The fairy tales we tell our children were written over two hundred years ago by authors such as Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, and Charles Perrault. These authors, in turn, took inspiration from tales that are centuries older. Some traces of the first fairy tales can be found in ancient Greece, and some fairy tales share similarities with tales in the Anglo-Saxon religion. So how can it be that we still share these stories today? Why haven’t they lost their magic over time?
It’s because these tales of princes, princesses and witches carry important life lessons within their pages – lessons that are still relevant today. They teach us to be good, kind, and cautious, like not taking apples from old scary ladies. It’s this that makes fairy tales magical and timeless.
However, there’s a growing concern about the stereotypes in these stories. A princess is always beautiful and perfect, a prince is always valiant and brave, and a witch is always ugly and scary. This sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Look at the real world around you. Women are obsessed with their appearance (just take a look on Instagram), and men need to be the strongest and toughest of them all (take a look at your local gym). While this is all fine if you’re happy with the person you are, the problem with fairy tales is that a princess is never just beautiful – she’s the fairest of them all, and a prince is never just brave – he’s the bravest of them all. It’s a competition that you can never win because beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and bravery can come in many forms. This makes many people insecure about themselves, striving towards something they can never reach: perfection.
This is why I wrote Scary, an anti-fairy tale set in a stereotypical fairy tale world. A world where princes are all brave, except for Prince Antos; where witches are always scary, except for Cassandra; and where princesses are always perfect, too perfect… It’s a story that shows characters struggling to live up to their stereotype expectations and how they deal with this problem. Some try to adjust to the perfect fairy tale world, while others think the fairy tale world needs to adjust to them. It’s a fairy tale full of awkward situations, miscommunication, and witty humor, with a message of accepting people for who they are, whether they wear a crown or a witch hat on their heads. It’s a classic fairy tale with a modern life lesson that needs to be told today.