Friday, August 29, 2014

Once upon a time...

     When I was around ten years old, I visited a tiny toy and bookstore. While my younger siblings played with blocks and dolls, I chose to browse the shelves for an interesting book to read. One of the books I came across was a lovely illustrated edition of the Grimm's Fairy Tales. Intrigued, I picked up the book to read, and fell in love with the stories that were so unlike the Disney versions. These didn’t always have happy endings, were a little darker, and yet seemed to have more magic about them than their Disney counterparts. There was something that, to me, was lost when Disney adapted them, and the fairy tales I discovered at that bookstore that day seemed right, and whole. Since that day, I have always loved fairytales, and have collected as many tales from around the world as I could. When I was visiting McDaniel and saw that “From Grimm to Disney” was one of their FYS courses, I knew that I wanted to go there, and to somehow get into that class to learn even more about one of my favorite genres of literature. I have always been interested in learning where all of these tales came from, and then analyzing them based upon that perspective. There is something in fairy tales that appeals to people across a wide span of ages and cultures, and I love the fact that different countries and people groups have their own versions of some of the fairy tales. I want to look at how people are interpreting the fairy tales today, and try to understand what the original purpose or messages of the tales were.

     My favorite fairy tale has not been adapted into a film that I know of, and is called “The Water of Life”. This fairytale is about three brothers who journey to find the Water of Life, in hopes that it will cure their father of his illness. The older two are rude to a dwarf, who curses them, while the younger is kind and eventually finds the water. In it one finds many of the best elements of a fairy tale; the underdog succeeding, a quest, trickery, the flight into the forest, a warning from a huntsman, and good ultimately triumphing over evil. I’ve always found it interesting, because I love tales that have a quest, and I was intrigued that the two “wicked” older brothers were not killed or injured in the end, but merely allowed to flee. This was also one of the first fairy tales that I read, and has always been a very special tale for me.