How Elves from Iceland Came to Visit

 

Iceland is calling

Long before I went to Iceland for the first time it was calling for me. It felt as if every time I switched on the TV there was a documentary about Iceland. Iceland kept on making itself known. It took a while before I got aware of this because I did not have any connection to this country before.

Finally I decided that I would visit Iceland some time in the future. I knew that I wanted to discover this country slowly and skip the popular big bus tours around the ringroad of the island.

A few years later, after my third child was born, I heard from a friend about an Icelandic woman who offered slow tours for small groups. When my baby was two years old  I booked a tour in Iceland with her. My husband stayed at home and looked after our three kids.

 

How I became aware of elves

When I saw Iceland for the first time I fell immediately in love. I don´t know what fascinated me more: The wide-open landscape, the crisp air, the emptiness. It was not surprising after I had given myself so many nudges to visit over the years. I definitely resonate with this country.

When I went into the countryside for the first time I had the impression of being greeted and waved at. This was well before I was aware of the Fairy Tale Dimension and my role in it.

Luckily I was travelling with an Icelandic woman who was open for invisible energies. She told me that it could well be possible that the elves said Hi. During the journey she pointed out fairy dwellings to us and I started to look at Iceland with my normal and my energy senses simultaneously.

 

Steinn farm

On our holiday this year we stayed a week at Steinn farm which has a wonderful view over the Skagafjördur. Steinn means rock in Icelandic. I asked our wonderful hosts Gústav and Annemie where the name of their farm came from. They told me that it was named after a big rock right in the middle of the farm grounds where elves lived. They added that I was welcome to go exploring as long as I was respectful.

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Steinn rock

Of course I went exploring! When walking around the grounds I realised that this big rock  was indeed the energetic centre of the whole farm. I used my energy senses and I could feel the fairy energy through the rock. I also found out that this dwelling had a connection to the fjord connecting it directly to the water.

 

An invitation to visit

During my first stay in Iceland 2012 I repeatedly saw the picture of a white arch with light blue round windows in meditation. It looked organic with smooth curves as if it was painted by the painter Hundertwasser. I told my Icelandic guide about it and she said that this picture could show an entrance to the fairy country and that I should try to visit.

So while meditating I tried to go through this white-blue arc, but I quickly found out that this was not so easy. I realised that I had to somehow adjust my energy to be able to enter. I did not know anything about visiting other dimensions and reconfiguring your energy to fit in then. It took multiple attempts to get in and I was not able to stay long.

 

Visiting elves

The impressions I brought home from these first visits were of a cosy village with colourful clad inhabitants who gave me a warm welcome. They looked human and were about my height. They were very interested in getting to know me and invited me into their homes. I participated in gatherings and parties.

The general mood of this place was very different from a human place. People loved to play pranks and there was a lot of laughter and play. And you could feel that magic worked here.

 

Looking behind the scenes of a fairy country

1. Leaders

I could not make out a single leader. There was a group of older people who others turned to. They were not awe-inspiring in any way. Some of them even looked a little dishevelled, their grey hair sticking up on end; a little as if they just had gotten up. They were wearing the same colourful many times washed working clothes like all the other people.

On official occasions though I saw them in fine clothes, tunics with golden or silver threads. They wore jewellery and had elaborate hair-dos.

These elders were either accomplished magicians and healers or they had expert knowledge about plants, animals or crafts. Each one of these men and women had apprentices who learned from them and looked after them.

2. Connecting with an elf-healer

I met one accomplished healer there who I have been working with in my healing practise since then. She provides elf energy that some of my clients can profit from.

When we met we found out that we had a very similar take on healing: Supporting people on their own paths, not telling them what is right or wrong. We have established an easy way to connect and exchange energy when needed.

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Nice place for an elf community

3. Family ties

The small children were with the adults all the time, literally under their feet, when they were doing their chores. The kids seemed to know instinctively how far they could go before they were sent away. Nobody was afraid that the little ones could drown in the river or hurt themselves. Of course death or injuries in the fairy tale dimension are not permanent.

The family ties seemed to be very loose. Children ate their meals with whomever they wanted to in the village. The sleeping arrangements for the kids were similarly vague. Everybody seemed to be caring for the kids.

4. Learning

I did not see a school anywhere in this country. The children seemed to absorb knowledge at their own pace and had their own motives for learning.

I must admit that I am getting jealous tapping into this because our school system is so much different from their approach and so not compatible with the energy changes we are currently experiencing.

5. The average household

looked colourful, untidy and not clean by our standards. Bacteria or mould did not seem to be a problem there. The houses did not have any bathrooms or showers.

There were public baths at lakes or rivers. The washing in the mornings and evenings was a loud and splashy affair. For privacy people had to find secluded washing spaces.

6. Food

The meals in my elf country looked much like home cooked food at home. I saw horses, cows, sheep and chicken walking around. There were vegetable garden and fields with corn.

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7. Harmonising energies

I witnessed what looked a little like religious services. On these occasions the elves formed a circle in the meadows. They connected with their surroundings and harmonised their energies with those of their surroundings. I recall a picture of the mist rolling over the countryside and a circle of people singing and chanting.

8. Climate

I did not experience any extreme weather conditions during my visits. I was told that environmental disasters like floods, fires or avalanches do happen. But the elves take care to locate their villages in safe places. Before starting to build a new village or a dwelling they connect with the energy of the land and decide how and where the involved energies would fit together best. Perhaps we can learn something from them?

 

A portal in our garden

On this first visit to Iceland the elves told me that they would open a portal in my garden so that we could easily visit each other. When I got home I looked around and sure enough, I found it. They opened the portal under our pink rose-bush. I could not “see” this portal but I sensed it.

As my Icelandic guide had taught me, I regularly brought them small gifts like beautiful marbles or small cookies. And sure enough the gifts were gone after a while. We had this portal for several years until I became better acquainted with the Fairy Tale Dimension and started to visit it regularly.

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The rosebush-portal in 2012

Can we see the elves in our house and garden?

I am not able to see fairies with my normal eyes. I use what I call my “energy vision” to sense them or generate pictures and impressions of them.

My family and I are aware of them though. Sometimes we see movements out of the corners of our eyes. Sometimes there are little blurred beings zapping in fast-forward mode around our living room. I admit that this was and sometimes still is a little creepy.

I explain this zapping around with the difference in the speed the time has in the two dimensions. Our time here is passing much more slowly than the one in their fairy tale country. This is why they seem to move so fast for us.

They looked quite small too, only about 20 cm high. When I visited them they seemed to have had my height. Did I become smaller when I visited? Perhaps, their small size is the easiest way for them to adjust to the physics of our dimension.

Of course Iceland is not the only place where you can meet elves or fairies or  other magical creatures. They are as much interested in us as we are in them and when you are aware you can meet them.

There also are many different fairy tale countries. So your experiences can be totally different from mine and just as real. Please share your impressions here!

Photos: private

© Inge Schumacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Elves and Trolls in Iceland

 

In my last blog article you could follow my experiences with letting go on our recent family holiday in Iceland. We not only love the wide landscape and crisp air but are also fascinated by its culture and history.

This article concentrates on the most popular supernatural beings that are connected with Iceland: the elves and trolls. I share here some interesting and fun facts about the history, customs and stories of these magic creatures.The picture above this article features a well-known fairy church on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West-Iceland.

Icelandic fairy tales and sagas feature a multitude of supernatural beings. You can meet light-elves, flower-elves, dark-elves, house-elves, gnomes, dwarfs, giants, and many types of ghosts in these stories.

 

Historical roots of elves and trolls

Historic tales about supernatural beings go back a long way. They are mentioned both in the Poetic Edda, a collection of orally passed down unnamed dramatic poems and in the  Prose Edda written by Snorri Sturluson in 1220.

An elf in medieval Germanic-speaking cultures is a being with magical powers and supernatural beauty, ambivalent towards normal people and capable of either helping or hindering them. In Norse mythology you can read about elves or hidden people called huldu. Huldufólk is the Icelandic term for hidden people or elf. The word fairy (fae), another synonym for elf, is a loan word from the French language.

 

Tales about elves and trolls

When I am walking through the wind-beaten wide Icelandic landscape I can easily imagine trolls, elves and other beings sharing the world with us.

Life in Iceland was very harsh in the past. The climate and weather-conditions constantly challenged the people. This is why the Icelanders to this day are very resourceful and flexible.

Tales of the huldufólk, often shared in the long winter nights, passed the time and represented dreams of a more perfect and happy existence. Elves in these stories are often beautiful, powerful and free from care, while the Icelanders themselves were  starving and struggling for existence.

