Fairy tales boast a variety of well-loved characters: Fairy godmothers, wicked queens, beautiful damsels-in-distress, and hero-knights. Despicable villains, elusive little people, and wondrous magical happenings capture our imaginations. “Once Upon A Time” stories are among the greatest love stories ever told; layered with history, culture, and ancient ethics, these fascinating tales have been preserved for thousands of years by oral and literary tradition. Timeless stories proclaim the love of parent for child, grandmother for granddaughter, and Prince Charming for the fair maiden. Legends record in grand style the brave deeds of hero-knights who rescued princesses and restored them to their rightful place.
According to Duncan-Enzmann’s ice-age translations these stories had their start 14,500 years ago. This was a time when daughters were precious, representing the circle of life and the hope of future. Fairy tales that refer to spinning or weaving especially began here, when women taught the children with stories while working at their looms; this indicates that the origin of these stories is attributed to women. In the book Clever Maids: The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales, Valerie Paridiz writes that more than half of the stories collected by the Grimm brothers were contributed by women.
This history became Faerie tales, told to children generation after generation in true oral tradition, which has preserved unique parts of our past that would otherwise be lost. Within our favorite Fairy tales are lessons about love, loyalty, tradition, and deceit, coupled with records of victory and tragedy, feast and famine. The ability to recognize the historic (once upon a time…) elements of these great stories, and to place them in context of time, event, and climate, provides clues to the roots and age of the stories. Symbology: Decoding Classic Images, by local author Michelle Snyder reveals more about the history of Fairies – the “Fair Folk” of northern Europe, so-called because of their white skin and platinum blonde hair (Duncan-Enzmann). Magnificent tales of love and courage have been told for hundreds of generations by and about these long-ago people.
Fairy tales are reemerging in our modern culture; there are several popular movies and television shows based on them. The Boston Metro Opera has scheduled a collection of these ancient children’s stories called “Child’s Play.” It is sure to be an adventure. Our discussion of “Once Upon a Time” is not over.