Fairy Tales

By Nancy Mellon

Some parents who met recently to practice the art of storytelling stirred up a controversy about "politically correct" stories. " I believe my children are more than global citizens -- they are cosmic!" one mother insisted. "Fairy tales free them to imagine themselves into the whole vast journey of life." Child experts agree with her. They also caution us adults to open the full expanse of our inner lives too.

Though sublime, the process of becoming a human being isn't always pleasant! Who hasn't sometimes been shocked to find dark evolutionary struggles in ourselves? Those mysterious, frightening and gruesome trials of fairytale heroes and heroines represent in shadowy and symbolic form drives, instincts, needs and wishes we, and all humanity, have often tried to disown.

Yet children do ask for those outrageous stories again and again! (And adults listen repeatedly to the news). Weirdly powerful fairy tales, especially when spoken by a loving and intrepid adult, help children indirectly to release and transform some of the contents of their inner lives. Along with their fascinating obstacles and trials, the gist of all the greatest fairy tales gives faith and trust in the higher process. They build resilience. Their main characters find greater love; the trials they endure turn them into worthy rulers. Musing on a few of those old jewels: "The Queen Bee" of "The Donkey", "The Singing Soaring Lark" in the Grimm's collection can do wonders for the soul. The Wisdom of Fairy Tales, by Rudolf Meyer or Bruno Bettleheim's The Uses of Enchantment can help us to expand our souls to realms worthy of a child's wildest and finest dreams.

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