I'm excited to have Kirsten Fichter on the blog with us today! We're celebrating the release of her newest fairytale, The Bear of Rosethorn Ring: A Snow White and Rose Red Story (Once Upon a Twist Tales, Book #4), and since it's about siblings, she's talking with us about her favorite fairytales with siblings. (Which includes one of my favorite fairytales--The Twelve Dancing Princesses.)
Favorite Fairytales About Siblings
Siblings in fairytales have a tendency to… how shall I say it… hate each other? Poor Cinderella only had stepsisters, but they are famous for their mistreatment of our heroine. In some versions of the tale, Beauty’s vain sisters blame her for their father’s misfortune and later convince Beauty to break her promise to return to the Beast. There are so many examples in fairytales of siblings fighting each other for something (possibly the hand of the princess or the promise of becoming king), betraying each other to the villain, or outright killing a sibling for a personal purpose.
Thankfully, not every fairytale is like that. I grew up with five siblings, and we were all very close; thus, I am a huge fan of a good sibling story, and I always cheer when I read a fairytale with siblings that are supporting and loving to each other. Snow White and Rose Red is one such tale, and that is the fairytale I retold in my newest book, The Bear of Rosethorn Ring. Snow and Rose are always described as affectionate sisters, holding hands, and doing everything together – despite their differing interests. They work together to free the enchanted bear, and both arrive at their own happily ever afters.
Here are a few more of my absolute favorite sibling fairytales when the siblings actually aren’t after each others’ throats.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Probably one of the best-known sibling fairytales of all time, this story features twelve very close sisters. Every night, the twelve princesses put on their best gowns and jewels and walk through a hidden door into an underground world, dancing the night away in the arms of handsome princes. All twelve are united in their desire to keep their nightly dances a secret from their father, but he knows something is up when their dancing shoes are worn through every morning. I’ve read several retellings of this particular fairytale, and I’ve always loved the different spin the authors put on the sisters. Sometimes there are less than twelve, sometimes they are cursed together to dance, and sometimes they fight about whether to reveal the truth about the dancing. But, in every retelling, at the end of the day, all the princesses know that they have each others’ backs and trust their sisters.
I love a good obscure fairytale. Most likely, you’ve never heard of this one, a French fairytale by Madame d'Aulnoy. When Princess Rosette is born, the fairies foretell that she will bring great misfortune upon her brothers. Her parents, fearing for their sons’ lives, lock Rosette away in a tower, but the two boys go and visit their sister every day. After their parents die, the brothers free Rosette from her tower, never once fearing what might happen to them. And when she expresses an interest in marrying the King of the Peacocks, they’re instantly willing to travel to the ends of the earth to find this man for her husband. Great misfortune does indeed catch them because of her, but neither brother ever stops trusting that Rosette will rescue them.
Hansel and Gretel
Ah, yes. The two children who get caught in the house of sweets. One of my favorite parts of this fairytale is how careful Hansel is to take care of his younger sister. When their parents first try to lose them in the forest, he prepares a pocketful of white stones ahead of time to guide them back home. On the second trip, Hansel does his best to leave a trail with breadcrumbs – but to no avail. After they get trapped in the witch’s cottage, Hansel tricks the witch into giving them extra time to escape by holding out a skinny bone for her to touch. When the witch is finally too tired to wait for Hansel to fatten up anymore, Gretel knows she must act quickly and tricks the witch into climbing into the oven and slams the door behind her. Then the two children work together to get back home and see their father.
The Wild Swans
Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale goes by a lot of names and variants: The Six Swans, The Twelve Brothers, etc. But in every one, a sister must sacrifice a lot to free her enchanted brothers. This is probably one of my favorite sibling fairytales, because it shows how loving and supporting siblings really can be. The sister, Elisa, is told that she must knit a shirt for each of her brothers out of stinging nettles – and that she must not talk at all while she is working on the shirts. Elisa never ceases in her task, not even when a nearby king decides to marry her, and not even when the archbishop accuses her of witchcraft and condemns her to death. Even on her way to be burned at the stake, Elisa is still thinking about her brothers and finishing her knitting on the shirts. Only one shirt isn’t completed, leaving the youngest brother with a wing for one arm, but she perseveres until the end to free her brothers.
Thanks for sharing about your favorite fairytales, Kirsten! I didn't know about Princess Rosette, but I want to read it now.
If you're interested in a sibling-themed fairytale retelling, check out Kirsten's The Bear of Rosethorn Ring, which releases April 6, 2021.
The Bear of Rosethorn Ring: A Snow White and Rose Red Story
How far would Snow White and Rose Red go to save the man behind the bear?
When their father runs away, Marita and Diamond Kadlec realize how different twins can be. Marita’s ready to forget Lucas entirely, but Diamond wants to give him the second chance she’s never been able to give before. That’s before they discover that Lucas is indebted to the ill-tempered D’vard and his traveling circus, the Rosethorn Ring. The Ring’s entertainment lacks a bear, and Lucas must play the part of the savage creature to regain his freedom.
Lorcan D’vard cares only for three things: tending to his beloved beard, promoting his Rosethorn Ring, and eradicating the assassin out to kill him. With time running out, D’vard agrees to cancel Lucas’s debt and let him go free – if Marita and Diamond can apprehend the assassin before the assassin ends the show.
This is Snow White and Rose Red with a twist like you’ve never seen it before.
About the Series:
Once Upon a Twist Tales are your favorite fairytales retold backwards and upside-down, with a little bit of steampunk thrown in for fun!
Other Books in the Series:
Book One ~ The Rose and the Balloon: A Beauty and the Beast Story
Book Two ~ Spindle Dreams: A Sleeping Beauty Story
Book Three ~ Diamond: A Rapunzel Story
Meet the Author
Kirsten Fichter is a twenty-something Christian writer who loves being the wife to her favorite person ever, mommy to two precious blessings, a piano enthusiast, a dragon buff, a serious bookworm, and an INFP synesthete. Fairytales have always fascinated her, and she has made it her goal to rewrite as many as possible and become known as the "Grimm Dickens" (i.e. mixing Grimm fairytales with a Dickens style). She is present in many online circles under the name "Kiri Liz" if you care about things like that. As you read this, she'll be somewhere under a maple tree - trying very hard to finish the seventeen and half other stories she unwisely started all at once.