The Mysterious Power of Fairy Stories

Some of my children’s favorite stories are the ones my husband or I make up and share with them at bedtime. Now, it’s a delight to hear my older kids making up stories to share with their younger siblings in hopes of helping them to drift off to sleep when mine can’t seem to do the trick. They frequently ask for us tell them the same stories we’ve made up over and over again. Thus the beginning of our own collection of made-up and passed-along stories.

The most well-known collection of made-up and passed-along stories are what may be called fairy tales, or fairy stories. I’m using the term, ‘fairy stories’ rather loosely to refer to stories that present various forms of supernatural beings, imaginative situations, and worlds. This is a broad field of literature which includes nursery tales, legends, myths, and ancient tales. 

There is incredible value in reading stories to our children in many different genres, but there is something mysteriously powerful about fairy stories. Why are children especially drawn to stories that don’t resemble their everyday life? 

And perhaps more importantly, are fairy stories shaping a child’s moral imagination or damaging it?

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