Each generation probably thinks their television, music and movies were the best but they would all be wrong. Clearly my generation had the best of everything.
However, it doesn't surprise me that fairytales and children's stories seem to cross generations. Parents read their kids stories that had a powerful inpact on them and then they discover new stories together which will then be shared with the next generation.
Not only are these stories multi-generational but they're multi-cultural, tweaked to better fit within the framework of a particular group of people but the morality or the lack thereof remains unaltered. Walt Disney is the most famous exponent of packaging fairytales for the masses and to this day, kids drag their parents around the World and Land created by the famous animator.
Dozens of animated movies have been made featuring characters like Snow White, Cinderella, the Frog Prince, The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio and Rapunzel which are based on stories written in the late 1700's and 1800's which in turn were based on stories written in the 1600's. Those tales are all actually based on folk tales from Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe and Scandanvia. Four hundred and five hundred year old stories still appealing to kids today is a staggering indication of the power of these stories on young minds.
I still remember when I was very young, my parents took me and my little brother on a tour of the Scottish Highlands in one of those Volkswagon Camper vans. We stopped at a picturesque little rest area where my dad walked me out towards a little stream with a small wooden bridge over the top of it. As we walked to the bridge and stood by it my dad proceeded to tell me the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff and the Troll that loved under the bridge. I remember being both a little scared of the troll popping out but still able to laugh when the Three Billy Goats got the better of him.
What's most remarkable about it is the fact I don't remember one other minute of my trip to the Highlands in a VW camper. I think I was about five years old at the time and the only memory I have is the little bridge, the clear, burbling stream running beneath it and the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
I often consider the impact of that moment as I sit in front of my computer screen trying to write my own stories. I don't write children's stories but I hope to impart such strong characters and evoke powerful emotional moments that my story will leave a little residue in the back of a reader's mind. I love to think that one of my stories might constantly come to someone's thoughts during certain situations or perhaps they just felt so strongly they just end up daydreaming about it.
The power of a reader's imagination married to the strength of a good story can produce magic. And maybe five hundred years later that magic will still be going strong. Is there a particular story or fairytale from your childhood that resonates with you still? Or is there a speical story you've shared with your children or grandchildren? I'd love to hear about them.