Tell a fairy tale today

Celebrate Tell a National Fairy Tale Day by sharing the fantastic with someone you love.

Celebrate Tell a National Fairy Tale Day by sharing the fantastic with someone you love.

Most of us grow up loving fairy tales.

Maybe it’s because our grandparents used to read them to us. Maybe it’s because of Disney. Maybe it’s from millennia of shared myth.

There are plenty of reasons to enjoy fairy tales, but the person who best explained why they matter is G.K. Chesterton. He wrote:

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.

In other words, the world is already scary. It’s filled with trolls, evil step-things, and all manners of bugaboos. But fairy tales remind us that world isn’t too scary for us.

So celebrate National Tell a Fairy Tale Day—yes, that’s actually a thing—by sharing a fairy tale with your family.

Read them Hans Christian Andersen or A Thousand and One Nights and give them a sense of the marvelous. Share Neil Gaiman, Italo Calvino or Hope Mirrlees with them, and teach them that they never need outgrow these stories. Read them “Beauty and the Beast” and show them that a thing sometimes must be loved before it is lovable. (Yes, that’s another Chesterton quote.)

Or read them The Stinky Cheese Man or Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs and let them laugh. That’s OK too.

But tell them tales. It’s how children learn to be the heroes of their own story.

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