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Monday, May 18, 2020

Tolstoy's Children's Tales

It appears there is a very good reason children's authors are seldom known for their literary greatness on the basis of this collection of Leo Tolstoy's children's tales.
“Daddy,” my stunned four-year-old son asked, “why did the lion die?” I took the book away and hid it from the children. Later I read it through. If you do this, be sure to read something lighter afterward, like perhaps Anna Karenina’s suicide scene, or a biography of Sylvia Plath. The rest of the stories are just as dark as the first one. So we have:

“Escape of a Dancing Bear.” The bear runs away after the master gets drunk. He’s too strong to capture directly, so they play his dancing music and he dances again. This allows the keepers to grab onto his chain. “The bear saw the ruse too late, roared helplessly, and tried to escape. But the master clung on tightly.” The end.

“Death of a Bird-Cherry Tree.” A property owner orders a tree cut down, then reconsiders. “It seemed a shame to kill such a beautiful thing.” But the woodcutter has already started, so he takes up an axe and lends a hand. “And then an unnerving sound came from inside the very soul of that tree. It was as if someone was screaming in unbearable pain, a tearing, wrenching, long, drawn-out scream.” The woodcutter says, “Whew, she don’t die easy, Sir!” Then the tree falls. The end.

“The King and the Shirt.” A king falls sick and is told that the only thing that can cure him is the shirt of a happy man. They can’t find anyone in the kingdom who is happy. Then by chance, the king’s counselor is passing through the woods and hears a man in a hut talking about how happy he is. The counselor steps into the hut and asks the man for his shirt, but the man is so poor he does not own a single shirt. The end. Presumably, the king dies.

“The Old Poplar.” Remember “Death of a Bird-Cherry Tree”? Well, this time it’s an old poplar. The owner wants to clear out the young poplar sprouts beneath a beautiful tree so that the old tree has less competition. The shoots had, in fact, been supporting the old tree; without them it withers and dies. “In wanting to make life easier for it I had killed all its children.” The end.

“The Little Bird.” A boy catches a bird in a cage. His mother says he shouldn’t do that. He leaves the door of the cage open. The bird flies out, straight into a glass window, knocking itself out. It suffers for a few days, then dies. The end.
I have to admit, I did laugh out loud reading this. It just sounds relentlessly horrible and almost flawlessly inappropriate. After giving the matter considerably more contemplation than I'd like to admit, I came up with a list of authors whose work should never, ever appear in the children's section. In reverse order:
  • Leo Tolstoy. A man whose literary greatness apparently knew no bounds, although it should have.
  • Guy de Maupassant. Forget all the drugs and ritual abuse, if MK Ultra wants to traumatize children, his story about the horse would suffice. It's the only story that has ever left me in a state of existential despair after reading it.
  • Jim Nelson. Wildly unpopular.
  • H.P. Lovecraft. Although the idea of combining Hogwarts and Lovecraft at Arkham Academy has occurred to me and other game designers over the years. The feeder school, presumably, for Miskatonic University.
  • Samuel R. Delaney. For obvious reasons.

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78 Comments:

Blogger R Webfoot May 18, 2020 2:54 PM  

Tolstoy: "Writing children's stories should be easy. I can just take one of my other stories and abridge it until it's suitable for young minds." *picks up The Death of Ivan Ilyich*

Blogger A rebel without a General May 18, 2020 3:00 PM  

Even the Grimm brothers stories were more cheerful on average.

Blogger Kraemer May 18, 2020 3:03 PM  

Is this how Russians are made?

Blogger Lazarus May 18, 2020 3:06 PM  

I read all those when I was younger, but can't remember when.

That would explain a lot.

Blogger Jeroth May 18, 2020 3:08 PM  

The King and the Shirt one is great.

Blogger tublecane May 18, 2020 3:13 PM  

I don't know how children's stories are supposed to go, because I live in an age of degeneracy. Some of the sad and hopefully cathartic stories I read are pretty old. For instance, the Little Match Girl is from 1845. Which admittedly has a happy ending.

One book series I frequented as a youngin'--Piers Anthony's Xanth novels--had weird, indirect sex stuff. Which might best be summed up by the fact that one novel is titled the Color of Her Panties. Keeping sex stuff secret from children is know as the Adult Conspiracy.

Diznee of course revels in traumatizing its audience. In the olden days this used to be accompanied by strong moral lessons. Recent years tend to have garbled or no morals, naturally.

