Nothing can compete with those childhood memories of sitting at grandmas knee and pestering her to tell us one more fairy tale. Nothing could distract us as we sat all ears listening as she took us on journeys to dreamland with her stories that always began with Once upon a time, in a faraway land, how we were filled with a innocent happiness when she reached the end of the fairy tale and declared in her authoritative way and so they lived happily ever after. Even after having listened to the same fairy tales over and over again we never got tired of pleading for one more. We now patiently pass on to our children those same old stories that somehow become new each time we tell it.
Fairy Tales refer to short stories that feature magical characters like fairies, pixies, gnomes, trolls, giants and goblins being very involved in human affairs. Many of todays fairy tales have evolved from stories that are centuries old and told the world over though with cultural variations in each place. Fairy tales were passed down orally or dramatically enacted before they began to be written down. The earliest of such stories came from Egypt (the tale of two brothers), India (Panchatantra) and Rome (Cupid and Psyche). The first to record the fairy tales in written form were the Grimm Brothers.
Originally fairy tales were not meant for children alone. Adults were as much of an audience as children were. As time went by the fairy tale began to be seen as children’s literature. Therefore many alterations had to be made to original fairy tales in order to make it more suitable for children. For example in the original story of Rapunzel, the witch found out about the prince because Rapunzel kept asking her why her clothes were becoming so tight. The witch then understood that Rapunzel was pregnant and deduced that the prince had been coming to see her. This was modified to suit young impressionable minds and in the present version the witch finds out about the prince because Rapunzel carelessly lets it come out of her mouth that the prince was much lighter and easier to pull up than the witch. Many other fairy tales have been thus altered to deviate from the original story line without changing any of the main events of the tale and many began to have morals attached to them.
Today fairy tales are not only presented in the written form but also more and more through the visual media. Apart from the ever popular movies, games and accessories now are a big medium in which fairy tales are displayed. No one can forget the innocent black eyes of snow white or the long golden hair of Rapunzel or the lovely voice of Ariel because it has all been imprinted in our minds with vivid color and other technological effects. But with all that the ever advancing technology us can offer there is still nothing as good as good old grandma seating us on her knee and taking us on journeys to dreamland with her stories that always began with Once upon a time in a far away land!