Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.One night last week during our bedtime ritual when Trinhity & I were in a good place, I broke out a book I've been saving, desperately hoping to introduce it at the right moment: The Little People's Pageant of Cornish Legends.
I explained that books which have more words than pictures require you to use your imagination. Her imagination already shows creativity that regularly staggers us, so that part didn't worry me. But she has the attention span of...well, a 2.5 year old. I didn't know if she'd tolerate two full pages of words she couldn't read, so I gave her a very soft sell: if she didn't like it after a couple minutes, we'd read a David Weisner book instead.
She *loved* it. We read of a witch able to make herself invisible, and of Jack, who cunningly slewest a fearsome giant, but we skipped the story where human children get kidnapped and reared by elves with nasty, big, pointy teeth. It's since been in her rotation of requests, and she talks about the giant almost as much as Lucas.
This pleases me immensely, almost like when she spotted and named Yo Yo Ma on the cover of a magazine read by a stranger in a restaurant. I've been a Chesterton fan for years, but that quotation has never rung so clearly for me as it does today, as I contemplate bequeathing truths to my daughter via myth.
Dragons, faeries, giants, witches, elves...and yes, even ants -- perhaps together we can defeat Barney and SpongeBob.
May the scarlet sunset beyond Land's End
pledge you the fulfillment of your true destiny.