The tales about elves and trolls also served as warnings. They prevented the children from wandering away from human habitations, taught Iceland’s topographical history, and instilled respect for the harsh powers of nature.

 

Do Icelanders still believe in the existence of elves?

Well, a majority of the Icelanders (54%) believe that elves probably exist. I have met many city dwellers in Reykjavík who laugh at the notion of elves, though. I can understand that very well, because in the busy capital of Iceland there does not seem to be any room for them.

Nevertheless the enterprising Icelanders are catering to tourists´ interests by offering excursions with elf themes. The Icelandic Elf School in Reykjavík organises five-hour-long educational excursions for visitors. In Hafnarfjördur, just south of Reykjavík, you can go on a guided elf tour.

 

Where and how elves live

Elves live in the fairy tale dimension, as avid readers of my blog know. In Iceland the two dimensions are very close together and this makes it easier to visit one another. The entrances to fairy homes in Iceland can be found in distinct rock formations.

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Elf houses with Reykjafell in the background

Fairies visit our dimension just as often as we visit them in the fairy tale dimension. Since we visit them mostly in our dreams we have not much recall of these visits or deem our recollections to be fantasies.

The hidden people are invisible unless they decide otherwise. In Iceland there always have been seers, who are able to see and describe them. They report that the hidden people look much like humans and wear colourful clothes with golden and silver buttons. They are described as being very beautiful and having different sizes from human children of about ten years to dwarf sizes of 20 to 30 centimetres.

Elves are said to be living much like humans; they work as farmers and raise sheep. They love to party, especially around Christmas time. As to their religion, some people believe they are catholic and others think they worship heathen gods.

In the ocean there even exists a separate elf world: The merpeople (marbendlar) raise cattle on the bottom of the ocean. Their sea-cows have air bubbles under their noses and eat sea-grass. When a human farmer dives down there and manages to burst the air bubble he is allowed to keep the cow. These cows give a lot of milk and are very valuable.

 

Elf relationships with humans

There are a lot of tales describing contact between humans and elves. Human women are said to have helped hidden people often with childbirth. The hidden people leave gifts out of gratitude for the help they received. There are numerous items they have left over the centuries and some of these are displayed in local museums all over the country.

There are many historic tales about love affairs between humans and fairies. Men and women are lured into the elf world, never to be seen again or reappearing healthy but sometimes out of their minds.

In other Icelandic folktales elves are  invading empty Icelandic farmhouses during Christmas time and having wild parties there. It is still customary today to clean the house thoroughly before Christmas, and leave food for the perhaps then visiting huldufólk, which is gone the next day, of course.

 

Christianity in Iceland

In the year 1.000 the Icelanders accepted the Christian faith under massive Norwegian pressure at the AlÞing. Before this they worshipped Nordic gods.

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Goðafoss Waterfall

After making Christianity the official religion of Iceland lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði returned from the Alþing and threw his statues of the Norse gods into this waterfall that was then named Goðafoss (Waterfall of the Gods). Because Icelanders are pragmatic people they officially renounced the old gods but in secret everybody did as they pleased.

Heathen traditions and beliefs mixed with the new Christian faith and this is how trolls became an important part of Icelandic Christmas traditions.

 

Introducing Trolls

In old times the word troll was an insult, meaning monster. Later the term was used mainly for giants and witches. Trolls lived in caves in the mountains and sustained themselves by fishing and hunting. A lot of them were night-trolls who immediately turned into stone when they saw the sun. You can see a lot of distinct troll rocks all over Iceland and the natives will gladly tell you their stories.

The trolls are said to be extinct now: the male ones in the 16th century and the female ones in the 19th century. When you google the word troll you will find that a new kind of trolls is very much alive today though. This modern species are called the Internet trolls.

 

Trolls are part of Icelandic Christmas traditions

The jólasveinar, the thirteen Christmas lads, are the famous trolls who found their way into the Icelandic Christmas traditions.

The origin of this Icelandic Christmas myth dates back to the Viking era and to Snorri Sturluson, the author of the Edda. He described a fearsome huge troll lady named Grýla. Her favourite food was stew made of naughty children. The 13 children she had with her lazy husband Leppalúði became her helpers in kidnapping and eating children.

The stories of her and her children got so horrifying that a law was passed in 1746 that prohibited scaring children with stories about these monsters!

The thirteen Yule-lads visit the Icelandic homes and farms one after the other in the thirteen days before Christmas and go again afterwards one after the other. This is the reason why the Icelandic Christmas season is 26 days long.

The Christmas lads are mischievous criminal pranksters. They break into the homes, harass the people, steal their food, cooking utensils and tools. They have descriptive names that give hints about the way they operate.

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The first one visits on the 12th of December and leaves on the 25th. He is called the peg-legged Sheep-Cote Clod, who likes to harass sheep. Next the Gully-Gawk sneaks into the cowshed to steal milk. The extremely thin undernourished Spoon-Licker steals wooden spoons to lick them. You get the idea.

There also are Stubby the short Crust-Stealer, the Pot-Scraper, the Bowl-Licker, the Door-Slammer, the Skyr-Gobbler, (Skyr is a very tasty Icelandic dairy product), the Sausage-Swiper, the Window-Peeper, the Doorway- Sniffer, the Meet-Hook, and the Candle Stealer.

In modern times the Yuletide-lads have much more benevolent roles similar to Santa Claus in other countries. Nowadays they even leave gifts for the children in their shoes.

 

Trolls have shaped the landscape

Many stories explain how trolls have manipulated the Icelandic landscape. On our trip we visited Dimmuborgir, a bizarre lava field in north Iceland near lake Myvatn. One story explains how these big lava pillars were created: One night the trolls residing in the area decided to have a big party and invited all their troll friends to join. The party ended up being so much fun, that they forgot that the sun was coming up. They all turned into stone and formed the dark castles (this is the translation of Dimmuborgir). It must have been a great party!

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Trolls turned into rocks in Dimmuborgir

Troll seats

Most of the Icelandic fjords are surrounded by flat-topped mountain ranges. Their rims are sometimes interrupted by massive depressions that look like bowls. These the Icelanders call troll seats. The Naustahvlift opposite of the town of Ísafjörður in the Westfjords is a good example for this.

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In the background of my friend Helga´s house in Ísafjörður you can see the Naustahvlift, a big dent formed by a troll bottom

The story of its creation discribes a troll – remember, they are giants – hurrying home before the morning sunlight could turn her into stone. Since she still had some time she sat down and rested her aching feet in the fjord. She thereby created the peninsula of Ísafjörður between her feet, the deep harbour where her feet had been and the troll seat where her backside had rested.

Geologists explain that the big indentation in the mountains is a hanging valley left over from the last Ice Age, but I like the troll story much better.

I hope you enjoyed this excursion to the hidden people and the trolls in Iceland. They are as fascinating for me as the country itself. In the next blog article I will tell you how I met fairies in Iceland and why my family has such a close connection to them.

 

Literary source:
Brigitte Bjarnason: Auf den Spuren von Elfen und Trollen in Island, Sagen und Überlieferungen, Acabus Verlag Hamburg 2013

Photos: private

© Inge Schumacher

 

 

Letting Go and Iceland

I wrote this blog article on a holiday with my family in Iceland. This holiday was a good occasion for me to take inventory and sort my priorities. I looked at what I was carrying around with me and identified some superfluous burdens. In everyday life I am often not aware of the unnecessary things that I am holding on to.

I am a healing practitioner and letting go is one of the important issues I help my clients with. Turns out that my pictures of Iceland fit very well to the experiences with letting go I share here.

You can read this article in German, too.

 

In Iceland the wind blows everything away

Everybody has an affinity for different places. Some people are drawn to an island in the Caribbean and others enjoy Spain. For recharging my husband and I like to visit the Baltic Sea. It is about an hour from Hamburg and a short visit there feels like a holiday to us.

Iceland is a magical place for my family and me. All of us can relax and let go there easily. The crisp air and wide-open landscape resonate with us; it helps us to just be there. This time we spent two weeks in the northern part of the island.

Wind

Letting go is work in progress for me

I started into the subject of letting go right at the beginning of our journey at the airport. We were late and searching for our check-in counter when I realised that my oldest daughter was wearing a light jacket. I could not believe my eyes! She forgot her winter coat and we were travelling to a country were it would still be snowing!

Instantly I was in “Mom Worries Mode” At first I blamed myself for not checking for the third time whether she took the right jacket like I did with the rest of the family.

