The Crystal Sphere Commentary
The Grimm tale concerns a young man fleeing his mother, an evil enchantress who has bewitched his two brothers and turned one into an eagle and the other into a whale. Those two brothers are only able to wear their human form a couple of hours a day.
Evil enchantress mother transforming one son into an eagle and the other into a whale? Think something got a little out of whack there. Since when is being transformed into an eagle a curse?
In classical tales of such transformations often enough it is to protect the individual, endowing them with the powers of that animal (maybe there are hints of societies moving from one dominating cult to another, as is often suggested--there's room for various levels of knowledge in fairy tales and myths).
The shape-shifting brothers play powerfully positive roles that by no means suggest their having been cursed. The completion of the quest, by which is broken the power of the sorcerer of the castle of the golden sun (in which the young woman is bewitched so she appears as an old woman), would be impossible without the assistance of the eagle man and the merman--one brother then partaking of powers of the air, the other of the waters, and the other brother, who is not transformed, being of the earth, for which reason he was not transformed as he is already earth.
For the above reasons I instead have the brothers take on these animal aspects in a protective process endowed by a positive mother, aspects by which they eventually defeat/come to terms with the rigors of time (sun) itself. To say they have only defeated the sun is erroneous, else the young son and the old/young woman would not become the new inhabitants of the castle in a harmonious fashion.
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