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July 2020 - Posts

Fantastical Reimaginings

Hans Christian Anderson's "The Nightingale"
by Tess J. 

Image from Amazon 

“The Nightingale” is a less-well-known Hans Christian Anderson tale. There are several re-tellings but not many of them have strayed far from the original story. 

Hans Christian Anderson wrote “The Nightingale” in 1843. His friends called him “the literary nightingale” due to his impressive and versatile storytelling skills. They likened them to the song of a nightingale, which is deemed by many to be the most beautiful birdsong in the world. The nightingale has the ability to sing many different notes and sings both day and night. Anderson knew of a man who was quite ill but seemed to take a turn for the better after a young opera singer, Jenny Lind, sang for the man. Anderson recognized the power of song to uplift and heal (Tartar, 2008).

The Original
The Emperor of China has a fabulous palace and a garden so grand and large, even the gardener doesn’t know where it ends. Travelers from around the world come to walk through the garden and admire it. The Emperor and his court are pompous and arrogant. One day, the Emperor is reading a book about his marvelous gardens when he learns that the most splendid thing is not the flowers with silver bells or the vast forest, but a musical bird called the nightingale. He is furious that he has never heard of this creature before and demands that the court members find it for him. They search throughout the palace but cannot find it. They suggest that it may be a myth but the Emperor threatens they will all be punched in the stomach if the bird is not found that night.
The members of the court feverishly search for the bird but only one person can tell them of it – a little kitchen maid who makes nightly trips down to the sea to care for her sick mother. She is so tired on her return that she rests in the forest and is renewed by listening to the nightingale’s song. She agrees to take them to the forest to find it. Along the way, the members of the court, who have rarely been outside, mistake cows and frogs for the nightingale. Finally they find the bird and ask it to come back to the palace to sing for the Emperor. It agrees and its song is so beautiful, the Emperor is brought to tears. They cage the bird and have it sing on que whenever the Emperor wishes.

Soon, the bird is famous throughout the world. Japan sends a gift of a mechanical bird, which is covered with jewels and gorgeous to look upon. At first, he tries to have the two sing together, but the nightingale’s song always changes based on its mood, whereas the mechanical bird could only play one tune. After playing the song over thirty times, the Emperor turns to look for the real nightingale, only to find that it has flown away, back to the forest. He and the members of the court are offended and claim the mechanical bird is far superior, anyway. It held a place of honor and sat by the Emperor’s bed. People brought it gifts and delighted in its one tune because they could all mimic it and sing it to themselves. The real nightingale was banished. This went on for one year until...

One evening, as the Emperor was relaxing in bed, listening to the mechanical bird, it broke! The royal doctor was called but could do nothing. The watchmaker was called, fixed the bird as best he could, but warned it could not sing as often because its gears were greatly worn down. From then on, the bird only sang once a year. Five years went by like this until the Emperor grew very ill.
The Emperor suffers hallucinations, pressure on the chest, temporary muscle paralysis, (Anderson is describing sleep paralysis) and is dying. A phantom of Death appears sitting on the Emperor’s chest wearing his crown and brandishing his sword. Ghostly faces float by whispering all of the Emperor’s good and bad deeds. He screams at the mechanical bird to sing for him, to block out these visions and sounds, but it cannot. 

Suddenly, the real nightingale lands on the windowsill and begins to sing. The faces fade and Death itself calls for the bird to continue singing. The bird bargains with Death – it asks Death to put down the Emperor’s crown and sword. Death agrees in return for a song. The nightingales songs remind Death of its own garden and slowly retreats from the Emperor to return there. 
The Emperor cannot express his thanks to the little bird enough and offers many rewards. The nightingale refuses them all, saying his tears at their first meeting are jewels enough. The nightingale will not live with the Emperor but they agree that it can come and go as it pleases and sing for him when at the palace. The Emperor heals as the bird sings over him and surprises his court members in the morning when he rises well again. 

Shelley Duval's Fairy Tale Theatre
Image from eBay

Shelley Duvall’s "Fairy Tale Theatre"
Watch on YouTube 

As a child, I had not read Anderson’s story of “The Nightingale” but discovered the tale by watching Shelley Duvall’s “Fairy Tale Theatre” television show. “The Nightingale” was and is one of my favorites in the series. If you have not seen these, please check them out! The link to the episode of “The Nightingale” is above. Keep in mind, they were made in the 80s but I still quite enjoy them. 

