The Sea Spicer

The Sea Spicer
Yours truly

Monday, August 24, 2020

Words are not Eternal; Finding Truth in Fairy Tales


Interior of a Kitchen, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Given in memory of Eliphalet Fraser Andrews.  CCO.
Lao Tzu teaches that words, once articulated, cannot be eternal.  The words of human language are mere signposts to inner understanding of hints of the truth. 

Writers know that the words from the Muse for which we are conduits will have meaning yet to be discovered by readers.  

I wrote down my own remembered and imagined versions of a few fairy tales because I wanted one little boy to know them.  I discovered, as I usually do in writing, meanings after they were written. In Heart’s Desire I remade three tales with the common theme of a miraculous child discovered and adopted by childless adults.  

“Gingerbread Kid” is just for fun, but sets up the theme:  we are not the Creator of our children, and they are not going to turn out to be mere cookie cutter people of our design and intent!  

“The Flower Fairy Prince and Princess”, from Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina inspiration, dictated its own themes of the challenge in communication and relationship between the big human mother and the tiny flower child, and the tension between the mother’s worry about the child’s safety, and the tiny one’s longing for freedom and discovery.  

Finally “”The Snow Child", inspired by the Russian Snow Maiden, is icy cold, even while she is eager to please and to be the perfect child.  She reminds me of having read about a psychological syndrome in some adopted children, especially related to the eastern European orphaned children who had not been loved early; some are apparently perfectly behaved, but cold and unloving, to their parents’ horror.  She also reminds me of the challenge to parents of children with autism, and the especially sensitive children who cannot bear touch.

The little boy of today's remarks became delighted with the novel experience of  fairy tales being read to him as chapter books at bedtime, instead of merely single story picture books. Now he says, yeah, fairy tales, every night!  

And by the way, at first our little boy assumed that “fairy tales” are stories exclusively about “fairies”, and this made him doubtful.   We explained that fairy tales are just old tales, retold many times and many ways over many years, which may include magic,royalty, transformation, travels, animals, and even ordinary boys and girls.  One may read them for fun, one may find lessons within.

 Rediscover the joy of the many layers of meaning in fairy tales, making them entertaining for all ages.  Find humor, fantasy and adventure for little ones, archetypes and motifs Jungian or Freudian for adults, simple and profound lessons for all. 

On reflection, it seems the Heart's Desire tales, like Hungry Kids, Hansel & Gretel and Jack and the Beans, are my found and adopted children, not so much created but discovered.

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