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October 24, 2007

The Horror of Fairy Tales

I have been thinking a lot about the stories that I tell my students, especially today after one teacher told me that her son didn't like the movie ( Leo Lionni's Swimmy) I showed in class yesterday. You see, he apparently is a sensitive sort and (SPOILER ALERT!!1!) he was upset that Swimmy's family gets eaten by a mean tuna fish, even though he finds another family and they scare the tuna away in the end. 

That got me to thinking about these fables, why they are so violent, and I know it is because fables are really cautionary tales, stories told to children to teach morals. Folk tales, on the other hand, are told to pass down traditions and keep history/religion/families alive ... I literally translate Folk Tales as People Stories so my students will remember that.

Fairy tales, now they are another creature all together. Watching Criminal Minds tonight (excellent if extremely creepy episode, BTW) the epilogue contained the following quote ...

"Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."  ~ G. K. Chesterton

... and it struck me. The horrors of these fairy tales are truly horrible but good always wins which, for a child, might just be enough to give them confidence to at least stand up to the dragons.  

In a delightful bit of serendipity, I found this article in my feedreader tonight and was reminded how truly horrible Disney is for watering these delicious stories down.

Damn you, Walt. *shakes fist*

Don't have any fables/folk tales/fairy tales to entertain yourself and your chillens? Get thee to a library!! 398.2!!  The Brothers Grimm is a great place to start.

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This page contains a single entry by Prosemonkey published on October 24, 2007 12:07 AM.

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