As a child I liked it because the court members are over-dramatic bumbling fools, that no one can look upon the Emperor without permission, and anyone who does not please him gets punched in the stomach as punishment. I liked the story of the nightingale coming to sing for him and how his heart was changed by it and the loving kitchen maid. 

This retelling is not too far off from the original story. The story takes place in Cathay, which was what Northern China was known as in Medieval Europe. The only other major difference is the kitchen maid’s role, which is much larger than in the original story. In Anderson’s tale, she is only seen in the beginning when she leads the court members to the nightingale. In the show, she reappears several times after that scene. She speaks with the Emperor after the nightingale is banished. After he becomes ill, she desperately searches for the nightingale and pleads with it to return to the Emperor, before it’s too late. After the bird drives Death away, it tells the Emperor of the kitchen maid’s deed. When he is well, he honors her above all the others by taking her on a walk in his garden.

The Nightingale
Image from Amazon 

“The Nightingale” retold by Jerry Pinkney
Available Aurora Public Library

This version of Anderson’s The Nightingale is almost exactly the same as the original. The biggest difference is the setting. While the original takes place in China, Jerry Pinkney wrote and illustrated his adaptation to take place in Morocco, Northwest Africa. Instead of the title of Emperor, he is a King and his court members are attendants-in-waiting.

The kitchen maid’s age is not stated in the original. She is old enough to work in the kitchen and take care of her ailing mother. In Duvall’s television episode, the kitchen maid is a young woman. In Pinkney’s picture book, the kitchen maid is a child of about 10 years old. Even though she is shown on the front cover of the book, her role is not larger than that of the original. However, during the celebration held when the King is well again at the end of the story, she is presented with an Imperial Ribbon of Honor with a gold medallion in the shape of a nightingale hanging from it. 

The illustrations are stunning and I greatly enjoyed this version of “The Nightingale”. 


The Nightingale
Image from GoodReads

“The Nightingale” – a graphic novel version by Werner Wejp-Olsen
Available instantly via Hoopla Digital

This graphic novel is available as an e-comic on HooplaDigital (
This version of “The Nightingale” is almost exactly the same as the original. The differences are that it is a graphic novel and the illustrations and text are light hearted and amusing. It is appropriate for young children where as the original and the first two retellings described are better for older children. Death and the ghosts that come to the Emperor/King when he is ill are rather scary. I enjoyed this silly adapation. 


I hope that you check out The Nightingale by Hans Christian Anderson. If you have already read it, or enjoyed the original, I highly recommend the retellings listed in this blog! Please comment below with your thoughts on this beautiful story. 

Curious about what a nightingale sounds like? Listen here

Anderson, H.C. “The Nightingale”. The Annotated Hans Christian Anderson, edited by Maria Tatar, W.W. Norton & Company, 2008, p. 78-97. 
“Common nightingale.” YouTube, uploaded by BIA birdimagency, 28 May, 2011.
“The Nightingale.” YouTube, uploaded by Lee Miller, 25 August, 2016.

Posted by  On Jul 17, 2020 at 11:46 AM
Create It!

Colorado has some amazing trails to explore nature! But what would a hike for a fairy look like? Join Joy with Aurora Parks, Recreation & Open Space in adding some magic to your backyard and making a hiking trail for fairies!

Posted by  On Jul 16, 2020 at 3:43 PM
Learn It!

Introduction to Beekeeping with 3 Sisters Honey
with Margo from 3 Sisters Honey & Stacy H.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a beekeeper? Or what goes into the honey harvesting process? Venture into the exciting world of beekeeping with Margo from 3 Sisters Honey!

Margo shares her why for beekeeping, the terms and tools used, what a bee hive looks like and how to keep happy and healthy bees! To find out more about 3 Sisters Honey, visit

Posted by  On Jul 15, 2020 at 2:10 PM
Mugshot of the suspect from this morning's Manslaughter case at the Bella Terra Apartments 

Abiel Vigil
PHOTO: Abdiel Vigil (DOB: 04/17/1982)

Lieutenant Chris Amsler
Commanding Officer
Media Relations Unit

Information originally released on July 14th, 2020

On July 13th at around 11:25p.m. Aurora Police responded to a report of a shooting at the Bella Terra Apartments located at 15400 East Evans Avenue. 

