I read a Neil Gaiman poem recently in A Wolf at the Door. The title was “Instructions” which describes the poem perfectly. It’s instructions on what to do if you find yourself in a fairy tale. It’s cute but true to the fairy tale standards. Help those who ask for it, don’t steal from an old woman’s house. It’s about trust and hope and seeking.
Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that
witches are often betrayed by their appetites;
dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;
hearts can be well-hidden,
and you betray them with your tongue.
At the end, if you follow the instructions, you will return home, safe and sound, although changed by your journey. Of course, we all know that even if you follow the rules, a journey through fairy tale land is dangerous, indeed.
You can read the whole poem at The Endicott Studio. It’s also on Gaiman’s Speaking in Tongues CD and according to the Neil Gaiman Online Store, if “despite following these instructions to the letter, you are eaten by wolves or lost, never to be seen again, the publisher will refund the cost of this CD.”
Tif, from Tif Talks Books, is the hostess of this great feature, Fairy Tale Fridays. Head over there later to see her take on a modern re-telling and to share your own thoughts. Next week, we’ll be looking at a “The Butterfly” by Hans Christian Andersen, a new one for me.
I borrowed A Wolf at the Door from the library and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.