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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--The Salmon Princess


I'm happy to say I finally got around to doing my fairy tale post for this week. This week we are traveling to Alaska. I picked this story this week since Monday was Patriots' Day here in Massachusetts. Patriots' Day is a day to remember the Battles of Lexington and Concord which were on April 19, 1775 and were the start of the American Revolution. Now in Massachusetts it is celebrated the third Monday in April and there is a re-enactment of the Battle of Lexington in Lexington and the Boston Marathon is run. Plus school vacation week is always the week of Patriots' Day here in Massachusetts. I figured since the holiday represents the start of the fight for the United States to become a country it would make sense to share one of the versions from the United States and since I own this copy (I couldn't get it from any of the libraries here), I went with it. This is one of the stories that was definitely adapted for the area and not originally from there.
Map of the United States with Alaska highlighted
Source

A bit about Alaska. Alaska is the largest state of the fifty states but is the fourth least populous. It was purchased from Russia for $7.2 million or about two cents per acre in 1867 and became the 49th state in 1959.
To see the size of Alaska Source
Alaska has many islands as part of its state. Approximately 65% of Alaska's land is owned and managed by the U.S. Federal Government. The southeast region of Alaska is the only region where the daytime high temperature is above freezing during the winter. Alaska has a rich history and culture including the Native Americans. I am not going to go into all of that here. Alaska's industry is domineered by oil, natural gas and fishing industries. It is also known as The Final Frontier. (Source)

Now onto our story. Today we are looking at The Salmon Princess by Mindy Dwyer. In this story there is a fisherman who lives with his wife and daughter. The daughter is named Cinder for the spark in her grey eyes and her red flaming hair. His wife and daughter are in charge of cleaning and smoking the salmon for them to sell. The mother teaches their daughter how to do it and they love to sing old songs together while doing it. 

Coloring Page available at Kidzone
One winter the mother dies due to illness. The father remarries and the new wife has two sons who help with the fishing, but the new wife refuses to dirty her hands with the fish so the daughter is left to do the work. Since the new wife is mean, the daughter does not completely mind until one day the father announces a festival on the next island and the stepmother says Cinder cannot go since there is so much fish to clean (after all now they have three fishermen and only one person cleaning and smoking). Cinder was upset when the family left her behind, but there was a lot of fish. While she was in her favorite place under a cedar tree where she always went to do her work, an eagle flew over head and dropped something. Cinder thought it was a fish, but when it came to the ground she realized it was a beautiful dress that looked like it was made out of threads from the moon. The eagle circled around one more time to tell her that she must return the dress before the sun came up since the fibers would be invisible in the light of the sun. 

Cinder put on the dress and wished she had nice shoes, but since she did not she was glad the dress covered her boots. At the festival she sold some of her smoked salmon and used the money to buy as many raffle tickets as she could. She wanted to win the grand prize of silver bars, so she could get away from all the work. Then she danced with a nice young man. They danced until the sun was about to come up at which she ran off remembering the bird's warning. He chased after her. Her boot got stuck in a net and she dropped her raffle tickets and lost her boot, but jumped in her family's small boat and rowed back home. The nice young man found the boot and raffle tickets, but did not know how to find her. Everyone around this area wore similar boots as these. Then when one of her raffle tickets was the winner he vowed to find her within the 24 hours she had to claim the prize. 
State Flower is Forget Me Not: Coloring Page available at Kidzone

He searched all the neighboring islands and then a bird guided him to her family's dock. The brothers tried to lock her in the smoke house so they could claim her prize to get a new fishing boat, but the young man pursued on finding her and let her out. He recognized her right away and they got married. Now the young man was the son of the owner of Salmon King which Cinder said made him the Salmon Prince. He said she was his Cinderella and when they got married she became the Salmon Princess. They lived further north away from the salmon industry until the Salmon Prince inherited his father's business. 
So that is the story of the Salmon Princess or the Alaskan Cinderella. I know I would love to see Alaska some day. I hope to take Hazel there eventually.

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