Fairy Tale Generator

Brown University has an interesting little web application up on their server. It's based on some research done in the 1930s by a Russian scholar, Vladimir Propp, who studied the basic plot components of his country's folk tales and came up with a list of the mythic stories' functions.

The Web App has a number--32 in case you're curious--of check boxes that you can toggle and then you generate the story. There's a number of possibilities contained within the database so you can toggle the same boxes and get different stories. The more boxes checked, generally the longer the story since more components need to be contained within.

In the following story, I toggled "reconnaissance", "trickery", "struggle", and "victory" and that generated the following little story:

"Tell me what it is you have come here seeking," he growled through clenched teeth.

One man stumbled towards me as if under a drunken afternoon spell. His mouth hung open, saliva pouring down. When he came beside me he spat into both my eyes and I screamed, falling to the grass beneath my feet. I saw black and smelled drool and could not open my eyes.

The man who killed my father stood on the open ground with an army of people waiting to rise from the earth. He brandished a blade in his hand and struck it towards the sun.

But since I had been given my gift I did not fear what stood in front of me. As his body touched mine if fell to the floor covered in a carpet of needles.

If you're interesting in learning more about this app and why the Brown University class wrote the Fairy Tale Generator the way they did, visit this page which explores the theory behind the app.


Shephard said…
That's fascinating.
I have this collection of old books that were republished, called The Fairy Books, and each one is a different color... I think I have about 12 of them. All filled with very old fairytales.

Fun post!
GA Girl said…
The site reminds me of the original computer games in the late 70's. They were all script fantasy stories determined by whatever decision the player made.
Moyers (and others) said all fairy tales were quests.

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