Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beyond happily ever after

Image from here
Although "and they all lived happily ever after" is the phrase thought to end the majority of, if not all, fairy tales, very few tales end with this exact phrase. Many imply through other similar words that the characters live happily, but other tales end rather abruptly once all the important plot elements have been related, and others end with some kind of indication that the storyteller was somehow a witness to the events of the story.

Here are some sample tale endings from around the world that I found interesting:
"I've gone as far as my fields extend,
So my tale is at the end"

"Never since the world's creation
Was there such a celebration;
I was there, drank mead and yet
Barely got my whiskers wet"
-Russian (Pushkin)

"They all lived as happily as they could, until they died"

"And if she hasn't died, she is still alive"
Haha-image from here

"I was invited to the wedding, and I dressed up in my most beautiful clothes to go to it. I had a dress of spiderweb, a hat of butter, and shoes of glass. But as I went through the forest I tore my dress, and when I crossed the field the sun melted my hat, and when I passed over the ice my shoes crumbled. And there you have the story out of my bag."
Charles Robinson

"Not stopping to think, they quickly married and began to live happily ever after together."
-Russian (Afanasyev)

"And I jumped on a Saddle, and came to tell you so..."

"I was invited too. I was at the wedding, but I was very hungry. I was so hungry, I chewed the cloth I used for dish-washing. They are still living if they haven't died."

"I was there but they gave me nothing."

"Little shoes run to a brook. Who is jealous, tell something better"
-Cape Verde

"I also was there, and I begged so much pilaw from the cook, and I got so much in the palm of my hand that I limp to this day."

There are many tales that end with the characters living happily and/or getting married that I didn't include, because they do tend to get repetitive and are the most predictable, but I like this ending from the Punjabi tale Dorani, which is especially fitting for Valentine's Day:
"So the prince won his beautiful bride; and though they neither of them dealt any further with fairies and their magic, they learnt more daily of the magic of Love, which one may still learn, although fairy magic has fled away."

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