Foraging in the Forest


A few days ago, I went to Bartram Forest and picked wild blackberries. Foraging in the woods is a primitive delight; it also brings fairy tales to mind. In the forest alone, even in bright afternoon sunshine, I feel mystery and danger. But the woods also, contradictorily, calm me. Walking in them, I seem to inhabit my body more fully, especially when searching for the small dark gems of blackberries. At first, they are almost impossible to see, but after an hour or so, my vision becomes attuned to my tasks and can spot the gleaming clusters from a great distance, can even detect if the surface’s sheen indicates juicy ripeness or if the berry has shriveled in the sun. It is impossible to pick the treats without getting pricked and stained, which, of course, makes the bounty more precious.

Fairy Land Through the Eyes of Maxfield Parrish

The terms Fairy Tale and Fantasy are often used interchangeably, but they are not synonymous. Fantasy is a place, a specific other world and the stories that belong to it. Oz is a fantasy. Fairy tale is a quality, a mood. Fairy tales exist in outside of time and place—which is part of the reason they translate so well across continents and centuries. The best illustrators of fairy tales understand this and, instead of creating a specific, detailed landscape they impart a mystical quality to familiar spaces. They are intimate and dreamlike.

Who are your favorite fairy tale illustrators?