Monday, March 16, 2020

Reader's Diary #2143- Margaret T. Canby: The Frost Fairies

Last week I looked at Helen Keller's "The Frost King" a short story for which she came under accusations of plagiarism for its similarities to Margaret T. Canby's "The Frost Fairies". The general consensus seems to be that it was plagiarized but probably unintentionally so. Helen Keller had been introduced to Canby's story in her youth but claims to have forgotten that while the story itself remained in her head. This is a similar defense that George Harrison used for using the tune of the Chiffons' "He So Fine," for his song, "My Sweet Lord."

Canby's story seems a little more sophisticated than Keller's version. Not that Keller's is poorly written but it's just more obviously aimed at children. Of course Canby's still features mythical beings that would be of interest to kids: Santa, fairies, etc. It's largely the same origin tale of how the autumn trees first got their colours. Interestingly though she adds a new character of King Winter, different than King Frost (or Jack, used interchangeably in her story). King Frost is a friendly chap who brings the delights of winter, while King Winter brings the bad stuff (the cold, etc).

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