Friday, October 17, 2014

The Value of Fairy Tales - Part Two

When I wrote about the value of fairy tales in my last post, I was not referring to the Disney versions. I am not thrilled with the messages that most of those stories convey of ignoring your parents to follow your heart (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, etc.) and female  empowerment (Mulan and Brave). Nor do I support the Princess mentality that says girls are entitled to bling and pampering.

Which brings me back to The Sleeping Beauty. In the version by C.S. Evans, we have an antidote to the fluff mentioned above. As the fairies give their gifts to the long-awaited baby, the third fairy gives virtue. "And the queen nodded her head and smiled, for though she esteemed beauty and cleverness, she knew that neither was of any worth without goodness of heart."

The above quote is one of many examples of the story´s rich language. Here is another: The king's decree required that all spinning wheels, whether they be worked by hand or by treadle or by any other device, together with all spindles, shuttles, bobbins, and all other accessories or appurtenances, shall forthwith be rendered up to the officers of the King. (Hooray for books without dumbed-down language!)

Not only was the story well-written and slyly humorous, it was morally uplifting. It effortlessly dealt with eternal truths such as:

1) We were made for happy endings. No, this is not the same as saying life will have no problems. We live in a sinful world, but Christians are called to be hope-ers. We believe God's power is available to help us overcome struggles and that even with less-than perfect lives, life is a gift worth living. And because we have eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), no earthly pleasure will truly satisfy  us. We were made for more.

2) We were made to await a bridegroom. Not everyone will get married and live happily ever after, but the key theme of fairy tales is still a biblical one. We were created to live in intimate fellowship with God. This begins on earth when we believe in Christ for salvation, but will culminate when He comes back for his pure and spotless bride. (Revelations 19:7-9, II Corinthians 11:2)

3) We were made to be virtuous. We were created in the image of God and meant to be holy. When Adam and Eve sinned, we were robbed of our heritage. Salvation and sanctification are what God uses to slowly restore what was lost.

Who knew there could be so much theology in fairy tales!?

There are many versions of the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk, but my favorite highlights goodness of heart. While the huge giant (with his enormously long legs) is chasing after the little, helpless boy, we are amazed that Jack can outrun him, but the narrator quickly explains, "Jack was not a bit afraid, for he saw the giant was so tipsy he could hardly stand, much less run; and he himself had young legs and a clear conscience, which carry a man a long way."

A nice, free source for fairy tales for Kindle is Andrew Lang´s The Blue Fairy BookThe version is only 99 cents.

Any thoughts? Comments? Story recommendations?

1 comment:

Farm Girl said...

I think that idea of yes, there might be a happily ever after, but it came at a cost, someone searching for 100 years, as in Sleeping Beauty, or the abuse suffered by Cinderella by her Step-Mother, Things never came like we think it should, even the evil queens were widows. There is I think a picture buried within that in spite of the circumstances, people rose above the pain. I think that is what today is missing in some of the more modern fairy tales. People being tested and how they reacted to that testing.
I think you can say, it is how if we plan to be victorious as a Christian, we too must rise above it as well. I am enjoying your posts very much.