mercer’s mayer‘s “east of the sun & west of the moon” is a curious book. an amalgam of the scandinavian tale of the title & “the frog prince” plus some elemental mythology. i’m still confused why he didn’t call it “the frog prince” instead of “eswm“. it certainly offers a more satisfying telling of “fp” than the conventional grimms’ tale. it bears a close resemblance to the slavic fairy tale, “finist the falcon” {itself a sister to eswm}

our beautiful but haughty heroine in lovely slavic costume wooed by some very ivan bilibinesque young men. her family suffers a reversal of fortune.


the colors in this tale are brighter that “beauty” perhaps to reflect russian aesthetics.






her father can be cured by a drink from this pool. however she loses the cup. a friendly frog offers to retrieve it, with certain conditions. she agrees.
















she throws her frog against the wall & he turns into a prince. but instead of scoring big time for her rudeness he is whisked away by trolls. our lady goes to the guardians of each element to find her way to the castle east of the sun & west of the moon to rescue the prince. here she talks with the fire salamander who knows everything in the heart of the world except…










she climbs the stair to the castle. i wonder if that’s cyrillic on the steps?
that sky is amazing.
















the troll princess. i’ve been to clubs with creatures like this wandering around. mayer demonstrates his growing fascination with hair which will reach its apogee in his version of “sleeping beauty”. i love that her hair is slightly frizzy throughout the story. before straighteners were de rigueur  this was considered quite charming.


…of course she saves him & they live happily ever after.



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