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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Once Upon A Time...

A Tale from the Decameron by John William Waterhouse
Today (February 26th) is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day! I couldn't let this day go by without giving it a mention, considering my absolute love for fairy tales and storytelling.

According to Wikipedia, a fairy tale is a type of short narrative that typically features such folkloric characters as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories thus designated explicitly refer to fairies. The stories may nonetheless be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables, although a moral lesson is usually conveyed.

Back in the day, when I used to babysit, I would make up fairy tales and tell them to the kids. It was the only way I could get them to go to bed. Of course, I firmly believe that fairy tales aren't just for children. So, here are a few suggestions on ways you can celebrate today, whether you're around little ones today or not.
  • Read a fairy tale out loud to your kids or your favorite friend. This is a no-brainer and the whole point of the holiday.
  • Read one of the original Grimm's fairy tales. You'll be surprised at how different they are from the Disney versions.
  • Go to a book store or library and check out some of the current fairy tales. Thankfully there is a small group of modern authors who enjoy writing in the genre and even re-telling or finding new twists on the old themes.
  • Make up a story with your kids. You don't have to be an author. It doesn't have to be perfect. I just saw the film The King's Speech last night and there was a wonderful scene with the king making up a story on the spot to tell his two daughters before bedtime. Such a sweet moment.
  • Play dress up with your kids. Part of fairy tales is imagination, so dress up in some fun costumes and let your kids help you make up the story collaboratively or they can act out the story as you read it.
So, what's your favorite fairy tale? Leave me a comment and let me know. May you find a fun way to celebrate imagination and storytelling today and may you live happily ever after!

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