Saturday, November 14, 2009

In the old stories, everybody died

I shocked my students yesterday when I told them that stories didn't used to have happy endings. Before the corporate giant of Disney, the bad guys used to win, because the tales reflected the truth of the world: the powerful ate the weak.

Little Red Riding Hood was eaten by the Big Bad Wolf, and the same wolf ate the first two of the three little pigs.

The Little Mermaid died in Hans Christian Andersen's original tale; she didn't get married and sing happy songs with crustaceans.

Goldilocks? The bears ate her. Hansel & Gretel? All cooked crispy in the witch's oven.

And fairies, by the way, aren't cute little creatures with wings that want to help out Peter Pan and sprinkle children with pixie dust so they can fly. One of the reasons I wrote HOUNDED was to depict fairies as the heartless enemies of man they originally were in Irish legend.

Perhaps Disney's most infuriating episode of meddling with the past is Pocahontas. The real Pocahontas died at age 22 of tuberculosis or pneumonia. She didn't live happily ever, painting with all the colors of the wind with her raccoon and hummingbird friends.

Sorry, kids, I don't mean to be mean: I just think Disney's like high fructose corn syrup. It's not real, it's not good for you, and you shouldn't swallow any of it.

1 comment:

  1. This is why I love you Kevin. :-)