People say fairytales are for children. Because children don’t question, they just believe. But what many don’t admit is that very often fairytales succeed in conquering the terrors of reality by lifting us up and transferring us to a world where everything is possible. At the centre of every fairytale lies a truth that gives the story its power. And sometimes these stories can explain things in a lighter manner, easier to accept or understand, but with an innate element of truth or wisdom that can apply to life and humanity regardless of the time period. After all, peasant girls and Prince Charmings are not confined to a specific time, and neither are talking animals or evil witches. Even though told merely as entertainment, fairytales are actually more than true, “not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten” (G.K. Chesterton).
People believe in fairytales because they want to believe. Because as grown-ups they realize that life is not as peachy as it was made out to be as a child and because things don’t always come as you expect them. Life is like a gamble. You are dealt with a hand of cards, but it is how you play it out that matters. The number of risks we take sometimes even dictate how successful we will be. But nonetheless, if you have faith the fantasy life will come to you. It may even become a reality without searching for it at all. Life indeed can be easier with a little faith.
The magical kingdoms, the princes and the queens, the witches and the beasts portrayed in fairytales belong to a fantasy world that offers an escape to the mundane routine of reality. It allows people to believe that things can get better, can go the way they dream and hope they will. And they can happen in some magical way. As if with the swipe of a magic wand. And as in a miracle, it will result in lots of gain and minimal loss. People need fairytales, simply because they need reassurance, hope and the belief that they will get their happy ending after all.
Similarly, the belief in astrology, numerology and other such occult practices, albeit a form of entertainment, serves to offer reassurances. That there is a power beyond our control. Some sort of destiny that awaits to be fulfilled. Reading the daily horoscope, for instance, satisfies the desire for information and assurance about the future, hoping that it holds something good in store. But it is also a way to feel connected to the cosmos itself. The belief that nothing is coincidental, that everything happens for a reason – it is all part of people wanting to bring meaning to their lives.
In essence, we are all waiting for a happy ending. That some whisk of a magic wand somewhere will make it all come true. We believe in fairytales because in each we see some version of ourselves, our hopes and aspirations, and because we all need to believe that there is a little glimpse of effortless magic in everything. And that, sometimes, if we’re lucky enough and wish upon the right kind of stars, that fairytale might just become a reality…
Also part of Daily Prompt: Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other