Blogger Rex Leroy King May 18, 2020 3:16 PM  

By a third of the way into Anna Karenina, I was eagerly awaiting her suicide scene.

Blogger MichaelJMaier May 18, 2020 3:19 PM  

HP for kids sounds awesome!

Blogger Akulkis May 18, 2020 3:22 PM  

Relentlessly horrible and flawlessly Russian.
Pain, sorrow, loss, and death. The Russian outlook is, in general, not one of hope and optimism.

"The Three Hermits" is less ghastly.

This is a land of people who will avoid using a peeler when peeling an apple or potato by hand, preferring to always use a knife: "If, one day, I need to peel something and I don't have a peeler, and I haven't peeled using a knife in years, then what will I do? It's better that I just keep on using a knife."

Most Russian army equipment is designed to be repairable using tools and implements found in a typical farmhouse. They cannot fathom our practice of designing things for which "depot level repair" even exists.

For more levity, Pushkin's fairy tales from several decades earlier aren't so dark, and much more what westerners would expect in children's literature.

Blogger Jehu May 18, 2020 3:31 PM  

Read my kids 'Call of Cthulhu for beginning readers'. It was awesome. Kind of Seussian in its rhyme and meter, and pretty faithful to the story.

Blogger Mocheirge May 18, 2020 3:35 PM  

Kraemer wrote:Is this how Russians are made?

Is how Latvians made if you add potatoes. Which Russians then take.

Blogger Silent Draco May 18, 2020 3:38 PM  

The thought of a 'feeder' school for Miskatonic University gives me great amusement, like feeder goldfish. I assume those who wash out get a free transfer to Innsmouth (Ab) Normal School.

I'll second Rex Leroy King's thought. I was waiting on the suicide, and just wondered how pointless it would be.

Blogger doctrev May 18, 2020 3:44 PM  

I'm only surprised Tanith Lee wasn't first on the list and the inspiration for the post. If you want your daughters worshiping Satan in exchange for magical power and a movie deal with Disney? Let them access Tanith Lee before they turn 16.

If they're seeking out Sam Delaney's work, you have bigger problems than grotesquely perverted book stores and libraries. Good Lord.

Blogger ZhukovG May 18, 2020 3:53 PM  

Russian children must learn at an early age that life is hard, then you drink vodka and die.

Blogger johndoe03526 May 18, 2020 3:57 PM  

Lovecraft should be banned.

Blogger ar10308 May 18, 2020 3:57 PM  

These stories should adequately prepare Russian children to live in Russia in the 1800 and 1900s.

Now, where are the children's stories written by Franz Kafka for the post-industrial German children?

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants May 18, 2020 3:59 PM  

"I don't know how children's stories are supposed to go..."

Someone hasn't read Rainbow Fish & Heather Has Two Mommies.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia May 18, 2020 4:10 PM  

H.P. Lovecraft. Although the idea of combining Hogwarts and Lovecraft at Arkham Academy has occurred to me and other game designers over the years. The feeder school, presumably, for Miskatonic University.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8rWWETfEs0

It's gonna be too hot to breathe today
But everybody is out here on the streets
Somebody's opened up the fire hydrant
Cold water rushing out in sheets

Some kid in a Marcus Allen jersey
Asks me for a cigarette
Companionship is where you find it
So I take what I can get

Hubcaps on the car like fun house mirrors
Stick to the shadows where I can
Lovecraft in Brooklyn

Well the sun goes down on the armies of the voiceless
Several hundred-thousand strong
Come without their bandages
Their voices raised in song

When the street lights sputter out
They make this awful sizzling sound
I cast my gaze towards the pavement
Too many blood stains on the ground

Rhode Island drops into the ocean
No place to call home anymore
Lovecraft in Brooklyn

Head outside most everyday
To try to keep the wolves away
Imagine nice things I might say
If company should come

Woke up afraid of my own shadow
Like, genuinely afraid
Headed for the pawnshop
To buy myself a switchblade

Someday something's coming
From way out beyond the stars
To kill us while we stand here
It'll store our brains in mason jars

And then the girl behind the counter
She asks me how I feel today
I feel like Lovecraft in Brooklyn

Blogger God Emperor Memes May 18, 2020 4:13 PM  

"Most Russian army equipment is designed to be repairable using tools and implements found in a typical farmhouse."
This is because it is designed to be repaired by typical Russian peasant farmers.

