Image: John Anster Fitzgerald (1823-1906)
Fairytales. Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, The Red Shoes, Hansel & Gretel, Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Six Swans… I could go on and on (and this somewhat-comprehensiveWikipedia list does.) Is there a literary genre better suited to eroticizing? I can’t think of one. But maybe that’s because from my earliest memories of reading erotica, fairytales had a deep erotic allure to them. Eroticism winds subtly through so many of them, beating a steady, throbbing drumbeat just below the surface. Even the most innocent-seeming have a sensuality that tugs at my imagination.
Do they tug at yours as well? Do they inspire you to write or photograph something erotic and sensual, moody and dark, terrifying and creepy?
This week’s Wicked Wednesday challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to take a fairytale of your choosing and turn it into a piece of erotica. You can write a story, a snippet or a piece of poetry; or take a photo that you feel emphasizes an erotic element of a fairytale.
– Prompt by PiecesofJade
When I was a little girl, I had something of an obsession with Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book. My grandmother and grandfather had a copy and, despite its unassuming cloth cover and acres of dense text, it was one of the most exciting reading discoveries of my early childhood. Inside, the most brilliant collection fairy stories. Not the saccharin-sweet versions depicted in pretty picture books but ones with bite and grit. The endings weren’t always happy. Many of the tales were downright violent. Dark and painful.
I was both shocked and fascinated.
Thorn King, my very first published story (which appeared in A Princess Bound) was a fairy tale and, perhaps not surprisingly, it owes a lot in terms of tone and approach to Andrew Lang’s collection. In fact, my favourite reviewer comment to-date warns people about its content. I am exceedingly pleased (perhaps strangely) by this because it tells me that, like Lang, I succeeded in creating something provoking and different. (Many online reviews for The Blue Fairy Book state how ‘shocked’ they are by the rawness of its stories.)
Around the same time I penned Thorn King (which is an original), I wrote an erotic adaptation of the French fairy tale Bluebeard. (Of all the traditional tales, this remains one of my all-time favourites, not least because it still scares the living cr*ap out of me as much now as when I was a child!) It’s been sitting on my computer for quite some time but this Wicked Wednesday prompt seems like the perfect time to reveal a snippet. I really hope you enjoy it.
You probably know our story. Or think you do.
Let me guess.
You heard about how I took a wife. Threw temptation in her way by giving her a key to the door I’d told her not to open. That I promised to kill her when she disobeyed and discovered the bodies of my dead wives.
That I’m a cruel, wicked man who deserves death for what I would do to her.
It’s funny how we twist things to hide the uncomfortable reality, isn’t it? How we secret away those dark little parts society doesn’t want to see in forgotten corners. Paint them in a lighter colour.
Oh, don’t get me wrong – there are fragments of truth in the tale you were told, such as it is.
I am cruel.
I am wicked.
My wife did open the door. But she didn’t find bodies behind it. Oh, no. She found her salvation. Continue reading