In the airplane I finally calmed down. Theoretically I know that I can´t and don´t want to be responsible for everything. This incident shows that letting go is still a work in progress for me. When I found out the next day that my middle daughter had accidentally packed last year´s too small winter boots, I only laughed.

We solved the jacket problem of the older daughter with layers of sweaters. Luckily the weather was agreeable so that my second daughter did not get wet feet, they were only cold sometimes.

In this situation the Icelandic saying Þetta reddast! was appropriate. It means: All will be well. Icelanders are very laid back and spontaneous people. For them appointments are loose arrangements. This can cause problems, for example in tourism. I know that German travel companies prefer to do business in Iceland with German expatriates because they are more reliable.

On this holiday we also experienced the positive side of the Icelandic ease when help for our punctured tire arrived the same evening instead of the next morning. Our friendly repairman said he came earlier because he was bored.

Icelanders are experts in making good coffee and I gladly borrow some of their ease. For me they are not ideal examples for letting go however; their mentality is too different.

Letting go liberates energies

When we let go of things we create free space. This is true for objects as well as for immaterial things. This means when we let old stuff go, we have more time and we are more open for new ideas.

At the end of 2016 I let go of my cooperation with my Icelandic friend. For four years we had offered workshops for women in the Westfjords of Iceland. When I told her about my decision to stop she was very glad I took the initiative. She is in her mid-sixties and wanted to work less.

Now I am looking forward to new projects in Iceland and continue to learn Icelandic. On this holiday I could already talk a little with the natives.

The Icelandic joint venture must have cost much more energy than I was aware of, because afterwards I was much faster with my own projects. Since 2017 I have more national and international clients and I started two blogs: This one about the Fairy Tale Dimension and personal development and my German blog about my work.

 

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My 8-year-old with Iceland-cap

 

It is hard for me to let go of my children

My oldest daughter used to be quite timid. When she was in nursery school I was relieved when I found out that the teachers there worked hand in hand with me. All of us supported her by helping her to stretch her boundaries without demanding too much. I learned then that it was helpful to share some of my parental responsibilities.

A continuing challenge for me is my son´s school situation. He started school in a big chaotic class with a lot of very difficult kids. The headmaster was not able to alleviate the situation and I was very much afraid that my quiet sensitive child would suffer. Luckily my son was okay because the teacher managed to give him a feeling of security despite of the difficult situation. She was not able to devote much time to his reading problems and so I arranged with her to support him at home as well as I can.

Even though my son has found wonderful friends in his class it still is a conscious effort for me to let go of my worries.

 

Enough with self-limiting beliefs

Only when we are aware of our self-set boundaries, which direct us undetected and inhibit us unseen, we can let them go.

I discovered such a superfluous belief just before my 50th birthday. My husband asked me what I wanted to do because I was not keen on having a big party. I would love to have a picnic by the sea was my spontaneous answer. At the same time I heard an inner voice telling my, that this was not possible because my birthday is in February and in winter it is much too cold for picnics. I realised that I had found a totally useless self-limiting belief. Why should this not be possible? I was shocked to see that I am obviously still limiting myself unnecessarily.

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Our picnic on the Baltic Sea in February 2016

My husband and I had a wonderful picnic at the sea-shore in February. This experience has inspired my motto for the next decade of my life: “Enough with the self-limiting beliefs!” Since then I have been watching out for this little voice telling me what I should or should not do.

 

Letting go in my Healing Practise

Letting go is a central part of my energy work. I help my clients to understand what they are holding on to at the moment and why. Only when they are aware of what is going on they are able to let go. Afterwards we work together at finding out ways to change routines that are not beneficial any more.

A few days before our holiday I got a phone call from a client who had been very tired since our healing session. I found out that she has used this session as a starting point to let things she did not need any more go. Why was this making her tired?

When we let go of things we have leaned on for a long time, there suddenly is a void. We can compare this to changing important parts of the foundation of our house: The whole construction can start to wobble. As a consequence we need additional energy to maintain our balance as well as adding new pieces to form a new basis. I have experienced this often myself and the only thing I can do then is to take good care of myself.

My client was so tired because she was busy reconstructing her foundation. I was very glad to witness this. She is well on her way to become the person she wants to be.

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Rainbow over Dettifoss

 

Get to know your autopilot

Automatic reactions cause us to cruise through our lives automatically. Because we are not in the driver´s seat we sometimes end up in places we had not wanted to go. We need to be more aware in our daily lives to realise when we are on autopilot and just follow worn-out tracks. It takes a conscious effort to leave old roads and try some new ones. Being aware and turning the autopilot off literally opens new avenues for us.

 

Humour helps me a lot

What happens when we laugh? Genuine laughter involves the whole body. The face muscles move and tension in other regions of the body, for example the stomach or the neck, disappear. When we laugh heartily we turn our attention to something fun and aggravation and resentment don´t have a chance to cling to us.

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Especially in my profession humour is very helpful. It keeps me grounded when I don´t  take myself too serious. My humour helps me to maintain a healthy distance to the subjective input I get through my energy work. This is the reason why humour is very welcome in my practice.

 

Less structure gives me more freedom

Since I was in Iceland for the first time I have changed a lot in my daily life. In the past detailed plans gave me safety; I was the Queen of lists. Slowly I realised that I did not need so many structures anymore. They felt confining to me and I wanted  to have more creativity and spontaneity in my life .

Today I use lists and structures to organise my daily tasks efficiently and create room that I can fill with creativity and surprises.

I also don´t define my goals in great detail anymore and don´t spend as much time trying to figure out how to achieve them. I live much more in the here and now and, with the help of my inner compass, check regularly whether I am still on the right track.

Even though this change has made my life more insecure, my quality of life has increased considerably. I do much more what I like in my everyday life. The things that, in my opinion, need to be done I try to do in a way that resonates with me. My family supports me in this.

I believe that before implementing a complex time management system it is much more efficient to order ones priorities and get rid of unnecessary things.

It is very liberating and a lot of energy can be saved by letting go. I very much recommend you to take inventory and look critically at your personal priorities in regular intervals, ideally when being in a place you resonate with.

 

Steinn Farm

Photos: private

© Inge Schumacher

 

Behind the Scenes of the Fairy Tale Dimension

This is my 25th blogpost! Lets celebrate!

Some of you, dear readers, have accompanied me from the beginning last summer. You followed me getting used to and falling in love with blogging.

Thank you so much for your support!

A lot has happened in this blog since I started last summer. You can see this in the amount of information that I have shared here so far. In todays post I put together a synopsis of the behind the scenes information about the Fairy Tale Dimension (FTD) I have collected so far. It was like visiting old friends for me.

What were your favourite posts?

 

The blueprint of the FTD

In the FTD magic is possible and works well. Magic is taught in schools. Some inhabitants can shape-shift. Our laws of physics apply everywhere in our dimension. It is the same in the Fairy Tale Dimension. Sadly magic doesn´t work here on earth, but it works there. Basic physical laws can differ from country to country. It depends on the stories that are played there.

The Fairy Tale Dimension looks like a map

The structure of the Fairy Tale Dimension is one flat plane. Each part of the fairy tale dimension, every country, is located on the same large map. As you reach the border of one country you enter the next in a consecutive way. There are different ways and shortcuts to every country: Magic doors, valleys, everything you can come up with.

Each country has a different energy configuration so it can be tricky to travel from one country to another. Temperatures and seasons may suddenly change. The climate can be very different: There are icy and warm, wet and dry environments.

Time passes differently in each country dependent on the needs of the inhabitants. Some countries have longer days, some have longer nights. In some there is always night or day.

Inhabitants

As you know from different fairy tales there are all kinds of sentient inhabitants. There are intelligent animals, humanoids and wise plants. I have even met a species of smart rocks. There are magic creatures like unicorns and dragons. I have met a herd of a meter- high playful unicorns and played with tiny dragons that reflected my emotions. They bite quite fiercely by the way.

An important group in the FTD are the magicians. They are healers, teachers and arbiters. Depending on the fairy tale yountry they live in they are able to manipulate the landscape an weather.

Magic Schools

Link to the story about the Magic School

Since the blueprint of the FTD supports magic there are schools for magicians. Magic schools are boarding schools where beings from all over the FTD are taught. The schools are secured by spells so the students can practise magic without being hurt. They learn how to use spells, create magic objects and manipulate energy in numerous other ways.

Technology

The fairy tale dimension has mostly rural societies. Their standard of technology is comparable to our middle ages. Because magic works, there really is no need for technology. Machines are mostly powered by magic.

