hand cream, a stash of sweeteners, a forgotten block of chocolate, two bottles of ancient prescription painkillers, some loose antihistamine tablets I use for sleeping, but not the little nest of nylon thread I need for invisible mending.

Yesterday while I was walking on the ridge I was approached by a very young, lost faun. I stood still and it came right up to me without fear, practically asking for its mother. What is it that makes babyhood so recognisable and so appealing?

I had been Googling children's poetry, including Goldilocks from Roald Dahl, which gave a rich resource for musing my way past the eucalypts and redwoods. Children's traditional stories and verses are quite savage, often enough, and always twisted. If the witch could climb up Rapunzel's hair, why couldn't the silly girl secure her plait at the window and climb down it herself? (bringing scissors, of course). The Tinder Box is the most shocking I know. So I was glad Dahl exposed Goldilocks.

My favourites: Faithful Jenny, Six Swans, the Little Mermaid before she was Disneyfied. Wierdest is the Little Match Girl - what is THAT about?

I love them.


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