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Dear Jukebox Writer

Posted on 2017.03.30 at 12:40
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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 (courtesy of [personal profile] zdenka/lignota)
Oh, open the door for me, let me in;
your beloved stands in the moonlight.
This night is so cold, so open the door for me,
since tomorrow it will be too late.
So many possibilities here. It could be 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?

The Enchantment
Sheila Chandra; version of traditional song 'Reynardine'
YouTube
Sun and dark, sun and dark,
Sun and dark she followed him
Over the mountains high
Sun and dark she followed him
For his eyes so bright did shine
And he led her over the mountain
Beyond the mortal line.
Personally, I always tend to prefer an ambiguously supernatural Reynardine, rather than a plain outlaw or a definite monster, and I think this version fits particularly well with that reading. I'd love something that kept the otherworldly tone, but when and where it's set and exactly how supernatural, or how dangerous, the Reynardine figure is I leave to you.

[A note on the lyrics: they are widely available online, but I suspect they're all copied from the same place, because they all appear to have the same two errors in them: they all have 'rain castle' where Chandra sings 'green castle' (which is a known variant and also makes complete sense for both a bandit in the mountains and a fox or nature spirit - although if you read the lyrics online and like the image of 'rain castle', I agree it's quite intriguing, whether it's what she's singing or not), and the rather trite 'beyond the mortal life', rather than 'beyond the mortal line'.]
The lyrics as actually sung:

He said my pretty fair maid
I'm glad to meet you here
For it's on this lonely mountain
Your beauty, your beauty shines
Your beauty shines so
Your beauty shines so clear

And if perchance you ask for me
Perhaps you'll not me find
But I'll be in my green castle
All on the mountains high

He said my pretty fair maid
I'm glad to meet you
But I'll be in my green castle
Your beauty shines so clear
Your beauty shines so clear

Sun and dark, sun and dark
Sun and dark she followed him
Over the mountains high
Sun and dark she followed him
For his eyes so bright did shine
And he led her over the mountain
Beyond the mortal line

If perchance you ask for me
You'll not me find, you'll never me find
And she followed him
For his eyes so bright did shine
And he led her over the mountain
Beyond the mortal line.


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. I do also generally prefer characters who are adults by the standard of their society, or who are at least functioning as adults owing to their personal circumstances (not on moral grounds, just I find the sort of concerns and stakes in a story about adults more interesting), and I am rarely that interested in college or coffeeshop AUs.

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