The Power of Love
The book the golden age of folk and fairy tales contains several collections of fairy tales covering several aspects of oral story telling in the nineteenth century. The second chapter is The Power of Love. This chapter mostly focuses on the theme of love in the traditional setting. The maidens had to maintain their chastity until they were officially married. For this reason, they end up placed in seclusion. Most of them were put in towers or isolated palaces once they reached puberty.
This second chapter of the book has eight stories. The first two are not the same descriptions of the same story, Rapunzel. There are definite themes derived in all stories. First, there is the use of magic. All stories contain a section with witches or sorcerers. The witches are not all bad. Some are able to reason with the character in the story.
The stories also show the positivity of love as an aspect in society. The book portrays a happy conclusion for all the people that were in love. There are books by William Shakespeare that do not show this aspect. Some of the books written by writers such as William Shakespeare and Machiavelli do not share this characteristic. Other books such as the prince, by Machiavelli, are a biography about his life. Major themes in the book are political. Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian political analyst. The book is therefore nonfiction.
These are a number of examples of differences in comparison to other books. Fairy tales have a common flow in that the characters go through some pain, which forces them to act. They all end up living happily afterwards. The tales in the second chapter include two versions of the story Rapunzel. The others are Beautiful Angiola, La Prezzemolina, Filagranata, and the Old Woman of the Garden, The Fair queen Godmother, Parsillette, and Prunella.
As stated, the first two stories are about Rapunzel. In summary, the story starts with a couple expecting a child. The wife, heavily pregnant, has cravings for different things. One day she looks out and notices a garden with lettuces and other vegetables. The husband returned and she demanded the vegetables. The owner of the garden, a sorcerer returned and found that the man had made it a habit to steal her vegetables.
The husbands agreed to hand over the child as consolation to the sorcerer. Rapunzel was the name of the girl. The sorcerer jailed her in a tower when she reached puberty. Rapunzel was secluded. A wandering prince found his way to the tower. This time too, the sorcerer was unhappy when she found out. She was upset and sorts to separate the two. In despair and anger, the prince fell of the tower and ends up blinded. The fairy concludes with Rapunzel helping the prince regain his eyesight through her tears. The story ends with Rapunzel walking into his kingdom. While he was missing she delivered two twins, who go with them to the new kingdom and they live happily ever after.
The story has certain themes seen in other stories. One is pregnancy in the traditional setting. There was a belief that pregnant women had to get any food that they were craving. Doing the contrary of this could result to curses to the person involved. For this reason, characters taking care of pregnant women in the stories have to go far lengths to get what the pregnant women crave. The theme of magic is also widely used in this chapter of the book.
The second story is almost similar to the first. It starts with several women who are pregnant. The women all had the same desire for jujubes. The one place they could possibly get them was in a garden that belonged to a witch. They planned to steal the jujubes when the witch was not there. The witch caught them and one of them had to give up her daughter. The witch treated the child well and raised her as one of her own. They lived happily until a prince lured Angiola. She ran away with the prince but in anger, the witch cursed her.
The curse made her face turn, making her resemble a dog. In this form, the prince was unable to take her to the palace. She set the dog who begged the witch to remove the curse. The witch agreed after lengthy sessions of persuasion. The prince then allowed her to go to his kingdom with him. His parents received them well and they lived happily.
The story of Prezzemolina also maintains themes mentioned in the other stories. Her mother tried stealing parsley from a garden owned by several evil fairies. The fairies caught her on the third day and like the other mothers in the book she had to promise to give them her child. When the child was of age, the fairies came to take her. They took her to their house whereby they were looking for ways to eat her. The fairies had a cousin that helped Prezzemolina see through the tricky situations that the fairies put her. At some point, he used magic to help Prezzemolina avoid any unlikely situations with the fairies.
Prezzemolina gained many help from people that were tired of the harsh ways in which the fairies were treating them. These people helped her when she needed to escape. In the last part, the fairies come up with a grand plan. The plan included throwing Prezzemolina in hot water then eating her. Their cousin however was not up for the idea. He briefed Prezzemolina and together they tricked the fairies and threw them in hot water instead. He and Prezzemolina later were married and lived happily.
All the stories in the second chapter follow the same pattern. The characters steal food from a garden, and then caught and have to pay. The price that they pay is a child. The children end up secluded in the custody of the witches. They all acquire freedom after a lot of strain. In some stories, this upsets the witches and they react in a manner that affected the characters.
The stories also have a similar ending. All the people end up living happily. Another similarity seen in several stories is the seclusion of the girls in the high tower. This was a common trend used to prevent the girls from messing up with their chastity. The stories capture the imagination of people reading them. They also explore the theme of love and the concept of people living happily after a certain struggle.