Fairy tales are getting stupider

1113730_53389523 fairy taleWe live in a world turned topsy-turvy with political correctness.

Not a big secret there.

But one thing I’d missed somehow was that folks these days, especially in the early education realm, are bowdlerizing Mother Goose and other common rhymes for the emotional well-being of our little tots.

Of course, Grimm’s tales and those from the Hans Christian Anderson archives are never what Disney would have you believe; children get maimed, killed, eaten, abandoned, or upset and left in a sad ending, even.

I knew we weren’t all familiar with the details, being the self-aware, therapy-loving, post-Boomer generation we are.

But Humpty Dumpty? Apparently, according to the BBC, he can’t break now. He ends up happy and superglued.

The old lady in the shoe? She has reformed her child-rearing policies and now gives kisses instead of whippings. Still not good enough? Worried because she “doesn’t know what to do”? Calm thyself; that’s fixed, too. Here’s a multi-stanza version, including the words “kindhearted mom”, and other baffling things.

Even the Minotaur is now cute and cuddly, and those crazy boys from Troy got a (yay!) surprise from their good friends who sent them a horse. No mention whatsoever of the killing and sacking, death and destruction.

Read this article by someone with the distinctly opposite view of mine, iffn’ you wanna, and tell me what you think.

Personally, I can’t believe my ears.

Or eyes.

Whichever is most politically appropriate.


(Image credit.)

9 Responses to “Fairy tales are getting stupider”

  1. Tracy Lucas says:

    Personally, I keep a copy of the originals in my library, and that's what I'll read to G. If it's cozy, it's not literature, nor worth the warning the story is meant to carry in the first place.


  2. Anonymous says:

    It's good for kids to be a little afraid. I loved my fairy tales to death– and I got nothing but Grimms and Anderson. All death, nothing but evil stepmother's feet being cut off, mermaids bleeding on people and then turning into sea-foam, maidens cutting out hearts, pirates keeping dead wives in a locked room, etc. Yet, I still manage to find time to smile.

  3. Frank Quick says:

    As I understand it, the purposes of most of these fairy tales has always been to illustrate and teach lessons. It seems to me that by softening the stories by either making them more kind-hearted or more PC (gods how I hate PC bullshit) what we are doing is removing the immediacy of the lessons being taught, if not removing the lessons all together

    I haven't gone to read the link yet because I am afraid I will get upset and start hitting my computer with a stick in lieu of having the author in front of me. I will get there eventually though and, probably, I will be back with my bloody stick to share further thoughts.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Agreed. Who wants all that boring sweety fake sanitized crap anyhow? Children love gore! Children need gore. The unconscious WILL have it one way or another, if it's not in the fairy tale books then somebody's stuffed animals will get beheaded or tied to a tree and shot with a bow and arrow. Lily

  5. Frank Quick says:

    I uhh… ahem… I never did that.


    And no one ever saw me do it either.

  6. Nate Baker ( says:

    Great blog post. Children literature is time for the most truth. Tell 'em!

  7. Tracy Lucas says:

    I agree with all three of you.

    Our heads tend to be dark little places (and I grew up in a middle-class, conservative, two-parent family with a stay-at-home mother who didn't believe in owning cable TV until I was a teenager, so there…) and these characters are all archetypes of the things we carry with us, anyhow.

    As someone said somewhere else on the Internet (I'd source it, but I can't seem to find it again), better to hear the story of the boy who cried wolf and got eaten than to learn the lesson yourself the hard way.

    Gotta be a little out there to be memorable, I'd think. Worked for me, anyhow, and all of my family pets lived nice long lives. 😉

  8. Tracy Lucas says:

    Agreed again, Nate. (And thanks for the Twitter shout-out!)

    When SHOULD we start letting our offspring in on the dirty little secret that the world can be a big, bad place. Surprise them when they're 18?

    I'm not saying intentionally corrupt every minor you see, but part of growing up is learning hard lessons. This is one way to teach them from the comfort of home, without any risk. I really don't see the problem…

  9. Aoife.Troxel says:

    Hell Tracy, I didn't HAVE a TV until I was a teenager (I didn't mind).
    My dad read me Peter Pan when I was four, and the next day I called everyone at preschool silly asses(Tinkerbell called Peter a silly ass). He didn't censor it for me!
    My point it, I turned out fine, and so did you all. I hate being "politically correct" too.

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