(Art by Felicitas Kuhn, a fabulous fairy tale artist from the 1940s.)
Did you like to read fairy tales when you were a kid? My family had a big book of fairy tales for kids, and I completely devoured it. There’s nothing else like them to indulge the imagination. And I think they stuck, because I still love fairy tales today.
Of course, that’s not much of a surprise considering how prevalent fairy tales are. Think movies like Snow White and the Huntsman or Red Riding Hood, or TV shows like Grimm and my personal guilty addiction Once Upon a Time. Fairy tale characters stuck in our world! Just think of the drama! The princesses! The attractive men in fantasy garb!
Plus fairy tales inspire miniseries, short stories, novels, art, and paraphernalia, not to mention the Disney movies.
Why have fairy tales stuck with us for so long? Is it just that enchanted worlds and happy endings stand the test of time? I wish I knew. If you have any theories leave them in the comments!
Some of my favorite novels retell fairy tales. Beauty by Robin McKinley stands out, which retells, as you can guess, Beauty and the Beast. I recently finished Deerskin by the same author, which retells a little-known fairy tale called Donkeyskin by Charles Perrault. Donkeyskin has been left out of many anthologies for good reason: it’s a violent tale involving a king who wants to marry his own daughter. But it makes for a wonderful novel. Seriously, if you’re looking for a great read, pick up something by Robin McKinley.
In terms of actual fairy tales, I love the original Little Mermaid. If you want to check it out, go here. It’s a tragic tale of love and sacrifice, and let’s just say that the ending ain’t no Disney movie. Just be prepared to hate Hans Christian Andersen a little bit after you read it.
But it makes for some great art.
What are your favorite fairy tales? And why do you think we all seem to love them so darn much?