What’s really in a fairy tale

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I not only enjoy reading fairy tales, but also watching them come to life on the big screen in the form of either live-action or animated films.
Tuesday, I pulled up the Google home page and saw an image depicting the story Cinderella as the Google Doodle at the top of the page.
I waved my mouse over the image, thinking it was either the birthday of one of the Grimm Brothers or some other special commemoration of the story.
To my surprise, the name revealed was Charles Perrault, a man who was born 388 years ago and is the original author of not only Cinderella but also Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty.
According to an article on www.telegraph.co.uk, Perrault was born in France and practiced law before writing “Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals.” This collection contained “Mother Goose,” “Puss in Boots,” “Blue Beard,” “Cinderella,” “The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “The Fairies,” “Ricky of the Tuft” and “Little Thumb.”
Perrault’s stories were also more gruesome than the happily ever after versions we are used to reading.
In Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf is obviously a man who preys on young girls wandering alone in the woods, the article states.
I always knew the real tale of “The Little Mermaid” was a bit more horrific.
In Hans Christien Andersen’s version, the sea witch cuts off the little mermaid’s tongue in exchange for the legs the little mermaid so desperately wants so she can be with her prince.
Her story does not end with a wedding on a ship, but ends with her transformation into sea foam and later, an ethereal earthbound spirit.
It’s not often that I prefer a happy ending. I’m a bigger fan of a realistic portrayal of life, like when your dreams are “crashed against the rocky shores reality” (from “Ye Shall be As Gods”) and you have to act like an adult and deal with them.
Even as a young child, I realized these stories were not a true portrait of life and especially love.
However, there is nothing wrong with the positive feelings these newer and happier versions of fairy tales inspire in us.
When I’m feeling down, I pick a favorite animated classic and watch it from start to finish.
Even though I spend the majority of the time debunking the myths portrayed in the films, I do still enjoy reclaiming a bit of my childhood naiveté from time to time.

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