Upon arrival officers found an adult male in a breezeway of one of the apartment building suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died from his injury.  An adult male acquaintance who was with the victim at the time of the shooting, Abdiel Vigil (DOB: 04/17/1982) was taken into custody at the scene.

The preliminary investigation into this shooting found that Vigil and the victim were playing with a gun owned by Vigil, the gun discharged striking the victim in the chest and killing him.  

The name of the victim will be released by the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office once he has been positively identified and next of kin have been notified.

Vigil was arrested for Manslaughter (Colorado Revised Statue 18-3-104) and is being held on a $25,000 bond. Once he has been booked into the Aurora Detention Center a mugshot will be available for release. 

Lieutenant Chris Amsler
Commanding Officer
Media Relations Unit
Posted by  On Jul 14, 2020 at 3:01 PM
Learn it!

A Yarn About the World - Tokyo
with Tyler

Our resident globetrotter Tyler shares his travel experiences. This time, take a trip to Tokyo! Take in the sights and learn about the city!

Have you been to Tokyo? Share your favorite travel memory in the comments! 

Posted by  On Jul 14, 2020 at 12:36 PM
Making Magic: Crafts for Kids

Swamp Monster
by Karen

Splish, splash, monster mash! Learn how to make your own swamp monster and a fun game to feed him letters and numbers! 

Posted by  On Jul 13, 2020 at 3:26 PM
Read It!

Family Book Club
with Tess

July's book is "The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles" by Julie Andrews Edwards. Need a copy? Call 303.627.3050. 

 The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards

Part 1 (Chapters 1 - 6) Questions 
- What do you think of Ben, Tom, and Lindy? 
- Would you believe in the Whangdoodle if a stranger told you about it? 
- How do they officially meet Professor Savant after the zoo?
- Professor Savant says that they can travel to Whangdoodle land only in their imaginations. He is teaching them to be more observant of things around them, like colors. How do you think they will use their imaginations to travel?
- Would you want to go to Whangdoodleland if you had the chance?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below! 
Posted by  On Jul 13, 2020 at 3:18 PM 1 Comment
(July 13, 2020) UPDATE: Our investigators have identified Julio Cesar Gonzalez as a suspect in the attack from July 11th.

A warrant was issued for Julio for one count of 1st Degree Assault. Julio is already in custody on unrelated charges. 

We are still seeking suspect information regarding the attack that occurred on July 8th. Any witnesses are urged to call Aurora Police or email  Tipsters can also call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720.913.7867. By using Crime Stoppers tipster can remain anonymous and be eligible for a REWARD of up to $2,000. 

Officer Matthew Longshore
Public Information Officer
Aurora Police Department

Gonzalez, Julio
Information previously released July 11, 2019

UPDATE:  Investigators are releasing a sketch of the suspect from today's assault on the High Line Canal Trail.  The public is reminded that if they see this person that they do not approach him and call 911.

Anyone with information on the identity of this person is asked to call Aurora Police or email  Tipsters can also call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720.913.7867. By using Crime Stoppers tipster can remain anonymous and be eligible for a REWARD of up to $2,000. 

Sketch of High Line Canal Assault Suspect

Lieutenant Chris Amsler
Commanding Officer
Media Relations Unit

Originally published on July 11, 2020:

The Aurora Police Department is investigating two assaults that occurred on the High Line Canal Trail in the Highland Park Neighborhood this week.

The first assault occurred on Wednesday, July 8th at around 11:30 in the morning. The female victim was riding her bike on the trail around East 2nd Avenue with her children. She was approached by an unknown man who swung a 2X4 board at her, striking her, and knocking her off her bicycle. The victim and her children were able to escape from the assailant and call police. She was transported to a local hospital where she was treated for minor injuries.

The second assault occurred today (July 11th) at around 6:00 this morning around East 1st Avenue and Moline Street. The victim was jogging down the trail when she was attacked by an unknown man who struck her several times with a board. She sustained serious injuries and was transported to a local hospital where she is currently being treated.

