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July 22nd, 2013

may_lily: (Dare to dream)
Monday, July 22nd, 2013 03:19 pm
From my tumblr.

The cannibalism episode of Sun Moon and Talia takes on extra significance in light of the frame story of the Pentamerone (Beginning and Conclusion; content note for racism. The slave is treated really unpleasantly).

Princess Zoza must marry the dead Prince Tadeo. She can bring him back to life if she fills the pitcher on his tomb with her tears. She nearly fills it, but needs to sleep before she’s finished. While she’s sleeping, a slave girl comes along and fills up the rest of the pitcher, awakening the prince and marrying him. The slave gets pregnant and Zoza casts a spell on her that will make her crave hearing stories. The prince sends for storytellers, and the tales begin. In the end, Zoza tells her story and reveals that most of the tears were hers. The slave is executed and the prince marries Zoza.

So in both Zoza’s and Talia’s stories the prince is married to the ‘wrong’ woman. The first wife is portrayed as an unpleasant person while the second wife is more desirable. In the end, the ‘bad’ wife is killed and the ‘good’ woman takes her place. Interestingly, the pregnancy in the frame story is given to the first wife, while in Sun, Moon and Talia the first wife apparently has no children.

An earlier Sleeping Beauty, Troylus and Zellandine from Perceforest (available in A Perceforest Reader), follows the first half of Basile’s and Perrault’s stories reasonably closely. Three goddesses, Lucina, Venus and Themis, are given a feast to celebrate Zellandine’s birth. Themis was not given a knife, and, insulted, decreed that a shard of linen would pierce her finger from spinning and cause her to fall asleep; Venus decrees that she will make sure the shard is removed. This happens, Venus helps Troylus get to where Zellandine’s sleeping, he has sex with her, she gives birth, and the baby sucks out the shard. But after this, the story changes; there is no conflict with Troylus’ family. A fairy takes away the baby and Zellandine’s family wants her to marry someone else, so she runs away with Troylus.

This makes me wonder when the cannibalism episode got attached to the Sleeping Beauty episode. Was Basile retelling a story as he heard it, or did he put two stories together because they fit his theme?