06 April, 2012

A to Z Challenge: F is for Fairy Tales

“Can you not see, […] that fairy tales in their essence are quite solid and straightforward; but that this everlasting fiction about modern life is in its nature essentially incredible? Folk-lore means that the soul is sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming." ― G.K. Chesterton

This one quote could sum up everything that makes me thrill to fairy tales. They are not, as so many modern realists claim, an escape from reality. Rather, they are a window into true understanding of our world and ourselves.

The universe is wild and untamed and full of danger and excitement. Why do we try so hard to to believe it isn't so? Is it really so much better to live a life of physical comfort if it means denying our souls the freedom of awe and wonder? Danger is a small price to pay for that.

"The problem of the fairy tale is - what will a healthy man do with a fantastic world? The problem of the modern novel is - what will a madman do with a dull world?" ― G.K. Chesterton

I could talk about this for hours. But I'll keep it short for the sake of this post. Perhaps this is the price of cold, hard realism: it gives no hope and actively drowns the rapture of life. With no true hope in something beyond ourselves, when life doesn't matter beyond the mundane, what evil wouldn't we do?

"In the fairy tales the cosmos goes mad; but the hero does not go mad. In the modern novels the hero is mad before the book begins, and suffers from the harsh steadiness and cruel sanity of the cosmos. ” ― G.K. Chesterton

How many people today are depressed, angry, or even lifeless? How many who believe in higher ideals are broken down by others, the realists? We need fairy tales. They don't teach us to live in some cloudy la-la land - they teach us to fully embrace life and, with it, reality. Most of all, they give us hope of something beyond the mundane.

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

Okay, everyone - the Saturday Flash Fiction Challenge is tomorrow! The letter for this week is G.

Give me your ideas, words, pictures, etc. in the comments. I'll choose my favorite tonight, write a flash fiction based off of it, and post it tomorrow.

WINNER'S PRIZE: advertisement of you and your blog in tomorrow's post with many accolades from me.


Please, comment away! I'm excited to see what I'll be writing about. And be sure to tweet or like this post to get more people in on the suggestions.


  1. Wow! I think you've summed up exactly how I feel about fairly tales vs. realism. I've had to read a lot of realist books for the recent test I took (American Lit) and I was getting sick of it, because it just felt so depressing and hopeless. I would not want to live with a realist view of the world.

    Okay, here is my prompt for the letter "G"

    "Usually she loved having guests, but this one was highly unwelcome."

  2. I love fairy tales. I was lucky enough to have a professor whose focus was in fairy tales and it was my favorite class of all time. I saved every single paper and book from her class and one day plan to go back and read through it. Do you watch Once Upon a Time or Grimm? I've been watching both and really enjoy them.

    Visiting via A-Z Challenge. =]

  3. I adore fairy tales. I've been a fan of fantasy and the paranormal for as long as I can remember. I think you could write a wonderful story about griffins.

  4. I love your post. Fairy tales teach us so much. Mostly not to give up on our dreams.

  5. Ooops! The G should be buried in the Garden!

  6. On some level, most stories are based on fairy tales - they are the first stories we engage with, they set the standard for future fiction. Lovely post.

  7. Yes, fairy tales give us hope and can give us as much of a glimpse into human nature as a gatsby novel. :)

  8. I'm enjoying your posts! New follower here. I’m enjoying reading my fellow “A to Z”ers. I look forward to visiting again.


  9. I believe in faries, don't you? Nice post!


  10. "they are a window into true understanding of our world and ourselves."

    EXACTLY. Why I love to read period. :)

    Great post!

  11. Wonderful post. I did faerie tales as well (sorta).

    I am trying to read all the A to Z blogs, but coming back to the ones I really like.
    Looking forward to seeing what you do all month!

    The Other Side
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

  12. Thank you for visiting my humble bloggy! Am your newest follower.

    I love fairy tales. They are essential to help escape the stressors of life. I am currently reading the last book of the Eragon series, "Inheritance".

  13. Thank you, thank you all for your wonderful comments, insights, and suggestions. Love to see fellow fantasy lovers out there!

    For those of you who are new, welcome! I'll be visiting you back shortly.

    Big, huge congrats to Lauren, who won the Saturday Challenge this week! You can see my accolades of her and the story here.


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