I have the two cutest, most adorable nieces on earth and that’s a fact. Well, I actually have a lot of nieces and nephews who are all tops in my book, but when a child is between the ages of 4 and 10 they are just perfect in my eyes! Give me a 1st grader any day.
When I saw my little nieces last summer, I brought along a used book of fairy tales from the free table at our local library, thinking we could while away the hours reading some classics. Oh, how naïve I am.
They were horrible. I mean, horrible. Violent. Racist. Frightening. Children being punished. Children getting lost in the deep woods. Nightmares. Orphans. Scary wolves and snakes. Drought. Famine. What was I thinking?
I knew it was time to throw the book away, when I struggled to get through “The Story of Ping.” In case you don’t remember, Ping is a little duck who is late coming home one day. To avoid the punishment of a severe spanking, he swims away, and gets picked up (stolen!) by a little boy. Through a macabre twist of events, the boy’s mother wants to EAT poor little Ping. Somehow he gets away from the boy and returns to his family, late again, but this time willing to take the punishment for being the last one home. Really?
It was totally coincidental, when about a week after realizing how violent our children’s classics were, I heard a show on the BBC about the horrible Grimm Brothers. They are the guys who wrote Cinderella, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel. More weirdness. Did you know that in the original version of Cinderella, the step sisters cut off their toes and heels to force their feet into the glass slippers? Or how about this: the queen in Snow White calls for the liver and lung of Snow White. Snow White actually dies in the original story – killed by her step mother, who stomps on her while wearing fire-hot iron shoes. Freaky.
Then last week we ‘celebrated’ Halloween, when the ghouls and goblins come out of the woodwork. The cover of our local newspaper featured a toddler dressed up as one of these ‘un-dead’ beings. Bloody and gruesome. I ask, “What has happened to common sense?” Life is too precious to mess around with this kind of perversity.
I am so thankful that my little nieces were celebrating Halloween dressed as a bumblebee and a kitten. Hopefully they can be sheltered from the strange side of life for as long as possible – of course I know the weirdness is out there, but there is no need to invite it into our lives. We live once, so we might as well make our time here a force for the good.