Love is for Children

I owe him a debt

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Do You Remember All The City Lights On The Water?
(Merlin) Arthur Morgana Horse
Secret time.

I'm a closet fairytale addict. If my love for Disney is completely obvious, I'm fairly sure my love of myths and legends and the real, original tales isn't. I do love my movies, because where would I be without the happy musical numbers and the beautiful colors and the less-traditional princesses like Pochantas and Mulan, who I'm more attached to than the storybook versions (minus Belle, clearly).

However, movies ruin everything. I've always been a stickler for this, I don't think there's anything out there in a movie that holds my heart the way a book of the same name has. It's why I can't watch Disney's versions of The Little Mermaid. It breaks my heart in comparison to Hans Christian Andersen's intended version, which made me cry the first time my mother read it to me and still makes me cry now. It's why I'm a little glad Disney never touched The Snow Queen, because it's my personal favorite and I don't know if I could stand it if they ruined it by dumbing it down and making it a tale only for Children in the same way. Kay and Gerda deserved more than that to me.

Yes, I understand the origin of fairytales. Children are born with an unnatural ammount of fears, and they need somewhere to put them. Rather than let them invent monsters and other things that go bump in the night, people developed tales and legends to invert them into a way of teaching societies norms and morals. In my Children's Literature class last year, someone said children were clearly better at learning lessons in the time of Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm Brothers than they are today. I told the moron that today we cut out some of the unhappier parts of the story, some of the parts worth hearing rather than emotionally scar the children. And then later on, people don't find them worth reading, or anything worth reading in general.

Thus, I give you my 10 Favorite Fairytales in their original versions, as well as a few volumes I think would be helpful to anyone seeking a good read. Admittedly, I'm more partial to Hans Christian Andersen than I am to the Grimm Brothers or the other tales, he tells it with such a light, simple touch. As if the morals are rather an afterthought to the characters, rather than the point of the story. I also enjoy that he intentionally chastises societies views on beauty on several occasions (he alsos proceeds to be a hypocrite because he also wrote about the Ugly Duckling who eventually turns into a swan, but that's neither here nor there).

1. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
2. The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen.
3. Beauty and the Beast originally by Gabrielle-Suzanne Bardot de Villeneuve, abridgement by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince De Beaumont.
4. The Little Match-Girl by Hans Christian Andersen.
5. Rapunzel by the Grimm Brothers (I prefer the un-edited version, which has a bit of plot that completely hilarious from a modern-day, very un-Disney standpoint).
6. The Rose by The Grimm Brothers.
7. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ( (a) I'm aware that it was a penname, (b) I'm also aware it may not technically count as a fairytale, but it's the closest catergory it falls under in my mind).
8. Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault.
9. The Nightingale by Hans Christian Andersen.
10. Cinderella by Charles Perrault.

Also, a list of reference material if you have no idea what I'm talking about and only know the Disney versions:
The Annotated Hans Christian Anderson by Maria Tatar.
The Annotated Brothers Grimm by Maria Tatar.
The Annotated Classic Fairytales by Maria Tatar.
Grimm Household Tales Online Archive
Hans Christian Anderson Complete Works Online Archive

If you've read these and this still makes no sense to you, blame it on my high fever. This is probably more the beginning of my college thesis than something to be shared with everyone.
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Well, I'd say the one that would be absolutely 100% worth your time is the Little Mermaid. It's just heartbreakingly beautiful in it's original, and I can't imagine it being any more so. The Snow Queen is great too, but also there's nothing to compare to it which makes it slightly more unpopular with most people.

Ooo, are they good? I've been looking for things to read and that sounds like something I'd be interested in.

I love fairytales too and I agree, there are the cases where Disney has definitely ruined the stories for me too.

I think it's why most of the actual "princesses" from Disney never appealed to me, but the kind of 'make your own way' ones did, because they were easier to judge alone.

It's why I can't watch Disney's versions of The Little Mermaid.

When I first saw the Hans Christen Anderson one, I won't lie, I didn't like it. But I was eight years old and a sucker for happier endings. As I got older, I realized in some ways, that was the happy ending - yes, she dies, but she becomes a higher being who does good works. I'll take that over leaving everything behind forever so she can be with the man of her dreams she's loved for a week of her life.

In my Children's Literature class last year, someone said children were clearly better at learning lessons in the time of Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm Brothers than they are today.

But the lessons they had to learn have changed - as has everything about childhood. Some argue that there wasn't even a "childhood" as we know it until the 1910s. Kids were spoon fed gory stories because gore was their reality. I imagine a five year old in 1810 was much different from a five year old in 2010, especially if the child was already working on a farm or as a servant.

4. The Little Match-Girl by Hans Christian Andersen.

I don't think that one has ever been watered down - I really hope it hasn't! It's so sad but that's what makes it good. Although I'm not sure I would have liked it at seven.

Edited at 2010-08-28 12:28 pm (UTC)

It's a little hard to take at eight, I agree. I reread most of this in the past year, and my favorites differ dramatically from the ones I liked when I was little (My top Disney ones are all, ironically, the same though. As are my least favorites).

Exactly! Even from the 80s today, a lot of things have changed drastically. Dieing isn't an everyday part of life now, neither is not being able to change your social status, or a lot of the sexist attributes given to society.

No, not that I know of. It's hard to read, but it is plain amazing. No, that was one my mother definitely wouldn't give me the first time around.

I have never read the original fairytales so I only know Disney's versions, but I will get around to it someday! All I know is that most of them are more gruesome/sad than Disney's versions.

You should definitely check them out. Some of them are far more moving than the Disney versions. Which is a hard admission coming from me.

I love Fairy Tales! I haven't read as many as I would like to though so you are awesome for those links.

Alice and Little Red Riding Hood are among my favorites!

Argh, Disney. I am so ambivalent about them. But fairytales? Love them.

This post is awesome and you should feel good.

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