Quicker is a drink than a tale

FIGURA HN_SERPIENTE

 

And she looked at him; and when she saw how handsome he was, she said,

Will you be so kind as to come home with me to my father’s house and take something?’

So the lad went and sat down, and before she asked him anything she set down wine before him and said, ‘Quicker is a drink than a tale.’

When he had taken that, he began and he told her all that happened, and how he had seen her in his sleep, and when, and she was well pleased.

And I saw thee in my sleep on the same night,’ said she.

J. F. Francis Campbell, Popular Tales of the West Highlands, vol. I, Paisley & London: Alexander Gardner, 1890, p. 291
Illustration inspired by a decorative element from the Ancient Egypt
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Storytellers for hire in old Russia

CILINDRO HOMO NARR.

As early as in Russian sources of the twelfth century one may read that a rich man, suffering from sleeplessness, ordered his attendants to tickle the soles of his feet, to strum on the gusli, and to tell him fairy tales. Ivan the Terrible, who became one of the popular heroes of the Russian folk tales, was its most avid fancier, and three old blind men followed each other at his bedside, relating fairy tales before he slumbered. Skillful tellers of tales continued to enliven the leisure of tsar and tsarina, of princes and gentry, as late as the eighteenth century. Even at the close of that century we find in Russian newspapers advertisements of blind men applying for work in the homes of the gentry as tellers of tales. Lev Tolstoy, as a child, fell asleep to the tales of an old man who had once been bought by the count’s grandfather, because of his knowledge and masterly rendition of fairy tales.

Roman Jakobson, “On Russian Fairy Tales”, appendix to A. Afanasiev, Russian Fairy Tales, translated by Norbert Guterman, New York: Pantheon, 1945, p. 635
Illustration inspired by a mesopotamian drawing 

 

A definition of fairy tale

Dragon serpiente

Fairy tale: indicating to us the possibility of impossible occurrences under possible or impossible conditions. (Goethe)

 Translated by W. Mieder in “Fairy tale allusions in modern German aphorisms”, in D. Haase (ed.), The Reception of Grimms’ Fairy Tales: Responses, Reactions, Revisions, Detroit: Wayne University Press, 1993, p. 150.
Illustration based on a mix animal from the imaginary of the ancient world.