Fairy-Tale Files: The Lasting Popularity of the Yeti

Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors, readers, editorial assistants, or contributors.


Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors, readers, editorial assistants, or contributors.


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Humans are transfixed by legends of quasi-humans. Bigfoot myths and sightings are common. In the United States alone we have the Pacific Northwest’s stories of Sasquatch and Florida’s Skunk ape. The Himalayan Mountains have the Abominable Snowman, or Yeti. While depictions of these ape-like creatures vary, common features include a tall bipedal gait, full-body fur, great strength, and a tendency to live in densely forested areas or caves. The Yeti first appears in Western popular culture in the 19th century and continues to make new appearances, including in World of Warcraft and as Bumble in that creepy/loveable Christmas classic.

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More recently, the Yeti appears in the 2001 movie Monsters, Inc. When main characters Mike and Sully are banished from their jobs at the power company in Monstropolis, they’re sent to the Himalayas where they are offered snow cones by an abominable snowman voiced by John Ratzenberger from Cheers. Far from menacing, this Yeti jokes about his time back at the Monsters, Inc. mailroom, and seems content to live out his days in the invigorating cold.

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The Yeti’s more human side is further embraced by cartoonist Nick Seluk in his series The Awkward Yeti, which chronicles Lars the Yeti through everyday social and personal difficulties like eating healthy and navigating anxiety. Lars experiences his discomfort in the world in ways readers can easily relate to; after all, don’t most of us feel a little less than human from time to time?


This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by Ochre Issue contributor Rebecca Macijeski.