Friday, September 2, 2011

Fairy Tales Lessons

Remember Walt Disney's three early princesses, Snow White, Aurora, and Cinderella? Now, think about who befriends them, who helps them, who follows them around in adoration. It's the animals, of course. One of the hallmarks used to separate fairy tales from other types of folklore by academics is the relationship character have with nature, animals especially. The more good a character, the more affinity with nature they possess. Their kindness, innocence and loving natures attracted nature to them, much to their delight and often benefit. Snow White was helped through the forest by wild animals who continued to help her and protect her from her stepmother. Cinderella was assisted in her drudgery by the mice and birds; they even took her to the ball. Sleeping Beauty found comfort and friendship with the animals in her isolation.

This affinity with nature is, to mind, an actual phenomenon. People with good energy, with incredibly loving personalities and great kindness seem to attract animals and small children. Their gardens are often lush and bountiful without excessive labor. Their green thumbs coax dying plants back to life and their love causes the animals to flock to them. These amazing people bring LIFE with them wherever they go. They work to counteract suffering wherever they see it: in people, animals, or the Earth itself. (As a personal aside, I wish there were more of these people on Earth.)

In contrast to an affinity with nature, there exist those people, both in fairy tales and in life, who suck the life out everything around them. Their plants shrivel and die, in spite of reasonable water, sunlight and nutrition. If they have pets, these pets are aggressive, sometimes even dangerous creatures that are unreasonable pampered or alternatively abused. The weather is a personal insult to these people and they make you tired just being around them. Their care is only for themselves, and you will rarely see them get involved in anything, unless it is of personal benefit. Altruism and genuine compassion are foreign to their natures.

Being in touch with nature, with humanity makes us better people.  Being better people, building a better world makes people happier.  Things don't have to be terrible.  We can choose to live differently.  Man does not have to be at odds with nature.  The Earth doesn't have to be something to conquer.  Maybe we should all remember our fairy tale lessons and embrace that little hero or heroine inside ourselves. For all we know, that's what our fairy godmothers have been waiting for.

Fairy tales offer many lessons for the spiritually minded person to ponder. They reflect who we were and who we are in timeless fashion. They entertain, warn and illustrate many truths, especially if we remember that they were meant for adults, meant to teach, and aren't always tidy, happy stories where things end perfectly every time. There is a little bit of fairy tale magic in us all, and therefore, we can heed the lessons in our folklore and fairy tales, or we can ignore them. Either way, we've been warned.


  1. I LOVE this post! I often look to folklore and fairytales as ways to express certain ideals...especially to my children. I would love to embrace my inner Heroine, but I think I just might be better suited to the Fairy Godmother role. ;)

  2. Thank you! I'm sure the Fairy Godmother is a heroine too.


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