Wordbuilding Wednesday – Fairy Tale Resources

Here are a few great reference webpages for fairy tales. The first, Sur La Lune, I found while doing research during my first year at varsity and it has remained a favourite since.
Sur La Lune Fairy Tales

“SurLaLune Fairy Tales features 49 annotated fairy tales, including their histories, similar tales across cultures, modern interpretations and over 1,500 illustrations. Also discover over 1,600 folktales & fairy tales from around the world in more than 40 full-text eBooks.” Need I say more?

Online Books Page: Fairy Tales 

by John Mark Ockerbloom of the University of Pennsylvania consists of many electronic texts, is easy to navigate and also references other tertiary institutions – which is always a good sign.

Or you can download whole books (legally)

If you want to download whole collections, for instance those of Grimm, you can visit one of these sites for free (and legal) texts. The sites also have a very large variety of other texts you can explore as well.

Photo by Giovanni Corte via Unsplash

Photo by Giovanni Corte via Unsplash

Podcasts for Writing Inspiration

Podcasts, just like audiobooks, is a great way to spend those times of day when you’re commuting (or doing housework). There are podcasts available on just about every subject you can imagine. There are a few podcasts I follow every week and some for which I pick and choose episodes to listen to. Some podcasts I find especially handy to get the mind working on new stories and ideas. Here are my top choices for podcasts to use for writing inspiration.

Radiolab

This is one of the best produced podcasts I have listened to and a wide variety of subjects are discussed in it. Usually a specific subject is chosen and then different aspects or stories around that subject is discussed. Their use of interviews is especially well done and the high quality of production makes it wonderful to listen to.

Futility Closet

Futility Closet, the podcast of the Futility Closet website , covers diverse subjects and the production quality is also very good. Usually one topic is chosen for these podcasts. Needless to say, the website itself is also a treasure trove of ideas.

BBC History Extra

This is the podcast that accompanies the BBC History Magazine. It does contain a lot of British and European history, but the content is diverse enough that you can find something on almost any historical subject in these podcasts. The podcast also contains quite a bit of Medieval and Renaissance history as well. But don’t make the mistake to think that it’s all just kings, queens, and royalty.

Beyond Belief

This is another BBC podcast which I really enjoy listening to. The guests are from a wide variety of religions (or no religion), all giving their viewpoints/beliefs on different social and religious subjects. Whether you’re religious or not, this podcast gives insight into different worldviews, which can be translated back into stories and worldbuilding.

The Paranormal Podcast

I’ve only recently started listening to this podcast, but I’m really enjoying it. The host interviews both believers and skeptics, thereby giving different views on diverse paranormal subjects.

Recorder

These podcasts can all be listened to for free and can also be found on iTunes. Some also have a Patreon page, however, if you have a few bucks you can pass on.

I’d love to hear what other podcasts readers listen to or can recommend. Leave a comment with a link and I’ll be sure to check it out!

Flash Fiction: The River Lord’s Jewel & The Last Wish

Written for one of the Flash! Friday competitions, these stories had the prompt “The Arabian Nights”.

The River Lord’s Jewel

The princess stared at the dark waters of the pool. Beside her stood an older woman with tears in her eyes.

“Who am I?” she asked the woman.

“You are my daughter,” she said.

“Where are we?”

“This is the doorway to your new home,” her mother said. “At the bottom of the pool is the house of a woman who will care for you until you come of age. After a year I will come and find you and you will once again have all your memories.”

The princess looked at herself in the still waters. An unfamiliar face stared back at her and large snowflakes started falling like white feathers from the clear sky.

“Go now, it is time.”

She dipped her hand into the pool and two elderly hands pulled her into the water. The feather-snow stopped.

The queen threw the bright jewel that only yesterday adorned the River Lord’s brow into the fountain as well. Her daughter did not know that she had sealed her fate by taking it from where he had left it on the river bank.

The queen took one last look at the fountain. She had a year in which to find a way for her daughter not to marry the River Lord. A year during which her daughter would not know the fear of fate. She would not let her daughter share the same fate as her mother. She fingered the small knife at her side. She would do anything.

Clear Water Pool in the Drakensberg. Public Domain.

Clear Water Pool in the Drakensberg. Public Domain.

The Last Wish

The castle walls shook as another boulder shattered part of a wall. The air was thick with the sounds of battle.

“What is your last wish?” the djinni asked the man.

“I wish that all would go back to the way it was,” he said. His face and hands were that of a man who had worked in the sun his entire life, but his clothes were of the finest silks. Gold rings covered his fingers and his crown reflected the light of the torches.

“You asked me to make all the fishermen in your village rich lords, and I did that. Then you asked me to build each of you a palace in which to live.”

“I did not realise that everyone would want even more wealth and lands. I need things to return to the way it was. I need the bloodshed to stop.”

“To do that is to rewrite time. It will mean that you will not have lived through the repercussions of your choices. That you will not remember any of this. That you will once again find the lamp in which I am trapped. What choices will you make this time, fisherman? How many times will you ask this of me?”

“How many times have I been here?” he asked.

“This is the hundredth time you have asked this of me. Choose your final wish wisely.”

He fell silent, and then said: “If this was always to be my fate, then I wish to die.”

Ash on the Reflecting Pool. Public Domain.

Ash on the Reflecting Pool. Public Domain.

Behind the Scenes – Fairy Tales, Folklore, and Resources

I ended up mashing together the lore of the djinni with some European and African folklore and mythology. When I saw the title “The Enchanted Pool”, my mind wandered to the stories about Frau Holle and the stories about the great water snake with a jewel upon his brow. The djinni granting wishes also brought to mind the story about the fisherman who received three wishes from a magical fish.

If you’re interested in fairy tales and the folklore surrounding them, this fairy tale site hosted by the University of Pittsburgh is a great place to start.

From the Archive: Worldbuilding Dragon Tears