Living in The Evil Fairytales

I didn’t read fairytales till I was in high school. Not the big, illustrated, classical fairytales.

But I’d heard them before, the way they were supposed to be transmitted. (And read them, in little tiny booklets sold at checkout in the grocery store, and begged for in lieu of candy bars when I was very young.)

Okay, so grandmother’s fairy tales weren’t canonical. She made up an entire set of stories about an alternate fairy-tale village. I want to say that while not canonical, and not pertaining to really old stuff, they were in spirit the same old fairy tales. Look, I’d often have nightmares afterwards. Sometimes I refused to let her tell me stories for a week, because people died in them and horrible things happened. But then I’d come back, because they were fascinating.

On the other hand, I heard fairy tales from just about everyone else. The old ones, with crunch and blood, where the happy ending had to be fought for, and the moral, while not told to you outright, was there clear as day, ten feet tall: Don’t go into the dark woods; the old shouldn’t feed on the young; parents shouldn’t abandon children; self-centeredness kills; undeserved good opinion of yourself leads to a downfall, etc. etc. etc.

Fairytales are very old. So old, we don’t know how old they are. Like the Illiad, the Odyssey and certain parts of the Bible, they are almost for sure MUCH older than they appear and might (MIGHT) if linguistic traces can be trusted date back to well before the written language traces we’ve found.

Me? I suspect the roots of them go back further, much further, to shortly after language became complex enough to transmit them.

They have that feel, of extending back, with roots in time and the mind of men, to the time an ape developed enough symbolic thinking to go “this sound stands for a broad range of things that are like this thing.”

Their warnings, therefore, are deep-set, scary and…. well, important.

Things don’t get transmitted that deep into history, unless they’re important and they enhance survival.

So, how in the name of all that’s holy, did we end up living in a time where evil fairy tales come to life?

Look, yea, they always existed in places like Afghanistan and other lands where Islam wiped the land clean of fairy tales and substituted its own version. (Because totalitarian philosophies and religions can’t afford competition.) And I think in Russia also, after communism. You find children killed and served to their parents, and children traded away to be eaten, and animals treated with awful cruelty, and–

But we’re not like that! Right? We live in a land of plenty and ease, and are cognizant of the evil fairy tales, the deep ones, and–

Are we? Even Jordan Peterson, who has his head screwed on straight, bases his fairy tale talks on the Disney versions. The Disney versions are actually a good illustration for this.

They started out as being slightly nicer than the original, though not by much, I admit. The bones are still there for Snow White, less so for Cinderella.

But by the time we hit Little Mermaid they were actively messing with the plot to give them what they thought was a happy ending, and thereby castrating the deep meaning.

And now? Now they’ve gone off the deep end. There seems to be a deeply-laid consensus that the girl and the boy can’t get together, that the girl will have something more important to do (and the boy will be a dolt) and that in the end things like getting married, or obeying your duty to your kingdom (important if you were an hereditary ruler, and that was the system) matter less than “self-actualization” and “finding yourself.”

Which means the fairy tales have mutated from things that are actively against survival for the species, sometimes for the individual.

And which explains why we’re living in a world of evil fairy tales, where its perfectly all right to use parts of aborted babies to extend the life of the old and wealthy, it’s perfectly all right to sacrifice your children to your pursuit of “finding yourself” by ignoring them/farming them out/getting divorced to pursue a career, etc; it’s perfectly all right to convince your little boy (under puberty) that he’s a girl, because you wanted a girl; it is perfectly all right to convince yourself you’re the real princess and take her place, by demanding that you be promoted ahead of those with ability/talent, because you’re you; and self-esteem in absence of any accomplishment is promoted as a panacea.

It is progressing, as the old fairy tales warn, in the way such stories usually do: in madness, horror, death and unending darkness.

Because human nature doesn’t change. Culture shapes it, but the nature itself doesn’t change. In the end those who live only for the pursuit of transitory pleasure always find themselves alone. Those who pursue self-agrandizement turn into monsters. Those who eat children to survive will be punished with a long, horrible life and also by turning into monsters.

The warnings are there precisely because human nature doesn’t change, and what seems to be pleasurable/enticing often leads to horror for everyone concerned, including the person doing it and thinking they want it.

And things like “Marries and has children” is how the species continues. Or doesn’t. And that’s in the end very important for survival of the species and sanity for the individual.

However the warnings have been erased in our culture to “be nice.” And of course, due to mobility, and mothers working full time (ah!) and various other factors, we don’t actually have any other means of transmitting these old, old stories.

So they are dying. And society is coming unraveled, because the deep set warnings were never given. Or were perverted.

Humans are far more complex than we tend to think. At least humans as something else than apes. We are creatures of language, of transmissible knowledge, of story and of culture.

The modern era has both submerged us in a bunch of modern narrative that often portrays things that just ain’t so (a lot of it, but not all, based on Karl Grifter Marx), and cut us off from the deep, deep roots of our culture.

The results aren’t pretty.

Sure, we can relearn the lessons. But can we learn them before civilization crumbles? because stuff like “Sacrifice so the next generation will be better off” is the very foundation stone of civilization. All civilization that hopes to survive.

We don’t say things like “don’t eat children” because we think it’s not needed. And so, it leaks in, around the edges, in using abortion parts, like using children for sexual affirmation, like not giving kids what they actually need to grow and be healthy, whether by raising them vegan or by starving them of true learning.

Listen to the voice of the early, dark fairy tales.

They’re not kind, or nice. And sometimes they’re horrible to read/listen to. But they fascinate for a reason. They are the sign blinking in the night saying “drive off this ledge and you die.” They are alluring to package and transmit a very old message, hard fought and learned with difficulty by your ancestors.

Those who fail to learn them are condemned to repeat them.

And the land of evil fairy tales is hard to escape.

208 thoughts on “Living in The Evil Fairytales

  1. Cautionary Tales.

    That’s how fairytales started out.

    Even when they were “written” with happy endings, the hero (male or female) avoided traps that other characters had fallen victim to them.

    IE The hero had older brothers who failed the “quest” that he was on and he (often by being politer than them) avoided the traps.

