In Donkeyskin, the heroine's mother dies with explicit instructions to the father-King that he is not to remarry unless it is to a woman more beautiful, wise and accomplished than the dying Queen herself. Now, I don't see why it had to follow that the King would then set his sights on his own daughter, but hey, fairy tales have never shied away from controversial subjects, have they?
The princess - smart girl - does not take her father's sudden strange fancies lying down... :) I'm sorry, I couldn't resist that:) She's advised by her fairy godmother - apparently there are quite a few of them traipsing about in fairytale-land - to request an expensive trousseau as a gift from her father before she can agree to his request to marry him. Both princess and fairy godmother soon realise however that the wealth brought by an enchanted donkey the King owns will enable him to supply her with any remarkable dress she asks for (and she asks for some beauties, including a dress the colour of the moon and one more splendid than stars).
In desperation, the princess finally requests for the hide of that poor animal, thinking that her father would not be able to part with such a wondrous possession.
The donkeyskin is however delivered to the horrified princess.
The bright side is - it turns out to make wonderful camouflage.
Wearing it - hence the princess's new title 'Donkeyskin' - our heroine quickly escapes the castle, her jewels and lavish trousseau towed along in her trunk. She works at a farm on which there lies an aviary frequented by a prince (come on, you knew a prince would appear sooner of later:D). The Prince, by a bizarre turn of events that truly paints him as the worst sort of Peeping Tom, discovers the beautiful woman lying beneath that horrendous donkeyskin and tricks her into marrying him. Well, the fairy tale actually suggests that Donkeyskin tricks the Prince into tricking her into marrying him, but I suppose there's no need to keep score here:) They marry, her father "purges himself of all lawless desires", and everyone lives happily ever after...
Except of course for one thing: I can't quite get over the senseless murder of that poor donkey!
Donkeyskin seems to be becoming forgotten despite its beautiful language, no doubt because of its controversial subject matter. It's a shame really, especially when the heroine in this piece is a breath of fresh air, taking her destiny courageously into her own hands for much of the tale. The piece has also been written in a beautifully lyrical style, so much so that I found it to be one of the more well-crafted (stylistically) fairytales that I've devoured so far:)
All right, I would normally write more on any fairy tale I'm featuring, but I've come to realise I'll never get through this challenge if I keep doing that, so I'll revisit this - and the rest of the tales - once the challenge is over:) May this review have persuaded you to pick up the much ignored Donkeyskin for a fascinating read. Till alphabet 'E' then:) Ciao:)