When I was a kid, fairy tales elicited the kind of reaction that they must have done hundreds of years ago: fear and awe. We had books and books of fairy tales, telling of children lost in the woods, evil wart women, betrayals and punishments, violence, trickery and lies. Disney could not completely muffle the dark underside of these stories, and so I found many of the tales disturbing enough to require a night light.
What did I think a night light accomplished, I wonder? Prevent an evil witch from entering the room? Repel impossible creatures, like dragons and malicious plants? Keep not just the strange little men from entering, but also the handsome prince, whom I did not know and didn’t want to be kissed by?
A favourite though was the tale of a young girl (a princess, I think) whose six brothers are cursed by their evil stepmother and transformed into swans. She can only break the curse by weaving each of them a shirt made of nettles, and she toils away in some anxiety because the shirts must be made within a certain time– and she doesn’t quite finish the task before the deadline. So while five of her brothers are rescued, one has a swan’s wing in place of the arm she was unable to sew in time. …So exciting! I wonder if I craved to be a heroine in the eyes of my two brothers? Anyway Disney hasn’t ruined this one for me, yet.
In the spirit of fairy tales, briars, prickles, and thorns, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?
Sweet dreams and smooth sailings!