Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
“The Glass Coffin” by A. S. Byatt
Card picked: Four of Hearts
From: The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye: Five Fairy Stories
Thoughts: This is the third story from The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye that I’ve read in about a month. I mentioned the titular story in my last bunch of mini-reviews and I read “The Dragon’s Breath” at the beginning of May for Deal Me In, but didn’t review it. It wasn’t that “The Dragon’s Breath” wasn’t good, but it was very busy that weekend and I didn’t have much to say about it. I’m suffering from the latter again today.
“The Glass Coffin” is about a tailor who, in fairy tale style, is traveling through a dark forest. A dark forest isn’t really a great place to find work if you’re a tailor, but he finds a small house, offers his services, and ends up cooking dinner for the small gray man and animals who live there. For that, the gray man rewards the tailor with a choice of gifts. Will the tailor pick the ever-full purse? The pot that never empties? Or the beautifully crafted glass key? Considering the name of the story, I think you can guess which he picks and what might be in that glass coffin.
There is a little subversion of fairy tale tropes, but not much. For example, the rescued damsel is willing to be married, since that’s the way the tale is supposed to go, but she’d rather remain single. By the end of the tale, I wasn’t entirely sure if she gets her wish. All in all, I could imagine “The Glass Coffin” as a tale told as part of another fairy tale, that maybe it needs just an extra bit of context to really work.