The story is based on a French fairy tale written by Marie Catherine d'Aulnoy in 1698 called The Green Serpent, in the original version the Green Snake is a dragon. This is a very long fairy tale, with many twists and turns, but it was intriguing and memorable. Instructions for making your own Green Snake are at the end of the post. :)
The tale begins with a Queen who is hosting a banquet for a dozen fairies, so that they can bestow gifts upon her little twin baby girls. As the banquet was about to begin, Old Mag, the meanest fairy, who was not invited to the banquet, appeared. The Queen became very nervous, she knew that Old Mag could be trouble, the Queen offered Old Mag a chair and brought her gifts of jewels but Mag was furious over not having been invited. Old Mag slammed her wand down on the table, and the other fairies were very frightened, and started to run away. Then Old Mag went to the first baby's crib and gave her a curse of being hideously ugly, she started for the second crib, but the other fairies were able to hold her back, Old Mag flew out the window, furious in a bolt of lightening.
The fairies tried to help the first baby by giving her the best gifts they could, but the baby grew uglier by the minute. The fairies promised the Queen that one day the girl would be happy. The Queen thanked the fairies and sent them on there way with many gifts. The Queen named her two baby girls, the first one who was cursed was called Dorugly who did indeed grow up ugly, and the second one Dorabelle who was a beautiful girl.
When Dorugly was twelve years old, she wanted to leave the palace, and go an live unseen in an abandoned castle that her father owned. Her parents agreed, and sent her to live in the abandoned ancient castle by the sea, with woods on both sides, along with her old nurse. She lived there for two years, practicing her music, drawing and writing poetry. She became lonely and went to visit her family just in time to see Dorabelle's wedding to a neighboring King, but her family was embarrassed by her, and told her she should have kept herself hidden to avoid bothering the guests. Dorugly was angry, it wasn't her fault that she was ugly, but becasue she was wise, she hid her anger, and went back to her home.
One day while Dorugly was out walking in the forest, she came upon a great green snake. The snake said hello to Dorugly, and told her not to be sad, that he too was ugly and had once been handsome. But Dorugly was terribly frightened by the snake, and ran home. A few days later she decided to go out again, and went down to the water, were she saw a beautiful little boat, she climbed in to explore, but soon the boat began to drift out to sea. Dorugly tried to grab the oars, but the wind brought her too far out to sea. Dorugly was beside herself, she bagan to cry, and also started crying about how her family didn't even care about her because she was ugly, and how the only one who would speak to her was an awful snake. Just then the green snake swam up next to the boat, and offered to help her. She was too frightened, and so the green snake disappeared. She did begin to wonder how it was that the snake could talk, but she was just to frightened by him.
Then, on the wind Dorugly heard a voice, and it told her to be kinder to the green snake, and that he could help her. Then a big gust of wind drove the boat against a rock, and it broke apart, luckily Dorugly was able to grab onto a floating board, and make her way to a rock. She climbed onto the rock, but almost fainted when she realized it was not a piece of wood she held onto, but the snake. The snake saw she was frightened and swam away. She was trapped on the rock, and decided to climb as high as she could, and, because night had come, she used her apron as a pillow and fell asleep. As she slept she heard beautiful music, and she thought she was dreaming, but when she woke up, she was no longer on a rock, but in a beautiful room, on a golden couch. She wondered if it was the snake who had saved her. She heard a knock at the door, and opened it to find fifty small Chinese dolls come to life, they could speak and walk around, and took Dorugly on a tour of the castle. The dolls told her that their master, the king, was away, and that he wanted them to take care of her. The Castle and its grounds were beautiful, and Dorugly enjoyed the company of all the dolls, and became a much happier person.
One night, while Dorugly was wondering why although she felt much happier with her new friends, her heart still felt empty, a voice told Dorugly that she would be happier if she learned to love. Dorugly asked which doll was speaking, but the voice said that is was no doll but the king of the castle. Then the King told Dorugly that he loved her, Dorugly could not believe anyone could love her, especially a King. Dorugly and the King spoke on many more occasions, and The King revealed that he is under a curse, and that he must not be seen for seven years if he was seen the curse would start over, five years have already passed, but that he is in love with Dorugly and wished to marry her. They had become such good friends so, sight unseen, Dorugly agreed to marry the king.
One day she decided it is time to bring her family to the palace, although the king didn't like the idea. When her family arrived Dorugly enjoyed showing them her home. Dorugly's mother and sister were eager to meet her husband, but Dorugly made excuses why he was not there. They think she was just making up her husband and began to tease her, Dorugly finally admits she has never seen her husband, and only spoken to him. Her sister and mother convince her he must be some kind of monster who has tricked her, and that she should try to get a look. After her family left, Dorugly became very curious, and lit a lamp so she could get a glimpse of her husband one evening when he was talking with her. When she brought the light up to the king, she was horrified to see that her husband was the green snake, and she fainted! Her husband was heartbroken and disappeared.