    1. Been polite (or the farther back you go, followed the proper course of courtesy and hospitality with a healthy dollop of ‘this is right to do, even though it’s going to hurt my over all goal’.), followed advice, actually took the chances offered them and worked hard rather than slacking off. You also get the ones where the older girl goes off usually looking for simply a living and finds fortune (finding reward) and the younger girl runs off looking for fortune and comes back in humiliation. Then the Prince comes in and takes the elder away and the other two are left to stew in their juices.

    2. Remember the brave little tailor? 7 in one blow? He managed to get his princess, but she tried to have him killed until he managed to scare off her henchmen and terrify her into being a good, obedient wife. I hate sleeping with one eye open.

      1. There are a fair number where you really wonder at the hero. Marrying a princess who stole your treasures and whom you had to trick to give them back, for instance.

        There are variants of the Twelve Dancing Princesses where the princesses dance voluntarily with literal devils, and sometimes the hero refuses — but only sometimes.

    3. The original stories collected by the Grimms were almost all Christian tales illustrating the effects of mortal sin. So cautionary yes, but consistently caution against the big 7, especially pride, revenge, and avarice. Also cautionary in showing the value of virtue at saving oneself from Hell. The happenings may have been steeped in magic, but almost always that was black magic from demons.

      What we’ve lost is the belief that while the Lord lets the good and evil live side by side, that He will separate the wheat from the chaff and the chaff will burn forever.

      We’ve re-written or re-remembered them as hero stories, but few had heroes. That came later with the advancing of children’s literature as a genre in its own right.

      1. Not true. I have a collection of REALLY old tales, and they don’t have a Christian undertone. Not even in Portugal where angels and saints were often shoe horned in instead of fairies or magic.
        Also, these tales are way older than Christianity.

        1. The tales are not stable enough to let us speak of their age. The publication of Grimm was enough to shift tales told in Japan.

  2. I keep telling people that “fairytales’ are important. Even the people who are inclined to believe some of the things I say, don’t see the importance of these teaching stories. I try not to think of where we are going because this wisdom has now been labeled “myth.” The sins of the fathers fall on the heads children– especially now.

  3. Re: The Little Mermaid. Yes, I absolutely hate Disney’s version (even wrote a sequel novella in which Eric had been betrothed to a princess of the neighboring kingdom which invaded after he broke the political engagement to marry Ariel. Eric is killed, and Ariel starts an ineffective insurgency to get back in power. She’s hampered considerably by the fact that she has never not gotten her own way, and goes increasingly crazy as folk prefer the invaders who actually govern the province more responsibly than the dolt who broke off a political engagement for love.)

    In fairness, though, Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales aren’t all that great either. They aren’t the wisdom of the ages distilled in pithy stories; they’re anvilicious Victorian moral tales. The fact that “The Ugly Duckling” is the only one of his stories to make it to the present day with its moral intact says a lot of how timeless his work isn’t.

    Though on the topic of dark fairy tales, why hasn’t Tim Burton or someone made a movie about the Boy Who Traveled to Learn About the Shivers? That one seems perfect for a scary CGI fest.

    1. I never really liked Hans Christen Anderson’s stories – most of them were about awful, undeserved things happening to perfectly blameless people, characters and things; the Steadfast Tin Soldier, the Match Girl, the poor little Christmas tree … bummers, every one – even the original Little Mermaid.
      We also had a volume of the Grimm Brothers – the original and relatively unexpurgated, and — hoo, boy, were some of those grim, and ghastly, too – but there was almost always justice of some kind served in the end, to the good and bad characters as they deserved/

      1. That’s even called out in current things on how to write good stories: what ever kicks off things, the character has to want it, in at least some way.

        One example they used was Groundhog Day, the self centered news caster wanted to be there no more than 24 hours. So he got 24 hours, the same 24h repeating endlessly…

      2. Stories have a vital role in helping us cope with life and see that we are not alone.

        “awful, undeserved things happening to perfectly blameless people”

        Happens all the time.

        1. Which is why I hate stories that center on that kind of thing. The grimdark and the gray goo. Even something like George RRMartin’s stuff; the books were riveting, very well written, but I eventually got rid of my copies and never bothered with the TV series. Wasn’t a world I wanted to visit again. I want stories that make my life better and more joyful. I don’t need to be reminded of how shitty life can be and what horrors people can inflict on each other. That’s all too evident already.

          1. Ah yes. That wonderful story where some guy embezzles government money and invests in a foreign country to develop a bioweapon to reduce the perceived overpopulation, and lower the intelligence of the survivors so they become complacent serving drones. Oh wait, that’s COVID. Never mind.

            1. Not too far off from Martin’s Haviland Tuf and his bioweapon-factory spaceship. I rereadd some of the stories, especially the ones where he plays God, and decided that the only characters I liked in the book were his cats. And I’m a dog person.

              Not bad enough to toss the book in the trash, but it went to the library for their 25 cent sale. I hope I made the right decision…

        2. If we accept Sarah’s argument that the purpose of a fairy tale is to teach people to make better choices, then there’s no point to one in which the protagonist’s behavior is irrelevant to his fate. He has to ultimately succeed because he made good choices or fail due to making bad ones. Otherwise, what’s the point?

          Now, you can have something bad happen to an innocent and then have the story be about how they HANDLE that…

        1. Aside from the Ugly Duckling, they are more urban fantasy and “Victorian Moral Tales” than what I think of as fairy tales and folk tales. The style, at least the translations I’ve read, is also more literary than, oh, Lang and the brothers Grimm.

      3. But Life isn’t Fair, Tragedy is Part of Life are also vital lessons.

        I haven’t read The Poor Little Match Girl for over a quarter century, and the damned story still haunts me.
        Can you call something so horrifying, and yet so beautiful, anything other than faerie?

        1. Life isn’t fair, tragedy is part of life, and sometimes you get unfairly screwed is where most fairy tales START. They go on with ‘but life doesn’t end there, you pick yourself up and go on if you want a life at all.’

    2. Surely “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is immortal?

      Well, maybe it doesn’t count as a fairy tale, but it does serve the purpose of fairy tales.

      1. Wonderful place if you like stones. When Cromwell spoke of to Hell or to Connaught it was of Clare he was speaking, or so says the Limerickman.

        1. We’re from Tipperary, and everyone from there looks a lot like us… but our people left, shortly before the Famine. So I’m not sure that says a lot for Tipperary.

