Cornelia Funke didn’t like fairy tales as a child. I’m just about with her on that. I did read them, possibly even liked them, but when you think about it, there isn’t much to actually ‘like.’ Is there?
As Cornelia points out in her introduction to her new collection of classic – but less well known – fairy tales, children are less sensitive than us adults tend to believe. I hope that is true, because there are some gruesome stories here, along with some lovely ones too.
I wasn’t really planning on reading all the tales in Through the Water Curtain. But with one thing and another, I discovered I was sitting there, reading one story after another. So much for that.
But I did actually skip one. It was too gruesome for me, adult though I am, and everything. I permitted myself to leave that particularly bloodthirsty and unpleasant tale right where it was. No doubt someone else will find it and enjoy it.
This is a gorgeous volume, with a cover that I have found myself stroking repeatedly, all in blue and green with gold. Anyone would love to receive one of these for Christmas.
As Cornelia points out, women get a raw deal in fairy tales. There are so many silly young princes and their father the King, and far too many females quite content to marry the cleverest young man, no questions asked.
The pattern of these stories is much the same as in all fairy tales. With one or two exceptions, however, they are mostly new, to me, and to many westerners. Cornelia has long collected tales from all over the world, and in Through the Water Curtain she offers readers plenty of new material.