When I was very young, my father gave me The Reader’s Digest of Fairy Tales. These were in two hardback volumes and contained the original versions of the classic stories.
I still have these books, which are bound up with tape to stop them falling apart, as I couldn’t tell you how often I read them. There are also wonderful illustrations of the characters.
I always picture the way to the magical world as shown by the image below.
My favourite fairytales are:
I have a soft spot for the rags to riches story and particularly when the hero(ine) has been groundtrodden, ill-treated etc. I also love fairytales in general for being upfront about the story. There is no tweeness (unlike the musical, Annie, which is not to my taste). Justice is usually seen to be done too. I also like the idea of virtue being rewarded, even if it does take far longer than the character would like. (But at least it usually is rewarded eventually. Oh if that could be true in life!).
Little Red Riding Hood
Aside from approving of people trying to care for the elderly properly, I also like any story where villainy is overcome. I love the film Hoodwinked which takes this fairytale and runs with it. I highly recommend it. It is very humorous, suitable for older kids and any fan of police procedurals should like it too.
The Happy Prince
At the moment, this remains the only Oscar Wilde story I’ve read but it is a cracker. It has wonderful social comment and I agree with its conclusion which reveals that true riches are not in material things.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Again villainy is overcome in this story and jealousy is shown leading to other evils. I also love the Shrek film version of Snow White which shows her as being more of an action girl than we have been previously led to believe.
The original story, I feel, shows Snow White as a victim. In the Shrek films, that is definitely not the case. She is actively on the side of Shrek and Princess Fiona and very much a part of the “team”, especially in the third film where she is one of the princesses who helps Queen Lilian try to restore the Kingdom.
One of my short stories is a version of the Snow White story written from the evil stepmother’s viewpoint. This was huge fun to write.
I’m glad to say this piece is now on Alfie Dog Fiction and is called Just Desserts). A really good story lends itself to all kinds of adaptations, including spoofs.
The Three Little Pigs
A strong moral story showing the importance of investing in decent building materials. It really does save trouble in the long run! This tale, in its original form, is not afraid to be gruesome in places. It’s almost certainly why kids love it.
Just to finish, I thought I’d put in one of my short stories, which first appeared on the Shortbread Short Stories website. Hope you enjoy it.
Job Satisfaction, by Allison Symes
To think I’ve been taken off foul fiend fighting duty for this, the fairy thought. All because bloody Sarah gets her wings caught up in some hawthorn bush and is now off sick for the week. She should’ve looked where she was bloody going. She must be laughing her head off at the thought of me taking over her Tooth Fairy duties.
I told everyone I had the wrong personality for this, I like blasting nasty creatures to the next world too much and need an action job only to be told I must do it, the experience of doing something different would be good for me. Ha!
And that serves me right. I should’ve looked where I was bloody going. How can I miss a shut window? I could’ve sworn it was open.
The fairy returned to the closed window. Looking more closely she saw every bloody window in the house was shut. The fairy scowled and then grinned as she felt magic leave her system. Her scowl had just curdled the entire street’s milk supply.
There’s going to be some disgruntled people at breakfast time. Oh good. Perhaps there is some fun to be had in this job after all…
She fired a spell at the letterbox to keep it open. Many fairies narrowly escaped being sliced in half by a clanging letterbox but nobody cheated her of an overdue incisor yet alone a snoring schoolboy bully who needed teaching not to pick on younger kids, especially those who were scared because it was their first day at big school.
I will give Sarah credit for one thing. She does write bloody good briefing notes and includes marks for good behaviour. The little sod I’m about to see gets a minus 10.
Outside her client’s bedroom, the fairy rummaged through her pockets. When humans made her work harder than necessary, she returned the compliment. The fairy grinned at the pliers she’d borrowed from Sarah. The fairy hadn’t understood at the time when Sarah had listed these as necessary equipment but she appreciated it now. She could get to love this job after all.
Minutes later and after hearing a satisfactory scream, the fairy flew back to the oak tree opposite her client’s home and filled in the briefing notes form for Sarah.
The kid had promised not to do any more bullying. However the pliers were still necessary when said kid sniggered at the fairy’s tutu when the idiot thought she couldn’t hear him. Nobody did that to her. Still the kid had seen the errors of his ways. And she hoped Sarah had a wonderful return to work soon. There would be no more difficulties at No. 17.
And no, the fairy wrote to Sarah, I resisted the temptation to remove all of the kid’s teeth. There will be work for you to do here, soon too given the way I saw him guzzle a bag of sweets earlier. Your job is more fun than I thought. I always wondered why the Tooth Fairies went around looking self-satisfied… now I know.
Nobody ever said fairies had to be nice!
Which is your favourite fairytale and why? Leave your comment below.
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