          Of course, the rumor is that Himself and his brothers all left suddenly, on account of political, criminal, or politico-criminal activities. So I’m not sure that says a lot for the ancestors, either! 🙂

          The problem with doing genealogy is that everyone in that generation with our last name shared about seven given names, and a lot of the baptismal records and death records were destroyed by fire. So… maybe somebody doesn’t want us to know!

          1. My mother’s family doesn’t have a tree, it’s more of a stick. There is a great shortage of last names, first names too since they are only a few male names and essentially all the girls were Margret or Maryanne. My da used to say he brought hybrid vigor in.

            1. It’s the deal where Michael and Honora marry and have kids, and so the first son is named after Michael’s dad, Cornelius, and the first daughter is named after Honora’s mom, Annie. (Or names to this effect.) And there’s the other dad and the other mom, and the aunts and uncles, all of whom get to be godparents and have kids named after them.

              So they have seven kids, say. Four boys and three girls. And all the boys name their first sons Michael.

              And everybody else is doing the same thing.

              So depending on who tends to survive, you end up with a lot of Michaels and Honoras and Corneliuses and Annies. And a lot of people with the exact same name, but who live in different places around town or on different farms, are born in various years, but sometimes in the same year too.

  4. I got lucky that I ran into a bunch of good stories where the hero gets the girl (or boy for the heroines) gets married and has kids that are actually there in the epilogue or sequel. It just feels more right than nothing ever happening.

    It just seems to me that if a hero dies without anyone, there must be some element of tragedy to it. Either some tragic flaw that made them alone, or some horrible event that scared them, or something. And it seems to rob the character and the audience to simply leave that part of a great character on the table.

    Even in the case where the partner’s loses wasn’t something particularly tragic, i.e. old age, things that happen, and the what not, they should still have a presence, this ghost on their shoulder, that still influences their state and their actions. It’s a deep vein of emotion for the writer to plumb.

    1. They’re not exactly fairy tales, but I always loved how a lot of Arthurian stories to some extent, and Charlemagne’s knights stories to a big extent, had generations on generations of heroes and heroines having kids, who also grew up and went on adventures.

      1. ^ this

        Also, the tall tales of Paul Bunyan, A B Stormalong, John Henry, Febold Feboldson, etc.

  5. It is imperative that our children hear fairy tales with monsters, defeated by true heroes. Because that is how they learn to see themselves as true heroes. Because there ARE real monsters. And real heroes are needed to defeat them.

    1. Here’s the full quote of what Chesterton said

      Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.

      End Quote

      Note, I found it in Chesterton’s Tremendous Trifles, Chapter XVII The Red Angel

      1. Pratchett had a similar idea expressed with the fireplace poker that (only) killed monsters.

        1. Tolkien and Lewis both stole from Chesterton, too.

          Chesterton’s essay “The Nightmare” is really good for explaining the moral nature of the horror genre, much as others have explained the moral nature of the mystery genre.

      2. The original says that you can wait for St. George to rescue you.

        The pithy version says that you can become St. George.

        These are not equivalent concepts.

        1. If you read the full thing. He gets there. It’s a pretty long. Thing is it is very difficult to become something you don’t know is there. If you don’t know there are such people as St. George, then the dragon is an undefeatable monster that has absolute power. Most folk can’t get to ‘I can kill the dragon’ without the intermediary step of ‘dragons can be killed’. And even for those who CAN go out to kill the unkillable, knowing that the foe is, itself, mortal reduces the terror. Which, frankly, is what Chesterton was talking about. here is a fuller version of the quote. The second paragraph addresses the parts you say the longer version does not address:

          “The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it– because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.

          “Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear. When I was a child I have stared at the darkness until the whole black bulk of it turned into one negro giant taller than heaven. If there was one star in the sky it only made him a Cyclops. But fairy tales restored my mental health, for next day I read an authentic account of how a negro giant with one eye, of quite equal dimensions, had been baffled by a little boy like myself (of similar inexperience and even lower social status) by means of a sword, some bad riddles, and a brave heart. Sometimes the sea at night seemed as dreadful as any dragon. But then I was acquainted with many youngest sons and little sailors to whom a dragon or two was as simple as the sea.”

          The whole essay is well worth reading.

          1. And don’t forget that St. Margaret of Antioch was a favorite medieval figure because she defeated the dragon with her Bible. In some versions, after having been eaten.

            In medieval southern French legends, St. Martha (yup, that one) cowed the Tarasque dragon, tied it up with her girdle/belt for keys, paraded it through town, and then offed it herself (I think with a holy water sprinkler to the head, in some versions).

            There’s a whole book of saint versus dragon translations from Greek and Latin. It’s charming, especially since a fair number of dragons turn out to be helpful good guys. I really liked the dragon/snake that desperately wanted to be the pet of St. Simeon Stylites, but had to be told that he was scaring off all the human visitors.

            1. I have a warm spot in my heart for Martha. People forget her profession of faith when she faced Jesus after Lazarus’ death.

              1. Had a priest that made a point that she listened to Jesus and didn’t nag Mary after that. And Jesus didn’t say, “no, you stop doing that and go be exactly like your sister Mary.”

                And THEN the priest pointed out that when she was in incredible pain, in a situation where nobody would’ve blamed her for lashing out at Jesus and demanding why He hadn’t come to save her brother– she instead, as you point out, professed her faith.

                1. And even her ‘if you had been here’ before the ‘but even now…” was a profession of faith. She wasn’t berating him. She was saying she KNEW the power he had. If he had been there, her brother wouldn’t have died AND now that he was here he could ask for it, but she wasn’t going to beg it of him. It was Mary in that case who stopped at the ‘if you had been here’ bit.

                  I have sometimes wondered if Mary needed to listen to Jesus teaching more than Martha did. Because Martha had already gotten the point.

                  1. I have sometimes wondered if Mary needed to listen to Jesus teaching more than Martha did. Because Martha had already gotten the point

                    Oooh, I hadn’t thought of that one… and that brings to mind the idea that seeing Mary at Jesus’ feet, studying, while also seeing Martha near by, doing, may have been to help others as well.

                    This is the kind of stuff that gets examined in pious fiction, it’s so *run*.

              2. A lot of us do, and she was clearly a good person. But occasionally I want to say to her, “God himself is sitting in your living room! Couldn’t the dishes wait for a bit?”

