September Yarn Club: Why the Sea is Salt
It's October now, which means I can post about the September yarn club -- international people have all told me they've gotten theirs, which means I won't be spoiling anyone. September club yarn was "Why the Sea is Salt." Fairy tales, like folk tales and mythology, can be used to help explain things we don’t understand – or didn’t understand, hundreds of years ago. At the same time, they teach life lessons; be kind, be helpful, be generous, for these things are rewarded… as are selfishness, greed, and avarice (although not with the kind of reward anyone would want). Everything comes with a price, and that price is not always explained when the bargain is struck. “Why the Sea is Salt” (also sometimes called “How the Sea Got its Salt” or “Why the Sea is Salty” ) is such a fairy tale – what you get isn’t always exactly what you were asking for. The condensed version is that through a series of events, a man comes to own a magic mill that will grind everything he could ever want. There is a magic word to stop it, however, and when the mill changes hands, that word is not passed on… resulting in it grinding so much salt that the ship it was on sank, and there it lies today at the bottom of the ocean, still grinding salt. You can find the Andrew Lang version of this fairy tale here. (A copy of the fairy tale is included for those who chose the with-swag option of club.) If you opted for Worsted, the yarn is Tepper; a 100% superwash wool that gets 4-5 stitches to the inch on a US 7-9. If you opted for sock, the yarn is Tiptree, a tightly plied 100% Superwash Wool blend that gets 6-8 stitches on a US 0-2. And now… Honerable Mentions! Because it was so hard to just choose one. Two other fairy tales that came close to being this month’s sea-theme, but didn’t, for one reason or another, include…. Hans Christian Anderson’s ”The Little Sea Lady” -- I loved this one because it has such a dark ending. However, I did not choose this one because Disney changed it completely and turned it into The Little Mermaid, and I didn’t want to choose anything popular. Like most of his fairy tales, and this is probably the reason Disney changed the ending, this one ends tragically. SPOILER ALERT: she does not wind up with the prince at the end. Instead, she sacrifices her life so that the prince and his human bride can be happy, and spends three hundred years as seafoam before entering Heaven. I KNOW. I can’t believe Disney didn’t go with that ending, either. Grimm’s ”The Fisherman and His Wife” -- What I liked about this fairy tale is that it’s one of those “be careful how much you wish for, for you might get what you deserve” kind of moral tales. However, I did not choose this one because the wife is portrayed as a nag and mad for power and wealth. While I definitely wanted to go with obscure, and this one is not well-known, I also wanted to go with ones that portrayed women in a positive, strong light. Too many of the “popular” fairy tales show women as insipid, vapid, adoring prizes to be rescued, and I wanted to show that women can sometimes not only be smart and brave, but maybe don’t even need rescuing. So while this one scored points for obsure, and moral lesson, it failed miserably on positive portrayal of women.