By Honey Good.
We can all remember some of our favorite fairy tales or fables as children and we may not even realize some stories are derived from a much different version of that tale. If you’ve ever sat down to read the actual Grimm Brother’s Fairy Tales, you know what I mean--they were really written more for adults than children. Luckily for children, many stories have been changed a little to teach them some good lessons without the scary parts.
Here are four fairy tales or fables that teach good morals to your children:
- The Ugly Duckling originally by Hans Christian Anderson The classic tale of a little duck that is teased because he doesn’t look like his brothers and sisters. He tries to find a place to fit in, but it takes time for the duck to grow and realize that he is in fact a beautiful swan. This tale has been adapted many times, but the lessons are always the same: Don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t tease people. Ultimately, children should learn that they need to be accepting of people that may seem a little different from themselves because you just never know what a person is like until you get to know them. They also should learn to accept themselves as they are and they will eventually find a group that accepts them for who they are as well.
- The Three Little Pigs originally by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps The child friendly adaptation is about three pigs who each build a house; the first two pigs don’t spend a lot of time on their houses so they have more time to play or relax. The first pig builds one of straw, while the second pig builds one of sticks and both of them get blown down by the big bad wolf, so they run off to the third pig’s home. Only the third pig’s house made of brick that he spent a lot of time building is able to stay standing when the wolf comes to blow it down. This story teaches children that if you put more time and effort into your work, it is more likely to give you the outcome you desire; in short, hard work pays off.
- Beauty and the Beast originally by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve Most of us are probably most aware of the Disney movie version of this fairy tale, but the original is actually over 250 years old. As the Disney version goes, a prince was not welcoming to an old woman, so she casts a spell on him that transforms him into a beast. He can only undo this curse if he finds true love. A young woman named Belle is able to fall in love with this “beast” despite his outer appearance because she is patient and teaches him how to be kind to people, thus teaching children that it is the character of a person that matters, not their appearance. Further, the story teaches children that they should be kind to people like Belle teaches the prince.
- The Adventures of Pinocchio originally by Carlo Collodi This is again a story that Disney has watered down a bit to appeal more to children, but the lessons it teaches are the same. A man named Geppetto creates a puppet that he names his son, Pinocchio. Pinocchio goes off on adventures meeting others along the way whose influences causes Pinocchio to get into some trouble. Pinocchio lies and with every lie, his nose grows. A fairy tells him that if he does well in school for a year, he can become a real boy. He tries to be a good boy and excels in school. But then he goes with some other boys to Toyland and all they do is play instead of work, so they are turned into donkeys. Eventually Pinocchio learns and the fairy does turn him into a real boy. Children should learn from Pinocchio that one little white lie can turn into a much bigger lie, so they should always tell the truth. They also should learn that all play and no work can have major consequences in their life.
Fairy tales are not always what we remember them to be, but many of those stories that we consider classics do teach children right from wrong. So, go back and read some of the originals yourself and see what you can learn from them too. Or--at least be entertained by the original stories that don’t necessarily end happily ever after!