Top 10 Favorite Fairy Tales:
1: Sapsorrow. I’ve never liked the usual versions of Cinderella. Even as a kid, I remember thinking, “Who wants a prince who can’t recognize you without the right shoes?” But THIS version is from an old German folk tale, a version of Allerleirauh (yeah, I had to look that up), and is much darker and has characters that believably interact with each other. Animal friends are still there. Wicked stepsisters are still there. A prince is still there – BUT, he has to learn some lessons before getting the girl who leaves a slipper behind after a ball. I immediately became a fan when Jim Henson’s The Storyteller did this story for an episode. If you haven’t seen it, look it up. (pictured below)
2: Llewellyn And His Dog. Okay, not a fairy tale per se, but it’s an old story with a poem. My aunt shared this with us when we were little, and it’s still one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. I did find the poem here.
3: Sleeping Beauty. There were early signs that my interests and creativity might run on the “dark side.” My love of Maleficent in the Disney version was one such early indication. I don’t remember giving a crap about Aurora. I still liked the living-in-hiding-in-the-woods-and-singing parts of her story, but mostly I wanted to get back to the magic and awesome costume of the bad guy. So, obviously I was really happy with Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent because it gave a whole new spin to the story.
4: The Little Mermaid. Bless my mother. At mostly my prompting (my brother liked it too and could do a great Sebastian), we watched the Disney version of this probably every other day for a while there. I’ve always loved the water and swimming, and having my own underwater fort where I could store thingamabobs was pretty much my dream. I also *might* have tried to put on a performance with myself as Ariel, Christian as Sebastian, and my Aunt Sharon as Ursula.
5: The Light Princess. This is by George MacDonald. It’s kind of a Sleeping Beauty story, but the curse on the girl is that she has no gravity. This means she floats in the air unless tethered down, and it means that she doesn’t take anything seriously and cannot cry. But she loves water. The relationship with the prince is much more fleshed out in this story than a good many “prince and princess” stories, and the sacrifices made for love are really lovely.
6: Beauty and the Beast. She’s a book nerd – of course I like this one. In the Disney version (let’s face it, that’s what people of my generation think of first), I love the use of color and light to add to the beauty (no pun intended) of the story. It’s always been about not judging a book by its cover – both for seemingly good guys and seemingly bad guys – and I really like that.
7: Aladdin. Yep, Disney version again. This is such a great “boy’s movie” compared to the usual princess emphasis, and Jasmine is tomboy enough to be okay. I liked the desert and Arabia almost as much as I liked the underwater world, so I liked the culture and look of this one. And the story’s just packed full of adventure, which is fun. And, of course, Robin William’s Genie stole this movie.
8: Hansel and Gretel. The Brothers Grimm version. It’s so dark. I mean, it’s hard to have a story about a witch eating children NOT be dark, but there are a lot of versions which soften that part. And I’ve never thought the dad should get off the hook so easily – being whipped is no excuse for sending your children into the woods to starve. But I love the brother-sister teamwork. And outsmarting pretty much every adult.
9: Pinocchio. There isn’t a romantic love story! I like that. This one’s all about family love and friendship. And honesty. There’s just a lot of goodness in this story.
10: Thumbelina. I really wanted to be small when I was little. Mostly so I could “ride” my Breyer horses.