Blogger God Emperor Memes May 18, 2020 4:15 PM  

Samuel Delaney has a face that screams "probable sex offender".

Blogger Jemison Thorsby May 18, 2020 4:17 PM  

Speaking of literature, my copy of the Castalia Library print of The Missionaries arrived today. Very pleased with it.

Blogger James Dixon May 18, 2020 4:24 PM  

While I agree with your assessment of her writing skill, I'm afraid you should add Tanith Lee to that list.

Blogger Unknown May 18, 2020 4:28 PM  

Many of the worthiest writers seem to be like this. Thomas Hardy, Henrik Ibsen, Leo Tolstoy, nothing ever goes right. Many of the books we are made to read at school are misery books, "Of Mice and Men" comes to mind. No-one would want to them read for pleasure.

But Shakespeare's not like this, his comedies have plenty of comic people doing ridiculous things; and Chaucer especially has a fine sense of humour.

Blogger Tallen May 18, 2020 4:30 PM  

Thankfully in this day and age we have Happy Tree Friends instead.

Blogger Daniel May 18, 2020 4:34 PM  

I'd add Vladimir Nabokov to that list.

Blogger Akulkis May 18, 2020 4:38 PM  

A friend's home-made t-shirt from our college days:

Miskatonic University

Seeking Knowledge
Discovering Truth
Running in Terror

Blogger TroubleSpeak May 18, 2020 4:52 PM  

OT: How are we supposed to watch replays of the Darkstream? Yesterday's stream is already removed, bitchute page hasn't been updated since March 30th, and Dlive has no videos at all.

Blogger turk187 May 18, 2020 4:57 PM  

Somewhere I have a comic I clipped long ago; it shows a man dragging two kids to their room saying "no, don't let daddy read to us again" the caption is "bedtime at Stephen Kings house."

Blogger Salt May 18, 2020 5:06 PM  

This makes me think of nursery rhymes children sing. Most describe awful things.

Blogger basementhomebrewer May 18, 2020 5:09 PM  

Is this how Russians are made?

I think it's more genetic. I am 1/4 Russian and I find both humor and comfort in some of their fairy tales.


But Shakespeare's not like this, his comedies have plenty of comic people doing ridiculous things; and Chaucer especially has a fine sense of humour.

There is humor in the Russian stuff, it's just not your particular brand of humor.

Blogger Jason May 18, 2020 5:13 PM  

There is a company that converts Lovecraft into kids stories. I don't remember their name but I bought their alphabet book (which my wife promptly returned...)

Blogger DannyDanger May 18, 2020 5:15 PM  

I've found that the list of books that should never, ever appear in the children's section is significantly longer than the opposite. Granted, I'm dealing with a younger audience than would be considered for the authors mentioned above.

I would certainly love to see an inversion of this list from the minds here at some point.

One question as well: at what age would it be appropriate to expose a child to the existence of the war between good and evil? Many great stories await once that barrier is broken, but I find it to be a difficult judgment call.

Blogger Lazarus May 18, 2020 5:35 PM  

The one about the bird is kind of humorous

Blogger fredulent May 18, 2020 5:38 PM  

There was once a 19th century book in my house called, "childhood accidents". One story was about leaving a loaded gun around that a child might play with.

Blogger maniacprovost May 18, 2020 5:41 PM  

I'd add Vladimir Nabokov to that list.

But his novels are so upbeat and fast-paced. Relatively.

At the other end of the spectrum, Dean Koontz should write *more* children's books, assuming he's still alive and writing his new releases.

Blogger Yossarian May 18, 2020 5:46 PM  

Guy de Maupassant. Forget all the drugs and ritual abuse, if MK Ultra wants to traumatize children, his story about the horse would suffice.

I raise you: Goblin Slayer by Kumo Kagyu. Though MK-Ultra would probably never use a story about how the only only thing that stops young women from being brutally gang-raped, tortured, maimed, and killed by little big-nosed goblins are faceless, nameless, strong Deltas.

Blogger Manuel May 18, 2020 5:49 PM  

So... when is the Patreon for the graphic novel? jk

Blogger sammibandit May 18, 2020 5:53 PM  

Some Hans Christian Andersen should be added,

Ardent Tin Soldier - simp melts to death out of desire to simp.

Little Match Stick Girl - orphan freezes to death on Christmas Eve while watching a happy family.

Little Mermaid - lots of witchcraft. Even if witchcraft is shown immoral the subject matter is post-pubescent. Very dark.

