“Read a thousand books and your words will flow like a river.”
~ Virginia Woolf
I have loved stories since I was a little girl. I would read through a book a day in school and while I have lost the book-a-day streak, I haven’t lost my love for reading. During the drudgery of the day, I find it still important to retreat into books for pleasure. On days that are quiet, cloudy or rainy, it’s nice to sneak in a few pages with a cup of coffee. My bookshelves are filled with books that I have read and plan to read. Even when I am not looking, I manage to find a bookstore tucked away in a shopping plaza. I have a habit of just picking up books that are intriguing and taking them up to the counter. This may, or may not, be a good thing.
Following in fashion, it would be correct to assume that I have read my fair share of books, fiction, and non-fiction alike. I am an aspiring book collector, aspiring because I know my collection, doesn’t come anywhere near as close to those with libraries on their estates. Still, I add to my humble collection, building it with the space that allows. My book collection started with the Harry Potter series. I stood outside for each book in lines at nightly releases. Eventually, classical literature grew my collection and collectible series with embellished leather covers, some of which are still in plastic. A few of the more notable works found on my shelves include King Lear, Dracula, Metamorphoses, and Paradise Lost.
From my literary assortment, I have come to a conclusion. Fairytales, though they may be a thing of childhood dreams or nightmares, are a wondrous playground for adults. It is where we learn true life lessons and can dare to imagine. Here, I align with Audrey Hepburn’s statement: If I’m honest, I have to tell you that I still read fairy tales and I like them best of all. The reader is left in wonder and with new perspectives. If she or he is brave enough to continue reading fairytales, the more unique and refined his or her outlook on the world becomes.
The fantastical thing about reading fairytales is that what doesn’t make sense, in reality, becomes crystal clear in fantasy. We give ownership of fairytales to children. Children become enchanted with the idea of princesses and mermaids but may miss the morals and caution, the deeper meaning. Truths are embellished with fiction to create teaching tales. If we go back further in time, we find the origins of written fairytales in oral tradition emerging from dark periods. In this manner, tales full of mystical and unpractical things that mysteriously relate to everyday life were created. I believe Neil Gaiman sums up the uniqueness of fairytales well: Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
If you don’t think fairytales are for adults, I would highly recommend that you read Grimm’s Fairy Tales written by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1812. This collection of fairytales serves as the foundation for the spirited modern fairytales we know and love today, all of which have happy endings. However, the original stories scribed in the Grimm’s Fairy Tales were not bright and cheerful. In fact, they were dark and disturbing, not tales for young ears. The varying writings, dark but didactic, share life lessons that anyone can benefit from when paying the right amount of attention to the literature. The dreary nature of those fairytales reflected nineteenth-century Germany and a tradition of teaching through oral storytelling. Yet, the grim nature is what imprints the lessons in our minds and makes the striking details memorable.
So will you take me up on reading fairytales? Do you already have a favorite? Share in the comments down below and keep reading, keep being magical, and keep wondering.