What I’m Reading Now (October 2017)

I’m reading Franz Xaver Von Schonwerth’s “The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales” now.

Jacob Grimm said of Schonwerth, “No one in Germany has gathered tales so thoughtfully and thoroughly and with such finesse.”

Here’s a great quotation from the introduction:


Hear ye, Hear ye: Now Presenting John D. Batten

John D. Batten, page 1 from Europa's Fairy Book

John D. Batten, page 1 from Europa’s Fairy Book (1916).

In honor of National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, I am sharing the work of one of my favorite fairy tale illustrators: John D. Batten.

               John Dickson Batten was an English illustrator and painter most known for collaborating with English fairy tale anthologist Joseph Jacobs. His illustrations populate Jacobs’ books: English Fairy Tales (1890), Celtic Fairy Tales (1892 anthology), More Celtic Fairy Tales (1894), More English Fairy Tales (1894), Indian Fairy Tales (1912), European Folk and Fairy Tales (also known as Europa’s Fairy Book). He also illustrated a version of Dante’s Inferno and wrote two books of poetry!

Here are some of my favorite John D. Batten illustrations:

John D. Batten, illustration of Tam Lin

John D. Batten, illustration of Tam Lin

John D. Batten, illustration of Mr. Fox from English Fairy Tales (1890)

John D. Batten, illustration of Mr. Fox from English Fairy Tales (1890)




Sur La Lune Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales Are Our Wise Guides

“Because matrilineal lines of initiation—older women teaching younger women certain psychic facts and procedures of the wild feminine—have been fragmented and broken for so many women and over so many years, it is a blessing to have the archaeology of the fairy tale to learn from. We can reconstruct all we need to know from those deep templates or compare our own ideas on women’s integral psychological processes to those found in tales. In this sense, fairy tales and mythos are our initiators; they are the wise ones who teach those who have come after.”


–Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves


Wellcome Library, London.
Colored Lithograph.

Cold Companions

Yep, our pipes froze. Interestingly enough: the hot water, not the cold. I guess flushing the toilet overnight was enough to keep the cold water flowing.

Mindful of my Russian friends celebrating Christmas today, I share this Russian folk tale about the cold:

Russian Churc.h Photo by A. Savin.

Abramtsevo museum-reserve in Moscow Oblast, Russia. Church of the Holy Mandilion. Jan. 2013. Photo by A. Savin via Creative Commons

A husband and newlywed wife are walking in the forest. He is hunting, and she is keeping  him company for part of the way. Suddenly, she starts crying. “Don’t cry, dear,” the peasant consoles. “I’ll be back soon.”

“That’s not why I’m crying,” the wife says. “I’m crying because my feet are cold.”

“It’ll be okay,” my fiancé told me about our pipes. One way or another, it will be. I’m still thankful for home and heat and a roof over my head. We joined a gym yesterday. At least we have a place to shower.


Paraphrased from Aleksandr Afanasev’s Russian Fairy Tales. NY: Pantheon, 1945, 1973, p. 282.