Life Times

As I have stated before time is different in the FTD. In each country it can pass slower or faster depending on the needs of the inhabitants. This means that the creatures of the FTD have a very different concept about life times. My friend, the tree teacher, is probably more than 300 years old. The small unicorns I played with in the meadow I visited not long ago live in eternal light and don´t know how old they are. When they have played enough they change to another country in FTD or leave the dimension.

This accounts for me having hardly seen any graveyards. People appear from somewhere and go somewhere after a while. They age when it is part of the fairy tale they live in and they don’t age when it isn´t. The Grim Reaper is responsible for people leaving the dimension and the GrImporter for those who want to enter the dimension.

Societies

The fairy tale societies are structured very diversely. Some have kings and queens. Others have democratic rulers. Others don´t have any government at all, in Mertopia for example.

Evolution

The FTD is growing, meaning that new countries are added to the plane of this dimension constantly. Other countries are given up and vanish or are forgotten. The ring bearer works together with the GrImporter when creating new countries.

Evolution happens in the FTD by changing the frequency of the dimension. You can translate frequencies into colours. On February 3rd 2018 the long overdue frequency change to yellow was implemented. This should have happened over 1000 years ago. There was no ring bearer who was able to do this.

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The Ring Bearer

You can get more information here: The Ring Bearer

Responsible for the evolution of the FTD is the ring bearer. Only he or she can work with the blueprint, add and subtract countries and complete frequency changes. This ring bearer is the spiritual leader of the FTD. He is not responsible for governing. Otherwise the ring bearer´s job is more that of a mediator.

This ring bearer is either a magician in the FTD or a healer in our dimension. This office is alternating between the dimensions and shows how very intertwined the two dimensions are. The last ring bearer was a magician from the FTD. I am the present ring bearer.

The ring

In both dimensions secret fraternities keep the ring energy safe when there is no ring bearer. They are also responsible for delivering it to the other dimension when a ring bearer shows himself.

The ring of the FTD is broad in the middle and there is some kind of blue material at both sides. It is framed with a silver material. The ring has another form in our dimension.

 

The three other insignias of the ring bearer

In the FTD the ring bearer has access to some magic objects that are called the “insignias of power”.  These objects come with the ring. They are very useful and help a lot with the normal tasks of the ring bearer. They are:

  1. A pair of boots that has wings on each boot that enable the bearer to move swiftly around (much like the greek god Hermes). With these boots you can take short cuts nobody else can take.
  2. A cape that has the power to make the bearer invisible (remember Harry Potter?). It also protects the user from all kinds of bad magic and keeps him safe.
  3. The cape is fastened by a big fibula. This is the third magic object and it can create a very strong light. From this light nothing can hide. Things and beings have to become visible as they truly are. This is very important because in the FTD so many things are not what they seem to be. Deception is an art form and quite normal. The light of the fibula can also be used to overcome every kind of darkness.

The home of the ring bearer

You can get more information here: The Home of the Ringbearer

I picture my home base in the FTD as a conglomerate of medieval buildings about two stories high. There is a round tower in the middle of the compound. One building in the front looks like a castle and is used only for representative purposes. It has a big hall that looks very impressive.

Normal visitors have only access to the castle. The other buildings look unpretentious and have a warm welcoming vibe. One of these buildings is my personal cottage. In the other buildings there are guest rooms, a kitchen, a small dining hall and quarters for the helpers. One of my favourite rooms is the library. The room is not very big but has a connection to every important library of the dimension. On the grounds you can also find a small arboretum, a kitchen garden and colourful flowerbeds. The paths that connect the buildings are made out of the black sand I found at home.

Some people have been living in my home base for years, some just stay for a couple of weeks. To get permission to enter this area people have to pass a thorough screening by the fraternity of the shadows. The fraternity is responsible for keeping my home safe. One could say that this part of my home is actually located “in the shadows”. In fact the buildings other than the castle can be perceived by people who have passed the screening only.

The shadows

Some info on the shadows: They are sentient and very much alive. When they are not needed i.e. being cast as a shadow they are free to go wherever they want. There are shadows of every kind of being. They shadow the skills of their owners. Some of them also have additional talents. The shadow of a mermaid for example feels much more comfortable out of the water than its owner. There are shadows of magicians and elves, trees, rocks and mermaids. Some of them have special skills that are very useful for the fraternity. A lot of the shadows belong to the fraternity of shadows and thus play an important albeit secret role in the FTD. They have special shadow pathways that enable them to travel swiftly all over the dimension.

Since the shadows know everything their owners know, the fraternity gathers lots of information. The headquarters of the fraternity is also on the grounds and is shrouded heavily in veils so only a handful of people know where it is and how to access it.

Books in the fairy tale dimension

In the FTD books are not very common. This is due to the fact that academia is not important in most of the fairy tale countries. People who read books are often magicians, healers or belong to governments.

A lot of people don´t have much use for knowledge from books. Basic arithmetic and writing are taught in most villages. Beings who want to get advanced education and are exceptionally bright are sent to boarding schools free of charge. The schools maintain themselves by selling the magic objects they produce.

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The magic library

You can get more information here: The Magic Library

A lot of books have their home at the main library of the fairy tale dimension (FTD). It is located in a separate building near the magic school. It is not the only library but the biggest one. It is connected to other libraries in many different countries. Many magicians and teachers have libraries and some also have permanent passageways to the main library, just like me. The magic library has high ceilings and is lined with bookshelves.

Information about magic books

Some books can talk

Some books can interact with you. You can ask questions about their subject and they will answer as best as they can. They can also rephrase an answer if you have not understood. If you don´t speak the language they are written in, they will translate for you. Of course you can still read them by simply turning the pages.

They come in all sizes

There are miniscule books the size of your little fingernail and giant books about 2 meters long, a meter high and a meter wide. Some of these are big enough for you to sit in and listen to their story. Quite cosy, I can tell you.

Varieties and textures

Many books have pages made of paper. Others have silk pages or pages made of hide and things you don´t want to contemplate too closely. Some are made out of pure magic. Some are bound in leather some in velvet. There are ones that have a cover made of feathers, flowers or fungus.

Books can have personalities

The talking books in the FTD are sentient beings  and are alive in some way. Some you have to coax into talking and others will babble away easily. A book bound in barbed wire and spikes may be more difficult to talk to than a book with a cloud cover. That doesn´t mean necessarily that the cover will tell you something about the personality of the book.

 

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The Grim Reaper

Visiting the Grim Reaper

What happens when people want to disengage from the fairy tale dimension altogether? For this you need the Grim Reaper. He is personified death. The Grim Reaper is an integral part of the FTD. His job is built into the blueprint of the dimension. He is the gatekeeper who escorts people out of the dimension into other states of consciousness. His job is really big and very important. He has hundreds of billions of possible clients: Every inhabitant of the FTD.

If someone is choosing to die they subconsciously call the Grim Reaper. He receives the signal and comes and gets them. There are many different manners of disengagement to choose from, but in the FTD most people prefer to simply vanish. They rarely create illnesses, accidents or other violent ways to disengage. Interestingly their bodies disappear with them. At the agreed time death appears in one of his disguises and takes them by the hand. With the other hand he opens the exit and escorts his client out.

Sometimes when he shows up a bit late people have changed their minds and this is where the legend of cheating the Grim Reaper comes from. In fact people don´t cheat death; they simply change their opinion and choose to stay longer.

The two insignias of the Grim Reaper

The Grim Reaper uses his insignias to perform his duties. They are handed down from one reaper to the next.

The first item is the magic key that will open the door out of the dimension. I picture this key as a scythe. If you observe it closely however you can see that it does not have any sharp edges. It looks more like a big intricately crafted key with runes on it mounted on a stick. He is the only being who can open the door of the dimension with this key.

The famous black hooded cape is the second item. It helps the Grim Reaper to shapeshift and appear at a multitude of locations. To journey in all parts of the dimension simultaneously he has a specially outfitted room in his house. There are lots of mirrors on the walls facing inwards. Death stands in the middle of the room with his cape and key and his image is multiplied hundredfold. He then tunes in to the different calls for disengagement and walks through the mirrors in as many versions of himself as it takes to meet his clients everywhere in the dimension.

The GrImporter

The GrImporter

The GrImporter is the door into the fairy tale dimension. When you want to live in the FTD and make playful experiences there you connect with the GrImporter. Basically the GrImporter is the sales representative for the FTD. When there are vacancies in the different fairy tales he fills them by doing sales-pitches. For example:

“Ladies and gentlemen, there happens to be an opening in the very well-known fairy tale of Snow White. One of the seven dwarfs has just left the dimension and needs to be replaced. His name is Dopey.” He opens a video window to this fairy tale that shows the remaining six dwarfs happily cooking dinner in their beautiful old-fashioned house in the woods.