The suspect in the July 8th assault is described as a black male who is approximately 6-foot-tall with curly hair. He was wearing a red shirt and black shorts at the time of the crime.

The suspect in the July 11th assault is described as a Hispanic male in his 20’s who is approximately 5’7” tall, he has an athletic build and has short black “high and tight” hair. At the time of the attack he was wearing a black shirt and black pants. He was spotted later in the morning wearing a grey sweatshirt and was seen riding a children’s bicycle.

The APD has increased patrols in the area and our officers and detectives have been canvasing the area looking for the assailants and potential witnesses to these two attacks. If the public sees either of these two individuals they are advised not to approach them and to call 911 immediately.

Anyone who has information on these two cases is asked to email Tipsters can also contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers by calling 720.913.7867.  By using Crime Stoppers tipsters are eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.

The APD is providing the following safety tips for our community to follow to help keep them and their families safe:

• Pay attention to your surroundings. Criminals tend to avoid people who appear self-assured, so walk purposefully and with confidence.

• Avoid walking at night or in dimly lit areas. If you must walk in the evening, walk in pairs whenever possible and along familiar routes.

• Trust your instincts. If you feel you are in danger, respond immediately. If you feel someone is following you or could hurt you, yell ‘Fire’ instead of ‘help.’ People are more likely to respond to your call for assistance.

Lieutenant Chris Amsler
Commanding Officer
Media Relations Unit

Posted by  On Jul 13, 2020 at 12:18 PM
Read It!

**Video may contain spoilers**
Join APL staff each week for a discussion of some of their current reads! Each week they will discuss a book from a different genre. Join the discussion live on at each Friday at 1 p.m. (MST) and leave your thoughts in the comments below!

The next discussion will be at 1 p.m. on July 17, 2020 on our Facebook page and will feature "Commute" by Erin Williams (available instantly on

Other upcoming titles, all available instantly from hoopla digital, include:
 - July 24, "The Goblin Emperor" by Katherine Addison
- July 31, "FantasticLand" by Mike Bockoven
Posted by  On Jul 10, 2020 at 2:48 PM

Fantastical Reimaginings
Fantastical Reimaginings: "Rumpelstiltskin"
by Tess J.

Image from GoodReads

I mistakenly thought that Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, known as the Brothers Grimm, had invented the story of Rumpelstiltskin but it predates them by hundreds of years! The earliest version of the tale to be found on record is Johann Fischart’s adaptation of Francois Rabelais’ French story. Fischart did a play-on-words when he renamed the tale “Rumpele stilt oder der Poppart.”. In Old German, “rumpeln” translates to “make a noise” and “stilzer” translate to “a man with a limp”. Lastly, a “poppart” means “goblin.” Overtime, the story has been rewritten many times until the name became Rumpelstiltskin in the U.S. and Germany. In other countries the same character is known as Titeliture, Batzibitzili, Panzimanzi, Whuppity Stoorie and Tom Tit Tot.
The Brothers Grimm gathered four renditions of Rumpelstiltskin and combined them into what is today’s most famous version of the tale.

The Original
A king is in search of a beautiful, rich wife. The miller proclaims that his daughter is the most beautiful in the town and can also spin gold from straw. The king demands that the miller bring his daughter to the palace and he takes the daughter to a room filled with straw, a spinning wheel and spindle. The greedy king threatens to kill her if she cannot spin the straw into gold by morning. 
Distressed, the daughter begins to weep. Suddenly, a small man appears in the room. He says he hates to see her crying so he will help in exchange for her necklace. She agrees and he spins all the straw into gold by morning. When the king comes in, he is ecstatic and takes her to a bigger room with even more straw. He threatens the same as the night before and leaves her there. Once more, the little man returns when the miller’s daughter begins to sob. This time she gives him her mother’s ring in exchange for his help turning the straw into gold. 
In the morning, the king returns to mounds of gold. He takes the miller’s daughter to an even larger room and promises to marry her if she can perform the miracle once more. The little man appears again but this time demands that she promise to give him her firstborn child for his help. She agrees because she couldn’t imagine even getting out of the room alive without the little man. Once more, he spins all the straw into gold.
The king marries the miller’s daughter and a year later she gives birth to a son. The little man returns, expecting to have the baby handed over. The queen refuses. She begins to cry again, which he cannot stand, so he allows her three days in order to guess his name. If she guesses correctly, he will not take her son. 
On the first day, she reals off every name she has every heard of. On the second day, she has a messenger give her a list of unusual names. All are wrong. Before the third day, the messenger is able to find the little man’s hut and hears a song from inside: 
“Tomorrow I brew, today I bake,
Soon the child is mine to take.
Oh what luck to win this game,
Rumpelstiltskin is my name!”
And so the queen is able to guess the little man’s name. He is so angry that he lost the game that he tears himself in half... and that is the end of the tale!

