This week's discussion, on Beauty in fairy stories, is to kick of a new direction of discussion, from beauty to myth. I'm excited for the change. I suggested today's topic, as Jenna reminded me in her post, and the topic is an important one to me, but I'm having trouble writing on it. I'm interested in reading Mr. Pond's response, because this is apparently his passion. Write away Mr. Pond!
Fairy stories, folk tales, myths, and superstitions all meld together in my mind. The all belong essentially to a life that is more connected to the land and to the people around us; a life that sees the spiritual aspect of living things. The beauty in fairy tales is this worldview, the realization that anything is possible. It is a beauty that is thrilling, frightening, and joyful. Tales of changelings, of dark creatures that make nights in the woods dangerous, of river haunts who drown the unwary and unbaptized make the forests come alive in imagination, as do the joyful tales, of Eden returning at midnight Christmas Eve - when animals speak, flowers bloom, and lights fill the trees, of the apple-tree-man guarding the orchard, the domovoi guarding the home and sweeping up at night.
Fairy stories demand beauty from us as well - the domovoi will guard the house against it's owners if they offend his aesthetic. He will beat the lazy homeowner, pinch the inhospitable housewife, even dry up the cows if an ill-favored animal is brought it. The fairy world loathes the unbeautiful - the brutal, frightening, and dangerous they have in abundance, but the unbeautiful they reject; which is one reason I love them, they remind us that failing in beauty has it's consequences.