The young and the young at heart have always found myths, legends, and other stories stemming from oral tradition, simply fascinating. Wonderful tales from far-off lands continue to captivate the mind and delight the imagination of the young and old alike. Magical beings like fairies, nymphs, wizards, elves, goblins, and other enchanted creatures are still found intriguing even in the face of avant-gardism. It is actually amazing how fairy tales have retained their hold over the imagination of people in spite of modernity.
A leading authority in the field of folklore and children’s literature tells us that only a few people are aware about how deeply fairy tales have influenced our culture. It is observed that myths and tales are active even in our subconscious and that we automatically connect a myth or a tale to life’s lessons. It is also said to be strewn across a variety of media – in the past and even to this time, ranging from theatrical plays and cinema to religion, business and advertising making them a vital part of our world.
What has kept tales and stories alive over the centuries are the people themselves who continue to pass them on to their children and their children to the next generation. It was, after all, by oral tradition that these stories have been passed on to us by our ancestors. And what prompts us to pass these stories on are the lessons and wisdom that can be learned when we face anxieties, fears, desires, romance, passion, loneliness, courage, and love. Fairy tales tell us about the quest for romance and riches, for power and privilege, and, as authors put it, these stories “show us a way out of the woods back to the safety and security of home.” Also, they are models that we can use to navigate reality as it is presented to us, and a means for us to help children develop wit and courage to survive in the world.
Here, let us take a journey to the world of fascinating creatures, the stories they were in, the symbolisms they represent, and the beliefs that surround the world of myth.