Are fairytales dangerous?

February 15, 2009 at 2:57 pm (books, thoughts) ()

I’ve often read articles or heard speakers saying things like “Too many fairy tales are bad”  and “Fairy tales lead to unrealistic exceptions”; and while I vaguely understood the points, I  didn’t  get it.  I loved fairy tales, and still do .  I gobbled them up as a kid and read all the retelling I can.  Last night , while listening to Cosy Sheridan, I was struck by a lightning bolt of realization. ( This is very fitting — there were a lot of Greek gods running around in her songs.) When I think fairy tales , I don’t stop at Cinderella. Or Sleeping Beauty. And I do not mean the clean,happily ever after Disney versions only.   My definition of fairy tale is big and broad — and really  they hit all parts of life.  The pretty  , the romantic , the ugly, the courageous and  the grim.  There are many versions of Cinderella where her stepsisters are not forgiven. I read Grimm, Anderson, native American myths, Greek myths, fairy tales from Japan, China , India and silly stories from Norway. My favorite fairy tale is The Little Mermaid. No not  the Disney version, but the version I read in our Grolier book  of  knowledge.  It  may me cry.  and I had a hard time rereading it.  I am sure that at first I wanted a different ending. Gradually, I really  wanted the Little mermaid to changer her behavior.  I wanted her to understand that giving up everything for love, and espcially for love  that wasn’t going to be returned wasn’t wise.  She never did learn,  but I  think I  did. Sacrifice  might be part of love, but giving up yourself is wrong.

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