Sometimes in my wanderings I get to meet cool people. People who may or may not think am cool too. I leave them with my blog address and some pass by, some do not. No hard feelings at all. There is that minority which passes by and comes back. They keep doing it until they stick. @esther_kariuki is one such person. I met her at some event I was covering last year in Safari Park. We talked a little about rock music and literature then parted after I gave her my blog address. Later she tracked me and became a regular reader here. She writes too but she does not blog. I convinced her to do a guest post and here it is.
LIFE IS A FAIRY TALE
For most of us book-lovers, correction, word-lovers, our first introduction to beautiful literature was the popular Fairy Tales. I can attribute my zealous passion for reading to my mother. It’s the same for most people.
Since I discovered the truth about my most treasured stories (which was not long ago), I’ve grown to loathe them by the passing hour. I do not look back at the years I’ve fantasized about a ‘happily ever after’ ending of my life with nostalgia but rather with disgust. Memories of the Sunday mornings I’d extend my stay in bed painting mental pictures of blissful life I wish to blot out permanently. If erasing memories is an art to be mastered I’d eagerly sign up for classes.
These modified tales that we’ve all at some point read all have a universal gospel that GOOD triumphs over EVIL. This teaching is not too different from what religion preaches, I believe. If were upto me children would never be exposed to such falsities. Life is not an apple pie. These books do not equip anyone for the wicked world we’re living in. They just go about making folks stupidly innocent and absurdly fantastical.
You can’t blame one for living in their own Utopia only to be knocked back to reality by some unpleasant real world experience. You really can’t, not with the ideas drummed in from the kind of books they read. BUT if we were to read the original Fairy Tales we would have less naivety circumscribing us. Gruesome or not they depict how vile man can be. They’d awaken every nerve in a person and make them as never imagined.
I was at first appalled by the tales but I realize now that they are not mere sick imaginations of authors. They hold so much truth if pondered critically.
The original version of ‘The Little Red Riding Hood’ by Charles Perrault is an interesting one. In the first place, little red riding hood is a young lady and not a child as in the modified version. She heeds the advice of a wolf and ends up dead as the wolf eats her. The moral is clear, not to trust strangers.
Hans Christian Andersan’s ‘Little Mermaid’ depicts a reality that most people shudder from facing. Ariel, the mermaid, falls in love with Erick but as is the case in real life, her love is not reciprocated. Erick instead marries a princess. The depressed Ariel commits suicide most probably out of depression. Some might argue that children should not be introduced to such strong ideas of death but I’d say a lesson might be learnt. Rejection is always a possibility and aware of this fact one will be better placed to face it.
My favourite fairy tale is ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’. In the original version, when the wicked queen ordered the huntsman to murder poor Snow White, she demanded her lungs and liver. They were not only to serve as evidence of the killing but they’d also be served as dinner! Obviously she had to suffer for this, and her punishment? The queen was to dance to her death with red hot iron shoes on. I do not for a minute advocate for inhuman corporal punishment but it does go on.
‘Sleeping Beauty’s’ original version made me shed a tear but that’s life for you; A Fairy Tale, wicked.