If you have read the forewords of the first three tales of my Faery series—Once Upon a Winter's Night and Once Upon a Summer Day and Once Upon an Autumn Eve—you will know my thesis is that once upon a time many (if not most) fairy tales were epics of love and seduction and copious sex and bloody fights and knights and witches and dragons and ogres and giants and other fantastic beings all scattered throughout the scope of the tale as the hero or heroine struggled on.
Bardic sagas were these, but as the minstrels and troubadours and sonneteers and tale spinners and bards and other such dwindled, and common folks took up the task of entertaining one another with these well-loved epics, I believe bits were omitted—fell by the wayside—and the stories grew shorter, or fragmented into several stories, or changed to fit the current culture or religion or whatever other agendas the tale tellers might have had.
And so, if I'm right, the grand and sweeping tales bards used to keep their royal audiences enthralled for hours on end became less and less as the tales were spread from mouth to mouth. As the years went on, the stories continued to dwindle, until they became what the collectors of those tales—Andrew Lang, the Grimm brothers, and others—finally recorded and produced for others to read . . . or so it is I contend—
—pale reflections of what they once were—
—holding a small portion of the essence—
—and so on.
But guess what: they still hold audiences rapt.
They still charm.
They still are much admired by many, and certainly I am among those.
Even so, I would really like to hear some of these stories such as I have imagined them once to have been: long, gripping, romantic, perilous epics of love and hatred and loss and redemption and revenge and forgiveness and life and death and other such grand themes.
But told as a fairy tale.
Especially a favorite fairy tale.
Expanded to include all the above.
With Once Upon a Spring Morn this time I take two favorites of mine—woven together and mixed with what I think might have been—to tell the tale as I would have it be: an epic, a saga, a story of length.
As with my other stories, since it is a romance in addition to being an adventure, once more you will find French words sprinkled throughout, for French is well-suited to tales of love.
By the bye, the best known versions of the two central stories are but a few pages long. Once again, I thought that much too brief, and, as is apparent, I did lengthen them a bit. But then again, I claim that I am telling the "real" story, and who is to say I am not?
I hope it holds you enthralled.
Dennis L. McKiernan
Tucson, Arizona, 2006?