Why are fairy tales so scary?

Mermaids, dragons and fairies! Oh my! Have you ever wondered why fairy tales are so scary?

As children we listen to our parents (and Disney!) tell us tales of far off lands, princesses and princes, witches and magic spells; but did you know there are more to fairy tales than meets the eye?

Scary fairy tales were originally told orally as folk lore, or folktales, to enforce a moral message to children. Little Red Riding Hood taught us to not talk to strangers in the woods; The Three Little Pigs taught us to think a little more; Cinderella taught us the value of manners and patience; and Goldilocks taught us to not eat someone else’s porridge!

Classic fairy tales, from authors such as the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, are full of magical elements and create a world children love to read about. Dwarfs, dragons, elves, goblins, mermaids, talking animals, unicorns, and witches (sometimes even fairies – which is ironic considering they are called “Fairy Tales”!) 

Some of our favourite fairy tales to teach students are retellings of the classics. Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes” and Colonel Stoopnagle’s Spoonerised Fairy Tales are amongst our favourites. Students find that the muddled-up tales remind them of the stories they heard when they were much younger, but they love the energy and characters they can develop – playing Little Red Riding Hood as the bad guy!

No matter your preference of fairy tales, the classic or the retold, these stories help make up our childhood. They teach us how to tell and retell stories, they teach us characterisation and morals, most importantly they teach us how to manage fear.

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairytales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales.” ~ Einstein 

Here is another interesting article by Anthony Gramuglia on why he thinks kids movies should be scary.

LBarrettHeidelbergSnowRed1
Updated October 2019.
 

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