 

The present GrImporter looks human and young although he has had this job for more than 100 earth years. He has dark blond hair that is sticking out on all sides because he habitually runs his fingers through it. He has friendly blue eyes that are twinkling with laughter. He wears a light blue overall with a name tag identifying him: “GrImporter, Incoming Services of the Fairy Tale Dimension”.

He is not only responsible for the incoming people but also has to ensure the logistics for the fairy tale country changes inside the dimension. In collaboration with the ring bearer he can help to establish new fairy tale lands or close countries that are not popular any more.

The postal system

The postal system encompasses the whole dimension. This requires a huge well oiled machinery and well planned logistics. This is one of the big achievements of the FTD. Every FTD country of a certain size sends emissaries to work for the postal system.

The mail consists mostly of letters and parcels just like here. Newspapers and books for scholars are transported and traders send their merchandise all over the dimension. The bulk of the mail is transported by horse, boat, coach or by air and is delivered to the central mail station of every country. From there it is distributed further to cities and homes.

Information delivery systems

You can get more information here:  Start of a New Fairy Tale

Since in the FTD deceit and secrets are very important there is a big variety of other methods of delivering messages. Important messages are often  sent by personal messengers only. There is a special branch of the mail company that specializes in important and fast deliveries. Urgent personal notices or secret government communications are only sent via these special messengers.

Means of communication

The shadows have their own independent dimension wide network of intelligence that is used only by the spiritual leader of the FTD the ring bearer. The magicians have other means of communication. They use crystal balls for example that can communicate with other crystal balls. These work a bit like Skype does on earth.

There are also automated feathers that come in groups. What one feather writes the others of the same group immediately start copying, regardless of where they are located in the FTD.

As you can imagine these sophisticated magic objects need a lot of attention and maintenance and are therefore very rare and expensive. There are many other means of communication in the FTD: Divination, runes, I-Ging… Do you have any impressions?

The workers in the postal system

Mostly young people apply for work in the postal system because in this job you get to see a lot of the FTD and it is exciting, too. This makes it a very popular job for young adventurers.

Having worked for the mail company is a good reference in your resume and opens up important job opportunities. A lot of future leaders have worked for the postal system in their past. They leave there with their own network of personal connections all over the dimension.

Training of personal messengers

The mail people are trained in magic, the martial arts and diplomacy. Personal messengers get a more thorough training than normal workers depending on their individual talents. You can compare this branch of the postal system to a highly specialized task force.

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The Illness in the FTD

The Illness in the Fairy Tale Dimension

The Great Seven Magicians

There are seven Great Magicians in the fairy tale dimension. The old tree magician teaching at the magic school is the leader of this group. (See The Magic School).

You met the three magicians who delivered the power of the ring to me the ring bearer: The snake, the badger and the butterfly. They also belong to the Great Seven.

The job of the Great Seven is monitoring the magic evolution of the fairy tale dimension. They collect new spells, or work on new areas of magic that were not yet included in the blueprint of the FTD. They test them and put together a list of recommended changes. The only being that can change the blueprint and incorporate these new areas of magic is the ring bearer. The ring bearer has to master the third living rune on his ring that represents the blueprint of the FTD to change the blueprint.

 

The Frequency change in the fairy tale dimension

The Illness of The Fairy Tale Dimension and Me

The last frequency change that has to be completed was from purple to yellow. Every living thing needs this change of the predominant frequency to stay healthy and well. This change of frequency is a normal evolution for this dimension.

They have never had the need to concern themselves with the frequency change before because there was always a ring bearer who was able to complete it in time. This time it was overdue.

Linking the two dimensions

In one of my first objective interactions with the fairy tale dimension I was asked by the collective of the FTD to build a closer connection to our dimension. I understood their wish to have more contact but I advised against getting too closely attached. We are already close and become more and more aware of each other. My feeling was that it would be better not to build a solid bridge between the two dimensions. This is why I constructed a loose chain that now links the two dimensions. This chain ensures that not every single movement of one dimension is carried directly to the other. It allows each dimension some room to manoeuver on its own. This has been a good decision because both dimensions are rocking their boats quite fiercely at the moment.

The inhabitants of the fairy tale dimension have an intuitive knowing of our dimension. There are a lot of scholars who are studying our dimension. They visit us regularly for what we would term anthropological studies. Perhaps you have even met one of them without realizing it.

Behind the Scenes Views

The number of fairy tale countries I share behind the scenes views of grows as my blog expands. Here is a list of the fairy tale countries we have visited so far:

 

You can always find this information that I keep up to date on the page Facts of the Fairy Tale Dimension.

 

© Inge Schumacher

 

 

 

Meet Petra Pan in a Fairy tale about Freedom and Fun

1. A fairy tale country you want to visit for a big dose of fun.

A lot of us have a very close connection to this fairy tale country. Do you remember dreams of impossible adventures in your childhood? You may have been one of the many children who visit Neverland in dreams.

When I tapped into this fairy tale story my first strong impression was that Peter Pan was female: Petra Pan should be the name of the heroine. I asked myself why Barrie wrote about a boy. When I did some research of the history of Great Britain at the time Barrie wrote about Peter (1902) the reasons became clear.

Barrie first used Peter Pan as a minor character in his novel” The Little White Bird” (1902). People liked the character and so 1904 Peter got the central role in a stage play titled Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. In 1911 Peter became the lead character of the still popular novel Peter and Wendy I am basing this article on. Today there are a lot of works based on this story: films, unauthorised sequels, comics and computer games. Peter Pan still captures our imagination today and you will know why when we take a closer look behind the scenes of this country.

 

2. Historical Background

Society before the First World War (1914-1918) was very stiff and governed by many rules. Queen Victoria reigned until 1901. The Victorian era was identified with strict standards of personal morality. Women had hardly any rights. They were not allowed to vote or to study. They wore confining long dresses and corsets that symbolise the female oppression of these timesfor me. As a woman you were supposed to be docile, loving and maternal, not adventurous and intelligent. The time certainly was not ripe for a cheeky girl to be a heroine who defies rules.

In Barrie´s story the Lost Boys appoint Wendy as a surrogate mother as soon as she arrives in Neverland. She readily assumes this role that she learned from her mother including making a home and singing lullabies.

Nevertheless Barrie wrote Peter Pan in times when change was waiting just around the corner: Women were starting to campaign for the vote and equal rights. Perhaps this is the reason why he included so many elements of freedom in his novel.

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3. The Story of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

The Darling household consists of the three children, Wendy, John, and Michael; the stern but friendly father, Mr Darling; the loving mother, Mrs Darling and the children’s nurse, the dog Nana.
Peter Pan likes to sneak into the children’s bedroom at night to listen to the kids´ bedtime stories. One night, Nana and Mrs Darling see him and almost catch him, but only get hold of his shadow when he flees out the window. They roll it up and put it in a drawer. Peter returns with the fairy Tinker Bell later after the parents have left for a dinner party. When he finds his shadow, he can’t make it stick to him and wakes Wendy who sews it onto him.
Peter tells Wendy that he has run away the day he was born because he heard his parents talk about the things he would do when he was a man. He explains that he went to live in Neverland so that he would never have to grow up. Now he leads a group of boys there, who got lost when they fell out of their prams.
Peter convinces Wendy and her brothers, by teaching them how to fly, to return to Neverland with him and Tinker Bell. They fly over the rooftops of London into the sky and beyond.
In Neverland the lost boys share their island with the pirates, led by Captain Hook, and the Picadilly Indian tribe, led by the chief and his daughter Tiger Lily. Hook desperately wants to capture Peter Pan and his friends because Peter cut off Hook’s hand and fed it to a crocodile. The crocodile likes his taste so much that he follows him everywhere. Since the crocodile has also swallowed a clock, the ticking warns Hook of his approach.
When they arrive in the magical land the lost boys, spurred on by a jealous Tinker Bell, believe Wendy to be a giant bird and shoot at her with a bow and arrow. Peter saves Wendy and banishes Tinker Bell. He then explains to the others where Wendy and her brothers come from. They build her a house and ask her to be their mother. Hook and the pirates put a green poison cake near the new house. The boys want to eat it as soon as they find it, but Wendy, the wise mother, stops them and puts them to bed, after singing lullabies to them.
The next day, Peter takes Wendy to see the mermaids. While there they see the pirates put Tiger Lily on a rock to drown at high tide. Peter saves her and the Indians become their friends.
Eventually, the children get homesick and decide they want to return to London. The lost boys want to go with them, but Peter wants to stay. Hook and the pirates stop these plans by capturing the children. Peter narrowly escapes with Tinker Bell’s help.
The pirates are about to have their captives walk the plank, when Peter saves them. In the final fight with Hook, Peter forces the pirate captain to the edge of the ship where he falls into the waiting jaws of the crocodile.
The three children finally return home, along with the lost boys, who are adopted by the Darlings. Peter stays in Neverland, coming to visit Wendy once in a while but she soon turns into an adult and forgets about Neverland. However, she has a daughter, Jane, who dreams of pirates, Indians, and magical places far away.

