Thursday Fun: The Robber Bridegroom (and a mini-contest)

Here’s what I love most about The Robber Bridegroom: you can’t spit at it without hitting a fairy tale trope.

Check out a quick translation at Sur La Lune Fairy Tales (always a fun source of inspiration and information!).

Ok, I lied. (I do that sometimes.) My real favorite thing about this story is the cannibalism. As in a band of robbers kidnapping a girl, stripping her down, cutting her into lots of pieces, boiling her, and then eating her. YUM. Doesn’t that make you want to read it, too?

It’s also a Persephone story: the major psychological aspect is the maiden’s (not the one who just got eaten) descent into the Underworld/unconscious/deep, dark forest. Where she learns the truth about herself and marriage (i.e. marriage destroys women, in that their identity and entire selves are consumed by their husbands).

I’d really like to spend today discussing the fairy tale tropes in greater detail with you faithful watchers. SO, if you comment to this post, mentioning one of the tropes or with a good discussion question, we’ll put your name into a hat and you might get to pick a prompt for us to write about this month. That right – you’ll get to tell the Merry Sisters what story you want us to butcher/rewrite. We’ve done Snow White and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; the next is up to one of you!

So tell me! What is your favorite part of The Robber Bridegroom? Least favorite? Which trope stands out most to you?

30 thoughts on “Thursday Fun: The Robber Bridegroom (and a mini-contest)

  1. Besides the cannibalism and blood everywhere, I think one of my favorite parts is that the old woman helped her escape AND keep the finger so as to show proof of what these guys were doing.

  2. I like the idea of a trail of ashes through the woods… symbolically and semioticly interesting.

  3. Old woman = fairy godmother? sort of? A Hecate figure, perhaps!

    And the finger is totally justice from beyond the grave. I love the finger, too, and the wedding ring. Hellooooo blatant symbolism. The Truth of Marriage: Let Me Show You It.

  4. Definitely fairy godmother, and if you go with the Persephone viewpoint I can totally see her as Hecate.

  5. Though it’s also interesting that the old woman couldn’t escape on her own, but needed the presence of the younger woman. Neither of them could do it alone, but HAD to rely on each other.

  6. And it was handy that the peas and lentils sprouted and grew enough in just a few hours so that they were able to find their way out of the forest.

  7. I love that she still goes inside the building even after hearing the bird tell her it’s a murderer’s house… and that the peas and lentils sprouted after one single night.

  8. Finger in the bosom = priceless! I could see that happening to me. Too amusing.

    And three glasses of wine made the young girl’s heart split in twain? Must be some damn powerful wine, drugged, or a morality tale about going home with strangers/ drinking to excess.

  9. The entering of the building despite warnings is definitely a fairy tale regular! You’re told not to do something, it’s what inevitably happens. I wonder why? Perhaps it has something to do with breaking from the rules, from the strictures of childhood and moving into adult independence?

  10. I love that, too. The finger pointing to exactly what the robbers want most. And then later, being their undoing.

    I vote for morality tale. Drinking with men leads to death (marriage = consumption). But also, three is just about the most significant number in fairy tales. I wonder what the significance of the third glass being *yellow* is.

  11. I call Gothic! I love this. I think Walpole would have too. 😉

    Trapped/buried alive beneath a hogshead! Oh, the glorious horror.

  12. Hehehe. It’s VERY gothic. A lot of the German tales were, but this does have many particularly gothic bits. Like the justice from beyond the grave – that’s a huge gothic thing.

  13. In a lot of cases, yeah, you’re probably right. 😀

    …but I disagree in this instance. If you remove the bird who gives the warning, the rest of the story can happen just as easily. The only purpose the bird serves is to make the maiden *choose* to enter a murderer’s house, instead of doing so unwittingly.

  14. True!

    (Though I actually meant that if she heeded the warning and left there’d be no story, but…)

  15. Well I hate cannibalism and dismemberment, so that’s out for me… I liked the repetition of “My darling, I only dreamt this”. I love repetition, haha, plus there’s something rather eerie about doing it when you’re telling a gruesome story.

  16. The repetition gives it a very spell-casting quality, like she’s binding him to the story. I like that, too.

  17. I blame Brenna for this cannibalism thing. I had to look up trope. Mmmm, I’ve nothing. Tired. I noticed trope rhymes with rope. As in binding matrimony, or tied to the kitchen and/or bed. In this case the wife is the meal rather than preparing the meal. I know lots of women cannibalised by marriage. Hi, can I cook you something?

  18. In this case the wife is the meal rather than preparing the meal.

    I wonder if maybe she’d married him, the robber would have tried to make her participate in the cannibalism.. you know, until he got an heir or something?

  19. An heir from cannibalism. Breast feedings not going to be any fun for mum. Its the whole bring another woman home, cheating #$%* thing. Is that a trope?

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