- A chance to escape. Almost all fairytales are set in a magical setting (though Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince is an exception - but wonderful, wonderful story nonetheless). And after a busy Monday (in the UK still as I type this), the idea of escape is appealing!
- A chance to wonder. At what life could be like in a magical setting.
- Realising magic is not the answer to everything. The Three Little Pigs, for example, needed one of the pigs to show common sense when it came to picking building materials! Also Cinderella shows that despite magic in her world, there is still injustice and ill treatment of others.
- A strong moral tone without preaching. The stories are always on the side of the downtrodden and oppressed. I've always loved that. My favourite tale overall is The Ugly Duckling with its timeless theme of not judging by appearances. Funny how we need to be told that and keep being told that.
- A Happy Ever After. This is one of my favourite aspects of fairytales given life on Earth certainly doesn't guarantee this one. Okay if you are the wicked stepmother and so on, there is no happy ever after for you, just outright certainty you will get your comeuppance (but I love that too).
- Justice/Truth Will Out in the End. Ties in with 5 above given this has to happen for the happy ever after to result.
- Background doesn't matter. Cinderella is proof of that, as is the miller's son from Puss in Boots. And the haughty can be made to see the error of their ways - see the Beast's story from Beauty and the Beast.
- Kindness is not only encouraged but rewarded. There are many tales where help to an old man/woman proves to be the catalyst for change as said old person turns out to be a powerful magical being in disguise. Those being kind are sent on an adventure/enabled to fulfil their quest and all ends up being well. All because of an act of kindness. Kindness is, I feel, underrated (and can be seen to be weak, when it is anything but) so I like this aspect too.
- Fantastic Creatures. Have always loved stories with these in and they suit fairytales well. Can sometimes be used to teach humans a lesson (often in humility!).
- A simple way of getting the message across and for all ages. All ages can appreciate fairytales (though admittedly adults were and still are the main audience for the classic tales on age grounds). They translate well too so make for truly global stories.
WHAT FAIRYTALES GIVE US
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I'm Allison Symes and I write novels, short stories as well as some scripts and poems. I love setting my work in my magical world, the Fairy Kingdom, and my favourite character is Eileen, who believes hypocrisy is something that happens to other people without caring that statement is hypocritical in itself! Eileen is huge fun to write for and about.