Historically, fairy tales have provided an important building block in literature and also in peoples lives. Also called “wonder” tales, fairy tales are stories about living that share universal themes across culture and history. Good over evil, a reverence for aging, beauty, magic, kings, queens, life and death.
For myself as a child, fairy tales offered an incredible infusion of fascinating imagery from all over the world. Endless material to spin new ideas off of. Artists at times, can come up short for new directions to follow. Fairy tales describe how people relate to one another, in community and around the world. Although most often fantastic and commanding grand imagination, there are real life lessons to be learned.
Annie Pfeifer, an Assistant Professor Tufts University, wrote an interesting critique of fairy tales in 2017. She rightly takes exception to some of the characters that Disney’s created for little girls that come out of fairy tale tradition. She ultimately makes peace with them as “living narratives,” further stating that,” One of the core values of fairy tales, wrote the psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim, was that they empowered children to think for themselves and overcome obstacles on their own.” Read more – Elsa the Princess…Let It Go: Making Peace With Princesses.
You can try one fairy tale on for size- here’s one I’ve always been crazy about. The Gypsy Queen- A Mexican Fairy Tale
Or this one. The Twelve Dancing Princesses. “They came to another grove of trees, where all the leaves were of gold; and afterwards to a third, where the leaves were all glittering diamonds.” I like the mind picture conjured up. Every time I see sunlight after rain in my garden, or an early morning dew nestled between the petals, it reminds me of this story. Is it water or is it diamonds? Did you know that Carole King’s song Tapestry was based on the fairy tale, The Lord of the Rings? Listen again for the Gandalf description. I just like the lyrics.Interesting interview with the songwriter about her process.