The Dragon and the White Tower

A Spirited Away Fanfic

Author's Note

The two illustrations for this story:
Grownup Kohaku Finale, Ch 8

Now, for a nice, long and explanatory Author's Note about the inspiration for this tale.

In college, Winter Semester 2004, I studied Animal Bridegroom Folktales for a research paper (Beauty and the Beast is the most famous of the Animal Bridegroom tales). I repeatedly came across a motif that a large portion of the tales used, which has been nicknamed the "Questing Beauty" form, and many that can be even further defined as "Questing Beauty and the Three Nights."

This type, "Questing Beauty and the Three Nights," all follow about this format:
Beauty meets up with her Beast in some way or another.
They live together in a married state, generally with him being in the form of a man at night.
She betrays some aspect of his enchantment, and he has to leave.
She goes on a quest to get her man back, and encounters 3 helpers who direct her, and who give her 3 items to help her on her journey.
She finds where her man is being kept. He has completely forgotten her and is about to marry some queen/witch/ogre type woman.
Our heroine trades one of the items with the Queen in exchange for being able to spend a night with the Prince. The Queen agrees, but gives the Prince a sleeping draught, and no matter how much Beauty pleads during the night, the Prince never wakes up.
This happens 2 nights in a row, and is finally stopped when someone lets the Prince know a girl has been crying in his room for 2 nights running, and he doesn't take the sleeping potion the next night out of curiosity.
The 3rd night, Beauty finds him awake, he remembers her, they get rid of the Queen, and live happily ever after.

Obviously, I've changed some things. :) I've switched genders around, changed night for day, and in general had fun with it, but the form is there.

Here are some examples of folktales like I've described.:
In East of the Sun and West of the Moon (Norway), the heroine gains from three successive old women a golden apple, a golden carding comb, and a golden spinning wheel. With these she bargains to spend the night with the prince with the words "It's not for sale, for gold or money."
The prince is in the clutches of a princess with the long nose and some trolls, and the prince hears about the girl in his room from some captive Christians.
In The Singing, Springing Lark (or The Lady and the Lion) from the Grimm Brothers, the heroine gains a chest with a sun-colored dress from the sun, from the moon she gains an egg which contains a gold hen and some chicks, and from the 4 winds, she gets a nut that grows into a tall tree to rest her griffin on. She bargains two nights in a row to spend the night with the prince with the words "Not for money or property, but for flesh and blood. Let me sleep one night in the room where the bridegroom sleeps." The prince is about to marry an enchantress, a servant informs the prince about his strange visitor, and on the 2nd night he doesn't take the sleeping potion. They escape on a griffin. :)
In the Irish tale The Three Daughters of King O'Hara, the heroine gets a pair of scissors that makes clothes into cloth-of-gold from the woman who has her 1st child. From the second woman she gets a comb which cures diseased heads, and from the third she gets a whistle that calls all the birds of the air. She has to rescue her husband from the Queen of Tir na n-Og, and this smart princess leaves a letter for the prince with his servant to tell him what's been going on.
In The Black Bull of Norroway (which is Scottish), the heroine gets an apple, a pear, and a plum from her bull's three brothers, and each has gold and jewelry in them. She has to get iron shoes to climb over a glass mountain, and contend with a washer-woman's daughter for her Prince. During the night she pleads:
"Seven long years I served for you,
The glassy hill I climbed for you,
The blood-stained shirts I washed for you,
Will you not waken and turn to me?"
The prince is let 'into the know' by a fellow hunting partner.

One of the oldest Questing Beauty tales in world record is the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros.
Read it as "Cupid and Psyche" by Lucius Apuleius at

And here are just some fun ones with familiar motifs to enjoy:
Old Rinkrank, from the Grimm Brothers
A princess trapped in a Glass Mountain gets herself out.
The Raven
An enchanted raven princess is in a castle on a glass mountain, and she is pursued by a man with a stick, an invisibility cloak and a horse.

I love folktales. ^__^

-Rebecca JJ, September, 2004