Fairy tales have positive uses in education, which no cramming of facts, and no merely domestic fiction can serve. Like Proverbs and Parables, they deal with first principles under the simplest forms. They convey knowledge of the world, shrewd lessons of virtue and vice, of common sense and sense of humor, of the seemly and the absurd, of pleasure and pain, success and failure, in narratives where they plot moves briskly and dramatically from a beginning to an end. They treat, not of the corner of a nursery or a playground, but of the world at large, and life in perspective; of forces visible and invisible; of Life, Death, and Immortality.
They cultivate the Imagination, that great gift which time and experience lead one more and more to value - handmaid of Faith, of Hope, and, perhaps most of all, of Charity. (p. 6)
from intro to Old-Fashioned Fairy Tales by Juliana Horatio Ewing (Victorian children's author)