Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Fairytale Ending

So most everyone knows the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, right? Princess is born, party's given but the wicked witch isn't invited. Said wicked witch gatecrashes party, curses baby to die on 16th birthday by pricking finger on spindle of spinning wheel (like she couldn't come up with something a little less complicated). A good fairy changes the curse to falling asleep instead of dying (why couldn't she just nix the curse?) and for good measure, whisks the baby along with her co-fairies to live as a peasant in a forest. Babe grows up hot, falls in love with a prince on her 16th birthday and then is whisked back to the castle to meet mom and dad (why on the dang birthday?) where she of course proceeds to prick her finger, fall asleep until the prince comes rushing in to rescue her after slaying wicked witch. And they all live happily ever after - blahblah.

Lotsa murder and mayhem for a fairytale, wot?

The three-year-old is hooked on Sleeping Beauty presently and doesn't seem to be bothered by the sound of gnashing teeth which her mom makes every time she reads about the dang prince rescuing the idiotic princess. But there were aspects of the story that bothered her, which I found out soon enough.

Raina tends to come out of her room a couple of times after being supposedly tucked in for the night, asking for yet another glass of water or someone to adjust her blankie or whatever. So during one of these night excursions when she said she didn't want to sleep alone, I just pooh-poohed it, told her she was a big girl and she wasn't alone anyway as she was sleeping with Prisha (her stuffed white tiger).

The next day, while we were consuming breakfast, she said, "Mommy, you know when I said that I didn't want to sleep alone last night? It was because I was scared that Maleficient (aka wicked witch) would come to our house and kill my baby brother."

Mommy (rendered temporarily incapable of speech)

Finally founding my voice, I said, "Maleficient is just pretend, baby. She's in the book. And she only cursed the baby because she was mad when she wasn't invited to the party."

Raina: "She is mean and wicked."

Mommy: "Yes. If you wish someone dead, it's a mean and wicked thing to do. But she's only interested in Aurora (aka idiotic princess), not you or your baby brother."

Raina: "I don't like her. Do you like Maleficient?"

Mommy: "No one likes Maleficient."

Whoa. I've read that fairytales are OK to read to kids because it introduces them to a wickedness that they already know exists in the world, but also teaches them that good triumphs over evil. But is age 3 the perfect time to know about the fact of murder -- the wish to kill (in Maleficient), the need to slay (in the prince) -- to bring about that happy ending?

Maybe I'm just looking for another reason to chuck those fairytale books into the trashcan.

12 comments:

choxbox said...

hey i started to comment but think i'll do a post!

rads said...

Yeah, we don't do fairytales at home at 3. We just read regular dora, and cat in the hat, and such.
For starters I think even our very own Ramyan and Mahabharat are gory. We turned out okay I suppose, but kids here grow differently and seem a lot more sensitive... It's a tough call.

Terri said...

Kuki LOVES Aurora, but for the wrong reasons - because she's blonde. Which, I suppose, is as bad as waiting around for some guy to come and kiss you.
I'm trying to get her to watch Ravan, where the princesses are more glamorous, but she won't budge.

crazymumma said...

I love the name Maleficient.

Bad efficiency. excellent. Warped. twisted.

I love fairy tales,my girls love them. it seems almost every movie I see, a childs or an adults is based on fairy tale formula.

Thay teach us about life.

A Muser said...

Choxbox: Go for it!
Rads and Crazy Mumma: Yeah, I am thinking of putting away some of the gorier fairy tales for when she's a little bit older and realizes that they are pretend. I really don't think the point is to scare them. Usual wickedness, a la Cinderella's mean stepsisters and stepmother, is more doable.
Terri: Ravan? Is that a TV serial?

Terri said...

Yes. With flying arrows, thunder, lightning and all.

choxbox said...

muser, done!

http://choxbox.blogspot.com/2007/09/little-girls-are-made-of-sugar-and.html

choxbox said...

Tagged again!

the mad momma said...

i dont get it. we read all the same fairy tales but i dont recall being particularly upset by them. i guess we were just more bloodthirsty... whatever it is, it merits some thought.

A Muser said...

Choxbox: I will get to it.
The MM: I think we read them at an age where we knew they were pretend and it was all very fascinating, but a story nevertheless. I don't think 3-year-olds can discern fiction from fact yet.

eve's lungs said...

We stopped doing fairytales after Tani, then 3 refused to buy the kiss after a hundred year snooze. What about bad breath and how could the prince kiss her BEFORE she brushed her teeth.

A Muser said...

Hahahaha! You have a smart one there! It is pretty gross when you think about it. You know, it's interesting that this version of Sleeping Beauty (the Disney version I think) has conveniently circumvented the 100 years of sleep. I didn't even remember that until you brought it up.