Behind the Talette: “The Tipsilvren Witch”

It’s the last Monday of the month, meaning my Channillo series has grown by one Wilderhark Talette. ^o^

Subscribers to my Talettes so far may have come to expect another short story featuring my favorite fairytale tailor, Edgwyn Wyle. But not this time! These characters are all new, inspired by a story  you may have heard called “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”.

I broke from the trees nearest the house, running as fast as my small legs could scamper. I’d gained the step when the door banged closed right into my nose, as if slammed from within. As I tumbled backward, the girl’s laugh trilled from behind me.

“Nice try, baby bear,” she teased. “No trespassing today. Be gone, shoo!”

I ran back to the trees and their shadows before she could wave that dreadful broom at me. Frightened I was, but angry, too. You’re a liar, my thoughts growled at her. One of us is a trespasser, and it’s not me!

— The Tipsilvren Witch

Like all Wilderhark spins on a tale, “The Tipsilvren Witch” departs a few paces from the Goldilocks account of our childhoods. Of course, a quick internet search of the story’s history reveals some major differences between even the version we’re familiar with and the original. Some fast ‘n’ furry facts, coming your way!

Arthur Rackham’s visual take on the legendary ursine trio.
Arthur Rackham’s visual take on the legendary ursine trio.

– In the story’s earliest known version, the intruder in the bears’ home was not a blonde girl-child, but – plot twist! – an old woman.

– Yet another early variation (which some theorize may even predate the old woman story) dispenses with human invasion entirely, and features a fox named Scrapefoot instead. (YEAH, foxes!)

– Robert Southey’s “Story of the Three Bears” gained popularity for the old lady narrative in 1837. A dozen years later, one Joseph Cundall – who reportedly said there were more than enough children’s stories with old biddies, thanks very much – retold it with a little girl named Silver Hair. (I guess in the character de-aging process, the hair is the last to revert to its youthful state?)

From Silver Hair to Silverlocks, to Golden Hair to Goldilocks. And now, latest of all, “the golden-haired girl” of the Tipsilvren Witch.

As it happens, I didn’t originally intend to set the story in the world of Wilderhark, when I wrote it a handful years ago. But when I recently realized that, with some very minor tweaks, it would fit in that world just fine, I knew right away which part of the Great Land it belonged in. Every kingdom has its legacy, after all. Denebdeor’s got its swans and stone curses, Carillon’s got its music… and when it comes to bear-related antics, it’s gotta be Tipsilvren.

So, for those of you who are up for a new take on an old classic – which I certainly hope you’ll find to be not too old-school, and not too wildly divergent, but just right ;D – make sure you’re subscribed to the Wilderhark Talettes on Channillo, and this story and more shall be yours, all yours!

2 thoughts on “Behind the Talette: “The Tipsilvren Witch”

  1. Yay for a new story! I love reading early versions of fairy tales…they are often quite different (and darker) than the ones we know now. And, you know, I like my children’s tales full of the dark and the creepy!

    • Happy for you, it seems dark and creepy fairy tales have been making a comeback, of late! In fact, as Wilderhark stories go, I’d say “Tipsilvren Witch” is definitely one of the darker ones.

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