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I generally peruse Barnes & Noble in aimless crisscrossing paths. Sure, there are some sections that I tend to sink into longer than others – YA novels, classics, science fiction, cooking, and mythology.

I especially love fairy tales, legends, and myths. There’s such a deep tradition of storytelling in them. It’s real and raw. They’re stories in their most basic form – the origin of much of our modern day literature.

In a selection from Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book, I discovered one of my favorite fairy tales, often known as “East of the Sun and West of the Moon.”

It follows a girl who is taken by a white bear to a palace, but she is unhappy and worries about her family. By night, another person comes and sleeps next to her – with just the sound of his gentle breathing and the rise of covers as he sleeps.

Before the realization of its inclusion among the common fairy tales (that apparently every writer knew by heart excepting me), I thought it was odd that some of the books I was reading followed such similar story lines.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George uses the tale known as “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” in the story about a woodcutter’s daughter traveling with the bear to his castle.

The romance between the girl and bear develops tenderly with an echo to the old and well-loved tale of “Beauty & the Beast.” Alongside my transfixed fascination with dragons is a sense of thrill when white polar bears take the stage.

The Golden Compass, a movie based on Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” book series, involves these strong beasts fitted with armor and pained but wise eyes.

Another book that follows along the “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” fairy tale is Ice by Sarah Beth Durst. This version takes a spin on the original tale with the main character as the daughter of the girl who is taken by the bear.

What other versions of the fairy tale have you read? Send me a couple you’ve found in the comments below.

 


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