Dorugly's doll friends tried to calm her down, but before they could, Old Mag and her army of marionettes made war with the dolls. Although the dolls fought bravely, Old Mag won, and captured Dorugly. Old Mag gave Dorugly a series of impossible tasks, such as weaving spider wed into a strong fishing net. Dorugly heard the voice of green snake, and and he told her he still loved her, and would send her a fairy to help her. The fairy helped complete some of the tasks. When Old Mag found out Dorugly had help, she sent Green Snake to a deep hole to wait out his seven more years of the curse since he had been seen, and chained Dorugly to a mill stone. Old Mag gave her a pitcher full of holes, and told her she had three years to climb the hill to the Well of Discretion and bring her a pitcher full of the water, and if she disobeyed, Old Mag would make Green Snake suffer. Dorugly was so worried about Green Snake she tried to pull the heavy millstone to get up the hill, although the task was impossible, she kept trying so green snake would not be harmed.
The Fairy Protectress rewarded Dorugly for her unselfishness, and helped her fly up the hill to the well, the fairy told Dorugly to wash her face in the well, and she would be beautiful again. Then the fairy agreed to hide Dorugly for the duration of the seven year curse in the woods away from Mag. Dorugly thought about the magical well water, and decided that it was more important for her to be wise than beautiful, and that if she had been wiser, she wouldn't have been foolish enough to have looked at he king, and cause him seven more years of the curse. So she drank the water, and washed her face, and she became beautiful and wise, the fairy was also pleased that Dorugly knew it was more important to be wise, so she rewarded Dorugly by shortening her curse to three years. Dorugly told the fairy that she didn't deserve it, and that instead the fairy should help Green Snake. The fairy said she would try, and then told Dorugly that since she was so beautiful, she should now be known as Queen Discreet. She lived hidden in the woods, among her animal friends for three years, in three years the fairy came back to help her deliver the well water to Old Mag. Old Mag was surprised to see that Dorugly completed the task, but was angry that she had washed in the water and become beautiful.
So Old Mag gave her another difficult task, she told Queen Discreet to bring her a bottle of the Essence of Long Life from a dark hole at the world's end. Again, Fairy Protectress helped Queen Discreet by giving her a magical leafy branch, that when struck on the ground, opened a path to the hole at world's end, the same hole where Green Snake was held prisoner. The hole was frightening, but Queen Discreet was brave, she soon came upon a very handsome young man, she knew it must be Green Snake. He was very impressed by her new beauty, and so glad to see her that he was speechless. They were both so happy to be together. They asked a witch, who had been guarding Green Snake, for the Essence of Long Life. The witch gave them a bottle, the cork was slightly loose, to try and tempt their curiosity, but Queen discreet had learned her lesson, and would never again let curiosity make her do wrong.
The King and Queen made there way back to Old Mag, and she immediately gulped the bottle of Essence of Long Life. The essence did Old Mag so much good that she forgave all of her enemies, with the wave of her wand she restored Green Snake's Kingdom, as well as all the dolls. Green Snake and the beautiful Queen returned home, and lived very happily, twenty times longer than their miseries had lasted.
This was an interesting tale, Old Mag reminds me of the fairy who cursed Sleeping Beauty, I thought it was sad that Dorugly's family treated her so poorly, but in the end I was glad that Dorugly became truly happy by finding love, and learning some important lessons, such as wisdom being more important than beauty, and, to be cautious with curiosity. I thought the ending with Old Mag was a little funny, maybe it is because I am nearing fourty this year, and have had fancy wrinkle creams on my mind, Old Mag's little bottle of Essense of Long Life made her a much happier woman, a great add campaign idea for Anti-Aging creams. :)
For my craft, I thought I would try out DAS air drying clay, one of the first art projects I did back in high school art class, was making a clay snake, and painting it, I remember it being a pretty fun project. The Das clay did a great job, and I look forward to working with it a lot more, it hardened very well, it did take a couple of days, and I kept flipping it so it would dry all the way through. The DAS clay does have a strange chemical smell, but it wasn't too bad, and it is nice to be able to make clay projects without having to bake it, or without a kiln.
First I rolled out and shaped the snake how I wanted it. Then let it harden for a couple of days, flipping it every so often so it would dry all the way through. Then I painted it with basic acrylic craft paint.
After the paint dried, I painted a layer of Mod Podge on to seal it, then gave it a very light dusting of very fine green glitter (it is an enchanted snake after all), then another coating of Mod Podge to seal in the glitter. When it was dry, I took it out to the garden for pictures, we are having such a beautiful sunshiny day that I couldn't resist. Here's how green snake turned out.
He reminds me of the little garter snakes that visit our garden in the spring and summer. I am really looking forward to spring, and getting back out to my garden, I love it when the crocus flowers blossom!
The story of the Green Snake can be found in The Golden Book of Fairy Tales.Thanks for reading!