"Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." G.K. Chesterton
I love fairy tales and my boys are blood-thirsty little guys when it comes to stories, so we have really enjoyed the fairy tales we've read lately.
The Light Princess is one I never encountered as a child. The illustrations in this version are fabulous (by Maurice Sendak). George MacDonald tells the tale of a princess who is cursed as an infant with the repudiation of her gravity. It has a detrimental effect on her personality as well. She takes nothing seriously. As princesses in these stories are wont to do, she gets into a predicament that requires a volunteer to freely sacrifice himself for her...
"Death alone from death can save.
Love is death, and so is brave-
Love can fill the deepest grave.
Love loves on beneath the wave."
After we read this part...
Me: Who do you think is going to volunteer to die for the Light Princess?
David: (with unwavering confidence) The king because he's the dad, and that's what dads do.
I love that he has no hesitation in assuming the dad will save the day.
This is another book we love right now - Favorite Medieval Tales by Mary Pope Osborne, author of the wildly popular, at least in my house, Magic Treehouse series. Warriors fight valiantly, monsters lose their appendages, a boy defeats a pack of ravenous griffins,... My guys can't get enough. The stories include Beowulf, The Sword in the Stone and The Island of the Lost Children among others. The illustrations are fantastic and the length is perfect for my second grader and kindergartner.