Who is the fairest in the land

It's well known that fairy stories are written to help children cope with big life fears in smaller easier chunks.

We see idealised characters living cliched lives and fighting very obvious monsters. We learn that good triumphs, hard work pays off, niceness is rewarded, monsters can be defeated etc etc

Some of these stories are very old and many people nowadays would say they are so politically incorrect (handsome princes rescuing cowering damsels, living happily every after etc) that they are pointless. But I don't think they are. I think fairy stories and traditional tales of all kinds can help us all understand complex issues, either in their original form or by evolving over time (there are several books of 'modern fairy tales' for example)

I have realised lately the horrible truths in the Snow White story.

When DD was small she had a Snow White dress up dress, complete with apple shaped mirror. But not (oddly) with realistic blood dripping heart...

DD liked Snow White because she shared her dark hair, and yes, her beauty. I, like the step mother of the story watched her grow thinking how sweet she was, playing at being a woman.

But now DD is a young woman. She will turn 14 this year. Her cute chubby good looks have given way to a willowy elegance. She is tall, with perfect skin, dark shining hair falling to her waist, she has a figure to turn heads and while all this is happening to her. I am changing too

Image credit: murza08 / 123RF Stock Photo
I look in my mirror and I no longer see the fairest in the land. Oh I'm not bad for my age, but my laughter lines are showing even when I'm not laughing. My hands no longer are smooth but wrinkled and spotted with age. I sag slightly where I used to be firm and pert. I see grey hairs on my head (and more worryingly, black hairs on my chin!) I am ageing as her beauty grows.

I read the story of Snow White and suddenly I feel for the Queen in the story. I imagine her staring at her mirror day after day, as despite her creams and potions, she ages, and even though Snow White does nothing, she increases in allure. Soon, very soon I may have to find a huntsman to take DD out into the forest.*

But I shouldn't worry. I know that the time will fly by and before I know it she will be swept off her feet and away with a handsome prince. Leaving me alone in my castle. Perhaps I should read less fairy tales. Or stop looking in mirrors.

Image credit: mybaitshop / 123RF Stock Photo

*Just kidding obviously. But it is sickening that she is so blooming gorgeous!

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