Friday, April 4, 2008

Fairy Tales

A couple of months back I scored the complete set of unabridged audio cd’s of Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales at a used book store for $15!  I was sooo happy to have found it, as Year 1 of AO includes this (or a couple of other fairy tale authors) in its curriculum.  The only problem I saw was that along with the 11 cds there wasn’t a paper telling you the order of the stories or which one was on which cd.   So as we’re moseying along in our errands about town or taking Pooh to Art class, we listen to audio cds.  This week we did the first of the 11 Fairy Tale cds.


Frankly, some of the stories creep me out!!  I’ve never heard of some of them before and I have to wonder at the point of them.  For instance, The Tinderbox talks about a soldier (someone who should be honorable in my mind) accepting an offer, reneging on the offer by killing the witch and in the end gets to be king and marry the princess  because he had his magic dogs kill her parents.  Ugh!  His one redeeming quality that I brought out to the boys is that when he did have a lot of money he gave to the poor.    


Next was Big Klaus and Little Klaus.  Telling lies, killing horses AND grandmothers and all in the name of getting ‘bushels of money’.  What are the kids supposed to be gleaning from this exactly?!?


What I’ve tried to do is after each story, I stop the cd and we talk about it.  Who do you think was good, why, etc.  I was a little hard put to find a good thing to say about the Klaus boys.  


The other ones we listened to that weren’t too bad were The Princess on the Pea (which I always thought was the Princess and the Pea) and Thumbelina.  Pooh must have been thinking about the Thumbelina story because later that day, we were outside in the garden and he asked me if birds really died in the winter.  ;D  For those of you who don’t know, the story includes a sparrow found in one of the mole’s tunnels who hadn’t flown south in time and had dropped because of the cold and was in a sort of cold induced coma until Thumbelina warmed him and woke him up.  So I thought that at least it was cool that this story got Pooh thinking about the habits of birds.  LOL


It’s not that I don’t expect some rotten things to happen in fairy tales or am opposed to the death aspect.  I just hope for a little justice in the story and it would be nice if the villains got punished somehow.  I guess I’m looking for a moral to the story and I’m just not finding it in some of these fairy tales.  Maybe I’m expecting too much??  Analyzing it to death??  I don’t know.  I think I’m going to do some more investigating on the whole aspect of fairy tales and try to find out what exactly the deal is.  In the meantime, I’ll be changing out my cds to include cd number 2 and hope that the next ones are a little less creepy. 


Oh and by the way, the boys seem to really like the stories!  Sigh  Tigger was upset that Thumbelina was the last one.  I do notice that they also get confused as to who is the good guy and who’s the bad guy though.  When I asked if the soldier was a good man I got the “No, um yes, NO, yes? I don’t know.” From both of them.  He he   They were trying to answer by watching my facial expressions and gauging the meaning of my silence.



1 comment:

The Glasers said...

If you think about it, fairy tales give children a taste of the real world, just as the Bible did. Anyone who has read the Bible from cover to cover has come across examples of immorality and sheer stupidity. I do think some children are highly, highly sensitive and need parents to screen the harsher ones. I think we stopped reading a couple of fairy tales (one or two) that were too much for David. Because Pamela was not processing them as fully as a typical child her age, the gruesome aspects went over her head.

The members of the advisory committe at Ambleside Online give their perspective on fairy tales here. Several articles in the Parents Review magazine also addressed fairy tales:

Children and Books

Fairy Stories as a Help or Hindrance in Education

Imagination in Childhod