Once upon a time...
But those four words still hold the power to lure a reader, or a listener, into the realm of imagination.
Fairy tales are often the first fiction stories with which we fall in love. They stir our hearts toward belief in the impossible, remind us that good triumphs over evil, and promote the boundless power of true love.
Perhaps it's a need to escape all the negativity and division around us, or the tragedy of war and natural disasters, or the fear of the future ... whatever the reason, the humble fairy tale is no longer limited to children's literature and animated Disney films. (Disney, in fact, has turned down several recent animated fairy tale remakes.)
On TV this season are two new prime-time series, "Once Upon a Time" and "Grimm," that mix and match various classic fairy tales in fresh modern contexts.
In theaters, we've seen a recent remake of Little Red Riding Hood, and Beauty and the Beast with Beastly.
This spring will see the much-anticipated release of Snow White and the Huntsman with Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen, and hunky Chris Hemsworth from Thor (also the people's Facebook choice to play Jamie Fraser in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander if and when the book ever becomes a movie) as the Huntsman.
It would be almost impossible to list all the books based on a fairy tale, written to reflect a fairy tale, or even lightly framed around a fairy tale plot. (I'm looking forward to reading Melanie Dickerson's new release, The Merchant's Daughter, based on Beauty and the Beast.)
|Thumbelina via wikipedia|
These stories sparked my love of fiction and fantasy. Judging from the popularity of the remakes, the time is ripe to search out the hidden treasures in those classic stories. And there are far more stories out there to be told or retold in a fresh manner. Check out the following chart of fairy tales on wikipedia. You might be surprised by the number of stories listed that are unfamiliar to you.
Do you have a particular favorite fairy tale?
How do you feel about the remakes and re-tellings we're seeing in popular culture today?
About the Author: Niki writes fiction, blog posts, articles in the local newspaper, grocery lists, and Facebook status updates. She can be found at her own blog, In Truer Ink, in addition to posting here. She was a 2009 finalist in the Faith, Hope, and Love "Touched by Love" contest.