                It’s something that comes to mind during the holidays when the family has finally gathered together after so many months, and certain members seem more concerned with making sure that the kitchen counter hasn’t got a speck on it than they do with spending time with each other.

            2. >> “And don’t forget that St. Margaret of Antioch was a favorite medieval figure because she defeated the dragon with her Bible.”

              Not familiar with the story. How do you kill a dragon with a bible?

        2. I stole this idea, but it worked wonderfully. My youngest daughter at about 10 was having terrible monster nightmares, and was scared to go to sleep. Took her out to a friend’s woodlot firing range. Let her handle my 1911, feel it, smell it, and then shoot some tomato juice cans and melons. With the expected explosive results. “This weapon will follow you into your dreams, When the monsters come, reach under your pillow, pull out the pistol and kill them.”. Never woke up screaming again. She did however, get a concealed weapon permit as soon as she legally could.

          1. I’m currently running a dream fantasy campaign where one of the players is a preadolescent boy whose grandmother provided him with a dream protector when he was around six. Only in his case it was his stuffed lion, come to life. May I copy your story and send it to the player?

            1. Yes, you may, but the idea isn’t original with me, I read it somewhere, and used it when the occasion arose. Don’t remember the source.

              1. I’m not concerned solely about the idea; I wanted to quote your words. Those are protected by copyright, and even though they’re short, quoting a large chunk would not be fair use; it requires permission. Thank you for giving it.

              2. I have passed the story on and my friend said that “That IS quite the amusing parallel!”

          2. Please! “Borrowed” is a better description than “stole”. I remember that one from an SF book; unfortunately I don’t remember which one. IIRC, in the story it was a Colt Single Action Army .45. It’s good to know that it actually worked. 🙂

        3. The first one says you CAN be saved. That there is hope.

          Rather than the modern unintended moral, that you have to save yourself and there’s no call for anybody else to do so.

          Once you get to the point that you CAN be saved– and that the hero can be a person– then you can get to where you can be the hero, or at least try to be. There’s a chance.

          1. Nod

            Chesterton definitely said that the point of Fairy Tales was that the Monster could be defeated.

            Too often Children “fear” the Monster and can’t imagine that it can be defeated.

            Thus Fairy Tales give hope that the Monster Can Be Defeated.

            I’d note that many Fairy Tale “Monster-Killers” aren’t shown as “Powerful Knights” but are shown as lesser figures that the Monster couldn’t imagine being killed by.

            IE Jack the Giant-Killer could be seen by children as “just a kid like themselves”.

              1. Or a lot of cunning. The Ogre in Puss in boots. But the point is, once the monster is known to be killable if you can only fine the courage, the cunning, or the strength to get there. There’s also the lesson that we’re seeing play out here: Many monsters are their own end. You just have to be sure you’re not under the beanstalk when the giant goes down.

              2. And there are those who insist that anyone who needs rescue for any reason is worthless.

                I once read a book in which a princess spoke contemptuously of princesses murdered by a giant on that grounds. And despite the obvious tempting of Nemesis, did not need rescue in that work.

      3. Dragon’s version of the bumper sticker: “Do not meddle with humans. For although they are crunchy and tasty with ketchup, some of them are georges, and you will come to a bad end.”

        1. “Do not meddle in the affairs of humans, for you are vulnerable to anti-aircraft missiles.” 😉

  6. The first chapter books I ever read were fairy tales in 1st grade. The Blue, Brown, etc. Books of fairy tales. I had to prove to the librarian at the school that I could read them and understand what they said before she would let me move to the 3rd grade section where they were. I had to read a page and the tell her what it was about and then she put a mark on my library card that said I could read higher level books. It was very thrilling because I had already read all the 1st and second grade books.

    It had never occurred to me until just now that by allowing this she had also helped instill in me a sound grounding in “the moral of the story”. The story being life.

    I think the lack of fairy tales and also the turning away from religious practice for young people have robbed them from a sense of purpose and a belief in the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

    They don’t have any sense that if you keep doing the right thing all will be well on the end. It’s all virtue signaling and then turning on anyone who does not toe the line for whatever the current regime holds important. And what is important varies so often they have a feeling that nothing is REALLY important. Except not humans because they are a blot on the planet and a menace.

        1. I recommend reading books collected by nation instead. Even the public domain ones offer a better selection.

          1. My present one Christmas from my husband was a mere paperback—but it was “The Turnip Princess and Other Stories,” collected about the same time as the Grimm collections—but never edited. It had only just been translated into English. Very nice present, though I will say that the stories, having no editorial polish, are often downright bizarre and discontinuous.

            Wonderful sourcebook, though. I took one of the few complete stories in there and polished it up for a story of my own—leaving out the girl becoming magically beautiful at the end. But she didn’t need to be beautiful to get her happy ending.

        2. Try your local online library. They may be in the “always available to borrow” collection. They are in the two libraries I have cards for.

  7. The Gods of the Copybook Headings are most clearly revealed in those oldest of tales: Aesop’s Fables, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the old myths and stories.

    I think that part of the reason we stopped being taught them, ironically enough, was driven by the desire to protect children and their innocence. That seems to have been, in hindsight, a grievous mistake.

    1. I heard a good recital of “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” on a YouTube Channel a few Fridays ago, which I wasn’t expecting. Bits of Kipling and Shakepeare are not atypical on that channel on Fridays, but that work is lengthy enough I was slightly surprised. It is more pungent when heard than merely read, and sent my mind back to worrying about our world instead of the diverting experience I was hoping for.

    2. We can’t grow without pain. That’s even more true for children. The mistake many parents have made is trying to remove ALL pain from their children’s lives; rather than managing it to a level that still hurts, but can be overcome. The celebrate that victory, and raise the bar for the next trial.

      1. Indeed some of the most screwed up people I ever met were some of the children of the really rich folks at my sort of hippy private high school. Daddy/Mommy ALWAYS fixed everything, never let them suffer. Most of them became useless drones, totally drugged out (it was the ’70s) unable to cope with anything. Really appalling and quite sad in some ways.

        1. I’ve worked on and off for a photography studio with high schools as clients. (Currently “on” as they finally got the telecommuting in place, and I’m strong on the production end.) At one point, when I was still on photographer rotation, I was sent to photograph the dance classes at one of the wealthier schools in our client list. The teacher mentioned how they lost bits of their costumes all the time, because they were so used to their parents just replacing things, and how she’s had more than one student go off to college and then drop out in their first semester.

