Thursday, May 9, 2013

On Fairy-tales

So many greater pens than mine have written original fairy-tales, or fairy-tale adaptations, or essays on the importance of fairy-tales, that I doubt I will manage to say anything new. But I can at least write about why fairy-tales are important to me.

I was pondering why I enjoy certain fairy-tale based works, even though they are far scarier than I (a self-proclaimed wimp) normally tolerate. It hit me last night exactly why: it's not because of the scary monsters and the terrible things that happen, it's because they show heroes fighting against those monsters and winning. Is the faery-land in my mind more peopled with terrifying creatures than it used to be? Maybe, maybe not-- I came up with some surprisingly terrifying nightmares all on my own even as a child. The thing is, along with those terrifying creatures I've met have come brave and capable heroes, loyal friendships, incredible rescues, and true love conquering all manner of difficulties.

A quote I read attributed to GK Chesterton sums it up better than I do: "Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten."

That is exactly why I love--no, not just love, need--fairy tales as much as I do. I need no reminding that there is darkness in the world. I need reminding that there is good, that there is light and love and courage and kindness and justice, and that in the end these are the things that conquer, these are the things that matter, these are the things that will eventually receive their reward.

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