Sunday, June 15, 2014

Article: "Fairy Tale Fathers" by Kristina Wojtaszek

Fairy tale fathers: they tend to be absent, passive, possessive, abusive, foolish or "shadows" (weak). 

But there are a few who are, perhaps, underrated with the circumstances they have to deal with and who do, ultimately, seem to care about their children (Note: the further across the globe you range, the easier it is to find decent father figures in fairy tales but the better known European fairy tales in particular, prove a tough bunch when attempting to find a decent guy!)

Author and blogger, Kristina Wojtaszek of Twice Upon A Time, posted a wonderful tribute to fathers of all kinds everywhere in her blog last year and, being Father's Day today I wanted to point you back to it. She begins:
If you want to really appreciate the father figures in your life, try reading a few fairy tales.  Fairy tales bring out the best, and worst, in every character, but the dads in fairy tales are often excessively dull, single minded, and even downright negligent.  Who can blame the stepmother for donning the pointed hat and hopping on her ill-used broom?  After all, somebody’s got to bring the plot home! 
But there are exceptions.  There are fathers who are worse than evil, like the ones who try to replace their lost wives with their own daughters (who ought to be reigning from asylums, rather than castles) or those daddy Darwin’s who cunningly pit their sons against each other in cruel, and often deadly, competitions for the throne.  But there are fairy tale fathers who’ve risen from the mire and even earned bit of our respect.  Here are three such prime padres:
Go HERE to find out whom Kristina is giving kudos to and why. 

It's lovely and heartfelt and makes you think a little harder about those fathers in fairy tales who had a lot more on their plate than average and yet still did their best to look after their families.
(from) The Frog King by Walter Crane
I would add one note: the tale of The Frog King or Iron Henry (ie The Frog Prince). This is the father of a teenager (most likely), sitting with his daughter at the dinner table and having a conversation and, with no mother in sight, there's a good chance he's a single dad too. Commendably, he insists she be careful of her word and keep her promises, even to a lowly frog (it is assumed, he has NO idea that chances of a naked prince appearing in her bedroom, were on the high side). Although I don't like how spoiled this princess appears to be in this story to start with*, I'm always on the side of this particular King who is trying to get his daughter to behave as a princess should. Plus, how can you not like a King who insists a frog be given a decent meal and cared for as promised?

If you have any to add to the list, feel free to share in the comments. 

And Happy Father's Day to all the father figures of all kinds who, in the words of Ms. Wojtaszek:
"... (have) contributed to the well being of children everywhere; children who would surely have floundered without a father’s care to light the dark and winding forests of their futures."
What she said. (Thank you Kristina!)

1 comment:

  1. I have not read this fairy tale before but I guess it is perfect for father's day. I am really loving this blog as I am learning a lot about the different fairy tales out there.