In honour of Carl's Once Upon a Time 2 Challenge
I thought I'd throw this random question out on this sunny but very cold (VERY cold) Saturday morning here in Ottawa. What is your favourite fairy tale?
The reason I'm wondering is (other than natural curiosity and wanting to talk about fairy tales!) I recently went to a workshop on fairy tales and myths in our lives, and how to find the meaningful symbols that resonate in both the tales and our lives. What myth do we live by? What fairy tale is your favourite? was the question asked of us. Of a room full of 25 people, only a handful picked an actual written fairy tale. Everyone else picked either Disney or movies (Star Wars, Shrek) or comics. I, of course, was one of the ones who picked a written fairy tale - and if you notice the picture by my header, you'll know which one I'm talking about. The Princess and the Frog, the Talking Frog, The Frog Prince, are some names it goes under, though the central story is the same - the princess is unhappy and needs help, and the frog brings her what she needs to save herself. In return, she has to honour a promise, and in so doing, she frees him from his spell. I have always loved this fairy tale. I love the version with the golden ball she throws up and it lands in the well, and the frog jumps in to save it. I also like that she does not want at first to honour her promise because she is afraid of what people will say, and is eventually forced to because she gave her word. For me, this is a very powerful fairy tale, and very real because it's about change of consciousness and becoming aware of yourself as a person in your own right - and you need help to do it. I love the idea of princes being in disguise. I have a little stone frog with a crown who sits in my garden :-) and I always wanted that golden ball for my own'! -I think now we all have one of our own! We just have to find it.....
So.....I was curious. How many of us in the book-blogging world, love the word fairy tales, and which ones, and how many love a visual (movie or tv) fairy tale? I'm curious because I'd like to know if for readers, our roots are in the fairy tale books, versus the general public whose roots are more general (ie movies everyone experience). I am in no way making a judgement call here, since if I'd thought of applying it, I might have picked Star Wars or Star Trek as my fairy tale, but I'm a literal kind of person, so I thought fairy tale! (Maybe those two are my myths? h-m-m, I'll have to think on this.) I am mostly curious if we came to fairy tales through our childhood and having them read to us, or if we experienced fairy tales through Disney movies. I do confess here that I don't consider Disney as a real fairy tale - I always enjoyed the storybooks and the few Disney movies (CInderella etc) I got to see - but once I knew there were other versions of the fairy tales, I never looked back. Robin McKinley's Beauty is far more powerful for me than Beauty and the Beast Disney version (even if Belle reads and Beast has a great library!) Is this one reason everyone is reading Shannon Hale, because she is reinterpreting the fairy tales again in a modern way? I am so curious to read her now after seeing her books on many of your blogs.
So it's not a question that we need fairy tales and myths (I'll do a later blog on myths, this is supposed to be a lazy Saturday!!) - we do. It's which one appeals to us. So, dear Gentle Reader, please let me know what your favourite was, and how you came to find it. Drop me a line, or if you blog about this, let me know and I'll come see.
Happy reading! Are you turning your lights out for one hour tonight? We are.
I 'm getting my candles ready, and hope to have enough to read by.... Hm-m-m, maybe I could read some fairy tales to them by candlelight, what do you think?
By the way - I'm not dead set against Disney - I can hardly wait for Sleeping Beauty to be released!! I haven't seen it since I was a child, if I even saw it - I know we had the Disney book (you know the ones I mean, with the Disney classics, illustrated with bits of the animated movies).....I can watch Disney, but they don't resonate with me the way printed fairy tales do. I think it's the depth, the texture of the stories - Disney versions have erased a lot of the darkness and blood that the best fairy tales have. Because fairy tales were guides for how to live our lives.
Since I am in the process of reading many versions of fairy tales this year in many of my challenges - Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, the Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Fitcher's Brides by Gregory Frost, to name a few, I can't give a definitive account of my favourite versions of some fairy tales, except to say i love Robin McKinley's Beauty. I know I read Sheri S Tepper's version many years ago, but I have to reread it (given that I own Robin McKinley's, I'd guess it's fair to say which one is the one I prefer). There has been a great number written by Donna Jo Napoli and Shannon Hale recently- YA fantasy writers - and I haven't read any yet, so I can't give an opinion, but certainly many of you out there love them. More books on my wishlist/TBR lists!!!!
By the way, I do love Shrek and the kids have watched all three movies many many many times. I love Gingy (who can resist a gingerbread man who says "Eat me!" in defiance??), Puss in Boots, the whole fairy tale princess/ogre switch, everything. I'm not a snob! but the reason Shrek resonates for us older people is because we know the original stories all these characters come from, their original fairy tales. Do your kids? I know mine don't, which is why I think I will read some fairy tales to them tonight, in the glimmering darkness. My excuse is they are 3 and 5 years old, so some fairy tales they could only just start hearing now! Like the entire Brother's Grimm canon, which I happen to own, and my daughter got an illustrated version from my friend who likes horror!! *sigh*, I'll have to do another blog at a later date on horror and why it's fun to read....meantime, mine and *Nick Hornby's* English Premier League Soccer team is playing on TV, so I'm off to cheer for Arsenal! Have a lazy reading Saturday!!