by A. Faris
Re-reading fairytales as an adult, now that I am a mom, I realize that many fairytales have dark subtexts. If one goes back to the original stories – not the cleaned up 'It's a wonderful world' Disney-esque versions, you'd quickly realize that fairytales are not just happily-ever-afters. They are rich and complex, with much to mine from them.
Good does not always win...and heroes and heroines are not always perfect beings. The Little Mermaid killed herself for love, Goldilocks was a housebreaker, and the list goes on.
I can appreciate why adults feel compelled to wash out such dark themes for children – I, for one, do not want to explain to my three year old why The Little Mermaid killed herself - but they become pale imitations of their selves. The only danger in that, however, is if the orginal stories are lost to us and only the children's versions survive.
What fairytales leave us is, thankfully, a gold mine of ideas and themes that can be re-visted. Obeserve the Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner, the reiterations of 'Beauty and the Beast', 'Red Riding Hood', 'Cinderella', to name a few, in romances, and the fairytale-like stories of AS Byatt (with decidedly adult themes). There is a reason why these stories remain with us through the times, to be enjoyed over lifetimes.
A. Faris is the author of 'The Golden Harp', a retelling of 'Jack and the Beanstalk' and 'Out of Joint', a historical paranormal, soon to be released by Decadent Publishing!