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Hi! Last minute PH - since it's so late, the deadline for it is the 19th, not tonight.

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Request 1 by Selden
Fandom: Der Wacholderbaum | The Juniper Tree (Fairy Tale)


20 Feb 2016
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Summary

Thank you so much for writing for me!

First, something that goes for all my requests: I don't have any triggers or dealbreaking squicks (though I'd prefer you to avoid explicit underage), and I'd welcome fic of any tone, form or genre - rating or weirdness no object! If my suggestions spark something, that's great, but I'd much rather you write the fic you want to write, whether or not it has anything at all to do with my prompts. Please, feel free and have fun.

What a gorgeous, horrible story The Juniper Tree is. It's so inexorable and uncanny and genuinely cruel. All the more so because we get more of a glimpse here than usual inside the wicked stepmother's head, and there's a real sense that her fear and suffering is genuine and that things could have been different - which makes her crimes all the more monstrous, of course. The story takes all these familiar fairy tale and/or mythic elements (red apples; dark chests; white faces; red birds and red shoes; golden chains and even people stew) and lays them out in this terrifying and apparently inevitable progression - which is nevertheless, in the end, restitutory. It's amazing, and I'd love just about any take on it, from the baroque and grand guignol to the low key and touching.

I love the relationship between the siblings, for instance, and a post-story conversation between the two of them would be fascinating. Or there's the way the story opens out into seemingly incongruous joyfulness (and song!) when the bird turns up - unless, of course, you're the guilty stepmother. Something on her fear and anguish and how her desire to protect her daughter's interests became so horribly twisted would be fantastic. Or there's the father who eats his own son: does he ever realise quite what happened? Are there consequences? Come to that, is the son changed by his journey through death? What about the first wife, who performs the story's first act of strange eating when she scoffs down juniper berries, and who dies and is perhaps transformed - but who does not return to life? What if she did? What if she, or her son, came back wrong?


Request 2 by Selden
Fandom: Der goldene Vogel | The Golden Bird (Fairy Tale)



20 Feb 2016
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Summary

This story is remarkable for just how much it allows its protagonist to fail - after his initial kindness to the fox and correct choice of inn, the youngest prince chooses wrong again and again and again. And all these choices take place on that weirdly flattened fairytale foreground plane where choosing golden beauty over practical leather and wood is the same kind of choice as choosing to allow a princess to say farewell to her parents, where a golden feather and a night at a shining inn are both in some sense more precious than a kingdom. I'd love a fic which picked apart some of these equivalencies - a look at how it feels to be a golden princess or a golden horse; a story about what it is that makes the first inn so seductive and perhaps corrupting.

But there is also a spine of real kindness and connection that runs through the story, and I'd be delighted to learn more about the relationship between the fox and the prince. The fox has very good reasons for helping the prince, of course, and I'd love a fic which fleshed out the relationship between the fox and his sister: is she aware of the fox's identity? Is she in on the plan? But the fox also seems genuinely fond of the youngest prince - does he fall for him? What was his past like, for the prince's courtesy and willingness to listen to have such an effect on him? How did he get foxed in the first place? What does he do once he's finally unfoxed?


Request 3 by Selden
Fandom: Kemp Owyne (Childe Ballads)

20 Feb 2016
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Her breath grew strong and her hair grew long: damn, this ballad is full of things I love, from the genuinely creepy monstrous transformation to Kemp Owen's matter-of-fact perseverance. Not to mention the way Isabel is a truly dreadful beast: the red sky and dim sun above Eastmuir craig give her monstrousness an almost apocalyptic dimension - which is picked up, I guess, in the ballad's final line. I'd love something that pulled on this thread: I can see a sci-fi retelling working marvellously, for instance. Or what about a fic which follows the wicked stepmother through her cursed life in Wormie's Wood, or perhaps complicates her wickedness in the first place? I'm also intrigued by the idea of a fic in which Isabel's transformation is not reversed (or not entirely): is a happy ending still possible?

This is a world that seems to vibrate with transformative possibilities ('wolf into the wood, / [...] fish into the sea'): could we see Kemp Owen himself subject to metamorphosis as part of his quest to win his love? What if Kemp Owen was not a king's son, but a king's daughter: how would an f/f reworking play out? What about the ways in which the salt, salt sea runs through the ballad (and in some versions provides objects of power for Isabel to give to Kemp Owen): I'd love something which played with the fire and water imagery, or with the fact that Isabel's transformation is literally a sea change. Red skies and wicked weirdness and true love despite it all: a fic which gave me some or all of these would make me very happy.



Request 4 by Selden
Fandom: Kate Crackernuts (Fairy Tale)


20 Feb 2016
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Summary

This was one of my very favourite childhood fairy tales - I remember taking particular care to eat a bite of something unexpected before I had breakfast, just in case someone was planning to bewitch a sheep's head onto my shoulders! So I'll admit that I'm pretty attached to the general outline of this story: I love the friendship between the sisters, how Anne is kind and beautiful and Kate is brave and resourceful and tricksy and comparatively plain; the understated, seductive strangeness of the fairies' green hill; how central and salvific eating is to the story, right down the the charmingly domestic ending, with the victorious Kate and her prince cracking nuts together in the morning light.

So I'd love a retelling (I can see this story being particularly amenable to a modern-day reworking, though I'd prefer it if you kept it magical), but I'd also be delighted with a fic exploring any of the stranger or more obscure corners of the original story. Why does the hen-wife go along with the queen's evil plan? What about the relationship between Kate and her mother, before or after the story? How exactly does Anne feel about having a sheep's head (and why do I feel the potential for a Murakami crossover? (feel free, btw, if you happen to know A Wild Sheep Chase, which is what I'm thinking of))? What kind of world lies under the green hill, and are the fairies angry to have been tricked out of their dancing partner? I'm particularly interested in how Kate wins partly by simply overhearing gossip - what about a fic which traces more supposedly unheard conversations, or which shows an unfortunate fairy court historian having to report the whole affair to their superiors? And I'd also love a future-fic which shows Anne saving Kate in turn, or which simply gives us more of Kate's adventures.
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