Do you ever wonder how some of the stories you read as a child are deemed right for readers of our tender age? I am beginning to see some ironies in the intention of the writers or story-tellers and the impact it has on us at the receiving end. For one thing, some stories are just not meant for the children or very young readers who have not the faintest idea what the real world out there may be and they certainly do deserve the priviledge to know such only in the later years.
Remember the tales about Snow White and Cinderella, which emphasize young ladies even when born with a silver spoon may sometimes suffer under a wicked step-mother? Also, the infamous issue on discrimination in the famous The Ugly Duckling? What about the warning of the swindlers rather than highlighting the innocent child who spoke truth in The Emperor’s New Clothes? And no doubt how romantic a kiss from a prince may be to revive a princess in slumber (Sleeping Beauty), the notion of black magic is undeniable. Which of these stories had been with you back in your sweet and innocent childhood days? And what was the one story that sticks to your head ever since? For me, The Little Mermaid was safely my favourite story. Then when I recalled it again last year, it seems quite incomprehensible even to myself. A story about great sacrifice in the name of love and perhaps, betrayal if you like, that leads to death, and not just death, it’s eternal doom, existence completely non-existing, vanished(!) can actually be a child’s love? For the little mermaid was turned into bubbles when her prince could not reciprocate her affection and she has no heart to kill him with the dagger, and I bet the prince would not even have noticed her disappearance while he is blissfully embracing his newly wed queen. Such is the cruelty of reality and talk about unconditional love, maybe it could be delivered to the kids in a less painful way after all.
Just finished the adventures of Peter Pan, and I thought his fooling around or his kingdom, the Neverland shouldn’t ever be interpreted with an Epicurean connotation. How can a tale of lost boys being shut out by their own mothers be joyous? And Tinkerbell like all fairies who stayed alive shortly meant to protect her beau at the expense of her own life, only to be forgotten in a jiffy is nauseating. Even Wendy who has caused much commotion was dismissed as dispensable when the boy is suffering the potent ailment of Amnesia. Well you see, in forgetfulness, you are totally at the mercy of dissolving every single image ever got imprinted in your mind and every recognizable aroma is erased from your senses to leave no traits or marks to allow any reconciliation. Sadly so indeed, and more so when the boy remains unapologetic.
Yet such are the tales that were planted in our heads, only to harvest tears in our adult years.
*(Sob! Composed in August 06…I found some of my old writings…)