Fairy Tale Friday: (Sort of) Forgotten Childhood Favorites
I’ve always been struck by how affected we are by books we read (or, more likely, read to us) in our early years. The ones we read ourselves in our remembered childhoods are less surprising; of course they resonated—they were the first books we actually, personally devoured. But the ones I find truly shocking in their emotional and psychological effect are the ones we don’t necessarily remember. The ones read to us before we have particularly firm memories of anything, let alone books.
I think fairy tales often fall into this category since they are so commonly (and strangely, considering much of their content) read to children. There’s plenty of opportunity for subconscious internalization with stories like these, but even I didn’t know how much until some recent chance book encounters.
A few months ago, it was Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince. Being so young and then forgetting about it for so many years, I didn’t even know it was Oscar Wilde, as in THE Oscar Wilde, not just some authorial Oscar Wilde who wrote one children’s book and disappeared from the annals of bibliography. Rather than focusing on the author, I found myself I remembering the story mostly for the sparrow and some beautiful illustrations by an illustrator who has evidently disappeared from the annals of bibliography.
This week, this phenomenon of forgotten, but beloved, childhood fairy tales came in the form of a recommended book on Amazon. It was Bony-Legs by Joanna Cole. I’m not sure how popular this book actually was, but the minute I saw the cover, I had to grin. I adored this book and its vaguely Eastern European illustrations. It’s not a particularly pleasant story, but the house with chicken feet and the magical properties of the heroine’s comb stayed with me for years, even as I couldn’t remember what story they came from.
I know I got a healthy helping of this particular genre in my youth, but I am always surprised by ones I loved but forgot somewhere in between age 6 and 26. And, every time this happens—every single time—their resonance shocks me. I may have forgotten them for years, but the minute they are presented to me again, my brain positively floods with positive emotion. These were my favorites and I would read them again in a heartbeat. Not to mention read them to any nearby tiny children!
I’d love to hear from you all with your forgotten childhood favorite fairy tales. Even if you can’t remember titles or authors, I’ll bet you can remember snippets that captured your imagination for all these years. Chime in below!
Also, since we’ve been having weekly issues with the linky for Fairy Tale Friday, just comment below with your Fairy Tale Friday posts and people can click over to your site from there! Hopefully that’s cool with all involved.