 

Barrie´s Neverland stands for freedom

Peter and the Lost Boys, the Pirates and the Indians in Neverland live a free life compared to the strict rules of Victorian times.

The Darling household looks pretty normal on the surface. The only hint that this family might be different is that their nanny is a dog. The children meet Peter, a person from another dimension and travel with him to his world. Peter, Wendy and her brothers are the connection between the two dimensions. They get the opportunity to experience the freedom of Neverland.

Peter, the leader of the Lost Boys, is cheeky and rebellious. Even laws of nature, like growing up, don´t apply to them.

The Pirates in Barrie´s story also stand for freedom and individualism. In our dimension they successfully interrupted trade, colonialism and social order. During the 19th century they were presented as romantic anti-heroes. (Treasure Island by Stevenson was published in1883).

Indians in Barrie´s time were viewed as strong and free people. Karl May´s Winnetou (1878) was popular at the time and is probably partly responsible for this. The public did not acknowledge the genocide that was going on at the time.

 

4. Behind the scenes of Neverland

The main themes in Neverland are playfulness, adventures and freedom. For me it looks like a giant playground.

This fairy tale country is loud and exuberant: When arriving you may stumble upon a noisy battle between pirates while a few miles away some sea creatures are trying to devour a group of Lost Children. This country is nothing for the fainthearted!

Its landscape consists of many islands scattered in an ocean, very similar to the country of the merpeople. However the landscape of Neverland is as variable as a giant stage and can be easily adjusted to the needs of the inhabitants: Should they need a bay, some steep mountains or a big cave, they contact the local magician and make it happen.

The many different interacting groups make this fairy tale country so colourful. All the time something is happening.  The groups invent new adventures continuously. Sometimes many different groups are involved in them and sometimes only one.  Alliances change constantly. Individuals can join other groups easily: An Indian can become a pirate or a mermaid.

Successful players become group leaders fast and lose their jobs just as fast when they are not successfull. This is why cunning and intelligence are very important traits in this country.

In spite of all their battles and conflicts the inhabitants divide the chores of providing food and clothing for everybody between themselves evenly.

 

4.1 The known players

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Petra, Peter and the Lost Children

The Peters and Petras of Neverland are the leaders of their respective teams. The number of teams varies according to the number of participants. The teams are not exclusively male or female. Besides boys and girls also faeries and other magic creatures belong in this. What they have in common is that they are young and love wild playing.

 

The Pirates

The pirates in this fairy tale country are adults. The crews live on a variety of ships ranging from wooden three masters to modern yachts that are powered by magic. The pirate captains and crew consist of males, females and magic creatures, who enjoy serious sword fights. They second as fishermen and provide food from the sea for everybody. Some ships trade with neighbouring countries.

 

The Indians

They live on the islands as families in villages consisting of teepees with chiefs as mayors. Together they work the land providing much of the needed food. They provide a safe heaven for people who need some rest and tranquillity after too much hard play. Of course they also take part in the games. It depends on the individuals how much they want to involve themselves.

 

The merpeople

form an in-between group. They belong partly to the ocean and partly on land. They are shape-shifters just like in the country of the merpeople.

 

4.2 The unknown players

The sea-creatures

This is a cool group. The crocodile stands for these dangerous animals living mainly in the ocean. They form a separate group that includes whales, giant octopus, stingrays, huge sea snakes and dragons. When they are in a good mood they let members of the other groups slide on their backs and take part in swimming and diving contests.

 

The magicians

The magicians in this fairy tale country love playfulness just as much as the other inhabitants. Together with the respective group leaders they design and build new “playgrounds” or arenas for games. They can control the weather and help out should a storm be needed. Should arise the need for an arbiter the magicians have the last word.

Their job is to maintain order if games get out of hand. They are allowed to play too, of course.

 

The shadows

In Barrie´s story Peter´s shadow can exit separately. This is typical for the Fairy Tale Dimension. There the shadows are just another life form. When they have time off they live a life of their own. Because of having less substance shadows have faster ways of travelling and communication than the other inhabitants. They are organised in a brotherhood, an organisation that spans the whole dimension.

In Neverland the shadows form a separate group and take part in the games. As you can imgaine they are responsible for many surprises.

 

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5. Being 100% present

I love this country for its sense of freedom, its creativity and its bursting energy. The inhabitants act out their aggressions and rivalries in bloody adventures and make sure they are maintaining their country at the same time. This gives them the chance to be 100% in the now.

But remember, in the Fairy Tale Dimension results of wild play like serious injuries or death are not final and easily remedied.

The players´ fantasies are the only boundaries: Games are set in all kinds of environments: In the air with fairy dust or hot air balloons, in and on the surface of the sea and on and beneath the ground. Imagine a whole country with ADHD! Neverland definitely is no utopia. Everything is allowed and fair play is not an option. I love to visit these wild lovable people although it can get quite exhausting.

My first impression of  Petra Pan was a symbol for the possibilities of this country. It  is so unique that it cannot be compared to anything else I have ever seen. These guys are  living their freedom to the fullest without any compromises.

A big part of my attraction for this fairy tale country is that its inhabitants are aware that they are self directing and that they are always totally present in everything they are doing. This is incredibly powerful and something we can definitely learn from them.

© Inge Schumacher

 

Little Red Riding Hood Revisited

Today I invite you for a closer look at a very popular country in the Fairy Tale Dimension, the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Its origins can be traced back to the 10th century. In Germany we grow up with Grimm´s version called Rotkäppchen, which means Little Red Cap. I start this article with this version because it includes all of the important aspects of the story. Then I take a short look at a few other fascinating versions before inviting you for our behind the scenes look at this fairy tale land.

 

Little Red Cap, the Grimm´s version of the fairy tale:

“Once upon a time there was a sweet little girl. Everyone who saw her liked her, but most of all her grandmother, who did not know what to give the child next. Once she gave her a little cap made of red velvet. Because it suited her so well, and she wanted to wear it all the time, she came to be known as Little Red Cap.
One day her mother said to her, “Come Little Red Cap. Here is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine. Take them to your grandmother. She is sick and weak, and they will do her well. Mind your manners and give her my greetings. Behave yourself on the way, and do not leave the path, or you might fall down and break the glass, and then there will be nothing for your grandmother. And when you enter her parlour, don’t forget to say ‘Good morning,’ and don’t peer into all the corners first.”
“I’ll do everything just right,” said Little Red Cap, shaking her mother’s hand.
The grandmother lived out in the woods, half an hour from the village. When Little Red Cap entered the woods a wolf came up to her. She did not know what a wicked animal he was, and was not afraid of him.
“Good day to you, Little Red Cap.”
“Thank you, wolf.”
“Where are you going so early, Little Red Cap?”
“To grandmother’s.”
“And what are you carrying under your apron?”
“Grandmother is sick and weak, and I am taking her some cake and wine. We baked yesterday, and they should be good for her and give her strength.”
“Little Red Cap, just where does your grandmother live?”
“Her house is good quarter hour from here in the woods, under the three large oak trees. There’s a hedge of hazel bushes there. You must know the place,” said Little Red Cap.
The wolf thought to himself, “Now that sweet young thing is a tasty bite for me. She will taste even better than the old woman. You must be sly, and you can catch them both.”
He walked along a little while with Little Red Cap, then he said, “Little Red Cap, just look at the beautiful flowers that are all around us. Why don’t you go and take a look? And I don’t believe you can hear how beautifully the birds are singing. You are walking along as though you were on your way to school. It is very beautiful in the woods.”
Little Red Cap opened her eyes and when she saw the sunbeams dancing to and fro through the trees and how the ground was covered with beautiful flowers, she thought, “If a take a fresh bouquet to grandmother, she will be very pleased. Anyway, it is still early, and I’ll be home on time.” And she ran off the path into the woods looking for flowers. Each time she picked one she thought that she could see an even more beautiful one a little way off, and she ran after it, going further and further into the woods. But the wolf ran straight to the grandmother’s house and knocked on the door.
“Who’s there?”
“Little Red Cap. I’m bringing you some cake and wine. Open the door.”
“Just press the latch,” called out the grandmother. “I’m too weak to get up.”
The wolf pressed the latch, and the door opened. He stepped inside, went straight to the grandmother’s bed, and ate her up. Then he put on her clothes, put her cap on his head, got into her bed, and pulled the curtains shut.
Little Red Cap had run after the flowers. After she had gathered so many that she could not carry any more, she remembered her grandmother, and then continued on her way to her house. She found, to her surprise, that the door was open. She walked into the parlour, and everything looked so strange that she thought, “Oh, my God, why am I so afraid? I usually like it at grandmother’s.”
She called out, “Good morning!” but received no answer.
Then she went to the bed and pulled back the curtains. Grandmother was lying there with her cap pulled down over her face and looking very strange.
“Oh, grandmother, what big ears you have!”
“All the better to hear you with.”
“Oh, grandmother, what big eyes you have!”
“All the better to see you with.”
“Oh, grandmother, what big hands you have!”
“All the better to grab you with!”
“Oh, grandmother, what a horribly big mouth you have!”
“All the better to eat you with!”
The wolf had scarcely finished speaking when he jumped from the bed with a single leap and ate up poor Little Red Cap. As soon as the wolf had satisfied his desires, he climbed back into bed, fell asleep, and began to snore very loudly.
A huntsman was just passing by. He thought, “The old woman is snoring so loudly. You had better see if something is wrong with her.”
He stepped into the parlour, and when he approached the bed, he saw the wolf lying there. “So here I find you, you old sinner,” he said. “I have been hunting for you a long time.”
He was about to aim his rifle when it occurred to him that the wolf might have eaten the grandmother, and that she still might be rescued. So instead of shooting, he took a pair of scissors and began to cut open the wolf’s belly. After a few cuts he saw the red cap shining through, and after a few more cuts the girl jumped out, crying, “Oh, I was so frightened! It was so dark inside the wolf’s body!”
And then the grandmother came out as well, alive but hardly able to breathe. Then Little Red Cap fetched some large stones. She filled the wolf’s body with them, and when he woke up and tried to run away, the stones were so heavy that he immediately fell down dead.
The three of them were happy. The huntsman skinned the wolf and went home with the pelt. The grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine that Little Red Cap had brought. And Little Red Cap thought, “As long as I live, I will never leave the path and run off into the woods by myself if mother tells me not to.”

