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Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault

August 22, 2010

I just LOVE learning new things!

This postcard from Jean Michel in France, brought me a discovery about Fairy Tales. The message on the card: “This castle was the inspiration of the tales of Perrault.” Huh? Who is Perrault? What tales? Well, a quick trip to Wikipedia gave me quite a rude awakening!

Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703) was a French author who laid foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, and whose best known tales, offered as if they were pre-existing folk tales, include Le Petit Chaperon rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), La Belle au bois dormant (Sleeping Beauty), Le Maître chat ou le Chat botté (Puss in Boots), Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre (Cinderella), La Barbe bleue (Bluebeard), Le Petit Poucet (Hop o’ My Thumb), Les Fées (Diamonds and Toads), La Marquise de Salusses ou la Patience de Griselidis (Patient Griselda), Les Souhaits ridicules (The Ridiculous Wishes), Peau d’Âne (Donkeyskin) and Riquet à la houppe (Ricky of the Tuft).[2] Perrault’s most famous stories are still in print today and have been made into operas, ballets (e.g., Tchaikovsky‘s Sleeping Beauty), plays, musicals, and films, both live-action and animation.

WHAT??!! Sleping Beauty? Cinderella?? Puss in Boots??? Little Red Riding Hood???? Those did not come from Disney, but from France!  (Yes, I know that every culture has a ‘cinderella’ story, and books have been written compiling them.) Still, how did I get to be a well-educated American of middle-age, and not know that Perrault was the source of many of these tales? Why did Brothers Grimm get all the air time?

I think I must revisit my childhood. Perhaps this summer:  Charles Perrault Fairy Tales, Finn Family Moomintroll, and The Book about Moomin, Mymble, and Little My. My reading list is growing.

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