Some of you may remember reading fairy tales growing up, or watching them as movies once they were adapted for the screen. And you may even remember the details of the tale, and the moral (some people don’t retain those things, so even some who may have read or watched them aren’t always familiar). And not everyone gives extra thought to things, ideas, subjects and stories, they can just take things at face value only with no lingering afterthought or extra dissection of the message being conveyed. But some of us do.
Because although some of the settings may have been outrageous, or far-fetched, and the characters exaggerated or overdone, with the good and the evil being very easily distinguished from one another. They had a very real and often dark exposure of human nature running through them. Of greed and selfishness, weakness and moral corruption and more often than not, showing you one of the very worst parts of people and society. Loving parents being forced to abandon their kids, hateful parents not wanting them in the way, deals being struck for fortunes using children as payment, evil stepmothers hiring mercenaries to kill their competition, children being hypnotised and led to their doom, death, poverty and danger, and so on. Highlighting how the perils that a young person may face could be many, and if we were paying attention to those tales, it could come from any area of the adult world. Even from what was supposed to be your own loving kin in some cases.
But they appear to serve as warnings neatly wrapped in a palatable coating, where of course there is also heroism, bravery and courage as well as sometimes wit and skill, to come good in the end and save the day. The meaning given to them being “a story in which improbable events lead to a happy ending“. But even though there is a creepy and often malicious thread running through them, it seems that recently they have been tidied up for public consumption by the masses, once Disney got hold of them. Dumbed down with some of the most sinister themes removed, but not all. And it is said that the original had such dark themes because they were in fact based on historical events, and weren’t just imagination and those extra pieces of fantasticalism were added to make them acceptable for children it would seem. Or, is it a way to hide those tales and warnings of old, to ‘friendly up’ something which has ulterior motives, just like in Pinocchio. Where you can do what you want, have as much fun as you want, don’t listen to your parents or warnings, until it’s too late and the real price of all that ‘freedom’ starts to hit home. Becoming part of a system that feeds off their naivety, ignorance and lack of experience. Lining the pockets of the fat cats running the show, making money from their energy, excitement and ultimately their misery. And of that strange tale, it’s interesting to me how the whole thread of it was about his desire to be something he wasn’t, to fit in and be what his parent wanted. Thus giving rise to the vulnerability that became his weakness that others could prey upon. Identity, reality and the motives of others being much very behind that story. Or maybe that’s just how I saw it.
There are many things throughout life to help to lead you astray, whether you believe they are placed there on purpose, or find their way to you, many are not always ready to accept their part in the transaction. But mostly you cannot go unwillingly, there is a choice that occurs about which road to take, or who to follow. In all of these tales, there are choices and decisions as well as consequences and outcomes, and while some would prefer to focus on the outcome, it means they may overlook what it was that led to it. Often preferring to believe they are bystanders to circumstance, rather than players in it and sometimes the engineers of it. I wonder what fairy tales we could write of these current times, to try and continue to convey a darkness of which the undertones have been felt for more than a few centuries, and continue to lurk among us. Or maybe that’s why we keep the old stories, to remind the next generation to be wary and watchful, because sometimes behind the bright colours and beyond the witches and unicorns, there is something real and dark watching and waiting…