No matter how old I get, I never really grew out of the loving-fairy-tales phase. I simply learned to readjust my view of fairy tales and their meanings. Specifically, for their original versions. They’re much darker and have deeper meanings than Disney’s “True love conquers all,”. So I decided in honor of this great month of October that for everyone who will be dressing as a fairy tale creature this year, I would let you know you aren’t alone in your love of fantasy. So, without further ado, here are my top four favorite fairy tales:
Beauty and the Beast
This classic story of learning to see someone beyond their appearance is a tale that goes back as far as Eros and Psyche from Greek mythology. Beauty’s father steals a rose from a cursed Beast, and in the original version, her father agreed to trade his daughter’s life for his own in prison! Meanwhile, the Beast bestows gifts and treats Beauty with respect, very different from Beauty’s sisters who were jealous and treated her like a slave. The Beast offers her marriage every night, and every night she refuses. The Beast even allowed her to go home to see her family and only wanted her to eventually come back. It is during this whole process she learns to see that the Beast isn’t just some monster who kidnapped her, but a caring person who does take her feelings into consideration. She falls in love with him, and her love transforms him into the prince he is. While this story has been criticized many times, and not without good reason, I still can’t help but appreciate the idea of looking past someone’s exterior to see who a person is inside.
This is not the story of a girl depending on a man to save her, but of one who decided for at least a night to take her life into her own hands and in doing so managed to find the strength to leave her abusive family. Cinderella hadn’t expected to find a prince or fall in love that night, least of all to get married. Cinderella just wanted a night off from working all the time to enjoy herself amongst real people instead of mice and birds! I highly respect that, and appreciate how in the original version, those birds made a point of punishing Cinderella’s awful family.
This is again an example people try to claim she waited for a man to rescue her. First of all, Snow White was literally a child who had grown adults either hate her or lust for her based on her appearance. That’s just so wrong. It isn’t Snow White’s fault for her appearance, and she never acted spoiled. When the Huntsman let her escape, she earned her keep in the dwarves home, being their cook and maid while her stepmother was still trying to kill her! The poor girl in the original story had an assassination attempt made on her life three times, the third being the apple. So, when the prince woke her up and offered to marry her, it actually makes sense why she’d go ahead and marry him. It’s harder to kill a person when they have a literal royal army on their side. That’s just being smart, folks. Snow White isn’t a weak character, she was young and abused girl who worked hard and made the best choices of the options given to her. It was the Prince of this story who was a total creep and deserves all of the criticism.
The Little Mermaid
This is no love story, but rather a cautionary tale. In the original Little Mermaid, she gave up her family, life, voice, even her body to try to win the heart of a man who had no interest in here. Even worse, the prince played with the Little Mermaid’s emotions before he goes and marries another woman! The Little Mermaid is so distraught that (trigger warning) she takes her own life, and ends up becoming an angel to serve others as a result of her temporarily human soul. The moral of this story is what I respect and relate to most- Don’t sacrifice who you are because you think it’ll make someone love you. You can’t make anyone love you, and you don’t have to make anyone love you. Learn to appreciate your life, family, and natural talents instead.