I love fairy tales. If you’ve read several of my books that probably doesn’t surprise you. Elements of fairy tales sneak into my stories even when I’m not looking. There’s something special about fairy tales; the stories seem to breathe in between sentences giving each listener enough room to find the story they need. Most of the basic tales are ancient and probably stretch back into the mists of unrecorded time. I don’t know if my ancestors told their children Cinderella around the fireside five thousand years ago, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. It might be a Celtic war chariot owned by the Sun Goddess that carried the girl to the feast in her new dress of fine linen stitched with gold beads and amber where she won the heart of the great warrior chief, but the point of the story would have been to teach certain principles or morals. We can take it for granted this ancient Cinderella would have been good and beautiful with ugly female relatives of some sort who wanted to kill her. The story teller may have emphasized a moral they thought important or they may have left it to the hearer.
Last night I suddenly had this mad urge to figure out which translated version of Dante’s The Divine Comedy I read when I was seventeen so I could buy another copy and read it again. All I remember is it was a cheap yellow paperback someone had used/marked at University years before with all three parts in one. I had no idea there were so many versions! It may take me ten years, but I’ll find it! In the mean time I think I’ll buy Dorothy L Sayer’s translation. The woman learned medieval Italian just to read it in its original form; what a woman. Rock on Dorothy! Add the fact she wrote some of my favorite Murder Mysteries with one of my favorite romances (Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane) and she easily makes my list of heroes. So while looking for a specific author’s work I came across www.forgottenbooks.org
This morning I went back and found the early 1757 English translated from the French version of Beauty and the Beast. It’s not very long, but the 18th century touches are lovely. This is the Beauty and the Beast the Regency reader would have known. Have a read. It’s lovely!