The story I’ve decided to take a look at and play around with is the Japanese folktale of “The Robe of Feathers”.
The Robe of Feathers is a story of a Fisherman who had ended up in the presence of a moon Fae, after attempting to take her Feathered robe. The story ends with the Fae, having her robe given back, dancing to the Fisherman’s request and vanishing; leaving him with a single doves feather and a beautiful sight to stay in his memory for life.
The Fisherman seems very much to be a self serving character, though not completely cold-hearted. One could debate he is cruel, to which I would agree- what with the reaction to the Fae’s begging for her Feathers and making her dance for them.
The Moon Fae seems careless, perhaps even air headed, in this story as she had set her eyes away from something so important and had to beg for them back. Had the Fisherman been any other way- she could’ve been trapped.
Looking at how I could use the story for an adaption- it’d be interesting had the Fae needed to work harder to regain her robe, lest she be trapped quite like an Irish Selkie without their seal skin.
A story of something precious being stolen and only given back when a deed is done and deemed acceptable- a power imbalance of sorts.
Now me, being me, I would likely use the content of the story to make something very surreal or perhaps futuristic.
In regards to something surreal, I could keep very close to the story and maybe have the Fisherman and her meet once again- have her repeatedly coming back and “leaving” the robe and forming a friendship.
In regards to something futuristic, I could take a very different stance. The robe being new technology to do with flight- equally as magnificent in grace, beauty and power. The Fae could be someone foolish- yet someone who treasures it; be it her creation or a gift and the fisherman may have taken it and instead having given it back- sold it for money or used it for his own gain. Making it much more of a quest story, something of growth of singular character than the last setting where it would’ve been growth of friendship.
It would be interesting to explore both of these narrative ideas more and I hope to do as such in the future.