The Snow Queen (Frozen is based on this) - take the above and amp it all up, turn up gain and reverb. Extremely dark.

Blogger rikjames.313 May 18, 2020 6:01 PM  

Somewhat connected "childre's" books:

There is an interesting genre currently in kindle unlimited land. A late teen very early 20s girl is recruited to a hogwarts type magic academy/college (except it is more American). I skimmed several when they started coming out, after asking Vox where they came from (Harry Potter girls are now old enough they want a romance of Hogwarts)

It turns out she is the golden one, but the other girls hate her. There is a group of hot boys, who may or may not hate her, but they circle her as she flops from one to the other, either making out or banging.

Then I did the math and realized the Harry Potter girl who was 10 in 2000 is now 30. Yikes

Blogger Solon May 18, 2020 6:13 PM  

@9 "relentlessly horrible and flawlessly Russian."

Dated a Russian girl a long time ago. That is indeed how they are. Beautiful and cold like a midwinter night in Siberia, with occasional bouts of warmth like a good vodka by the fireside.

Russians learn early that death is a constant companion, so take your joy where you can find it and dont have too many expectations of good things coming your way, because, frequently, life sucks the big one.

There's a reason so many Russians are alcoholics. This... and REALLY good vodka. The stuff in America is paint thinner by comparison. Not even Grey Goose is up to snuff.

Those children's tales by Tolstoy are exactly what Akulkis said: flawlessly Russian.

Blogger cecilhenry May 18, 2020 6:36 PM  

These are laughably bad, but the Grimm tales were read to kids too and they are very dark.

Kids have limbs cut off, people are tortured. Its a sharp jolt of reality for children.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine May 18, 2020 6:37 PM  

"Which Russians then take."

Vadim! Blyat!

"Lovecraft should be banned."

Lovecraft should be mandated considering we're currently experiencing one of his horror scenarios to a T.

Blogger Sam Gem May 18, 2020 6:49 PM  

Does anyone know what the title of the horse story Vox is referring to from Guy de Maupassant?

Blogger Kordl May 18, 2020 6:57 PM  

I laughed out loud at that

Blogger tweell May 18, 2020 7:10 PM  

I prefer a twist when telling the grandchildren fables - spice it up a bit, a la Lawdog.

"Magical cave entrance? Not for long!" thought Ali Baba as he inserted the blasting cap into the bundle of dynamite and tamped everything down with clay. "Who needs incantations? I have demo!"

Blogger Hieroglyph May 18, 2020 7:25 PM  

Well, this is basically the last place I ever expected to find a link to a Friends episode. Not complaining, just observing.

Can we add JK Rowling to the list of books that shouldn't appear in the childrens' section? They aren't terrible, if you like that kind of thing, but I've no doubt children are being subjected to Harry Pooter rather than the marvels of CS Lewis and Tolkien; not good. And girls are growing up wanting to be witches (aka feminists).

There's also that terrible Thomas Covenant series, where someone really should have thrown that gamma of a cliff and just accepted their doom. Perhaps this could be a good Darkstream idea. The SDL anti-book list; do not read.

Blogger bramley May 18, 2020 7:54 PM  

Always found Oliver Twist to be relentlessly dismal fare for children. We were made to read it at school. How a child of nine is meant to understand the relationship between Bill Sykes and Nancy, i'll never know. The portrayal of Fagin definitely struck the mind as an archetype to keep watch for though.

What about Poe for Kiddies?

Blogger Ingot9455 May 18, 2020 8:07 PM  

Maupassant's The Necklace is the greatest short story ever.

Blogger Doktor Jeep May 18, 2020 8:08 PM  

Nothing is more depressing than Russian entertainment.

Blogger God Emperor Memes May 18, 2020 8:10 PM  

For your viewing pleasure: https://youtu.be/Ffh7cWRrqF4

Blogger LZ May 18, 2020 8:13 PM  

Did the absurdists read these books as children?

Blogger eclecticmn May 18, 2020 8:22 PM  

My late father said that children's stories were different when he was young. At the end of Cinderella the step sisters were hung.

Blogger mh01701@gmail.com May 18, 2020 8:26 PM  

Lovecraft didn't bother me as a kid, creepy but cool, but by then I'd been reading Ayn Rand for years.

Blogger Nihil Dicit May 18, 2020 8:49 PM  

Don't think I've read the de Maupassant story in question. Is it as much heart-warming fun as "Pierrot"?


