Familiars, Ferrets and Fairy Tales

Today marks the anniversary of the trial, in 1549, of Joan Prentice.  She was accused of sending an imp, in the form of a ferret, to bite children.

 

“She confessed that the Devil appeared to her as a dunnish colored ferret with fiery eyes and asked for her soul. She couldn’t give her soul because it belonged to Jesus, but gave the ferret blood from her finger and cheek. His name was “Bidd”, and when she wanted him to do anything for her, she said:

      “Bidd, Bidd, Bidd,
      come Bidd, come Bidd, come Bidd,
      come suck, come suck, come suck”.

Bidd was a “familiar,” or animal kept by English witches that performed evil deeds for them and was rewarded with sucking their blood from witch teats.)

Joan Prentice’s trial was on 5 July 1589,and she was hanged within two hours after sentencing. “(Source: Robbins, Rossell Hope. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. New York: Bonanza Books, 1959)

Other reports say Joan had two imps, or familiars, named Jack and Jill.

 

Now, here’s the thing: why aren’t witches’ familiars allowed to be so active anymore?  Now they get to be cats that are black or dark birds with knowing looks-sometimes they get to deliver messages.  Always, they are underused.  Think of all the things they could do!  All the things they could explain!

1. Why did Humpty Dumpty fall off the wall?  An imp ferret pushed him off!

2. Why did Snow White actually let the old woman into the cottage after being warned by the dwarves and knowing full well she was in danger?  The imp ferret pushed the door in and the woman was just chasing after her poor, lost pet!

3. Why was Sleeping Beauty clumsy enough to prick her finger on the spinning wheel?  Maleficent’s ferret imp was lying in wait on top of it and Sleeping Beauty was reaching out to pet it, when the imp moved so she pricked her finger instead!

4. How did the witch visit Rapunzel before she was old enough for her hair to grow long?  She’d send up a rope with her ferret imp, he’d tie it securely and she could climb up.  When she left, the ferret would fetch it back down so the girl couldn’t escape.

5. Why does Cruella DeVille want all animals made into coats? As a child a witch sent her imp familiars in their animal forms to bite her!  She particularly likes dalmatians because she finds the spots comforting-the witches’ animals were always all one color!  Hence, her reaction on seeing the spot-less puppies: “What a horrid little white rat-eech!”

Also, I feel this is an entire form of vampirism that has somehow been passed over.  Say!  Perhaps Draco is really an imp!  When turned into an animal his form was a ferret, he’s mighty pale, and he does have an obsession with blood.  This is fun-I am thankful to Joan Prentice and her ferrets for all these scrumptious thoughts.  Anyone else have some theories or uses for a ferret imp?

Tell a Story Day Madness

In the U.S., today is National Tell a Story Day. (http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Society/national-tell-story-day.html)  In honor of this, I present a Disney Fanfic inspired by rewatching Aladdin last night:   “Real Magic Issues”

Fax to F.T. Agency:

Thank you for your interest, but at this point we have no plans to replace the role of our Fairy Godmothers.  Rest assured that your agency’s contact information is on file.  If this ever does come under consideration, we will contact you.  Please do not send us any more applications.  Thank you.

Signed,

John “Honest” Foxx

-President of Fairy Tale Supervisors, Disney Movies, Inc.

Email to J. H. Foxx:

I appreciate that your corporation is not currently accepting applications, but the situation is urgent.  You must see that magically granting a girl fancy dress wear and a temporary coach when what she clearly needs is to discuss and work through her childhood family issues, represents a lack of comprehension and efficiency that borders on the disastrous!  If you wish your heroines to achieve true happy endings, you must admit that the services of our Fairy Therapists Agency has become essential.  No offense to your currently employed Fairy Godmothers and their stand-ins, but they don’t seem to grasp the intricacies of the heroine (or hero) psyche.  I ask you to please, for the sake of your protagonists, to reconsider our services.

Sincerely,

Magda W. Potts

-Owner of F.T.A. (Fairy Therapists Agency): “Real Magic Doesn’t Create Fantasies, it Dispels Problems from Reality.”

Email to Mrs. M. Potts:

According to our storylines, all our protagonists already have their happy endings!  Our customer records bear out that the interventions by our Fairy Godmothers, and their stand-ins, produce satisfying stories with endings that are both good and believable to our viewers.  Consider this the response to your begged for reconsideration.

