At tor.com, a post by Ursula Vernon: The Sausage Princess, or, Reshaping the Bizarre Structure of Fairy Tales
This is not a very, um, catchy title, as far as I’m concerned. But hey, Ursula Vernon! Let’s see what she has to say:
So there’s a Grimm Brothers fairy tale about a mouse, a bird, and a talking sausage who live together. (I am not making this up.) The sausage is the cook. In order to season food, she—yes, she’s identified as a female sausage—jumps into the pan and slithers around, sweating grease and spices on the food.
Anyway, one day the bird decides that the mouse and the sausage have it too easy and they all switch jobs. The sausage goes out to gather wood and is set upon by a dog, who claims (I am still not making this up) that the sausage is guilty of carrying forged letters and thus he is allowed to eat her. The bird sees this, goes home, and tells the mouse. They decide to stay together in memory of their friend the sausage, but then the mouse does the cooking, jumps into the pot like the sausage, and is of course roasted alive. The bird, horrified, accidentally sets the house on fire and drowns in the well trying to get water to put it out.
Good heavens. Is Vernon making this up despite the disclaimers? I can’t quiiiite see any possible version of this story working for me. Well.
The moral of this story is presumably that everyone’s job is hard and you should just keep your eyes on your own work, and also that mice are not bright and talking sausages are often guilty of postal fraud.
Now, I retell fairy tales for a living. Wearing one hat, I’m the author of the Hamster Princess series for kids, which are all based on fairy tales, and wearing my other hat, I’m T. Kingfisher, and write novel-length fairy tale retellings for grown-ups.
Neither one of me is going to be able to do a good retelling of the Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage.
Good, good. Please do not try.
But the post is good though! Click through and read the whole thing, which is actually about why Vernon finds fairy tales (SOME fairy tales) a useful jumping off point for writing her own stories and novels.