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Dear Jukebox DJ

Posted on 2016.04.07 at 04:48
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I'm also Quillori on AO3.

I really would prefer you to write the best story you can, and one you're happy with, rather than trying to do something that doesn't suit you to fit what I asked for - optional details really are entirely optional here. I'm most interested in what you make of the song. (Gen, m/f, m/m and f/f are all equally welcome. I have however asked for fic only this year.)

J’ai vu le loup, le renard chanter
Traditional
YouTube

This is widespread song, found in many versions (the hare, for example, is sometimes a weasel). Le Poème Harmonique, who perform the version I’ve linked, provide an English translation in the liner notes:

I saw the wolf, the fox and the hare,
I saw the wolf and the fox carousing;
Unseen, I saw them.

I heard the wolf, the fox and the hare,
I heard the wolf and the fox singing;
And I sang with them.

I saw the wolf, the fox and the hare,
I saw the wolf and the fox dancing;
And I led the dance.


Ingriguing, isn’t it? Who is the singer, and what is their relationship with the wolf and the fox? Is the singer being seduced into joining them, or was the singer really in charge all along? Are the animals real animals, or nature spirits, or codenames in some espionage thriller? Nicknames for the players in some political game?

The lyrics as sung:

C'est dans neuf ans, je m'en irai
J'ai vu le loup, le renard chanter
J'ai vu le loup, le renard, le lièvre,
Jai vu le loup, le renard cheuler:
C'est moi-meme qui les ai rebueille.

Jai ouï le loup, le renard, le lievre,
Jai ouï le loup, le renard chanter:
C'est moi-meme qui les ai rechigneès

J'ai vu le loup, le renard, le lièvre,
Jai vu le loup, le renard danser:
C'est moi-meme qui les ai revirès

My attempt at a literal translation (before trusting it too much, bear in mind my non-existent French):

It is in nine years, I will go
I saw the wolf, the fox singing
I saw the wolf, the fox, the hare,
I saw the wolf, the fox drinking:
It was I that spied on them.

I have heard the wolf, the fox, the hare,
I have heard the wolf, the fox singing:
It was I that imitated them.

I saw the wolf, the fox, the hare,
I saw the wolf, the fox dancing:
It was I that made them dance.


Le Roi d’Aquitaine
Kurt Weill
YouTube

A grey duck, a blue duck, a white duck...
The grey one walks behind the the blue one ahead.
The white one is the biggest, I'll sell it for twenty francs.
The blue one is quite small, I'll sell it for six francs.

The King of Aquitaine,
if he comes to the market
to serve the queen,
he'll send for me.
The King of Aquitaine
will take my hand.
Too bad for the queen,
tomorrow.

A grey prince, a blue prince, a white prince...
The white one has rubies, and the blue, diamonds.
The grey one has his crown and his sword at his side.
The blue loves me the best, and I love best the white.

The King of Aquitaine,
if he comes to the market
to serve the queen,
he'll send for me.
The King of Aquitaine
will take my hand.
Too bad for the queen,
tomorrow.


Surely this could be the base for a fascinating fairytale, whether you want to invent a traditional tale, or tell it at an angle: are the ducks enchanted princes, or do the princes share only the colour coding? Will the king put aside the queen for the duck seller, or does he want the duck seller for something else to the detriment of the queen? Perhaps this is only an incident in the story of one of the ducks/princes, or in the relationship of the queen and the duck seller? Or is the duck seller merely idly dreaming?

The lyrics as sung:

Un canard gris, un canard bleu, un canard blanc...
Le gris marche derrière et le bleu va devant.
C'est le blanc le plus gros, je le vendrai vingt francs.
Le bleu est tout petit, je le vendrai six francs.

Le Roi d'Aquitaine,
s'il vient au marché
pour servir la Reine,
m'enverra chercher.
Le Roi d'Aquitaine
me prendra la main.
Tant pis pour la Reine,
demain.

Un prince gris, un prince bleu, un prince blanc...
Le blanc a des rubis et le bleu des diamants.
Le gris a sa couronne et son épée au flanc.
Le bleu m'aime le mieux et j'aime mieux le blanc.

