Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And They All Fell Down and Died. The End.

The other day the kids were on each other's nerves. It had been a busy weekend and I had been busy and not giving them the attention they deserved. Everyone needed a break. So, I sat down on a kitchen chair, pulled out one of the many library books I had recently borrowed and began to read. I started with Sleepless Beauty by Frances Minters - a rather cute retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story in modern times and in rhyme. There was some confusion over the end because it ended differently than the original, but I think everyone was OK with that.

Then we went on to Grandma Chickenlegs by Geraldine McCaughream - a retelling of the Russian folk tale of Baba Yaga. It was cute and colorful and everyone enjoyed that as well.

Then, last, we went onto The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Andersen. It's a tale about a soldier who acquires a magic tinderbox that summons three dogs to do his bidding. I vaguely remembered the story from my childhood, but not in detail, so I had borrowed it from the library. Well, let me tell you it's quite the story! And not necessarily in a good way. I rather expected the soldier to be a good guy, but by the end of the story, amid my exclamations of "My Goodness!" And "This is not at all like I remembered it!" we were all amazed. (and not necessarily in a good way.)

When the soldier killed the witch - well, OK. She was a witch (or was she just a harmless old lady?). Things like that happen in stories. But at the end, when he has his dogs brutally slaughter the king, the queen and the court, that was a little much. The king and queen weren't bad - they were only trying to keep the princess safe. Afterall, some crazy guy was kidnapping her. (The kids really got a chuckle out of the "and they were all tossed up into the air and they all fell back down and died" part. That was where I said "Oh my goodness!". They made me read that part twice.

Then, what does that stupid princess do? She happily marries the soldier! What sort of a crazy fool is she?!?! This detestible, psychotic, homicidal soldier comes along, kidnaps her, slaughters her family and she looks up at him with doe eyes and says "Oh, my hero."??? What sort of nonsense is that?!?! The kids were as appalled as I was in a 'what-a-stupid-story' kind of way. That was a couple of weeks ago now and Snickers in particular keeps bringing it up. The sheer stupidity of the ending and the overall lack of morals of the soldier is really bothering him.

I'm glad to see that my kids have some sense! Sure, it's a classic, but bah! Utter crap! Time to go back to the library to find some new stuff to read.

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