STEPPING back into fairy tale history

STEPPING back into fairy tale history

This week, our varied and fascinating programme of STEP talks, (Share, Teach, Empower, Progress) took a trip back in history to the origins of the fairy tale, with our sixth former storyteller/presenter, Natasha L..

Once upon a time, fairy tales were tragic accounts of magic and myth, unrequited love and, quite often, death.  There were classic cliches and tropes - the wicked witch or stepmother, damsels in distress and knights in shining armour. Yet the 'happy ever after' was far from happy - it was more a lesson in moral behaviour for children, lest they befall the same fate as the fairy tale characters.

As Natasha explained:

'If you read Hans Christian Anderson's original 1837 version of the 'Little Mermaid', she agrees to kill the prince out of jealousy, ends up not listening to evil, and sacrifices herself to save him. Compare that to today's version and the happy every after is all about ensnaring your prince come what may and guaranteeing that 'happy' marriage.'

Natasha concludes that:

'The darker, wilder fairy tales are, these days, often frowned upon and considered inappropriate, so instead we get a watered-down version. I give you this challenge: go and find an original version of your favourite fairy tale and compare the two - you might be quite surprised!'


STEP talks are the invention of Sixth Form student Victoria G., (on the left of the picture, with Natasha L.) to give Sixth Formers the opportunity to research, create and deliver a talk on a favourite topic to students lower down in the school.

Later this month we are looking forward to STEP talks on Institutional Racism and Coral Reefs.