How fair are fairy tales?


While cleaning my bookshelf yesterday, I laid my hands on the very first fairy tale I had read as a kid. Its blue cover shined back at me just like it did 20 years back.  It was so precious to me, that even today I have kept it safely secured. The pages are still as fresh as the childhood fantasies of flying to Neverland. But when I reflect back on time, I realize that real life is so different from a fairy tale – there are no super heroes, no fairies, and no forever after’s. In fact, the entire life seems to play on the pirate ship of deadly Captain James Hook who cannot wait to knock you off the ship and see you become a feast for the white sharks.

Thinking about the havoc fairy tales can play in real life for people who believe in them, I could not help but wonder how fair are fairy tales? Should we stop believing in them and if so, then why were they ever recited to us when we were kids? In fact, recently one of my friends mentioned that how fed up she is with people who keep telling her that real life is not a fairy tale. Of course she knows this very well just like every 26 year old adult would, but why is it that at different stages of life, we have to be reminded about it? Or is it that the people who have such high disregard for fairy tales have never personally experienced a magical moment in real life themselves that they fail to realize the power of fairy tales?


When I think about fairness, fairy tales have never failed to portray that life is not at all hunky-dory. The protagonists are riddled with problems in their life – be it a damsel in distress waiting for her prince charming to rescue her from her wicked uncle or the prince turned frog waiting for a kiss from her beloved to break the curse.  Every protagonist undergoes years of suffering before they experience happiness in life. So in true sense, this closely relates to real life. All of us encounter problems every day in different form – sometimes at workplace and sometimes in relationships. But does that mean we give up on our problems easily? No. We always try to work out a solution even in situations where we know that even hoping for a miracle may be futile. But  just like Rapunzel or Wendy, we never give up on hope. And maybe that is when we unknowingly practice the lessons that fairy tales impart – there is always a solution to a problem and we should never give up.

Unfortunately, fairy tales need to have an end after 50 pages. But life is a little longer and hence it turns up into an ensemble of  fairy tales – one ends and the other begins. So the truth is just as fair a fairy tale can be in a fantasy world, it is equally fair in real life- the only difference being that life runs into years than a few pages and we are our own Peter Pan fighting against the crooked Hook.  And maybe this is the reason why such fantasy tales were recited to us as children. It was a way of giving a glimpse of life of an adult that is full of highs and lows. But more importantly, it was meant to teach us that we should never give up our hopes, dreams and aspiration because that is what drives us all the way.

PS – To my friend who is often reminded that life is not a fairy tale, you now know it is a blatant lie. We are all in fact the protagonist of our own fairy tales working towards completing our story! And you too will have great one 🙂


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