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    Reflections on Faerie Stories

    November 14, 2013 by Brandy Vencel
    I’m planning to begin a series on fairy tales. There is so much debate that often goes on about fairy tales — ought we read them to our children? ought we not? — that I think we often lose sight of the tales themselves. In my opinion, some of them have great value, while some of them are merely interesting, and others are simply not worth our time. My hope is to point out some of the best tales and afterthink about them a bit.
    Unlike the 31 Days series, this will be an ongoing series, to which I will try and add regularly, but to which I will not be a slave! {I think October almost killed me.}
    I’ll use this as an opportunity to repost updated versions of a few of my old faerie posts.
    Until then, tell me the names of some of your favorite fairy tales!

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  • Reply Brandy Vencel November 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I find it interesting how many of you named MacDonald titles! I had, like Sara, not heard of MacDonald until we began AO. I recently read an article about how these modern authors want to be “the next C.S. Lewis” and so they…read Lewis over and over. They do this instead of *reading what Lewis read* which would be more likely to form another Lewis, of course!

    This is sort of why I want to read what Charlotte Mason read, instead of *just* reading CM {even though I love reading her}. But I digress.

  • Reply walking November 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    The Light Princess by George MacDonald!

  • Reply GretchenJoanna November 16, 2013 at 5:40 am

    I recently have become acquainted with Bearskinner – the version I have is retold by Laura Amy Schlitz – and I like it. I think my favorite tale over the years is The Fisherman and His Wife.

    I’ve never read a LOT of fairy tales, but I’m really interested in them, and I’d really like to know what other people think about Bearskinner, from the Grimms. I will try to read your series on this genre.

  • Reply sara November 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I never knew until The Ambleside Online Experience that I was so deficient in fairy tales, but I am. I had never heard of George McDonald for example, or the Lang “color” books. We do have a dog eared copy of Hans Christian Anderson with gorgeous illustrations that my mother would read aloud. πŸ™‚ I’ve recently become very interested in the fact that there are Cinderella stories in every culture.

    I greatly admired your commitment to 31 days…could not have done that myself.

  • Reply Erin November 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I know virtually nothing about fairy tales having been exposed only to watered down versions. For that reason I wasn’t all that eager to include them in my son’s education. I’m looking forward to learning more and getting some recommendations about where to start!

  • Reply Dawn November 15, 2013 at 11:25 am

    What a magnificent idea, Brandy!! This is going to be wonderful. You always seem to have the ability to say things in a manner in which I’d like to, so I am very much looking forward to this series. And I am so thankful that October DIDN’T kill you:).

  • Reply Lisa A November 15, 2013 at 2:49 am

    Does The Lord of the Rings count as a fairy tale? My opinion is that it should, but I don’t know if everyone would agree with me. I’ve known the story since I was a little girl, have read the books cover to cover at least twenty times and I am currently reading again with my 7yo, and plan to read it again and again – I don’t think I will ever be done with it!

    If you’re looking for shorter stuff though, I have to say The Wise Woman by George MacDonald is wonderful, as well as The Princess and the Goblin. Someone above mentioned Pinocchio, which is another favorite of mine. The King of the Golden River and The Little Mermaid (not Disney) are the last two I’ll mention. πŸ™‚

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 16, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      I think LOTR is *sort of* a fairy tale. It is definitely faerie. When I think “tale” I think on the shorter side; LOTR is more like a faerie EPIC. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Catie November 15, 2013 at 12:51 am

    I can’t decide what my favorite fairy tale is…does the Chronicles of Narnia count? I’m really looking forward to this series! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 16, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      Oh, yes. Chronicles of Narnia is definitely faerie. πŸ™‚ Like LOTR, I think of it more as an epic than a tale, but it’s definitely in the category. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Kelly November 15, 2013 at 12:10 am

    George MacDonald’s “The Light Princess” is my all-time favorite.

  • Reply Ellen November 14, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I just finished reading the version of “Rapunzel” with the boys that’s illustrated by the lady who illustrated “Saint George and the Dragon.” It’s the original suspenseful tale; nothing like the Disney version. πŸ™‚ The boys were enthralled, and they’ve asked for it several times lately.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      I have not seen that Rapunzel, but I feel a Christmas or birthday gift coming on! We have her version of Bearskin, and it is a little strange, but I like it.

  • Reply Elizabeth Williams November 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Oh I am so grateful for this!! I don’t comment often here but I so appreciate your blog. We love fairy tales over here. We’re making our way through the My Book House series which includes all sorts of little stories that we’ve been enjoying. As far as real-deal fairy tales, my kids are pretty fearful. They have very active imaginations and I fear I may have introduced too many scary tales too early on. So I’m curious to see which ones people love and which to just avoid altogether. My daughter just finished Pinnochio and really liked that so we may do that as our next read-aloud.

  • Reply Brandy Vencel November 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Hey! I have read that one! It was a long time ago, and I didn’t remember the name, only the story line. I think I’ll read it to my children again soon; if it has been too long for me, it’s been too long for them. πŸ™‚

    Thank you!

  • Reply Queen of Carrots November 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Here’s a link:

  • Reply Brandy Vencel November 14, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I am so glad I asked this question! So far I have two new ones to read: Undine {which I keep meaning to read, I just don’t have it in my house, hence the constant delay — I wasn’t aware MacDonald said that about it, so now I have no excuse!} and King Thrushbeard. That title doesn’t even sound familiar to me!

  • Reply Queen of Carrots November 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    My favorites: King Thrushbeard, Anderson’s The Snow Queen, Wilde’s The Selfish Giant. And just for fun (and a good practical lesson!), The Three Wishes. This sounds like a great series.

  • Reply Robert T November 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Goblin and the Huckster” for a short one. For a longer fairy tale, La Motte-Fouque’s Undine, which George MacDonald called “the perfect fairy tale”.

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