Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fitcher's Bird

         Among four Bluebeard versions, the Brothers Grimm’s “Fitcher’s Bird” is the version I like the most. It has many differences in compare with other versions. The version has two different stories about the destiny of three sisters. It depicts ones who break the rule and receive punishment and the other one who get away from it. The two older sisters both drop the egg that makes the sorcerer find out and finish their life. The scene of him killing them by “[throwing] her down, dragg[ing] her in by the hair, chopp[ing] her head off on the block, and hack[ing] her into pieces so that her blood flowed all over the floor” is actually quite horrifying but also so cinematic. This makes “Fitcher’s Bird” special from other tales because it even illustrates the murdering scene of the villain.
The villain and the heroin are depicted quite specifically and interestingly.  The villain uses the magic to trick the girls, and then put them in a test. He is willing to kill those who break the rule right away, but he seems to succumb to his bride. He listens and does everything his bride ask him to do. He does not even dare to take a break while carrying such a heavy basket with two sisters in it because he is scare of his bride knowing about it.

"Fitcher's Bird" illustration by Arthur Rackham

Also the tales tells a long story of how the third sister comes to escape the sorcerer. All she does is based on her own intelligence as she plans everything from the start to the end. Being curious about the secret room, the girl is still cautious by putting the egg in the safe place and then deceives the sorcerer about her going in that room. The way she escapes from the house is also different. She asks the sorcerer carry her two sisters to her home without letting him knowing about it, and also brings a lot of gold to her family. She is clever that she even disguises as a bird and places the decorated skull near the window to deceive him. In the end, the villain is still killed by her relatives but the process that she comes to have him killed is rather special and mostly achieved by her own.

The fairytale has several common motifs like the forbidden chamber, the villain who put the heroin in a test, or the egg which is used to testify. But what I like about this fairytale is the way it construct the main characters and the plot. The heroin knows to use her intelligence to rescue herself, and the creation of three sisters shows a contrast between a woman figure who is weak and succumbed and another figure who stands up and fights for her survival.

Tatar, Maria. The Classic Fairy Tales. New York & London: Norton & Company, 1999. Print.