British Parents Shelve Fairy Tales

| 1/12/2009 1:53:20 PM

Little Red Riding HoodWith their kid gloves on, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Hansel and Gretel from their children’s nightstands" href="" target="_blank">British parents are plucking classic fairy tales like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Hansel and Gretel from their children’s nightstands, replacing them with more innocuous bedtime stories like The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Fairy tales are just too scary and no longer politically correct for modern parental tastes, according to a new survey of British parents. The Telegraph reports:

Two-thirds of parents said traditional fairytales had stronger morality messages than many modern children's stories.

But many said they were no longer appropriate to soothe youngsters before bed.

Almost 20 per cent of adults said they refused to read Hansel and Gretel because the children were abandoned in a forest— and it may give their own sons and daughters nightmares.

A fifth did not like to read The Gingerbread Man as he gets eaten by a fox.

Miranda Trimmier
1/19/2009 10:41:50 AM

I think this is interesting, because it seems like the versions of traditional fairy tales we're most familiar with are already de-fanged, watered down versions of the originals. Like Cinderella: the original one's got the ugly stepsisters chopping off sections of their feet to fit in the shoes. And there's something with vengeful birds pecking out their eyes at the end. I'm thinking the idea with stories like that is to get kids used to the idea that there are ugly, scary things in the world. Sort of tangential, but this reminds me of an essay I was just reading on Poe. The author argues that Poe's great because he refuses to gloss over madness and death and despair (and, unlike fairy tales, also refuses to squeeze a moral or a happy ending out of everything):

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