Rotkäppchen cocoparisienne

Five other versions of this fairy tale

You can read the full versions here.

1. Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault

is probably the first literary version of the fairy tale (1697). Perrault´s story is the same as Grimm´s without the happy ending. There is no huntsman to save the ladies and thus the wolf is the only survivor.

Perrault adds a moral to the story however: “Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say “wolf,” but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all.“

2. In Little Red Hood (Eastern Germany and Poland)

the wolf leads the girl astray by pointing out beautiful flowers along the way, thus buying himself time to devour the grandmother and getting ready for Little Red Hood. After also devouring her he falls asleep and his loud snoring makes a hunter suspicious. The hunter almost shoots the wolf, before luckily deciding to cut the wolf open and thereby saving grandmother and grandchild. After this they fill the wolf´s belly with stones, who when he wakes up drops dead.

3. Little Red Hat (Italy and Austria)

is a pretty gross and sinister tale. An ogre eats both the grandmother and the girl: He, for example, uses the small intestine of the grandmother as a door opener. Yuck! The ogre is the sole survivor in this story.

4. The grandmother (France)

is another unsavoury tale. The girl, no hood of any colour is mentioned, meets a werewolf on her way to her grandmother. He arrives first, eats the old woman and leaves pieces of the grandma for the hungry girl to eat who does not realize what she is offered. In this tale the girl just manages to escape by herself.

5. The true history of Little Golden-Hood by Charles Marelle

Marelle´s story has a happy ending and a pretty cool grandmother. In this story the girl wears a golden and fire coloured cloak made by her grandma. This cloak turns out to have magic powers. The wolf finds grandma´s house empty because she is at the market selling herbs. He waits for the girl in her bed. When he tries to devour the girl he is burnt badly by the magic cloak. He runs out of the house screaming and right into the sack the old lady, who is just coming back. The grandmother closes the sack and throws it in the well so that the wolf drowns. The next day she feeds his remains to the dogs.

 

A behind the scenes look at this fairy tale country

The main protagonists of this fairy tale country are: The girl, the grandmother and the villain: A wolf, werewolf or an ogre. In some tales there is a hunter who is the saviour of the women and there is also the invisible mother who seems to be a single parent. In some versions other inhabitants like woodcutters and villagers are mentioned.

More players

There are many more people playing in this fairy tale country than you might think. There are about 150 villages and each village plays different versions of the story. Because the inhabitants sometimes work in groups of twos or threes there are more than 150 Red Riding Hoods, Grandmothers and Wolves. This is making this game of hide and seek much more interesting.

As you know inhabitants of fairy tale countries can change roles and vary their story as they please; and death, of course, is not final in the Fairy Tale Dimension.

riding hood böse TheHilaryClark

Little Red Riding Hoods

In most of the stories I have presented here the girls with the red hood are innocent and, frankly, pretty dumb. They do not blink when meeting a talking wolf and freely tell the villain how to find the grandmother´s house. They are also not suspicious of the unfamiliar form in the bed posing as grandma. Consequently they are rarely able to save themselves.

But in this fairy tale country there are other Little Red Riding Hoods whose stories have not reached us yet. In some the girls have cunning and sinister personalities:

Imagine Little Red Riding Hood as a vampire, for example, sucking her grandmother´s blood and making her sick and weak. The hunter and the wolf search a long time for the culprit and are not suspecting the innocent little girl. One day they stumble upon her in the act and put a wooden stake through her heart.

Or Little Red Riding Hood infects everybody with her vampirism and turns the wolf into a werewolf in the process and the three of them proceed to raid the village together.

Wolves

The villains in the fairy tale stories known to us die often. They are portrayed as sinister lying animals with ferocious appetites. My behind the scenes look discovers wolves that are partial to eating hunters rather than girls or are simply living a harmless life integrated in their village.

In the 150 villages you can see many more types of wolves. I personally enjoy the dandy wolves most. They love to dress elegantly, have impeccable manners, use knife and fork and would never dream of eating anything raw.

werwolf gatitamiaumiau
No Dandy Wolf!

Grandmothers

In the majority of the stories above the grandmothers are portrayed as being frail and sick. More interesting to me are the grandmothers who are agile and strong. They don´t let themselves be eaten easily and put up a decent fight. Some of them even know how to wield a sword.

 

This fairy tale country´s government

The government structure of this fairy tale country is unique. Every four years there is a big tournament where all the villagers meet and new stories are played and exchanged. At the end there is a referendum and the village with the most votes forms the next government. This is why this country has no capital: The leading village changes too often. The last winner hosts the tournament in which the next village is selected.

The village who won has to decide who out of its midst will become king and queen. This could be everybody: A woodcutter and a grandma, two wolves or a bigger group of individuals. If the village does not manage to establish a working government within a few months of the tournament the privilege of government goes to the village who made second place.

Yes, this has happened a few times and sometimes the ring bearer had to be called to bring order to the ensuing chaos.

I have met the current king and queen of this country. The current rulers are a Little Red Riding Hood with the name Sasha and a wolf named Beowulf. The wolf is one of the elegant ones, even sporting a monocle, and Little Red Riding hood is a plump woman who is a witch of great powers and consequently is quite dangerous. I love their great sense of humour.

Like Sasha the magicians in this fairy tale country are integrated in society. They incorporate all kinds of rolls. Part of the fun is that they hide their abilities.

 

I hope you enjoyed this excursion to a familiar fairy tale story and the behind the scenes look as much as I did. Which of the stories did you grow up with and which do you like best?

 

Links:

  • The history and background of Little Red Riding Hood is explained very well in this Wikipedia Article
  • A collection of more Little Red Riding Hood versions you can find here
  • Mari Ness offers a very thorough analysis of the fairy tale
pictures: pixabay

© Inge Schumacher

 

Sweet Confection

I was inspired to tap into this fairy tale country by Seanan Mc Guire´s novella Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book of her Wayward Children Series. Mc Guire has a penchant for horror stories. In this series she describes a world where children who are unhappy find doors to other worlds and leave. Sometimes they stay there and sometimes they come back. When they are back all they want to do is leave again. Then the helpless parents send them to the Home for Wayward Children. There everybody understands what these children are going through.

What fascinates me most with this country Mc Guire aptly named Confection is that everything is edible and sweet. It is not the only fairy tale country that consists of edibles, but it is the only one that is exclusively made of sweets.

