Why do we lie to children? I completely understand telling children stories in the Santa Clause category (fun characters to explain why they celebrate stolen holidays). I’m not talking about that. What I’m talking about is telling children watered down versions of some of the best fairy tales ever told. If you’re going to tell your children stories, tell them the right version!
Ok, I guess saying the “right” version isn’t the right way to put it. What I mean is tell them a story closer to the original. Brothers Grimm would be my suggestion (pause for geek-out moment).
I am in no way saying that kids should stop watching Disney movies. The forty Disney movies currently in my dorm room is evidence of that. What I’m saying is that if kids are studying fairy tales in school they should read the original versions of the stories, not a watered down censored version. You’d be surprised just how much children can handle. I can remember stories and movies from my childhood that were very dark but I survived them unscarred (in theory) because of one thing: the happy ending. Yes the Grimm versions of these stories are darker, but they have the same ending. Evil loses; good wins. Children don’t focus on the dark, twisted, bloody parts; they see it as an adventure that leads to a happy ending.
When Neil Gaiman wrote Coraline, his publisher said that he couldn’t print it because it would terrify children and they would hate it. Gaiman told him to have his kids read the book and then call him back. The publisher’s kids loved the book. They saw it as an adventure wherein good triumphed over evil. Hence my argument: if you’re going to have children read fairy tales, give them the courtesy of reading them the original version. Trust me, they can handle it.
Plus, Brothers Grimm stories are just amazing! Now please, go read.