Let’s talk about…fairy tales

Published 9:37 am Saturday, March 22, 2014

by Ranchel Hancock

Many of you may be surprised to learn that parents nowadays do not read the classic fairy tales to their children. “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” were written in 1812 and were a warning for children. But as time progressed and people got worried of frightening children, the stories where changed or pulled out of books. Having the ending changed to a less frightening scene is not nearly as bad as not bothering to tell the stories at all.

Today, most of the children get their story time from someone else or on the TV. Some parents don’t take the time, even just five minutes, to read them a story. Storytelling, even if you’re bad at it, is a good way for your children to know you and the world that they are living in. That is what the Grimm Fairy Tales are there for, to teach children lessons through scary stories.

I think an important thing for parents to remember is just because it seems scary for your child, does not mean that it will hurt them mentally. Listening to a ghost story, a creepy fairy tale can actually do some good for the child.

A prime example is “Goldilocks,” where one of the main themes is not to mess with other people’s things; it has the same sort of theme as, “Jack and the Bean Stalk.” Then there is, “Hansel and Gretel,” where it pushes the importance of looking out for strangers and being smart in bad situations. All of these are good life lessons for everyone to follow.

There is also another children’s book of lesson learning called “Struwwelpeter,” published in 1858 by Heinrich Hoffmann because of his displeasure of good children books. The book is a collection of gruesome stories about children who do not apply wisdom in their actions. For example, there is the story called, “The Dreadful Story of Matches.” A young girl is told over and over again to not play with the matches, but as soon as her mother and nanny leave the house, she lights one up and in turn lights herself up. Or the story of “The Story of the Soup-Kaspar” where a healthy fat young boy decides not to eat his soup, and as the days wear on the less fat is he and the worse he feels until he dies.

None of these are meant to make parents or children sad; they are supposed to be warnings. They are there to make children think twice about going into places there are no supposed to be in, talking to strangers, not listening to their parents, or not eating their dinner.

The stories are exaggerated to give that doubt to the younger children on whether or not it will truly happen to them if they were to do said action. Parents need to stop being afraid of scaring their children, and be more worried about their children choosing the wrong choice in such a serious situation. The last thing everyone needs is another news report on the TV.

RACHEL HANCOCK attends Southampton High School and can be contacted at rachelhancock97@yahoo.com