Signed,

President Foxx

-President of Fairy Tale Supervisors, Disney Movies, Inc.

Transcription of Phone Conversation:

J.F.: Hello?

M.P.: It’s Magda Potts.  Honestly, John!  I consider it the height of rudeness that you blocked my recent emails.  I think it’s time you began working through some of your control issues.

J.F.: I’ll thank you not to analyze me, Mrs. Potts!  And furthermore-

M.P.: I don’t wish to analyze you; I wish to help your fairy tale characters.

J.F. (gritted teeth): They don’t. need. Your help.

M.P.: Oh, come now!  Just last night I reviewed the story whose hero gets it into his head that he’s nothing without owning a magic genie!  Clearly, he’s not thinking logically at this point.  If he wants to keep the genie, he will never be able to make another wish-thus making owning such a genie utterly useless!  If he actually utilizes this wish in order to accomplish something during the sultanship which he so fears, than he will no longer own the genie.  It’s only a matter of time!  And the genie, for all his brilliance, simply does not know how to handle this kind of mental struggle.  In fact, he exacerbates it!  Now, if you’d just let one of my Fairy Therapists in, I’m sure Aladdin could have been convinced of the irrationality of his thinking.  If he could even be persuaded to talk to Jasmine about his fear of become sultan in the future, instead of constantly focusing on his past, things might have been resolved.  After all, Jasmine could easily rule the country and all Aladdin would have to worry about is being a figure head and a good husband for her.

J.F.: If you remember, Mrs. Potts, that story does achieve resolution.

M.P.: Ah, but if I remember correctly, that poor boy’s fear of ruling is never actually addressed.

J.F.: *audible sigh*

M.P.: Moreover, my assistant has just been telling me about Tangled

J.F.: *resigned*Yes, I’m sure.

M.P.: You must realize the mental agony that girl goes through for most of the movie!  You even show a lot of it right after Rapunzel exits the tower for the first time!  So much anguish and guilt about her perceived mother!  Not to mention the other issues that crop up by the end of that fiasco.  If you’d let her have access to us, to work through what her hair symbolizes to her-“

J.F.: Magda, her hair is magic!

M.P.: Yes, but it also holds so much more.  Her connection to her real mother, her false mother-

J.F.: MAGIC is what our viewers want to see!  Not just some talk about feelings!

M.P.: JUST talk??  How do you expect that girl to get her happy ending without “just some talk” about all she’s been through??  I guarantee, without a proper Fairy Therapist she’ll wind up having a nervous breakdown, living back at the palace or not!  You can see for yourself in Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

J.F.: Will people shut up about Sondheim?  Our leads are treated just as humanely as they are!  More so!

M.P.: Forcing them to ignore the ugly issues they’ve been through is not humane!  It’ll only make them worse, in the end.

J.F.: Oh, and I suppose Aurora should have ended with her in one of your offices talking about the sudden pressures of palace life?

M.P.: *muttering under breath* Please don’t make that one of your ridiculous sequels.  *normal voice* Certainly not!  That ending is a favorite.  There should have been one of our members amongst her fairy keepers-or at least you should have allowed us to offer them some training!  I have a high respect for Flora, Fauna, and Merriwether-why, I play bridge with them every week!-but they really handled Aurora’s transition very badly.  The poor girl’s breaking down about a significant change in her life, and her love, and what do they do?  Magic her a golden crown.  A crown, for crying out loud!

J.F.: You are aware, I suppose, that your agency has already sent us detailed lists of these analyses and complaints for all of our films?

M.P.: Of course, but I have to assume you haven’t read them.  Anyone who cared a jot for their characters would have already taken us on after reading those reports.

J.F.:…I now see the confusion, Mrs. Potts.  I am in show business.  I show my heroes and heroines that an actor’s life for them can be highly rewarding.  What happens after my shows…well, they chose to be here, they might as well be firewood for all I care!

M.P. *long pause*  Thank you for being honest, John.  Then it shouldn’t bother you to add a clause in your contract that all leading characters must visit our agency at the end of your filming?

J.F.: It it’ll keep me from hearing from you again, Mrs. Potts, it will be well worth it.  I’ll make it a requirement for all movie protagonists, past, present, and future, shall I?

M.P.: Be my guest.

*click*

John “Honest” Foxx: “Must’ve kept her so angry she still hasn’t seen the new television show.”  Evil smile.  “Now, those are the people who really need therapy.”