But Shakespeare's not like this

Only because Titus Andronicus isn't be assigned in schools

Blogger bramley May 18, 2020 9:25 PM  

Sam Gem wrote:
Does anyone know what the title of the horse story Vox is referring to from Guy de Maupassant?



M. Nietzsche va en ville (1889)

Blogger Rex Leroy King May 18, 2020 9:42 PM  

eclecticmn wrote:My late father said that children's stories were different when he was young. At the end of Cinderella the step sisters were hung.

That's the Grimms' version. The French version, by Charles Perrault, is the sanitized one that most are familiar with. The German version involves one stepsister cutting off her big toe to try and fit the shoe, and the other one cutting off her heel.

Blogger Akulkis May 18, 2020 9:53 PM  

"Nothing is more depressing than Russian entertainment."

Perfect example: "The Dawns Here are Quiet" a very inspirations WW2 film (both the 1972 original and the 2015 remake).

Likewise Gogol's supernatural tale, "Viy" (the 1967 film production is an accurate representations of Gogol's short story. I can't say anything about the 2014 version as I haven't seen it, but being a Russian production, it's probably accurate, too.).

Even when the protagonists win, they lose.

Blogger Ingot9455 May 18, 2020 11:49 PM  

The Necklace: a vain woman acting above her station destroys her life, family, and future because she doesn't tell the truth.

So yes, heartwarming fun for the whole family. It should be available online in free collections.
In some it might be abridged, be sure to read a whole version.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella May 19, 2020 12:08 AM  

yikes.

I had John Gardner kids books. Dragon, Dragon, and King of the Hummingbirds.

Blogger Silly but True May 19, 2020 12:24 AM  

It gets better for them: Russian kids who survive their childhood stories get to grow up and watch Little Big videos.

Blogger Ranger May 19, 2020 2:15 AM  

Tolkien's wonderful talk/essay "On Fairy Tales", though not primarily about the subject of children's stories, does touch on it (general perception then being that Fairy Tales ARE children's stories, and he arguing the opposite case).

Blogger VD May 19, 2020 2:34 AM  

Can we add JK Rowling to the list of books that shouldn't appear in the childrens' section?

No. You completely missed the point.

Blogger OvergrownHobbit May 19, 2020 2:52 AM  

@22 Except that Tanith Lee's two children's books are delightful. Princess Hynchatti and other Tales is a collection of fairy storirs, and The Dragon's Hoard is a fairy tale version of the Argonauts. It's a fun, funny adventure. Recommended if you can find it. So she clearly knows the difference between "for adults" and not.

The book for German children is Strubelpater. A heart-warming collection of fully-illustrated cautionary tales. Like the scissor man who comes at night to cut off the thumbs of a naughty boy who disobeyed k
His dear parents and insisted on sucking his thumbs.

Everyone comes to a sticky end, but they have it coming.

Blogger Olga May 19, 2020 3:12 AM  

Yes, it is.

Blogger God Emperor Memes May 19, 2020 4:47 AM  

No, they were hanged. They'll almost certainly be "hung" in the inevitable Disney remake, though.

Blogger Up from the pond May 19, 2020 5:48 AM  

>Shakespeare

Lear sucks. Even Tolstoy hated it.

Blogger Section 8A May 19, 2020 9:17 AM  

Tolstoy's "How Much Land Does a Man Need" should be read to every 10 year old.

Blogger Steve Samson May 19, 2020 10:31 AM  

You can find it online. The illustrations are rather good.

Blogger Viisaus May 19, 2020 11:19 AM  

Here is a moral fairy tale where Tolstoy is inculcating a semi-Buddhist lesson about the unreality of ego, as the arrogant, murderous Assyrian king learns a lesson in humility:

http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/2903/

"'This cannot be; it is still a dream! thought Esarhaddon, and made a last effort to awake. 'Surely I am not Lailie, nor the ass, but Esarhaddon!'
He cried out, and at the same instant lifted his head out of the font. . . . The old man was standing by him, pouring over his head the last drops from the pitcher.
'Oh, how terribly I have suffered! And for how long!' said Esarhaddon.
'Long?' replied the old man, 'you have only dipped your head under water and lifted it again; see, the water is not yet all out of the pitcher. Do you now understand?'
Esarhaddon did not reply, but only looked at the old man with terror.
'Do you now understand,' continued the old man, 'that Lailie is you, and the warriors you put to death were you also? And not the warriors only, but the animals which you slew when hunting and ate at your feasts were also you. You thought life dwelt in you alone but I have drawn aside the veil of delusion, and have let you see that by doing evil to others you have done it to yourself also. Life is one in them all, and yours is but a portion of this same common life."