"Rumpelstiltskin" Retellings

Shelley Duval's Fairy Tail Theatre
Image from IMDB
Shelley Duvall’s “Fairy Tale Theatre”

This was probably my first experience with the story of Rumpelstiltskin. Shelley Duvall hosted and performed in the television series called “Fairy Tale Theatre” and the second episode of the second season she played the role of the miller’s daughter/queen in Rumpelstiltskin. This version of the tale is almost exactly the same as the Brother’s Grimm edition. There are few additional characters, such as the king’s wizard advisor and the scenes are a more drawn out with more dialogue. Yet all the details are the same, down to the names the queen guesses during her three day trial. 

Spinning Silver
Image from Amazon
"Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik
Available via OverDrive and curbside pickup

“Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik is an adult retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. The recognizable tale of Rumpelstiltskin takes place within the first quarter of the novel; the rest the story is filled with Russian mythology and Jewish culture. Within the first quarter of the book, Marina takes over her father’s duties as money-lender and becomes so good at it that she is able to earn more than she makes just from money-lending interest. She accepts material goods to pay down debt and sells those goods at market for double their worth. In this way, she turns silver into gold. One night, on the way home from market, Marina brags about this talent not realizing the Winter King was listening. Under threat, he forces her to turn three bags of silver into gold. She does this by making a deal with the blacksmith, who is able to forge the melted silver into beautiful jewelry, which Marina then sells for gold. This satisfies the Winter King, who will not reveal his name, to remove the threat he had made but he takes Marina to his winter kingdom and the story continues from there, no longer resembling "Rumpelstiltskin". I greatly enjoyed this twisted fairy tale. 

Image from Amazon
“Spin: the Rumpelstiltskin Musical” 
Available on hoopla digital

This is a very silly, musical adaptation of Rumpelstiltskin. The town is very poor and lowly. The king is weak and bullied by his two step-sisters. Rumpelstiltskin is not a villain but a lonely, tricky creature that longs for friendship. One day, the miller sings boastfully that his daughter, Jane, can turn straw into gold. The king’s step-sisters hear of it, brings the miller and Jane to the castle and locks her away to spin. She cannot and Rumpelstiltskin, who heard everything, comes to her rescue. The story is similar in that Jane offers Rumpelstiltskin her necklace, then her ring. On the third night, the King finally puts a stop to his step-sisters' greed and tells Jane she only need to spin one more time. Rumpelstiltskin asks for her firstborn child and she agrees thinking she’ll never have a baby anyway.
The king professes his love to Jane after the third day of spinning, they marry, the kingdom becomes prosperous, and the step-sisters calm down. Everyone is happy until Jane has a baby boy and Rumpelstiltskin comes to collect him. Again, the story plays out similar to the original. Jane must guess his name in order to keep her son. Everyone goes out collecting names but the jester wanders into the woods and overhears Rumpelstiltskin singing about his name. The jester returns to the queen and tells her what he heard. She guesses his name correctly and the fact that Rumpelstiltskin only wanted a companion is discovered. They embrace him into the fold and he stays at the palace, finally earning himself some friends. 

“Rumpelstiltskin.” YouTube, uploaded by Lee Miller, 25 August, 2016.

Grimm, J. & Grimm, W. “Rumpelstiltskin”. The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tatar, W.W. Norton & Company, 2002, p. 123-130.

Heiner, H.A. (2002) History of Rumpelstiltskin. SurLaLune Fairy Tales. Retrieved on May 15, 2020.

Posted by  On Jul 10, 2020 at 2:34 PM
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