Friday, June 23, 2017

Sea creatures and fairytales

I’m reading fairytales to my kid. They are well known like Puss in Boots and Little Mermaid (not the Disney one). Now, it’s either I never actually read them even though I know of them, or I actually forgot the storyline entirely. There’s a third possibility that the fairytales have been rewritten which happens a lot with different publishers but essentially the plot remains the same, it’s just the details that change and become more socially acceptable for this time. You know like in the Cinderella story where the stepsisters cut off their toes and hills to try to fit their feet in the glass slipper.

Ok, so I’m reading the Little Mermaid to my kid and it starts innocently enough with the mermaid falling in love with the prince she saved from drowning and wanting to go on shore to find him and live happily ever after. Well, the first twist is when she goes to the sea witch to get a potion to turn her fish tail to legs. Ok, it’s still acceptable for her to sacrifice herself because you expect something good to come out of it even though the little mermaid is going to be in pain the entire time she’s walking and the witch took her voice, so she can’t talk, which I admit is a bit excessive. But, the prince doesn’t know it’s the little mermaid who saved him and he fell in love with another girl who actually found him on the shore after the mermaid put him there.

The little mermaid is heartbroken and I was getting worried that this fairytale is getting a little depressed but I was like, no it has to have a happy ending, so I was still hoping the prince will find out the truth in the end. Except he doesn’t. He ends up marrying this girl who was incognito a princess from another kingdom.

What I didn’t tell you before is that for the mermaid to remain on the shore required a man she was in love with to love her and marry her and be faithful to her to the end. If that didn’t happen she would die because she couldn’t return to the sea. So yeah, the marriage was actually her death sentence. Here she is on this boat celebrating the prince’s wedding knowing she’ll be dead by the morning.

Here comes a second twist. Her sisters, she was the youngest of six daughters, bring her a knife from the sea witch with instructions for her to stab the prince in the heart and when the blood reaches her feet, they’ll turn back into fish tail and she could go back to the sea.

Hold up. What kind of message is that for the kids? Who wrote this fairytale? WTF? Who’s reading this fairytale to their kids? ... I am, obviously. Let me just quickly state here that my kid fell asleep before this part and I was happy about it.

Obviously she didn’t stab the prince because that would make her the villain, and she ended up becoming a daughter of the air because she was suffering but was still brave or whatever. And I’m like what kind of messed up ending is that? Where is the happy ever after? What kind of message is this fairytale trying to portray? Follow your heart, sacrifice yourself for love but instead of getting what you want you end up heartbroken and dead?

Now I’m thinking I might have blacked out the memory of this fairytale because it traumatized me so much. I think I’ll be reading these fairytales myself before I read them to my kid to see what they actually have to say. I must be very naïve to expect fairytales to be innocent and have a positive message.

Linking to Paint Party Friday.
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18 comments:

  1. so sweet the pictures!!!
    Greetings Elke

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  2. Firstly your art is super beautiful..gorgeous and whimsical..love it! and with this story..you have brought me back to being a child..and this story always imprinted me deeply..I felt a connection to being the mermaid..so it is interesting to read all these details now! Explains why i felt so heartbroken about this story. Thanks for sharing it..intriguing!
    Happy PPF
    Victoria no.38

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  3. Lovely artwork!
    Yes, best to pre-read the story books ;D)

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  4. Wide, I must've blanked out that ending too! I remember her losing her voice but not that she didn't get her happy ever after our that it was that dark. Mind you, the brothers Grimm write a lot of the fairy tales that got the Disney treatment and they're original stories were really pretty dark - maybe they wrote that one too?

    On a lighter note your little sea creatures are gorgeous. I especially love seahorses.

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  5. My mother didn't read me fairy tales only stories from the bible so when my kids were born and I picked up a very old copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales I was blown away at the scary and violent stories. For a rewritten copy to read to the kiddos . Love your art today ♥

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  6. Your sea creatures are so precious. Of course I have heard of the Little Mermaid but it wasn't popular when my kids came along or hadn't been written yet, not sure. I used to read the Grimm's Fairy Tales like Carol (above) and they often had bad endings. Life is full of bad endings so I think childhood should be a time when one is spared from horror.

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  7. love your sea creatures! Very interesting about the Mermaid fairy tale. I wasn't familiar with it.
    Happy PPF!

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  8. Lovely sea creatures anyway, thanks for reminding me why I never liked the Little Mermaid story, the Disney one's different of course. You do know Hans Christian Andersen was gay? Perhaps he was unhappy at the time.

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  9. Wonderful sea creatures ~ so creative, colorful and cute ~ ^_^

    Yes, some fairy tales can be scary ~ good to check them out

    Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog ~ ^_^

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  10. Such fun creatures that live under the sea :) Fantastic artwork! Happy PPF :)

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  11. Cute little creatures I really like the dolphins on your previous post. Fairy tales originally were very dark. Kids were not protected from the evils and hardships of life as they are now. I wonder which is better?

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  12. What lovely paintings! The original fairy tales are pretty much all quite dark. Disney changed them a lot.

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  13. I loved your little seahorse :)

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  14. Love that cute little sea horse :-) I once read that fairy tales are actually not quite as innocent as you would think they are. But at least I thought they all had a fairly happy ending. It´s good that your son fell asleep before you got to the gory details ... Do you know the Golden Books? I used to read these to my kids, they are so much fun and my kids loved them. And as far as I remember, they all had a positive message and ending ....

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  15. All I can say after reading this is, Shel Silverstein and Robert Munch... More fun and less scary!! I never even taught my daughter one nursery rhyme because the background story was too violent. I got a bit of anxiety just knowing a child would hear a story like this at his age...thankfully he fell asleep. My daughter hated the little mermaid film when she was a child...all the other kids loved it!! Your art is adorable...Maybe it's inspiration to write your own stories for him!!

    Hugs Giggles

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  16. I remember that the Little Mermaid story was quite tragic, but I didn't remember all the details. I loved fairy tales as a child, but I think they must have been adapted ones, I only recently realised that the originals were much more grim. The Grimm's fairy tales were not intended for children at all, they were collections of folk tales that they collected, and I guess that's why they don't always have happy endings, as in real life. The same is probably true for fairy tales from other writers. Maybe you can find an edition that is especially for children, which are more cheerful and have happy ends. Your sea creatures are adorable!

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  17. That is a horrible fairytale!!
    Love your sea creatures!! Big Hugs!

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  18. I love your painting! but the story, oh my.. I can understand you are upset. there is already so much hate in this world, we need more Love.

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