May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fairy Tales for Real People

Fairy tales have been around for a long time.  My middle daughter is particularly entranced by princesses and tales of love and valor.  I can understand why.  I imagine that fairy tales have always originated as an escape from the real world, from disease, famine, heartbreak and death.  What I find interesting is that fairy tales, classic fairy tales, contain so much of this reality.  In Snow White, the huntsman is asked not only to kill Snow White but to return her heart to the wicked queen.   In Sleeping Beauty, an evil spell promising an early death is cast upon Aurora.  In the Red Shoes, the little girl has to have both feet chopped off.  Cinderella was forced to sleep in the cinder.  Even Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother was terrorized by a wolf.  These are hardly sugar coatings of the difficulties one may encounter in life: jealousy, rage, anger, selfishness and vanity.   Many fairy tales have been glamorized by Disney and used to sell merchandise which promises unfulfilled dreams.  Modern fairy tales have taken on a modern philosophy of shielding our children from  reality, making sure that all children are winners and that no one's feelings are hurt.  This is not reality.  People are not created equally and will always be treated differently.  Individuals have their own strengths and weaknesses, there are different economic, educational, ethnic, social, geographic and family backgrounds which all lend to different experiences.  There is no way to get through life without having your feelings hurt.  Bad things will happen, they do happen all the time.  I am thankful for the fairy tales rooted in reality with an element of fantasy.  They let us know that sometimes in life the crappiest of things will happen to you no matter how smart, beautiful or strong you are.  How your fairy tales ends is up to you though, your fate is not held within the hands of whatever evil has taken you into its grasp, it is yours alone.

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