          Oddly enough, that doesn’t tend to be a problem with the private schools around here, probably because they’re religious and the priests and nuns Won’t Put Up With That. (The boys’ school doesn’t have detention. They have JUG: Judgement Under God. And in JUG they don’t sit in a room; they go out and clean up the campus.)

    3. I’ve very surprised it took this far down the thread for someone to reference Kipling.
      I was absolutely sure it was going to happen within the first few posts.

  8. Interesting. I just wrote a scene in the WIP where the main character discovers what happened while he was unconscious. He now has a duty to the family of the man who died protecting him, since the truly guilty party has been claimed by Another for justice. Loyalty works both ways, just like in a proper Fairy Tale. (“Iron Heinrich” among others.)

  9. “where its perfectly all right to use parts of aborted babies to extend the life of the old and wealthy”


    Not just that. It’s also considered perfectly acceptable to put children at risk – both physically and developmentally – in order to reduce the chance that an adult will catch SARS-2.

    1. That’s what gets me about the teacher’s unions and school districts that are fixated on making kids wear masks. It’s not about the children: it’s about them. Their own morbid fears, lust for control, and inflated sense of their own social importance—too important to risk doing their own jobs right. This society has (I hope unknowingly) handed its children over to monsters.

      1. The children were relatively safe from COVID. The teachers were more vulnerable. We saw with great detail who was more brave. And it wasn’t the jokers in front of the class.

        1. Teachers who were in it to help kids — they seem to have found ways to get one on one with the kids and deal with them individually, even if it was by getting permission from parents to drop off stuff at their houses or talk to kids through the window.

          Unfortunately, there’s a certain percentage of alleged adults with teaching certificates, who have always been there for control, creepiness, bullying, and/or a political paycheck. That percentage has grown over the years, I’m afraid.

        2. It was those who chose to help the parents who couldn’t take time and be there to oversee homeschooling every day. Those who stepped up to setup learning pods. Not all who did so were teachers. Some were teachers from the system, defying the union control, if not openly, still defying (hopefully without getting caught). Some were college students, now not in their own classes. Some were parents who were home. Some were parents who took turns being home. Some were the older siblings overseeing younger siblings and their friends. Some came from the most vulnerably population, their grandparents. These are just some. Not every child benefited, unfortunately. But some did.

  10. My father had Parkinson’s disease when it was fashionable to think about fetal stem cells as the Holy Grail. They have now proven to be a really unstable thing so they have mostly vanished. But at the time his comment was “No, thanks. I am NOT a cannibal.”

    1. I honestly never got why everyone was so hot over fetal stem cells. There had been really interesting work on getting adult cells to revert to stem cell status, that could have been followed up on, without the ethical problems or the cell rejection problems that just vanished the moment fetal stem cell research was legalized.

      All I can figure is they must have thought they couldn’t use cultures from living adults for drug testing without having to have all sorts of legal stuff in place? Which seems stupid, since once you’ve got a framework for getting adult stem cells to support drug testing you can ram up to much wider test sets than you ever could for fetal stem cells? Unless, the real goal is to have ‘gold standard testing’ that doesn’t find problems. :/

      1. The real goal was to have a justification for abortion. Deathwalker shouldn’t be a role model.

        1. ^^bingo^^

          If someone can object to abortion so strongly that they would rather risk death than use something that grew from abortion… then that little voice that says “I did a horrible thing” may be right.

          That ‘lump of tissue’ was actually your child, a little baby, a real person.

          … it takes a very brave person to look back at a trail of corpses, and say “no. That is wrong. I will stop, now, and try to help others avoid the same mistake.”

          1. I wonder if this is why redemption stories have become so rare… a lot of folk are somewhere in the back of their brains aware they have supported horrors, and if redemption stories are real, and they haven’t turned from their support what does that say about them?

      2. They are still working on induced pluripotent stem cells, (iPSCs), which are the stem cells created from somatic cells.

      3. I believe this skates scarily close to religion (sorry, Sarah), but in the line of forcing or tricking people to do something they find abominable, or of attempting to coerce their support for that which they find abominable . . . I think you’ll find the actual goal of using fetal lines in there.

        Not the scientists’ goal: mostly scientists want to see if they can do nifty stuff and a fair number seem to really, really have to rely on ethics boards for hard line No. Not them, they’re at worst morally oblivious. The goal of those who pushed for funding for the research.

        Just a pinch of incense for Ceasar. Just pray to Darius. Just a quick injection to Save Lives. No big deal. Right?

        1. I’m afraid I find moral obliviousness just as bad, if not worse. I circular filed the Eric Flint Honor Harrington books when they forgave the biologists for using and tolerating slavery because they were scientists. What absolute rubbish. Pournelle had it right in Birth of Fire when he had the scientists lust for knowledge indistinguishable from lust for power, which is what it is. Lust is lust.

          Sorry, this burns my but.

          1. BGE, I think it’s that science (as currently taught) attracts people who don’t have the proper morality wiring. It’s a good place for them in theory: they have ethics boards to put in a stop. In practice, the ethics boards have the exact same problem.

            When I talk to would-like-to-be-genetic-engineer son about his ideas, at least a third of the time we end with me screaming “You are talking about HUMAN BEINGS!!” and him saying “Oh. Yeah. But it would be cool if we could . . .” “NO! Human beings. We do not DO that to people without consent, and a single celled human cannot ever consent.”

            I don’t know where else those folks end up besides science, and I don’t think it’s as simple as an educational failure (the other kids have the proper stop response, and they’re all home schooled).

            Boy needs a wife with solid morals and the willingness to scream at him occasionally. He does fine when faced with real human faces, maybe a bit more empathetic than his brothers, even, but in theory . . . and the line between the lab and theory is so thin . . .

            Lust for knowledge, yes. Curiousity, yes. Inability to grasp what-if is this-is-people, also yes.

            Like me being faceblind, there’s some brain path that hasn’t/didn’t form quite right. Don’t ask me to identify someone from a lineup, don’t ask him if it’s ethical to give humans cat ears. Maybe if I scream enough it’ll form still . . .

            Oversight from people who have the right wiring is essential.

