Here’s a fascinating bit of news about fairy tales. I love the possibility that our familiar tales are far older than we thought. I think that story-telling is as old as human intelligence. Our ancestors were probably telling stories even before language was fully developed, using gestures, sounds, and what words they had. The ancients used stories to teach proper behavior to their children, to explain the unknown (including creation myths), to entertain, and to unite the community.
This new discovery shows that some of those stories survived through many ages of human history and are still with us today. Red Riding Hood, Jack and Beanstalk, Rumpelstiltskin, and others started life many thousands of years ago, and incredibly, they started in more than one location. They evolved with the times of each period and place. Even after being written down, and then compiled by the Grimm Brothers, the stories continued to evolve. Our interpretations continue today. Most of us are familiar with the Mother Goose variations and certainly with Disney’s versions. But many, many fantasy authors have delved into these stories and created entire worlds around them.
I love stories that rewrite the old fairy tales and can almost always be hooked into reading a story that promises to be a retelling of one of them. I still love the TV series Once Upon a Time, despite Disney’s heavy and sometimes ridiculous hand in the story. (I’ll never forgive them for the walking broom).
What about you? Do you like retellings of fairy tales or do they piss you off? What stories get your attention? Do you like the idea that these stories were probably told 6,000 years ago?