Friday, September 23, 2011

Children's Tales

Who would forget the familiar lines “Once upon a time” and “They live happily ever after”? These were the immortalized words that lulled me to sleep when I was a child and made me dream of an enchanted, mysterious and strangely wonderful place, in which I can never grow old, be the handsomest prince of all, ride on a flying carpet, or embark on an important mission to tussle with giants, pirates and dragons.

We had once journeyed to a magical kingdom through a wardrobe as its portal, with borders as wide as our limitless imagination, created in our young and innocent minds from bedtime stories told by elders or from booklets and audio cassette tapes that came with milk cartons. It was a world where we can define who we want to become and where there is always a happy ending.

A long time ago, we had lived as a child, who had simple yet resolute desires, whose views about the world were not as complicated as it is today, whose ultimate goal in life was to wait in a well and be kissed by a beautiful princess in order to transform back into a human. It feels good to reminisce the moment when we did not only choose to place ourselves in the shoes of a royalty but also empathized with humble, lowly characters who found real treasure and genuine happiness by being true to their type. It is noteworthy to recall the valuable lessons we have learned from these universal tales of love, life, family and friendship--tales that go on and on through the end of time.

What made these stories truly amazing are the morals they have taught us. We have heard these stories several times already and they have made a lasting impression in our minds. Pondering on some of these stories and their morals, I wonder what would have happened if there was a twist in the plot, say, Cinderella was not able to leave behind her glass slipper by accident, the prince did not arrive to kiss the sleeping beauty (would she rot?), or the hare did not sleep halfway through the race. Would there be lessons learned from altering the story? Probably not and this goes to show that the general truths in this world remain constant.

It is nice to bring back to life these stories and reflect upon their teachings. The almost tragic end of Little Red Riding Hood taught us to be wary of strangers; The Three Little Pigs showed us that you can build security by being diligent, smart, and persistent; We have learned from Pinocchio that it is bad to tell lies, fabricate and exaggerate stories; Cinderella was an exemplar of kindness to her family even though they did not treat her well; Snow White radiated pure kindness and inner beauty; The Hare and The Tortoise spoke about humility, consistency and determination in order to win in life; The Ant and the Grasshopper was about saving and preparing for the future; The Ugly Duckling stressed the importance of loving yourself and the appreciation of the inner self more than the physical appearance; Hansel and Gretel reminded us to always listen to our parents’ warnings, lest we fall into danger.

You may probably find a resemblance of these stories in your real life. Can you relate to any one of these characters or stories? As you already knew, the simple truths about life can be found in children’s tales if you just take the chance to reawaken the sleeping child within you—a child a long time ago who had an open heart and mind and believed in the positivity of a happy-ever-after.

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