Beneath the sugar Sky

Fairy tales of abundance have a long history

The first stories featuring a Land of Plenty can be found in the Middle Ages, in the 1300s. Life was short and hard during these times. Famines were common and a lot of people starved. Naturally they were dreaming of a land of abundance!

In Germany there is a well-known fairy tale by Ludwig Bechstein called Schlaraffenland. The closest equivalent I could find in English for this is the Land of Plenty. Bechstein concentrates on describing this fairy tale country. I show you his historic Land of Plenty before I invite you for a behind the scenes look at Confection.

 

The Land of Plenty by Ludwig Bechstein

All you can eat

The Land of Plenty is reached by eating through a wall of rice pudding. The houses are thatched with pancakes and doors and walls are made of gingerbread. The fences around the houses consist of sausages and the wells are full of sweet wines. Freshly baked bread and cakes grow on trees ready for picking.

Fish swim fried and ready to eat on top of the water. When you call out to them they hop right into your hand. Fried Geese, doves and turkeys fly in the air and even straight into your mouth. Pigs walk around with a knife in their backs, so that everybody who wants to can cut off a juicy slice. Cheeses of all sizes are lying on the ground like stones and rocks. The rain consists of honey, snow is sugar and hail is a mix of lump sugar, figs, raisins and almonds.

Clothes and jewellery

In the forests the most beautiful clothes grow on trees: Skirts, jackets and trousers in all colours of the rainbow. Shrubs supply silk and velvet finery. Junipers carry golden jewellery and the berries on the bushes are pearls. Other plants furnish footwear and hats.

Everything you could possibly need is provided for in this country. Even money grows on trees. I don´t understand why you need money when you have everything that you could possibly want though.

People

When you are old you can bathe in the fountain of youth for a few days and climb out young and agile again.

People who like to work and do good deeds are expelled from the Land of Plenty. The dumb and bigheaded ones are noblemen. The ones who only sleep, eat, drink and dance are earls. The most lazy and useless person of all is the king of this country.

Schlaraffenland

Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted this land of abundance in 1567. It shows obese people sleeping on the ground while their food is walking around them.

The painting does not show happy people but depicts the sinful side of abundance: Sloth and gluttony, two of the seven deadly sins. I guess the reason for this negative presentation of the Land of Plenty is that in medieval times the church and gentry were dependent on hard working and obedient serfs and craftsmen. They needed the people to stay in their assigned places and obey the rules. There was no place for any kind of freedom or any form of idleness.

 

A behind the scenes look on Confection

How Confection was put together

The residents of Confection tell the following story about the way their country was built or rather baked:

Once Confection was an empty world. There was only light, air and an oven. The first great baker came here by accident and found the oven. Since she was hungry she baked all the bread she could eat. This means that there must have been some ingredients, too.

When she was not hungry any more she baked herself a bed, a house and a garden. Then she left. Her daughter was the next baker. She did not care very much for bread but she loved cookies. She added a layer of cookies to the bread that formed the garden and the house. She also baked paths and started to create mountains. When she had baked all she wanted, she left also.

The next baker was fond of cakes and fondant. He added many ornaments and details to the growing landscape. Another baker loved brownies. When he left, plants had started to grow on the rich brown soil.

After this there were bakers who specialised in sugar and syrup. They added bright colours to the growing country of Confection. Others experimented with marshmallows and jellybeans.

The great bakers came and went. Each baker added ideas of his own and layer upon layer of baked goods made the country bigger and more complete. Speaking in sweet terms: This country is like a jawbreaker or a gobstopper: It is a sweet made of many layers.

 

What Confection looks like

The blue jelly sky is dotted with clouds made of candyfloss. After a sweet rain slushy rainbows decorate it.

The landscape is diverse. Mountainous regions alternate with farms and wild forests. There are rivers, brooks, lakes and an ocean. Everything is edible or drinkable and, of course, sweet.

Mountains can have different compositions: Big rock candy mountains exist besides ones that consist of treacle tart and meringue or Graham crackers and shortbread. In the forests a lot of pyramid cake is used and many trees have gingerbread and fudge trunks. Spun sugar leaves on the trees surround clusters of gummy fruit and jellybeans. Cake pops grow there and you can pick them when you wander along. The grass looks like it has been piped from a frosting bag.

Juice and lemonade are flowing in the streams. The ocean is filled with fizzing strawberry soda. A big variety of bright jellyfish live in them. The beaches consist of brown sugar and cake crumbs.

There are no seasons; the climate is temperate all year round. But Confection also possesses a region with snow and ice. The baker responsible for this came perhaps from an Italian ice cream dynasty. The mountains there are covered with ice cream and sherbet of many flavours and colours. People ski down the mountains on liquorice skis or slide on toffee slides. For additional refreshments there are milk shake lakes and popsicles.

 

Why is this country illogical?

The most powerful person in this fairy tale country is the great baker. She is the main creator and she is responsible for the evolution. She is the local equivalent of the magicians in the other fairy tale countries. As you might have guessed, her magic works by baking.

When 20 different people bake the same cake using the same recipe and exactly the same ingredients each cake will taste different – even in our dimension. There must be a hidden ingredient: The personality of each baker.

Hundreds or even thousands of bakers created Confection. With their baking they also infused their personal energies into the country. These energies don´t always get along easily with each other. There is friction and this accounts for the turbulences and the illogicality of this country. For example, why don´t the ice cream mountains melt in the warmth?

 

A nurturing place

Confection is a nurturing place and it takes care of its inhabitants. They never have to go hungry and the baker takes care of maintenance. The natives are adapted perfectly to this country. They can even breathe the sea-soda when diving in the ocean. Eating a lot of sugar does not render them obese or hurt their teeth. They don´t get ill because of malnutrition.

The baked goods in this country never get stale or mouldy. Dairy products never turn sour. Sugar and chocolate do not melt in the sun. Obviously they don´t have to concern themselves with bacteria or fungi. This makes me a bit envious.

The world rearranges itself so that every place you want to go is within a day´s walk from where you are regardless how fast you travel.

cake-yoyolang

Farms

Most people live in the countryside on farms. The farmhouses and barns are made of gingerbread. Their windows are of the same toffee as the wings of the bees. Beehives are set up around the fields. Everything the great baker needs is produced on the farms: Flour, sugar, honey, eggs and milk. Since there are no seasons the crops can be harvested all year round. Everything smells heavenly of honey, sugar and vanilla.

 

Animals

Insects look very different from what we are accustomed to. Fat striped bees and butterscotch candies fly around. Flies are black jellybeans with legs of thinly twisted liquorice strands. Cows give milk in different flavours: Chocolate, vanilla or strawberry.

Hens lay eggs in all kinds of colours and flavours, ranging from dark chocolate eggs to hard sugar eggs. Somehow there are always enough normal eggs for baking.

But birds are not the only creatures laying eggs; rabbits and hares do too. Perhaps the absurd idea of Easter bunnies laying eggs comes from this fairy tale land or is it the other way round?

 

Relations to neighbouring countries

Confection is not isolated in the fairy tale dimension. It has connections to its neighbours, but there are some difficulties: It turns out that animals cannot survive very long outside of Confection because they need the specific energy of their home to thrive. When the neighbours tried to breed cattle and chickens imported from Confection, because they wanted to have their own supply of flavoured milk and chocolate eggs, the animals died.

Baked goods are traded for shoes and clothes. But these baked goods have to obey the laws of nature of the countries they are in and don´t stay fresh outside of Confection.

Visitors love to come and have a taste. But they can´t stay long because they start to feel uncomfortable soon. It is as if Confection rejects them. To stay longer they either have to contact the GrImporter and apply for a transfer to this fairy tale country or they have to be summoned by the country itself.

 

Tricky vocabulary

While writing this article I dove deep into the vocabulary of sweet foods. I discovered that my vocabulary needed some expansion.

I had an interesting chat with people on a British translator´s facebook page and learned that different English speaking cultures have different names for sweet foods. The British use the word sweets, the Americans candy and the Australians lollies, at least for loose sweets that you can put in bowls. Thank you for your tips, Lucy!

Dear readers from all over the world, please don´t be offended when I use words that sound all wrong to you. Feel free to add your favourite sweet-vocabulary in the comments. I am looking forward to your input!

 

© Inge Schumacher

Picture of Schlaraffenland by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. You can see it in the old Pinakothek in Munich – first upload in wikipedia on 22:18, 16. Jun 2003 by Stefan Kühn, Gemeinfrei.
Other pictures: pixabay and my own