Blogger Viisaus May 19, 2020 11:32 AM  

In the Esarhaddon story, Tolstoy was imitating the style of Buddhist legends, that depicted how even most vicious evildoers could turn into saints by conversion to the Buddhist path, like the famous king Ashoka was said to have turned from a Jigsaw-like sadist into a kind and caring man:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashoka%27s_Hell

"According to the narrations of Ashokavadana, Emperor Ashoka, prior to his conversion to Buddhism, was a fierce and sadistic ruler, known as Ashoka the Fierce, or Chandashoka (Ashoka the Cruel),[1] who sent his minions on a quest to find a vicious man to work as his official executioner.[2][3]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashoka#Reign_before_Buddhist_influence

"Both Sri Lankan and north Indian traditions assert that Ashoka was a violent person before his conversion to Buddhism.[83] Taranatha also states that Ashoka was initially called "Kamashoka" because he spent many years in pleasurable pursuits (kama); he was then called "Chandashoka" ("Ashoka the fierce"), because he spent some years performing extremely wicked deeds; and finally, he came to be known as Dhammashoka ("Ashoka the righteous") after his conversion to Buddhism.[84]"

Blogger Viisaus May 19, 2020 11:44 AM  

Also, in the Arabian Nights fairy tales, instead of the conventional "and they lived happily ever after" there is a grim reminder about the inevitability do death, and pious note that Allah alone is immortal:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Book_of_the_Thousand_Nights_and_One_Night/Abdallah_the_Fisherman_and_Abdallah_the_Merman

"Nevertheless, he continued for some time to go down to the sea-shore and call upon the merman; but he answered him not nor came to him; so, at last, he gave up hope of him and abode, he and the king his father-in-law and their families, in the happiest of case and the practice of righteousness, till there came to them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of Companies and they died all. And glory be to the [Ever-]Living One, who dieth not, whose is the empire of the Seen and the Unseen, who can all things and is gracious to His servants and knoweth all that pertaineth to them!"

Blogger Olga May 19, 2020 12:58 PM  

Is Tolstoy's "The Sparrow and the Swallow" how the Russians learn from childhood to always burn the bridges?.. Perhaps.

Blogger Bibliotheca Servare May 19, 2020 1:29 PM  

@Sam Gem

I believe he's referring to "Coco" which is absolutely as depressing as he alludes to. Also rage-inducing.

Blogger Nathan Hornok May 19, 2020 3:00 PM  

I have a collection of about 20 little books that are each fairy-tails or legends from various nations. Irish fairy-tale, Scottish tales, etc. I've been reading them to my kids before bed. The Russian fairy-tales were by far the most tragic and sad. Although they were some of the most profound as well. On the bright side, the tragic symbolism in them was often over the heads of my children.

On a side note, the Chinese fairy-tales were almost impossible to figure out what the moral of the story was. A theme of reverence for elders ran throughout them, but other than that I would finish a tale and say "I don't know what that was about." Very different culture.

Blogger Mast Abeam May 19, 2020 5:54 PM  

@ Sam (and 73 !)
"Coco" is a beloved horse put out to pasture from the "manor" who is entrusted to the teenage Izadore. For reasons unclear but explored ( as jealousy/anger about allocation of scarce resources?) the boy instead stakes the horse's lead ever shorter so that it starves and dies where it stands in the field. Coco is buried on that spot and we are left with dM's observation that the grass grows greener there.
A deep cut for sure.

Blogger Macs May 20, 2020 12:12 AM  

I'm not gonna lie, reading "Notes From Underground" at age 12 messed me up for life.

Blogger Mr X May 20, 2020 2:11 PM  

They seem OK to me. Remember that the original Little Red Riding Hood ends when she is eaten by the wolf, also some stories by Andersen can be quite tragic. The thing is that now people grow up with Disney and so a sad, tragic or violent story is consider inappropriate for children. But it was not like that before. Some old stories for children can be quite gruesome. Bluebeard, for instance? And some of Grimm's stories are very grim indeed. And the further back you go, the more gruesome they can be. No rainbow and puppies.

Blogger william333344mason May 22, 2020 1:18 AM  

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