Her Masters Madness (A Dark Fairy Tale)

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As a new shadow slowly grew back from the tip of his toes, the man did not give the incident another thought, returned to northern Europe, and took up writing again.


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Several years passed by until one night there was a knock at his door. To his surprise, it was his shadow, the one he lost years before in Africa, and now stood upon his doorstep, almost completely human in appearance. Astonished by his sudden reappearance, the learned man invited him into his house, and soon the two sat by the fireplace , as the shadow related how he had come to be a man. The learned man was calm and gentle by nature.

His main object of interest lay with the good, the beautiful and the true, a subject of which he wrote often but was of no interest to anyone else. The shadow said his master did not understand the world, that he had seen it as truly was, and how evil some men really were. The shadow then grew richer and fatter over the years, while the writer grew poorer and paler. Finally he had become so ill that his former shadow proposed a trip to a health resort offering to foot the bill as well, but on condition that he could act as the master now, and the writer would pretend to be his shadow.

As absurd as this suggestion sounded, the learned man eventually agreed and together they took the trip, the shadow now as his master. At the resort, the shadow met with a beautiful princess, and as they danced and talked with each other each night, the princess fell in love with him. When they were about to be married, the shadow offered his former master a luxurious position at the palace, on condition that he now became his own shadow permanently. The writer immediately refused and threatened to tell the princess everything, but the shadow had him arrested.

Feigning distress, the shadow met with the princess and told her:. The Shadow is an exemplary story in Andersen's darker fairy tales. Throughout the tale, the writer is portrayed as a moral person, concerned with the good and true in the world.

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But as it says, the people around him are not much interested in his feelings on the subject. Indeed, his shadow says he does not see the world as it truly is. The shadow claims to have seen all that is in the world, but does not own a soul himself. He strongly desires to own a shadow of himself, and later asks his former master to reverse the roles on their trip. When the learned man finally realises how far his shadow has degraded, it is already too late. The ending is especially bleak for a fairy tale, as Andersen suggests that it is not always good that triumphs, and that evil does indeed have a powerful grip over the good and just.

Some critics have suggested that Andersen wrote the story as a form of indirect revenge against Edvard Collin, his patron's son, who had rejected him. Second Volume. First Collection. Nye Eventyr.

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Andet Bind. The tale was re-published 30 March as a part of Fairy Tales and Stories. Eventyr og Historier. In , three decades before the publication of "The Shadow", Adelbert von Chamisso had published " Peter Schlemihl's Miraculous Story ", a story about a man who sells his shadow to the devil in exchange for a bottomless wallet. Andersen's story was prompted by Chamisso's, and he refers to it in "The Shadow": [1].

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He was very annoyed, not so much because the shadow had disappeared, but because he knew there was a story; well-known to everybody at home in the cold countries, about a man without a shadow; and if he went back now and told them his own story, they would be sure to say that he was just an imitator, and that was the last thing he wanted. The Shadow became the first text of some considerable length to be published in Esperanto. Zamenhof the first book had contained only single bible verses, short poems and the like. Evgeny Shvarts has explicitly based his Tyen The Shadow play on Andersen's tale, introducing additional characters and plot lines and a different ending.

I could say nothing.

But her father then tells her a fairy tale about a little girl who wishes for silence, and is granted that wish when everyone else on the earth disappears. The public interest in the tales, no matter how deserving they are of artistic acclaim, does denote something of a turning point for popular understanding of fairy tales. The irony, of course, is that such a thing as an authentic fairy tale scarcely exists.

A fairy tale on the page is either a recording or a retelling of the ineffable original, the source and meaning of which lives only in an unreachable time, and in our imaginations.

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Check them out through the links below, and as always, thanks for reading! Looking for just the right fairy tale book for all the readers on your holiday list? Here are some of the highlights of , including books for both adults and younger readers. Thompson is a master of exposing the wierdnesses of everyday life, in a manner that brings to mind Joyce Carol Oates at her vintage best. In this collection, she uses the framework and a few familiar tropes of beloved fairy tales and drops them into realistic tales of children surviving in a frightening foster home, teenagers acting out through sex, and young women tempted into strange, sudden marriages.

Unlike Thompson, who uses familiar frameworks in updated settings in The Witch , Bernheimer is adept at crafting her own tales that are so odd and uncanny that they seem to be from another time. First, some context. They started this round-robin of fairy tale bloggers to add to their lists of quirks and observations about being obsessed with fairy tales, and asked me to join in.

Puppeteers like Layla Holzer , for instance begin following you on Twitter. Inexplicable, but welcome. Every story, every time. For more information about the project, click here.


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  5. For more about the story which inspired this freewrite, click here. When the bed stopped its bucking and the cats had gone to find milk, I straightened my suspenders and set off to explore the final wing of the castle. One final hallway, one final door.

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    I rapped my knuckles loudly, and the door gave way. I heard a scratching noise near my feet. Fumbling in my pockets, I found the last match and lit it against my shoe sole. Hullo, what are you doing down there?