Friday, June 15, 2012

Fairy Tale Fridays -

“O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales.” – Leo Rosten

Last week, Care of Care's Online Book Club sent me this quote which was the quote of the day on Goodreads. First of all, can I just say how happy it made me that she saw it and immediately thought of me and Fairy Tale Fridays? Then I wondered, "who is Leo Rosten and why does anyone care what he says?"

Leo Rosten had nothing to do with fairy tales. He was an immigrant to this country in 1911 from what is now Poland and a successful author, screenwriter and humorist. It was Rosten who said of W.C. Fields "any man who hates dogs and babies can't be all bad." But he never wrote fairy tales. Which made me wonder (of course it did), what other people felt the pull and importance of fairy tales long after they had, theoretically, outgrown them.
Marie Curie, the first person to be awarded two Nobel Prizes, had this to say about fairy tales:

"I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale."

The brilliant Albert Einstein said this:

 "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."

Marie Curie
If you search for quotes about fairy tales, you will find authors from every generation have had something to say, from Dickens to Danielle Steele. They have clearly had a deep and profound effect on people who write. But to find that scientists also fall back to fairy tales as a basis for intelligence and the desire to learn speaks volumes to me. Perhaps it's time we quite worrying quite so much about sanitizing the things we read to our children and go back to fairy tales the way they were meant to be read; they have so much to teach us. Alfred Hitchcock said this about what we can learn from fairy tales:

  "Fear isn't so difficult to understand. After all, weren't we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same thing that frightened us yesterday. It's just a different wolf. This fright complex is rooted in every individual."

Jack Zipes, retired professor of German from the University of Minnesota who has published and lectured on the topic of fairy tales, said this:

"Fairy tales since the beginning of recorded time, and perhaps earlier, have been "a means to conquer the terrors of mankind through metaphor."

If, by reading fairy tales, we teach our children how to deal with fear, isn't that one of the greatest gifts we can give them? And if, by immersing them in fairy tales, they find a way to turn their creative minds into a living, what could be better?

"at the center of every fairy tale lay a truth that gave the story its power." Susan Wiggs, The You I Never Knew

"Mother didn't understand that children aren't frightened by stories; that their lives are full of far more frightening things than those contained in fairy tales." Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

"In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fiary tales should be respected." Charles Dickens


  1. I never really thought of fairy tales that way. I have a book that still sits on my shelf from last year!!! I keep meaning to read them and never make time.Now that we will be camping a lot up north, I think I will pack that book and carve out a special place/time for these fairy tales!!!

  2. Care is so awesome that way - always sees things that make her think of others :)