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Tiny Owl’s Fairy Tale Campaign continues

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For thousands of years, people have been telling stories. From this rich global heritage, we can find fairy tales that are strikingly similar but also different. Each culture has their own version of these tales, and, even today, fairy tales have a lasting significance. Children from all over the world still grow-up listening to them.

Our new series, One Story, Many Voices explores well-known fairy tales told from unique perspectives from all over the world. So, with this in mind, we contacted authors, and experts, asking them the same two questions:

1) What versions of well-known tales were you told as a child? Who told them to you? And where did they come from?

2) Fairy tales often come from stories told a long time ago. Do you think these stories are still relevant today? And, if so, why?

We have a wonderful response from Pippa Goodhart.

Pippa Goodhart at an event for Bottle of Happiness

Pippa Goodhart: 

Fairy tales are gifts passed on from word of mouth forever and ever

1.The stories I most remember being told by my parents and grandparents were family stories rather than traditional tales. The ones which come to mind now were about my mother being naughty when she was a girl! But I did meet
traditional stories in other ways.

Some of the early reading books I had at home and from school were retellings of traditional tales. The Ugly Duckling was the one that moved me very much. The thought of your mother rejecting you for being less beautiful and less clever than your siblings strikes right at the childish heart! Some of those retellings where not particularly well written, but the power of the stories shone through. As an adult I have bought beautiful picture book versions of many traditional tales. I think that Jan Ormerod’s Frog Prince is perhaps the most beautiful of them. And I’ve rewritten some of those stories myself.

But traditional stories don’t just get told or written and read. In Britain we have our peculiar tradition of the pantomime, and those crude (often in more than one sense!) song and dance and cross-dressing versions of traditional tales get revived year after year. I have actually cried at the sadness of Mother Goose in the form of a wrinkly man in a bonnet being upset that ‘she’ is not more beautiful! A pantomime audience acts back, booing the baddies and cheering on the goodies in a shared story experience of the best kind.

 

2.The traditional stories we inherit from the past and from all around the world are absolutely still relevant today. We might recraft them, as people always have done, to better suit our times or the audience they are addressing, but the basic stories endure. Why? Because they are about fairness. They are about identity. They are about overcoming terrible things. They are about love. Through those themes they offer hope, and we humans are always in need of that. Some of them offer laughter, too, and some give us beauty. What gifts to pass by word of mouth, through books
or by performance, from people to people to people forever!

Pippa Goodhart is a children’s book author living in Cambridgeshire. She is the author of Tiny Owl book A Bottle of Happiness

  • Read more responses here and here
  • Read this introduction by Tiny Owl publisher Delaram Ghanimifard of our One Story, Many Voices series
  • Cinderella of the Nile selected as ‘One to Watch’ by The Bookseller

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