            1. Yeah. One reason I like working with provables is I don’t really have a functional compass for the unprovables.

              There was a period back in college I was trying to reason out the logic of moral codes. Sort of an ethical calculus, and had a very excellent humanities professor I’d run the various ideas by. In turn, he had an endless string of the horrors that were unleashed the last time someone tried to evaluate moral codes that way…

              I eventually concluded that I’m not smart or wise enough to work out a good complete moral code on my own, and its better to stick with one that has produced comparatively few horrors on mass scale.

              1. I prefer RAH’s approach to morality. Behavior that tends toward promoting survival. Family, Clan, Tribe, Nation, Species.

                IIRC fetal stem cells can be harvested from cord blood.

                1. “Can be” and “are” are two separate states.

                  Adding an element of plausible deniability is an invitation to evil. We are not rational, merely rationalizing.

                2. They’re classified as adult stem cells. We donate our kids’ cords, when possible; they’re mostly looking at cord blood when they talk about stem cells from the cord.

                  Since the entire organism isn’t destroyed in harvesting, they’re theoretically pluripotent but ease-of-use are somewhat limited similarly to stem cells from bone marrow… or body fat.

                  Yes, you read that right– liposuctioned fat is a rather good source of stem cells. (Which can turn into fat, heart, bone or muscle tissue; this is the non-blood type of stem cell in bone marrow, mesenchymal stem cells.)

                  Where can I sign up to donate for THAT research?!?!

                3. IIRC fetal stem cells can be harvested from cord blood.

                  Which is where I believed research stem cells came from. Not that they were bought from abortion clinics. I thought the latter was illegal. I know the latter is immoral. No matter how long ago the cells were “harvested”.

                  1. Embryonic stem cells come from either humans created to be killed and harvested, or from “leftovers” at fertility clinics. Abortion clinics’ by-products are too old.

                    They have been actively trying to conflate “embryonic stem cells” with all stem cells since they first proposed harvesting fetal stem cells for therapy use.

                    For those who are interested, the JPII Stem Cell Research Institute has a pretty good write up, here:

                    Pope John Paul II had Parkinson’s, and embryonic stem cells were supposed to cure that, and many folks were just sure this would of course make him change Church teaching about killing people for spare parts. He, of course, could not and did not– thus the name of the institute.

                    My mom was also going through breast cancer treatment about the time it was the new hotness, and Komen got caught funneling a lot of money into that and abortion related ‘research.’ She was very much not impressed.

              2. Start with Life Has Value, and work it out from there.

                All other values are relative to Life, because a dead man has no need of moral values.
                “You want stability? There is nothing more stable than a dead man. He will never do anything.”

            2. I’m certainly no paragon of morality, I was an investment banker after all. Still, I find this notion that SCIENCE is somehow morally neutral, repugnant. Science is something done by scientists and as you point out it attracts certain kinds of people. The education system is warped beyond saving and my experience is that academic ethicists are among the least ethical people around.

              I’m aware that I might be coming across as a Pharisee here, I don’t mean to, but there it is. I suppose I should be suggesting some sort of religious teaching, but I would recommend Terry Pratchett, amiable atheist that he was. “Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” I found more good, solid day-to-day morality on any given page of Pratchett than I did in all the modern ethicists,

              1. Modern education doesn’t involve much in the way of solid philosophical education, much less solid theological education. That’s a lot of the problem.

                Look, I hated philosophy as boring when I was younger, but it came across as more interesting to me when I started listening to texts as audiobooks/podcasts. Somehow my brain engaged with it more. And then a lot of connections clicked with me, and brain stimulus is always fun.

                So maybe your son really needs to engage with questions like “What is good?”

                Greek philosophers are also more interesting in Greek, but I think that’s going a bit far (unless your son really likes languages).

                1. A lot of “philosophy” is dead boring because it’s dead. The folks teaching it haven’t really thought about it very hard, and don’t really care to understand it anyways, and there’s nothing to connect it to.

                  Once I figured out that science fiction and fantasy WERE philosophy… then it started getting interesting.

                  (Especially once I discovered the Catholic stuff we were never taught about, and discovered how much of the stuff that had bugged me but I couldn’t explain WHY did have stuff explaining why, from hundreds to thousands of years ago. ^.^ )

                  1. I want to be a Thomist but my mind doesn’t work that way. Still, I remember my first encounter with the Summa, right at the start, Q2: is the existence of God self-evident? answer no. Mind blown. I can see why philosophers moved away from the Scholastic method because their teachings don’t survive exposure to it. Try it on Hegel or a Marx and watch it all collapse into a pile of goo.

                2. Being introduced to John Rawls put me off philosophy. Well, him and the whole “how can we know anything is real” navel-gazing. Grr. Made me want to go home and wash dishes.

                  1. Ah, the philosophical skeptics (not the ones who doubt specific things, but the ones who make it a principle to doubt everything). I find it a useful compass in philosophy to ask if an argument leads to skepticism, and if it does, to reject it. There are philosophers whose work is still there after you apply that test, starting with Aristotle (which is what Aquinas did). But I have no use for Descartes.

                    Though there is a secondary use for studying them: Where some philosophers give you a straight 200 proof argument for skepticism, others build their theories on specific skeptical positions without telling you that that’s what they’re doing. For example, the logical positivists put forth an account of science that was basically David Hume’s comprehensive skepticism, but in more abstract language and without his superb prose style. It’s helpful to learn to recognize those.

            3. Sliding scale.

              Some folks have a strong moral instinct, some folks don’t, and some (I think most) folks can be trained to have one.
              You can at least sometimes break the moral framework, too, from neglecting teaching it or by mis-teaching it. (:points at various hysterias as a desperate attempt to CREATE a moral framework:)

              No different than the way some folks just really can’t handle credit, or having cash on hand; my husband is on the end that can function with a debt card, but he KNOWS he can’t have cash on hand or he’ll spend it, and credit is dangerous. Since he knows it’s a problem, he solved it before we knew eachother by only having a debit card and his “allowance” (my term, not his); now, he has a credit card stashed somewhere in his car for emergencies, but I handle that stuff.

              1. Oddly, I work the exact opposite way. I like to go to the bank and take out a week’s money in twenties; I can resist spending it because I have a visible sign of how soon I’m going to run out. But if I’m using my debit card I don’t intuitively know; I have to sit down at my desk, log onto my account, and check my balance. I find physical cash a useful control mechanism.

