“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

— C.S. Lewis

In 1986, Robert Fulghum entertained us all with his book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”  It was true.  The basics of getting along with others and being human were all there in that first of social arenas.  Fulghum made us look differently at childhood.  He made us see it as a time of profound learning and not only of silliness and child’s play.  As an avid reader of fairy tales, I think we should revisit the stories of our childhood and see through adult eyes the lasting and universal lessons they brought us at a time when our world was very small.

When I was a little girl, our bookshelves held a twelve-volume collection of the Junior Classics.  They had been my mother’s when she was a child; and whenever a rainy day would leave me without plans, I would grab a volume and curl up for hours of adventures in faraway and magical lands.  My favorite volumes were Fairy Tales and Fables and Myths and Legends.  These were not cleaned-up, politically correct Disney versions.  The villains were villainous.  The heroes were purely heroic, and they were sometimes wounded in their quests.  What was common to all of them, however, was that good prevailed and “they lived happily ever after.”  I loved the old stories.  I loved the way they frightened me and made me cry for the injustices and, in the end, assured me that truth would always be victorious.

The longer I have lived, the more I have seen that the lessons of my beloved fairy tales show themselves again and again in the world I call real.  Today it is raining, and I will shorten my walk and make plans for indoor activities.  Perhaps while the washer does its work I will curl up with a good book about heroes and heroines, about villains and treachery.  I will treasure the lessons I first learned in childhood — that life can be scary, that courage is to be cultivated, and that ultimately good will be victorious over evil.  Once upon a time, they lived happily ever after.