Can they be any more depressing?
Of my two daughters, 9 & 6 years of age, the youngest named Sailor, still enjoys bedtime stories and being read them every night. Like other families with little ones we have quite the library of little person literature. You know, all the classics like Curious George, Green Eggs and Ham, and any number of other Dr. Seuss’s reads and a good collection of new ones like Frozen, of course.
So, with all of those fine choices why in the world would she almost always pick the really old and morbid stories from the 17th & 18th centuries? Arghh! Now don’t get me wrong there are few fine classics like The Little Red Hen which is about a hard work ethic and nearly all the authors are famous: like Hans Christian Anderson, Brothers Grimm, and James Halliwell-Phillips, just to name a few. However, with all that literary talent I can’t help but wonder why all the death and destruction in nearly all the old children’s stories? Maybe it’s because life really sucked back then.
Within the book, that my littlest one just loves to pick for her “nighty night” stories, there are so many well-known classics like Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man, Thumbelina and so on. However, if you were to research the origins and meanings of nearly all of those you find just how sad and/or depressing they really are. Similarly, so are Nursery Rhymes like Ring Around the Rosie aka the Bubonic Plague, Goosey Goosey Gander aka Religious Persecution and I could on and on, but I’m trying to keep this short.
A nice little depiction of Ring Around the Rosie where only the dog survives
Anyway, back to story time. Well, of the less morbid stories that are available for her to choose from she literally spent a full five minutes looking for one particular story and FINALLY she finds it. As soon as she shows me the tale I remember it immediately and I also remember just how much I really hate the story, but hey she picked it…so I read it. The tale is The Little Match Girl. Now for those of you unfamiliar with this story, let me give you a little background. Hans Christian Anderson wrote this little gem and he based in on a real life event…his mother who was a child beggar. Like I said, life must have really sucked-ass back in the day.
Now, when you look at the picture above you’ll notice two things right off the bat: it’s cold and she has no shoes. Not a good start for a bedtime story. Agree? So this little girl has been out all day trying to sell matches (because Bics didn’t exist back then), and loses a shoe in order to avoid being run down by a horse and carriage and loses the other shoe as a boy takes it from her. Not sure why a boy would want a single girl’s shoe and not so sure I want to go down that particular rabbit hole. In any case, she hasn’t sold a single match and is afraid to go home and because she’s starting to freeze. She lights a match for warmth, both physical and mental I suppose.
She starts burning matches like some people chain smoke as she’s been daydreaming/hallucinating every time she lights one up (the match that is). Finally she decides to burn all of her remaining matches at once in the hope of seeing her grandmother again as she did with the last match she lit. Well, she got her wish and she saw her grandma once again and forever for that matter as she too is now dead. Nice, huh? So in the morning several townspeople find the poor girl frozen to death on the street with a handful of burnt matches. They think she died SOOO peacefully because she has a smile frozen into her face. Jack Asses!
What kind of hell is that? An absolutely horrendous bedtime story! I hate it! I’m considering hiding the book altogether, but my little one will just spend half the night looking for it and so then I’ll have to go and find it anyway. Maybe she’ll pick a nice story where a little blonde, juvenile delinquent girl breaks and enters (B&E) into this nice, albeit hairy family’s casa and roots through their fridge and generally makes a mess of the place. Now that’s a story “I” can get into!
Okay, I’m done venting. Catch a later blog where I spout my thoughts on that little bastard “Jack” whom always seems to find trouble of some sort, whether it be with a candlestick, some beans, maybe with the Christmas pie and sometimes with that concubine Jill.
What are your children’s favorite stories and nursery rhymes?
Connect with me to join the discussion
Like my Fan Page www.facebook.com/perrysasnett
Check out my life in photos on IG www.instagram.com/perrysasnett
Visit www.perrysasnett.com for more articles on family, lifestyle, fitness and more.