The White Road

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October 10, 2007, 12:45 PM
The White Road
I know that Neil drew his inspiration for this story from tales such as Mr. Fox, etc, but I am having a difficult time finding the origins of "the white road" itself. I'm positive that it is an allusion, but have looked all over and failed to find it. Does anyone know?
October 12, 2007, 05:37 AM
It's also inspired/a new vision at the Bluebeard story (and many other less-known stories about men who "collect" young wives and kill them). Is that what you were thinking? (And, welcome to the boards! Smile)

October 16, 2007, 06:46 AM
Thank you very much for the reply and warm welcome Smile

When Mr. Fox says in his intended's dream that he would love to show her his house "down the white road," it sounds like an allusion to another story, not something that Gaiman just came up with out of the blue. I'm looking for the actual story that contained a "white road" in it; I understand where he got everything from except for the white road itself, and clearly it's significant, since he took the title from it.
October 18, 2007, 03:05 AM
Ah, I see...

I actually don't know. It does sound like a reference, but it could be somethign terribly obscure. After a quick search I found this:

The White Road
The most recent piece in here, both in the writing and the recording. I wrote it after the rest of the stuff on here had already been recorded. Preston Smith, who twiddled the knobs in K.N.O.W.'s Studio M, where this gallimaufrey was committed, offered helpful suggestions. And, as you can hear, I had much too much fun doing it. This story is based on a number of old English folk-stories, particularly a wonderful gruesome one called Mr. Fox which I first read as a child in a paperback collection of horror stories for kids, but also on a variant of that story called Doctor Foster, in the Penguin book of English Folk Stories, and on all the strange Chinese folk tales in which ultimately, everything comes down to Foxes. (The White Road will appear in print in, and was written for, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's third adult fairy story anthology, Ruby Slippers, Diamond Tears. )


It doesn't explain anything, but it might be a starting point. Damn, I'm intrigued now Big Grin

Edit: Incidentally, ever since I read this and other references by Neil to the "Penguin Book of English Folk Stories", I've search for it in vain. Presumably it has another title which is very similar, but I can't pin it down. Very annoying.

October 22, 2007, 08:26 AM
I know, it's intriguing and frustrating at the same time! I may have to bug Neil himself for an answer. Razz
August 01, 2008, 02:41 PM
The Wild Hunt
I apologize for resurrecting an old thread, but I'd like to hazard a guess as to the allusion for "the white road".

John Connolly authored a Charlie Parker novel titled The White Road, which was published in 2002. The Charlie Parker novels are supposedly (I haven't read them) crime novels written in a noire tone, but with underlying supernatural themes.

The novel deals with the investigation of the rape/murder of the daughter of a wealthy family.

Also, in Grimm's Fairy Tale "The Robber Bridegroom", which is a version of this tale, the bridegroom leaves a trail of ash for his bride-to-be to follow. The white road may also be a reference to that, though ash is more gray than white.
January 06, 2014, 12:54 PM
Don't know if anyone is still checking this, but thought that I might be able to throw a little light on the matter.

Gaiman's 'The White Road' is a reworking of the Grimm brothers' Robber Bridegroom. Other people who have been influenced by this work, and could therefore be said to have influenced Gaiman include:
Eudora Welty - The Robber Bridegroom
Calvino - The Marriage of a Queen and a Bandit
Margaret Atwood - The Robber Bride (although this is not a short story but a massive deconstruction of the short story)
Then just last year, Philip Pullman revised the story again (calling it 'The Robber Bridegroom') in his reworking of the majority of the Grimms' fairytales in his book called 'Grimm tales for young and old'.
Hope this helps,
June 11, 2015, 01:38 PM
The main keyturn phrase, "Be bold, be bold, but not too bold" which people recognize from Mr. Fox, is actually from Edmund Spenser's The Fairie Queene. It is the message which Britomart encounters during her quest of chastity during Book III. Interesting!