Fairy tales, they have been with humanity for as long as we have been here. Mostly read to children but strangely written by adults, these stories have been a source of wonder and comfort to people the world over.
"Once upon a time", is the way they usually begin and from then on unfolds any variant of magical tales, from kings, queens and princesses, to knights in shining armour defeating horrible dragons. They sometimes contain witches, goblins, dark overlords and deceptive characters. As well as benign, helpful and good natured people.
They usually start in peaceful land where all is quaint and well, people are living in harmony, but suddenly out of nowhere a disruption takes place. Either a princess is lost or kidnapped, a dark lord gains power of a town through nefarious means or a monster starts to wreak havoc through a town... suddenly there is DISorder where previously there was order and peace.
What takes place next is the quest, the journey, the battle, the struggle, in which the main character or band of characters set about to make right what has been made wrong.
In Lord of the Rings it is Frodo, in The Princess and Goblin it is Curdie, each has its band of characters but mostly focuses on one individual in which we see their entire journey played out before us.
A lot of the main lead start out somewhat immature, impulsive and rash, but through experience, trial and counsel from those older and wiser (if they heed it) they become more mature, wise, a depth and resolve begins to build in them that was not there previously. A goblin that would strike fear into the hero originally has by mid journey become nothing more than an inconvenience and it slayed without effort.
Through trials, battles both big and small the lead has become strengthened, learned and wise, though not without making mistakes along the way of course and usually these would come back to bite the main lead in the rear later down the track.
But all through the story the prize is always at the forefront of the lead characters, the crown being returned to the rightful king or prince, the terrible ogre or dragon being slayed or the princess rescued. It is what makes the struggle worth it, what is held onto no matter how bleak the situation or circumstance. Until finally through a journey of trials, suffering and battles both big and small... the prize is claimed, peace is restored to the kingdom, the princess rescued, the evil foe destroyed and the hero returns to his homeland, wiser, stronger and with a depth and resolve that prior to his quest, never had.
He now sees more clearly, loves more deeply and fights stronger than ever before, but this time he knows when to unsheathe his sword and when to keep it at bay, the prize of the struggle of the journey and the battle has finally come to fruition, and they eventually "lived happily ever after".
Whether you realise it or not, I just explained the Gospel to you.
Something within all of us deeply resonates with fairy tales, they will always be a part of our lives, because even though they are written from a fantastical point of view they contain deep spiritual truths. They resonate in every culture, every race, every creed and always will.
Battles, struggles, redemption, love, laughter and joy, they are contained in all of them, and those with eyes to see can see the dotted lines of God's eternal plan scattered through all of them.
I'm essentially a big kid and I love animated movies, recently I watched 'Enchanted' a movie which starts out as an animated feature but then continues into the real world. The main lead the 'princess to be' in the story gets deceived by an evil mother and she ends up stranded in the real world.
She stumbles on a family containing a single father and daughter who take her in because she is in need of help and obviously delusional. Her so called naivety and the way she sees the world makes the father question her mental state. He is somewhat hardened at the world, he sees things in black and white has entered a relationship because of mutual benefits, not love. He never tells his daughter fairy tales because as he puts it "We live in the real world".
But over time the wondrous way this princess to be sees the world and the ways she loves and engages others around her grows on him, her inner beauty shines forth and what once was seen as naivety springs forth as innocence and with that innocence... a beauty, a beauty which in the end totally captivates him.
If you want eternal heavenly truths and you want to hear the gospel from a beautiful and magical side, read the Chronicles of Narnia, read anything by George McDonald or J.R.R Tolkien, read the poetry and view the artwork of William Blake... the list goes on.
The story of creation, the fall of man, love, suffering and redemption, it is all there. So never stop reading your children fairy tales, never stop being childlike and seeing the glory and wonder in all that is around you because if you continue on this path, though there may be pain and there may be struggle, if you stay true and hold onto the prize before you, you will surely see your happily ever after.
Tim Everton is from South Australia, is a youth worker by trade and runs his own small business making miniature things. In his off-time he enjoys making more miniature things, playing board games hanging out at the beach and seeking out the next best cafe latte.
Tim Everton’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-everton.html