Today I have with me Karyn Henley, author of Breath of Angel, who is going to talk about her ten favorite fairy tales and myths.
I like both fairy tales and myths, but they differ in important ways. A “significant difference...is the ending, which in myths is nearly always tragic, while always happy in fairy tales. ... The myth is pessimistic, while the fairy story is optimistic” (The Uses of Enchantment by Bettelheim). Breath of Angel has elements of fairy tale, myth, and legend woven in. Here are ten of my favorite fairy tales and myths:
Sleeping Beauty - A curse is cured by love.
Cinderella - A young woman finally stands up for herself, and it changes everything for the better.
Snow White - A girl goes into the forest doomed to die at the hands of a huntsman and comes out destined to live in the arms of a prince.
The Frog King - A frog is not what he seems to be. (I like these kinds of surprises and story twists.)
Beauty and the Beast - The same twist as above; all is not as it seems, but the heart of love wins out.
East of the Sun and West of the Moon - A girl is betrayed by the advice of the person she trusts, while the person she doesn’t trust turns out to be the faithful one. (Another twist.)
The Emperor’s New Clothes - A child is the only one who has enough courage and integrity to tell the truth.
Aladdin and His Lamp - Wishes have consequences; even good wishes can complicate life if they come true.
Persephone and Demeter - This heart wrenching story ends in a compromise.
The Labors of Heracles - The hero must first master himself, then must be clever enough to achieve a series of difficult tasks.
Pegasus and Bellerophon - A magnificent flying horse and a brave man fight a monster who is meant to kill the man; instead, he kills it.