On the Unsuitability of Fairytales for ChildrenThe following essay will appear as an Appendix to the sequel of my fantasy novel, Her Unwelcome Inheritance, which is internationally available in paperback and digital formats from all major online booksellers.
On the Supposed Unsuitability of Fairytales for Children
Shortly after supporting a local library event promoting fairytale literature, the folklore department at Lightfoot College received an animated communication from a very concerned mother regarding, in short, the "unsuitability of fairytales for children."
As this seems to be a rather widespread idea (I might mention the Daily Telegraph article of February 12, 2012) as well as an oddly long-lived one, I take the liberty of public response.
The DiaryA little girl grew
Up on a sheep farm
By the side of the sea,
Sprawling along the cliff.
Ever since she learned
To write she wrote
On rocks for parchment practice
Letters which formed words
She was there like milkweed
Patiently feeding the caterpillars
Flinging her frustrations
Beyond the cliff: a little
Avalanche of charcoaled pebbles.
Later when she grew,
She chiseled her feelings.
In a hollow over the edge
Around which the transfigured
Her carved phrases piled
Like so many skulls.
FolkdanceSing we now all of our joy,
Dance we all together
Through the rocky mountain cleft,
'mid the purple heather.
Merry our folk, with clasped hands
Our feet sink down like roots;
Morning wind is in our hair,
Night wind in our flutes.
'twixt day and night we hold our jig
'tween night and day your harrow
Our tune has crooked you at the knee,
Our music's in your marrow
Death may be, to hear our horn
Winding in an eyrie-glen:
No mortal foot may quit our floor,
Nor return again.
Unfettered dance, loosed of time,
In seeming hours pass
Evening dew turns morning mist
Our footprints in the grass
Traipsing came, full-flushed youth,
Whose light step earned our praise;
Trembling leave, pale old man -
Last night ye danced your days.
Dance we now, all of our joy,
Sing we all together
In some forgotten mountain cleft
Just here, or there, or never.