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January 23, 2023

Notes From the Office 08: Fairy Tales

By Sand Pilarski

In the days before radio and television, light bulbs and highways, when the work was done for the day, if people weren't asleep yet, they talked to each other. Perhaps they talked about what they had seen and done, but having lives that changed little from day to day, the conversation could get a bit repetitive.

"Honey, I milked the goat today."

"That's good for the goat and for us. I cut wood, myself."

Silence.

"That's all we ever do, isn't it?"

From the corner by the hearth, the grandmother listens, knowing her days are rapidly coming to an end, and is annoyed that the effort of raising her children to adulthood is being wasted on sighs. They'd be happy enough with their lot if the alternative was to be carried off by a bear and stuffed into a cave to be supper, she thinks, chuckling. They'd beg for their plain old lives back.

The next night, the old woman is ready, and calls the children to her side in front of the fire, and begins to tell them a tale about a husband and wife who weren't satisfied with what they had, until the magical King of the Bears appeared and carried the wife off to cook for him and all his kin ...

Fairy tales, the ones handed down over the years, reflect on fears and morals of their time. Teaching children to be obedient and honest, warning young men and women not to yearn for more than they should have, the tales served a purpose in teaching others how to live. Some of the themes show what disturbed people in their day: the threat of hunger, of inexplicable illness and death, of imprisonment.

In this week's issue, the Piker Press writers were challenged to dust off an old fairy tale or two, and give them a new twist. And oh, boy, did they ever. Themes that disturb people in OUR time popped right out: the misery of isolation, the lure of pleasure, mistrust of strangers.

Be advised: when writers are given free rein, they can come up with some disturbing images. For that reason, the stories presented have at least a PG-13 rating.

Also in this issue, we have a review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as well as a return of the comic, "Fever Dreams."

Article © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2008-05-26
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