                1. Meanwhile, I’m flat Scottish and hate spending money at all, to the point it can actually get us in trouble from my “just in case” stuff.

                  What matters is that you find a solution that works for you!

                2. I’m paying in cash as much as is practical. Banks charge the store a fee if you pay by credit card, and the terms of their contracts forbid the store from adding that fee to the bill, or even offering a discount for cash.

                  Somehow gas stations have managed to avoid those terms.

                  1. Also not suppose to charge more for procedures, or offer discounts if you don’t use insurance. Sure. Tell that to my Dentist. They have two discounts: IF not using insurance. And another, additional, discount if paying by check or cash.

                3. I have $50 in cash that I’ve had now for a month. Now down to $40, because hubby took $10. We almost exclusively use the credit card. I think there are 5 items that I pay directly with cash/check (payment through bank pay process), everything else goes on the CC. All charges are tracked in Quicken. Toward the end of the month I tell hubby just how much we needed out of retirement investments to pay those 5 items (varies from $0 up to *$10k). One of the 5 items IS the primary CC. Even with the recent old-peoples COL raises, it isn’t going to be $0 again for awhile.

                  * We did just put in an $9k sprinkler system.

            4. A few years ago, I was at a scientific conference where there was a presentation on the privacy issues surrounding genetic research. During the Q&A afterwards, the tone of the discussion was almost universally, “So how do we get these rubes to give up their stupid concerns about privacy so that we can do what we want with their DNA?” I’ll admit that it shocked me. These were my colleagues, my fellow researchers, my friends even in some cases…and THIS was how they felt about the major ethical issues of our field? It was even worse when I got back to my own lab, reported on the talk, and found that a lot of the people I worked closely with seemed to feel the same way.

              I still regret that I had to give up the sciences, but more and more I’m wondering if God was deliberately pushing me out of them and into some place where I could do His work more easily.

              1. Given that I’ve been hit with two surprises pulling me back toward my earlier academic life in the past, oh, three months, I’d vote for being Pushed.

            1. He writes novels in the Universe, honorverse? Whatever. I couldn’t remember the exact title. Crown of Slaves?

              I had already begun to lose my taste for Weber’s books, too many chuckles and grumpy admirals, but once Flint came in, I was done. Pity, I liked his Belisarius stuff with David Drake, mostly.

      4. No-one can be allowed to walk away from Omelas.

        (I am still so very angry about stem cell therapy– the stuff based off of harvesting adult stem cells and using that for treatment, much less dangerous than the fetal sort– being classified as a medication, rather than a therapy. It was massive malpractice by the FDA.)

        1. I was asked once exactly why Obama infuriated me so, and I answered the Little Sisters of the Poor.

          For those who don’t know who they are, they are an order of sisters whose vocation is taking up the sick and infirm, often literally from the gutter, caring for them and allowing them a dignified death. They support themselves by begging. Obama required they buy birth control insurance and pursued them through the courts.

          Obama’s arrogance and narcissism are well known, his cruelty less so.

          1. Not just “birth control,” but pay for the insurance coverage for various types of abortion.

            But yeah, the shorthand is much punchier, and most folks can recognize “force nuns to buy birth control” as a stupid abuse of power.

            1. Most folk. I had a coworker who argued that religion was evil and should be outlawed, or at least be made subservient to “the greater good.” This was at a Clear Channel radio station, no less.

              1. I’m sorry.

                Ripping the mask off like that does lower the seductive danger– but it’s never comfortable to find out you’re working next to a totalitarian fanatic like that.

          1. Le Guin wrote an overly cute attempt at handwringing over ‘social issues’ that instead made a case for putting pagans to fire and sword.

            1. It was pretty anvilicious, wasn’t it?

              The thing that’s interesting to me is how it was very much a classic scifi short story morality sledge– including basically requiring one follow along the author’s intent to “work”, and even when you did that, the moral fit something else better.

                  1. Yes. It started as a blog post, and wondering if some of those who walked away would return . . . with terror and slaughter.

                  2. Yes. I had a blog post wondering if any of those who walked away ever returned. With fire, brimstone, hover tanks, and other little friends.

                    1. Realistically speaking, that’s what folks would do.

                      That’s what folks do, really, look at the March for Life and the many aspects around it– which might be why the attempt to make everyone *act* as if they approve.

                1. There’s no need to leave. You can stop it by going to visit the child — freely allowed — and saying a kind word.

          2. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas is a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin.

            Very short version, low on coffee ATM, but– everybody lives in a wonderful city where all things are good, but it only functions because there is an innocent child locked away in torment. Folks have to go look at the kid, once. Most then go and pretend they don’t know about it. Some folks… don’t. They leave, instead.

              1. I’ve read that story and I enjoy it quite a bit. How does the hero put it – “I am not one of your Christians. I do not forgive evil people. I kill them.”

  11. There was a fantasy story from the 40s were a man beat somekind of mind monster because when he was 6 his father helped him beat his bad dreams by having him fire a 45 pistol and told him he would always have it to beat bad dreams. He shot the dream monster with it.
    We become brave by doing brave things.

    1. I remember a recurring dream I had as a child where I was confronted by a lion who asked me a question. If I failed to provide the desired answer, I was pounced on and killed. (And usually woke up screaming.) Didn’t matter if I answered., “yes” or “no”. I only eventually beat the lion by giving him an answer he didn’t expect and wasn’t prepared for. Beware, oh lion, of the power of “Maybe”.

  12. I contend gaining an understanding a culture differing from one’s own, the fairy tales are a good place to start, they point out the Ethics, Mores, and Values simply and clearly enough that a child, or even a foreigner can understand them.

    Here in Alaska, for example the fairy tales, the shaman’s tales, of the Eskimos and the Athabaskans; The Eskimo tales center around patience, endurance, accepting, waiting, the Athabaskans, quickness and stealth,

    Tundra and taiga living, different strengths and responses needed.Here’s an Eskimo Shaman’s tale for example; and an Athabaskan tale;

    The fairy tale we’re living in, told to us 24/7, News, schools, TV, internet, devoid of Ethics, Mores, and Values. Need to step back, turn off the TV, share the old tales, can’t kill the dragon, at least learn to bar the door.

  13. I’m sure that the “beware of going into the dark forest” fairy tales date back to prehistoric times, at least. I imagine that even back then, kids would wander off and get into trouble and needed to be discouraged.

