Sunday, December 27, 2015

Faerie Tales

Once upon a time, faerie tales (or fairy tales, to use the contemporary spelling), were used to frighten people, especially children, into not doing particular things, or to avoid particular places.  They inspired fear and kept people safe.

We no longer have faerie tales, and if we do, they all have happy endings.  There are no more red shoes that dance forever, no nixies stealing children to live in caves, no trolls dragging innocents under bridges, and the fae, those for whom the tales are named, are gentle, loving sprites.

Personally, I prefer the old tales.  Even as a child, I preferred them, and, while I did tell my children more of the modern version, I made sure they understood that the tales had a darker beginning, and a serious purpose, before the world shrank, and light of modern understanding showed us that monsters don't just lurk in out of the way places.

Even though I know that monsters often wear human faces, I still believe in the faeries from the old tales.  I like to think that some of the strange things we see and hear aren't able to be explained by science and reason, that maybe, just maybe, there IS dark, unknowable magic in the world.