“I think it’s rather pernicious to
inculcate into a child a view of the world which includes supernaturalism – we
get enough of that anyway.
“Even fairy tales, the ones we all love,
with wizards or princesses turning into frogs or whatever it was. There’s a
very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it’s
statistically too improbable.”
Those aren’t my words. Don’t worry. I’ve
not had a personality transplant overnight. But Professor Richard Dawkins,certainly has an opinion on the matter of childhood fairytales.
Whether they came from the old books that belonged to my parents when they were
children, or they existed in nursery rhymes, or they filled my screen with
above all else, belief.
my bed to look outside to check for snowfall or a jolly man dressed in red and
fur with a sack of toys flung over his shoulder. I’d exhaust myself with every
effort of trying to stay awake. And I’d wake, excited in the revel of
Christmas, but frustrated that, yet again, I had missed Father Christmas.
I’d wiggle baby teeth, much to my parents’ annoyance, until I could present
them with a milky-white tooth. I’d eagerly tuck it under my pillow and wait,
only to wake up to a shiny pound coin, as most other children did. The pound
coin was great – you could buy a lot with a pound coin back then, namely 100
sweets if I’m being precise – but it was the tiny letter beside it that I was
excited for. My tooth fairy was called Tiny, my brother’s Titch. And the
tiniest scratches of handwriting would reveal the answers to the questions I
asked the last time I lost a tooth.
Disney classics as tales that encourage young girls to sit around and wait for
men on stallions all day. Disney taught me most of what I know about love. And
it was that magic, at the heart of every tale, that I took with me into
evil. They taught me to fight for what I believed in. They taught me to have
dreams. They taught me what gingerbread was. To never take an apple from a
stranger. They taught me not to lie, in case my nose grew bigger.
sung. And that genies lived in magic lamps, hidden under sandy tiger heads. And
that there were little girls in the world that were as tiny as your thumb. And
that you could get eaten by a wolf and still live to tell the tale.
something I believe (how ironic) leaves us as we grow older. As we grow older
we begin to question things. We formulate opinions. We defy what we discredit.
We frown and grump at things that we think are preposterous.
At the age of 26, I am often described as endearingly naïve. I have my head in
the clouds and my heart on my sleeve, and I’ve heard it tens of times over. And
maybe my love of fairy tales and fiction has perpetuated that. But I tell you
something, I am polite, I am good, I am kind, I have done well for myself, I
don’t need no Prince Charming, and sure, I’ve kissed a few frogs, though not of
the amphibian kind, but I do, very much, believe in dreams, and in magic, and
And it may not be the magic of pumpkins into carriages, and it may not be the
dreams of “when I grow up I want to Kylie Minogue” (true story circa 1991), but
I think there’s magic to be found when you look hard enough and dreams can be
as big or as small as you’d like them to be. There’s magic in finding your true
love (don’t roll your eyes – you sadist) and there’s magic in the breeze on a
balmy night after a perfect day, and the beauty of a child’s laugh when you are
the reason for the rumble of giggle erupting from their tummy. And dreams are
found in slumber or in light – in the wishes you have for yourself, or the
story you wake up with in your head.
this on to William, and make these fairy tales last for as long as they can.
Because that carefree belief of childhood is over all too quick.
in a few years time. And you’ll find me making bite marks in carrots and
washing a mince pie down with a glass of sherry.
sack over his shoulder, I will probably call the police.