A discussion recently reminded me of how much I “enjoy” classic fairy tales.
I really get intrigued by‘traditional fairy tales’ and what we are teaching our kids when we read to them – or just the message that comes through.
I think I enjoy them more as an adult than I did as a child. They are by far more interesting to me now.
To be honest I really do not think kids hear the stuff we hear in these tales.
We can have hours of conversation about subliminal messages - but really - I am more scared of clowns than I have ever been of wolves.
And clowns never featured in fairy tales.
I listened to fairy tales as a kid, and I can’t say I thought very hard about the troll under the bridge or how the wolf managed to eat the gran in one bite and then how the woodcutter could get her out, it all seemed quite ‘normal’.
The stories seemed to have the ingredients to make them exciting, with the good little girl/boy; the wolf who you know is going try and eat someone; the woodcutter, who always appears available to chop someone’s head off with one stroke of his large blade; the evil and mean stepmother; the good looking prince, who is always needing a wife – and happy to setlle for a commmoner.
The sense I get is that middle century Europe must have been a very dark and foreboding place for “well meaning” adults to come up with these stories as bedtime tales for kids.
No doubt there was always an element of warning in them – to counsel children to remain on the path (Red Riding Hood strayed – but granted she had been sent a long distance by herself, through a dangerous forest. Where were the protective adults in all of this I wonder?)
I was thinking about Hansel and Gretel.
Hansel and Gretel’s parents left them in the woods twice!
Hansel and Gretel returned home to them – knowing full well the same parents had purposefully abandoned them in the woods with the hope that they would get eaten by wolves or what ever else lives in the forest.
I mean exactly how many times do you have to leave a child nd they get lost before they really learn the lesson, and not come home?
I think the quick lesson here might be - do not go picnicing in a remote area with your parents.
If you have no other options, picnic, but do not fall asleep after lunch under any circumstances. Kids, write that down!
Possibly this is why I fear camping.
Hansel and Gretel, awake – realize they have fallen for the same “let’s go for a picnic and abandon you “ trick. Right there one must question about how much Omege 3 and 6 they were getting in their diet.
They stumble off to find the nearest gingerbread/sweetie house and start gnawing away at it.
Of course I wonder if a witch has the power to turn a house into edible confectionary, surely she can conjure up a child as a meal easily enough if she just popped off into the local village.
It does seem very complicated she would use such a ruse like a sweetie house, in the middle of the forest, where few people walk past to lure little kids in.
It just seems odd, and unlikely.
I think she must have had a huge ant problem.
Hansel is captured and the witch tries to fatten him up while using Gretel as a house slave.
I am not sure exactly what the “hidden message” is in this rather dark, yet popular fairy/folk tale.
Possibly it is optimism?
Hansel the little scoundrel, remains optimistic.
Though he has been abandoned twice.
Has been “captured” because he tried to eat a house, and he has been locked in a cage, and his sister is held as a prisoner and a servant – but somehow our little scallywag manages to “trick” the witch that he is still
a bit skinny (in case you are not familiar with this part, it is because he holds out a chicken bone when the witch asks him to put out his finger so she can judge if he has fattened up sufficiently for the pot).
This little guy perseveres.
Of course it does paint Gretel as being a total dunce – or at the very least a rather helpless little fraulein.
She managed not to do anything to really help the situation.
We know the old crone was blind – so really it would not take a genius to dig a hole and push her in, or say hit her in the head with a chair and free her brother. Agh, maybe it was the Stockholm Effect, or maybe the witch was particular cunning.
Gretel instead stands around rather helplessly while her brother is in a cage.
But at some point there is a large fire and a witch involved (Gretel’s starring role incidently) – here again it seems to be okay for kids to not knock someone out, but to actually throw them in a fire, is encouraged.
No calling 911 here!!
The kids – who are really lost waifs who have been captured by a murdering cannibalistic maniac who lives in an edible house – then manage to find an inordinate sum of gold (not sure exactly why the witch is living in a remote area of the forest if she has this much gold at her disposal…. but maybe she has a bit of OCD combined with some hoarding issues).
What do our little Hansel and Gretel do with it?
Dude, they head straight home to the parents who LEFT THEM ALONE IN THE WOODS ON PURPOSE twice.
Of course the question is, if they could find their way home then, how come they did not do it after the picnic – when they were lost the second time and had probably walked to the spot in the woods? How long does one walk to a picnic spot before getting suspicious that your parents are going to leave you behind?
If I left my kids in the woods even by accident – even once – there would be nothing I could say to get them to go to the woods again. Suggesting ANOTHER picnic, would really not fly with my lot.
I have no idea how Hansel and Gretel’s parents got them to go for the second time.
When the two finally get home they find out that the father was so “heart wrenched” since he “purposefully lost them the second time” that he has now abandoned the horrible step mother.
Fabulous – might have been good had he done that before he “agreed to lose” his kids for the second time.
Instead of agreeing to it.
But these kids are clearly forgiving.
Which really paints the father as a workless, pennyless, good-for-nothing dad, who is willing to abandon his kids for any woman who comes along, and who at the same time does not appear to make good judgments of women if he married a step mother who wanted to kill/abadon his kids.
Granted he does suffer some remorse.
But what really happened to that stepmother?
I think if the dad could “lose his kids at a picnic” there is a good chance that some “cadaver sniffing” dogs might find a few locations of interest around that log cabin.
I just think that from the beginning child services should have been involved after the first picnic.
These kids really need to be in some sort of therapy for their abandonment issues.
CSI needs to be called to check out the rest of witch’s cottage. Clearly Hansel and Gretel weren’t her first crime, she seemed to have a taste for it, and it seemed well orchestrated. Who has a cage in their kitchen, big enough for a child?
The only lesson I can pull out of this story is “stay optimistic even when Ted Bundy locks you up” and “if you ever get a pot of gold run straight home to your parents and share it with them, no matter how shockingly they have treated you…”
That’s all I have out of this story. Not sure if there is another moral there that is wasted on me?