The stories we heard as children remain with us as we grow. We know them well and, at need, can dredge from memory all the salient points to retell them to a new generation of children. The characters are familiar and many of them, such as the Fairy Godmother or the Big Bad Wolf, are archetypes that suggest their role within each tale as soon as their name is mentioned.
It matters little if the words we speak differ from those we heard; the story remains, a living thing that defies our attempts to re-frame it. A little girl wearing a red hood will always meet a wolf on her way through the forest to Grandma’s house and a woodcutter will always use his axe to rescue Granny from a fate worse than death.
But why do we tell such stories? Why do we recount tales of darkness and danger to our children…and why do images of a world not our own survive, generation after generation, to delight and terrify a child cuddled safe within a parent’s embrace?
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