Friday, April 03, 2009

If you find yourself inside a fairy tale...

I love fairy tales; if you do also there is a wonderful challenge for you to join, Carl's Once Upon a Time III challenge, which runs until Midsummer's Eve. I have been thinking about joining, but haven't yet...I think I will go for Quest the First: Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time III criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres. I like fantasy, so perhaps I'll go with Lesley Livingstone's Wondrous Strange, John Crowley's Love & Sleep, Gordon Dahlquist's The Dark Volume, or a reread of an old favourite, Alis Rasmussen's The Labyrinth Gate.

In any case, if you are at all familiar with fairy tales you will know there are certain rules to follow if you happen to be in the middle of a story yourself -- Neil Gaiman has thoughtfully put together a poem called Instructions for just that instance.

Here is the beginning:

by Neil Gaiman

Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never

saw before.

Say "please" before you open the latch,

go through,

walk down the path.

A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted

front door,

as a knocker,

do not touch it; it will bite your fingers. go read the poem in its entirety.......
(Or you can find the poem in his story collection, Fragile Things)

And then perhaps you'd like to hear the man himself read his poem to you. It is a wonderful experience.


  1. I love fairy tales, too -- complete sucker for them. And I adore this poem. Thanks for this. I especially look forward to what you think of the Crowley. I completely fell in love with Little, Big.

  2. I don't know how many times I've watched him read that on YouTube _ he has a wonderful voice for it. :)

  3. You've listed four fantasy novels I haven't heard of - wonderful, I'm going to go and look them all up. My five are mostly coming off the TBR pile, but I've promised myself at least one acquisition for the challenge.

  4. Thank you. That was wonderful.

  5. I am so glad you are joining in!

    Instructions is wonderful. I think I started the first Once Upon a Time Challenge with it. It fits so perfectly with this type of reading. Such a magical poem. I love hearing Neil read it.

  6. Jenny - I adored Little, Big so am looking forward to some more Crowley. I chose this one because I have it on my shelves already. :)

    Maree - his voice is certainly wonderful!

    Geranium Cat - I chose books I either own or I know are at my library. Not sure I should really be buying more books... ;)

    Sherry - I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's new to me and I loved it.

    Carl - I am glad I'm joining in too -- you always go all out in your Challenges. Looking forward to everyone's reviews.


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