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Project Fairy Tale: Falada


Project Fairy Tale
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A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales
Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
"Falada" by Nancy Farmer
Aladdin Paperbacks, 2000
Audience: Children


I chose the short story "Falada" by Nancy Farmer as one of my retellings to read based on "The Goose Girl" by the Brothers Grimm.

This is a collection of stories for children, so it was much simpler than the actual tale and other retellings. It starts out with Falada's origins - the horse lives in elfland but is sent away. His first assignment in the land of humans is to take the Goose Girl to be married, but we know that doesn't go as planned. It turns out her lady-in-waiting is a Goblin from elfland. Falada knows this because of the lady-in-waiting's horse. At the end, instead of being punished, the lady-in-waiting is banished and returns home with her husband, the prince, who is shallow and likes being bossed around. When she gets to her homeland, she goes back to looking like a goblin. Falada doesn't die, but is sent back home, and the Goose Girl marries the King's second son, who is a far better person than the first son.

This is the first retelling of the story that I have read that hasn't stuck closely to the original. It "Disney-fied" it - made it less intense and violent. The main character wasn't spunky in the beginning in this one either, but as she learned more about geese, her confidence grew. I'm so glad that she became stronger in this story also and that she didn't get stuck with the foolish prince. I think this is a good retelling for children, and this was a good one to review for this project, because it shows the differences between the original tale and the retelling. I'm glad I found it!

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