Le Roi d'Aquitaine,
s'il vient au marché
pour servir la Reine,
m'enverra chercher.
Le Roi d'Aquitaine
me prendra la main.
Tant pis pour la Reine,
demain.


Diese kalte Nacht
Faun
YouTube

Lyrics

So many possibilities here. Perhaps it's a straightforward love story, and she makes proper protestations that she cannot let him in, before making the weather her excuse to do so after all. But supposing there's more to it? Often in folksongs the lover who turns up unexpectedly at night is a ghost, or perhaps he is some spirit of the cold and dark. Or perhaps there's something uncanny about her - why is she locked in with iron, and how does she let him in anyway? And what is the significance of kissing her seven times?

Esta montaña d'enfrente
Traditional
YouTube

That mountain before me
Is ablaze and burning;
There I lost my love.
I sit down and weep.

That little violet plant,
I sowed it in my garden;
I cared for it and made it grow,
And now others but me enjoy it.

I want to reveal my secrets,
The secrets of my life.
I want the sky as paper
And the sea as ink,

The trees as quills,
To write of my misfortunes;
No one knows of my suffering,
Neither relatives, nor anyone else.


I love the imagery in this song, and one option would be to take at least some of it literally. Or, as with the Kurt Weill song above, you could make it into a fairytale, with the little violet as one of the magical plants that litter folklore. Or a realistic story of lost love, written with the same type of beautiful and intense imagery.

The lyrics as sung:

Esta montaña d'enfrente
S'aciende y va quemando
Allí pedrí al mi amor,
M'asento y vo llorando.

Arvolico de menekshe
Yo lo ensembrí en mi huerta
Yo lo crecí y lo engrandecí
Otros s'estan gozando.

Secretos quero descuvrir
Secretos de mi vida,
El cielo quero por papel,
La mar quero por tinta,

Los arvoles por péndola
Para 'scrivir mis males,
No hay quen sepa mi dolor,
Ni ajenos, ni parientes.


Flowers in the Mist | It’s not the flower, it’s not the fog
Poem by Bai Juyi, set by Huang Tzu
YouTube (Soprano) or YouTube (Bass-Baritone)

A flower and yet not a flower.
A mist and yet not a mist.
It comes at midnight
    and leaves at daybreak.
Coming like spring dreams,
    it does not stay long.
Going away like morning clouds,
    it leaves no traces.
(trans Ming Dong Gu)

The bloom is not a bloom,
The mist not mist.
At midnight she comes,
And goes again at dawn.
She comes like a spring dream - how long will she stay?
She goes like morning cloud, without a trace.
(http://www.chinese-poems.com/bo6.html)

Flowers not flowers, fog not fog,
Midnight comes then goes with daybreak.
We arrive like spring dreams countless times,
Vanish like dawn clouds seeking nothing.
(http://www.mountainsongs.net/poem_.php?id=285)


I’ve always loved this haunting song. As you can see from the translations above, there’s a fair choice of interpretation possible - was Bai Juyi writing about the moon, or an assignation, or a dream, or just half-glimpsed flowers through a barely perceptible mist?

In General

Apart from that, this is my normal list for all other-people-writing-fanfic-for-me occasions. Things I like (provided only as indicative of my taste, not in any way as particular requirements of your story): established relationships, smart and competent characters, witty banter, slash, political intrigue, moral ambiguity, apparently simple conversations with a great deal going on under the surface, angst if done with restraint, difficult decisions with no right answer (I think I mentioned moral ambiguity?), metaphor, clever use of literary allusions, relationships where each party thinks the other has all the power. Endings can be happy, sad, ambiguous, or anywhere in between. Let's see, what else? Fierce loyalty (the tear the world apart for you variety, not the sit here passively putting up with anything variety), complicated love/hate relationships with lots of backstory, unflappable characters, arrogance if the party concerned has the requisite ability to back it up, committed partnerships between people who see the world at the same angle (even if they aren't always on the same side)...

Things I’d prefer you avoided: I’m not terribly keen on mpreg (or fpreg, come to that) or stories told in the 2nd person, and I do have something of an embarrassment squick. Oh, all right, I also don't tend to like issuefic, but I'm not sure that's something people generally set out to write deliberately - one person's issuefic is another's searingly honest portrayal.

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