Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Great Merit of Fairy Tales

Humanity conquering and redeeming—humanity emancipated and redeemed—such are the ideals which hover before us in the images of the hero and the princess. The picture, it is true, is indefinite, but life and experience deepen its outline, work in the needed light and shade, and give it concreteness. Thus do these primitive conceptions adapt themselves to every stage of spiritual development and resemble those mythic garments which grew with the growth of their possessor, and fitted him equally well as infant and as man....

The great merit of fairy tales is that they enrich the imagination with the forms into which all human experience is cast. "The power that has scarcely germinated in the boy's mind," says Froebel, "is seen by him in the legend or tale, a perfect plant filled with the most delicious blossoms and fruits. The very remoteness of the comparison with his own vague hopes expands heart and soul, strengthens the mind, unfolds life in freedom and power."

Susan Elizabeth Blow, Symbolic Education: A Commentary on Froebel's "Mother Play", pp. 99, 101. I've mentioned Blow before; she was one of the most important and influential of the St. Louis Hegelians.

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