All Fur – M&A Grimm’s Fairy Tale Book Club


The tale we read this week was “All Fur” and I selected it via bibliomancy. The cover painting is The Bear Dance by William Holbrook Beard. I posted it on instagram(aleatoric_ops) and Aya said – “All Fur!” so I included it here. There is a sort of reverse animal personification.

Last week I was blown away by Aya’s discussion of proof in the Two Brothers. Why is proof so important ?! I think of logical proofs and Aristotle, consensus proofs and the blockchain and then proof of identity or experience in these tales. We recorded a discussion that talks a lot about proofs maybe we will post it. In All Fur there are also proofs – lets get started!

All Fur is a common sort of tale, it reminds me of a tale called Mossy Coat, and also of Cinderella. I still struggle with fairy tale logic. My tldr is that nature is harsh and has no ethics – fairy tales are the “ethics” of nature. This story is divided into two sections that I will call childhood and adulthood (or adolescence). The first half takes place in the princesss’ kingdom, and the second half takes place in another kingdom where the princess is ‘All Fur’. First I will list some points that I noticed that have a resonance with the previous story- or I just wanted to note down:

  • Color: Gold – The queen has golden hair and is beautiful and her daughter has golden hair. 
  • Marriage – When the queen dies she makes her husband the king promise to marry someone as beautiful as his wife. I am disturbed that the value of a woman is beauty – but perhaps we can read this apart from gender and think about nature, what makes a beautiful tree a beautiful flower a beautiful fruit?
  • Children – There are no twins here or brothers, instead there is a father and a daughter and the father wants to marry the daughter! Thankfully the entire kingdom is against this, but they are powerless to stop it. This reminds me of the story of Noah. Sam from Arbor Vitae connected the story of Noah (the inventor of wine), with the idea of seconds, second sons, second worlds after a flood, the second is the one that is generative (the second grape vine produces the grape when you cut back the first). However Noah also had relations with his daughters – which reminds me of this story.
  • Trials vs Storytelling

The daughter, in order to delay marrying her father, says she needs three dresses: one golden like the sun, one white like the moon and one bright like the star, and pelts from all the animals. To me this is the connection between the celestial and the  material  the earth is symbolized by the fur.  We need to over come our base desires that can drive us insane / our complexes by integrating soul spirit matter and emotion.

I also think about the 1000 arabian knights. Scheherazade delays execution by telling stories, the daughter delays execution by creating tasks/trials. I wonder if this a contrast between narrative and game logic.

  • Identity & recognition – The princess escapes in a coat she makes of the furs. Her fiancé, a king in another kingdom, finds her but thinks first she is a wild animal and then realizes she is a person – but does not recognize her. she is practically enslaved by the king and works in. the kitchen. They call her All Fur. She keeps this disguise and enhances it by spreading ash on her body. I think this. is code for forest farming, controlled burning, and the nutritive properties of ash for soil. She also has 3 gifts randomly from a fiancé: a ring, a spinning wheel and a rod that she takes with her when she escapes.
  • Repetition – right now I am into the techniques of surrealism and one of those techniques are repetition. The repetition here is in the 3 nights at the ball with the three dresses, the three dishes that All Fur make with a hidden gift from the fiance in each, and the refrain she says to the king that all she is good for is to throw shoes at. (This last part I find weird – why would she want to marry a guy that throws shoes at people). To me this is about unfolding in time . We must take our time / you can’t hurry love you just have to wait. It is very bergsonian. It also gives the princess a time to show all her gifts to express her gifts.  To every time there is a season. a season for all fur and a season for princesses. It is not always wise to have one persona.
  • Ritual objects: A wheel, a ring, and a rod. (I wonder is a rod a scepter?). Round and straight? Procreation? What is the meaning?
  • Meals/Food
  • Proof – the king can prove all fur is the fiance because she has a white finger, the only part of her not covered in ash.

As a woman these stories are disempowering. But what if we think in terms of the masculine and feminine principles the yin and Yang – the receptive must relinquish everything. This is a sacrifice. The active principle is not subject to ethics – he just acts but through the passive principle the active principle is shaped. Why is passive beautiful and active powerful : is there a dichotomy between power and beauty.

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