  14. I love this post, and will absolutely have to make sure the Old Stories are in the household vocabulary…

    The old stories are important to destroy because they get in the way of Our Vision. We could create the just society if we don’t let this foolishness and superstition pollute the minds of our youth, you know. We need the New Lessons….
    Nah! >.<

    1. IIRC, in Plato’s Republic, the old story tellers were killed. Children would only hear the Proper Stories. 😦

      1. That’s what Twitter wants to do, too. Especially to comics, and J.K. Rowling.

        Oh, hey, 15 days to go, and Brandon Sanderson’s almost hit 29 million. Guess he’ll just to have J.K. Rowling over at his house, when they’re both canceled, and have nothing to do but write, and swim around in their Scrooge McDuck money pools….

  15. I grew up with a book of truly horrifying Scandinavian folk tales, given to me by my Norwegian grandmother…loved it…”nice” will be the death of our culture…

  16. That does explain why the Disney versions turned me off of them so much as a kid… They always felt a little too sanitized and childish for me even back then even leaving aside me not being much of a musical person back then. Just one more bit of bad training that leaves me uncertain about finding my way out of the dark woods sometimes. Here’s hoping the right stories make a comeback sooner rather than later.

    1. Their more recent stuff has a lot more depth, especially when they veer away from the known tales. I mean, Frozen II had a depression hack baked into it: When you feel like all is lost, do “the next right thing.”

  17. Re: cautionary tales, some idiot left the gate open of their yard. The one with aggressive pit bulls. One of whom had recently given birth to puppies, and was not in a super-good mood.

    I was warned, but I thought for sure that the pit bull had mastered hopping the fence, and that was why people were saying she sometimes got out. No. The owners have apparently decided that they want their dogs to roam free through their driveway gate.

    Argh. So I was watching out, but suddenly she was coming at me across the road, with me actually in somebody else’s yard. That street has some very fast traffic sometimes, and a lot of kids. It’s like the worst possible place to leave your yard gate open, even if you have a nice and relaxed dog.

    I didn’t get bit, but that’s basically because I projected dominance, and because the female dog actually seems to have gotten nicer since having puppies. (The male dog stayed in his yard, I guess with the puppies that I never saw.) So I told her to go home and she eventually complied. As I left. Sideways, unhurriedly, without turning my back.

    So yeah, I’m not going to walk that street for a while.

  18. They started out as being slightly nicer than the original, though not by much, I admit. The bones are still there for Snow White, less so for Cinderella.

    But by the time we hit Little Mermaid they were actively messing with the plot to give them what they thought was a happy ending, and thereby castrating the deep meaning.

    The older Disney stories are still fairy tales with a little padding.

    The newer ones are normal stories, with people and characterization and such, instead of … well, more symbolic sorts of characters. You can get away with the Seven Dwarves having a sort of cardboard characterization to pad the fairy tale style into a show, you need a reason that your mermaid princess was hanging out where she’d see the prince and a reason for her to like him, that can be sold to the watchers.

    It’s like shadow-puppets compared to actors.

    You *can* still tell a fairy tale, if you’re careful or really good (looks at Robin McKinley) but it’s not so automatic, and the Meaning part gets a lot more complicated.

    For what it’s worth, I greatly dislike Hans Christen Anderson. He did fairy tale style stories that mostly told me I wouldn’t want to go drinking with the guy unless I wanted someone to cry with. The Disney movie interpretation of The Little Mermaid was better than the version of HCA’s Little Mermaid that I got– none of the ones we heard as kids had the redemption that I’ve heard mentioned here.
    The problems with a lot of the newer ones it that the Required Conclusion they’re going for is wrong. So it doesn’t hold up very well, just like if you wanted to make it so cups’ rims were radius squared times three, rather than times pi.

    Some of them, when you ignore the Stupid, have good points– like Frozen having the point that you can be a villain without meaning to hurt people jsut because you’re being selfish and short-sighted, or that there’s love other than romance.

    That seems to happen a lot when you get Actual Characters involved– for example, Sleeping Beauty with the three fairies, you can get a lot of lessons out of their interaction because they HAVE interaction that isn’t just For The Moral Of The Story.

  19. However the warnings have been erased in our culture to “be nice.”

    It’s what they’re replaced with, too.

    With “nice” left undefined, but Definitely Not something judgmental or– well, whatever is picked to be disapproved of today.

    Which teaches some people to jump in the opposite direction, and actively choose the opposite of whatever is disapproved of today– which makes them just as fake as the jumpers, but even worse, because the jumpers have to find SOMETHING positive to hook in folks’ support. Even if they’ve only got fools’ gold instead of real gold, it’s at least sparkly and has some beauty, rather than being a pile of feces just to be different than the fool’s gold.

      1. Tactic I’ve found most effective in real life is to point out when their “nice” is just selfish.

        They don’t want to deal with this, that or other other thing– so the person they should be helping needs to DIE, so they don’t have to bother.

        Depending on the person, I can be that blunt, too.

  20. Ah, the nature of fairy tales. Sometimes, we need to be hit over the head with the message and the moral, and that’s something our current “nuanced” intellectual class cannot believe in.

      1. The hardest prison to escape and hardest limitation to overcome are both self inflicted. You cannot rescue someone who does not wish to be saved. You cannot free someone who will not leave the cell.

  21. Off topic but I would ask that any of you who pray, please pray for my daughter who is having spinal surgery tomorrow. They tell me it’s routine, but I’m her father and I worry.

    1. She’s at home now with her husband, tired but OK, Thank you all and thanks be to God.

    2. My son has had many spine surgeries. I have some idea of how you feel.

      I will certainly pray for healing for your daughter, great skill for the doctors, and peace for your family as you go through this time.

    1. Andrew Lang’s fairy tale collections are available on Gutenberg, too. You can also find Japanese fairy tales there and various collections of Norse myth as well. As Foxfier says, you shouldn’t need to worry about copyright if you’re reading from Project Gutenberg. 😀

      1. look up Countess of Segur on Gutenberg. The translations are appaling. I’ve been meaning to redo them, but….
        NOT authentic folk tails, but very good nonetheless.

  22. The difference between a fairytale and a war story is that a fairytale starts with “Once upon a time”, and a war story starts off with “There I was”.

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