In defense of old fairy tales

I’ll keep this quick and not let it evolve into a rant.

One thing that bothers me a little in today’s world is how all the old nursery rhymes and Grimm’s tales have been PC-corrected and Dinseyfied to the point of losing their original purpose and context.

Take, for instance, the changes that make the Three Little Pigs become friends with the Big Bad Wolf because he’s “just misunderstood”. Or the books that change “I Knew an Old Woman” so the refrain is no longer “I don’t know why she swallowed the fly/perhaps she’ll die” to protect youth from the word “die”.

Today, we’re not allowed to scare children. Or let bad guys be bad guys (often just misunderstood). Or have anything dark about the ending (try to find a modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood in the kids’ section that talks about the hunter butchering the Wolf). And forget about the bogeyman or Krampus or anything ever bad happening to naughty people in stories.

While I temper some of my enthusiasm for not protecting my kids too much to avoid the inevitable stares when people discover just what I let them do to scare themselves, I think tales like Bloody Mary kept me from doing really stupid things in real life. I mean, you really have to be willing to take a big risk before you chant her name three times in a darkened room at a mirror…

2 thoughts on “In defense of old fairy tales

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