Many of the moments in life can feel very mundane and “everyday”. We adults spend the day working at a job, cooking, cleaning, raising children, ….and the list seems like it has no end! We all need stories, and reading fairy tales reconnects us to our imagination and transports us like no other stories are able.
What Are Fairy Tales?
Fairy Tales are stories each culture passes down from generation to generation throughout history. All people have a desire for story-telling, it’s in our design.
Some of the original fairy tales were uplifting and lovely, those are usually the background of daydreams and inspiration.
Alternatively, there are the strange and macabre selections that can cause a reader to wonder at the meaning, and purpose, for writing them.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were German brothers who lived and worked into the mid-1800’s. They worked chiefly as language and folklore historians during Germany’s romantic movement. This movement caused a lot of new written material, but it also inspired some writers to look to the past.
The past is where the brothers Grimm focused their attention.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm collected and recorded a little over 200 traditional folktales from their native Germany. The brothers Grimm gathered tales from the simple country people.
These simple stories were discovered and appreciated anew.
These stories were very important to society. People kept them alive by re-telling them to the next generation.
Why Were Fairy Tales Told aloud?
Throughout most centuries of history, the majority of people were illiterate. Only the privileged few would have had the leisure time or funds for an education.
Therefore, fairy tales were told orally, because most of society was illiterate.
The divide between upper and lower classes made this an unfortunate reality for hundreds of years.
It’s easy to imagine mothers telling stories to the children leaning upon their aproned knees. Or families gathered around a fire at the end of the day, re-telling stories, that were familiar that they all knew so well.
Entire communities and regions would have had these tales in common. The beautiful tradition of telling Fairy Tales kept them alive.
A Tie To The Past
In the realm of fairy tales, there are different types: true fairy stories, and cautionary tales.
Fairy Stories always have a happy ending. These are the ones that end with a marriage and “they lived happily ever after”. The protagonist’s dilemmas are resolved.
Fairy stories have a message of redemption written into them, one that tells us that all things work together for good. Virtue is rewarded, and justice is paid.
Our souls deeply crave this message of redemption.
Cautionary tales give a warning and teach the consequences of not heeding the warning.
Cautionary tales in Grimm’s Fairy Tales were likely told to scare children into behaving and obeying. Keeping them from coming to a bad end would have been the intention.
We still benefit from reading fairy tales, whether they are Fairy Stories or Cautionary Tales.
Fairy Tales are still inspiring, especially in modern times. They give us permission to daydream and ponder. If we crack open a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales they provide enchantment to our typical, average days.
And I think we could all use a cautionary tale, as well, from time to time!
A Classic Template For Story
Throughout many of Grimm’s Fairy Tales there is a similar plot. “Sleeping Beauty”, “The Goose Girl”, and “Snow White and Rose Red” are several that have it in common.
First, the fair and virtuous main character is in the evil plan of an enemy.
However, there is an unseen hand of help, a rescuer that was there all the time in disguise or suddenly appears. Finally, enemies are defeated!
Fairy Stories end with victory on the side of good.
Throughout history, people have used this same template for story, it is the story that we all recognize and have in common.
Our souls desire a rescuer.
Feeding The Imagination
Fairy Tales are outlandish and, as a result, stir the imagination.
Many Fairy Tales are completely unrealistic in today’s world. The lives of the characters seem outdated, and resemble our lives very little.
Details in Fairy Tales, like clothing, speech, behavior, and choices made by the characters, are foreign to modern life. But, these same details can be very refreshing.
Consequently, while reading Fairy Tales, I find my mind gets a break from modern troubles and I am able to muse away a few moments.
I have experienced a little mental break!
Reasons To Read Grimm’s Fairy Tales
- Other authors reference Fairy Tales in their books. If we are familiar with them, we have greater understanding of the book we are reading.
- Fairy Tales inspired much loved authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
- Readers of Fairy Tales get a mental break from modern reality and troubles.
- Fairy Tales make excellent stories for reading aloud to our children. However, I recommend discretion, as some of them are scary for the very young.
- But, I have allowed my children to hear, and read for themselves, the unsettling ones, as they grew older. Fairy Tales safely validate the intuition children have, that there are real dangers in the world, every person they meet is not trustworthy.
A Few Fairy Stories in Grimm’s Fairy Tales To Begin With
The Goose Girl
Snow White and Rose Red
The Singing Soaring Lark
The Bremen Town Musicians
The Frog Prince
One fine evening a young princess put on her bonnet and clogs, and went out to take a walk by herself in a wood; and when she came to a cool spring of water, that rose in the midst of it, she sat herself down to rest a while. Now she had a golden ball in her hand, which was her favourite plaything; and she was always tossing it up into the air, and catching it again as it fell. After a time she threw it up so high that she missed catching it as it fell; and the ball bounded away, and rolled along upon the ground, till at last it fell down into the spring. The princess looked into the spring after her ball, but it was very deep, so deep that she could not see the bottom of it. Then she began to bewail her loss, and said, ‘Alas! if I could only get my ball again, I would give all my fine clothes and jewels, and everything that I have in the world.’ ( excerpt taken from ” The Frog Prince” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, found here.)
A Few Cautionary Tales To Check Out
Little Red Riding Hood
The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids
Hansel and Gretel
The Maiden Without Hands
The King of the Golden Mountain
I encourage you to read Fairy Tales and read them aloud to your children. Let them light a spark in your imaginations, and teach a few lessons!
Do you have a favorite of Grimm’s Fairy Tales? Please tell me in the comments!
Thank you for stopping by,