Illustration by Cherry-Ksyss at deviantart.com from a similar story, “The Princess and the Pea”
“The Most Sensitive Woman” is a tale from Italy retold by Christian Schneller in Märchen und Sagen aus Wälschtirol. I read the version on D. L. Ashliman’s site. It’s from the South Tyrol region in Northern Italy, an area with close historical and cultural ties to Austria. It’s similar to “The Princess and the Pea” – you’ll see why.
Once upon a time there was a prince. (Isn’t there always?) His parents want him to get married, but he states he would only marry the most sensitive woman in the world. His parents say fine, go out and find her. The thing is by sensitive he doesn’t mean attuned to others feelings, he apparently means someone who feels pain easily, which really doesn’t seem like the best quality to seek in a wife.
The first lady he meets has her head wrapped up because her maid had pulled out a single hair when she was brushing her hair that morning. The prince decides she’s not the right one. The second has her whole body wrapped in fine linen and looks sad because the sheet she had been sleeping on the night before had a wrinkle and it made her sick. But the prince believes she is not the most sensitive.
Surprise, surprise – the third woman is the one he chooses. That magical three – no wonder he didn’t really consider the first two. She is sitting on a chair and has her foot bandaged. She is crying and looks so upset that one had to feel sorry for her. Apparently she had been walking in the garden and a breeze had blown a jasmine petal onto her foot. The prince decides she must be the most sensitive woman in the world and marries her. I’m not sure why you would want to be married to someone who is so easily hut, you’re bound to make her life miserable.
I love the last sentence. “Did he do the right thing? Unfortunately the storyteller does not know, for she has run out of yarn.” As Ashliman notes, that sentence is wonderfully ambiguous, referring both to yarn as a raw material for storytelling and as the product of a principal activity of traditional European storytellers: spinning.
Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.
Title: The Devil’s Workshop (The Murder Squad #3)
Author: Alex Grecian
Narrator: John Curless
Published: May 20, 2014 by Penguin Audio
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Audible
London, 1890. Four vicious murderers have escaped from prison, part of a plan gone terribly wrong, and now it is up to Walter Day, Nevil Hammersmith, and the rest of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad to hunt down the convicts before the men can resume their bloody spree. But they might already be too late. The killers have retribution in mind, and one of them is heading straight toward a member of the Murder Squad, and his family.
And that isn’t even the worst of it. During the escape, the killers have stumbled upon the location of another notorious murderer, one thought gone for good but now prepared to join forces with them.
Jack the Ripper is loose in London once more.
I’ve mentioned before that my ratings are entirely subjective. It’s my reaction to the book. I feel like a 2 is perhaps unfair to The Devil’s Workshop, but really I didn’t enjoy for several reasons. I’ve read the other two in the series and enjoyed them well enough, especially the first, but this one just didn’t work for me.
Day and Hammersmith are still good as partners. They’re determined, dogged, and upstanding. They’re determined to do the right thing, even when it’s not necessarily the easiest. And Hammersmith seems to be unkillable.
If I had read more reviews or spoilers I may have known to skip this one.
Things I didn’t like -
1. Jack the Ripper – really? Couldn’t we have a new bad guy, not one who’s been written and re-written a million times? It just annoyed me.
2. Day’s wife Claire has her babies in this one. Not only was she annoying, but I really don’t want to read about labor.
3. I didn’t quite buy into the whole vigilante group setting the prisoners free just to torture them more. The prisons then were not exactly nice places. On the other hand, people in any time period can be nuts.
This is a bit more gory than most mysteries I read, but that didn’t really bother me. I don’t know that it’s really a mystery, more a thriller. We know who the killers are already and the other bad guy is pretty obvious from the beginning.
I will say John Curless did an excellent job as reader. He kept the characters separate and there were several longer dialogues that he kept interesting and moving along. I felt like he read it as it was meant to be read, melodrama and all. I probably wouldn’t have finished it if it had been in print instead of audio.
But even though I didn’t like this one, it was more problems with plot rather than writing or character development, so I’ll probably give the next one a chance, maybe.
Here’s my plan, more or less.
Since last check-in, I finished Week 4 and am starting Week 5.
I had to switch Tuesday and Wednesday because we went to my Mom’s for dinner on Wednesday and to do a little yard work, so I didn’t think I’d want to head out to the gym after that. On Tuesday I did 1 hr 5 mins on the elliptical, going between 4 and 5 miles, I don’t remember the exact number. Wednesday I did some weight-lifting at home with David. We did dead-lifts, curls, squats, a couple of other things and a few crunches.
Thursday was a nice evening so I ran 2 miles at the local park. My pace was 10:42 min/mile. I’m thinking I’ll try to go a little quicker on those shorter runs and not worry too much about time on the longer ones.
Friday I took the dog on a mile walk, but we’re pretty slow.
Saturday I did my 4 miles at the park, going in circles. I’m not sure what the blue thing is on the map below. There’s not a lake there, but it does have a water pad and a softball field and an open area they sometimes use for soccer.
Sunday I took the dog for a mile walk.
Monday I headed to the gym. I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and then did some of the leg machines.
This morning I took the dog for a mile walk, but I’ll do some weights or yoga or something this evening.
David and I registered for the Montour Trail 5K which is the first weekend of September. David isn’t as much of a fan of running, but he does one occasionally.
Readers’ Workouts is hosted at Joy’s Book Blog.
133.5 – Aug 12, 132.5 – Aug 19