There is always something happening in fairy tales! As a professional storyteller I read thousands of them and found some common problems in fairy tales. Here they are, with some tongue-in-cheek commentary.
❗ You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them: Family. First, let’s talk about the common problems in fairy tales with family…
1 Your older brothers are losers
When you are the youngest, you can be sure that your older brothers are proper dumb heads. Only in fairy tales, of course. 😉
They are the ones that don’t succeed, after which you can try.
When you succeed, they might be happy with your success. But more often than not they will try to take it from you.
2 Your girlfriend has serious issues
Girlfriends can be amazing. However in fairy tales they usually come in two flavors: crazy or without personality.
The type of crazy differs. Some just think you will never be enough. Others look down on you and betray you. And then there is the girlfriend that wants you to be buried alive with her when she dies. ❗
3 Your father has rage problems
Fathers are a strange bunch. There’s the quiet one who agrees with sending you off to the forest to die. There’s the one that in a fit of rage curses your brothers to be ravens.
And there is the one that orders twelve coffins and twelve sets of clothes to bury your brothers in. WHAT?!!!
4 Your stepmother wants to kill you
Fairy tales have not been kind to stepmothers. And that’s partly the fault of the Grimm Brothers, they changed many mothers in the original stories to stepmothers.
There is no way around it. Stepmothers are the super villains in fairy tales. And in the end they mostly die. And everybody lives happily ever after.
❗ If family wasn’t bad enough, many of the other common problems in fairy tales are in dealing with the world in which you were dropped…
5 Any animal hopping around can be a cursed human
Humans are humans. Animals are animals.
In fairy tales it’s not so simple. Quite frequently one of your croaking friends is a human hit by a curse. A curse that needs to be reversed. By whom? By you, of course.
6 Wolves are out there and want to eat you
In real life, wolves are quite harmless for humans. In fairy tales they are bloodthirsty monsters.
Women and children, stay inside! They will eat you with hair and all!
7 Powerful people like to give you impossible jobs
They all want you to do an extreme amount of high quality work in a short time. Sounds familiar? 😉
In fairy tale world it is business as usual.
8 Nobody has ever enough food for you
Times are tough in fairy land. There is often a shortage of food, there is hunger and there are difficult decisions.
Children are left behind. Winter reserves are running dry. And some old animals? They will be refused food altogether.
❗ For some common problems in fairy tales nobody is to blame. Well, nobody except you…
9 You open doors that you should have left closed
You can go everywhere. Open every door. Except that one.
Which one? That one. And of course you will open the one door that was not allowed.
It will get you in big problems. Like a vengeful Mary. Or a slaughtering sorcerer. Big problems!
Or you find a painting of the woman you want to spend your life with. That’s not so bad. 🙂
10 You were the last in line when they handed out brains
In fairy tale land the dumbest characters are sometimes the luckiest ones. Isn’t that nice? And good news for us when we feel dumb ourselves.
However it does not end well for all the dumb characters in our fairy tales. Especially not for the relationships they have…
11 You made a deal with the devil
It is understandable. There was no way out. Out of the darkness a shady figure approached you. Suddenly you said yes to a deal which was obviously rotten from the start.
The devil in these fairy tales takes many forms. But strangely and creepy enough the payment is often the same: your next born child.
12 You are a small, small guy in a big, big world
I agree. You had no say in it. But who cares? It’s tough to be a small guy in a big world.
Luckily it also gives you great opportunities to go where no-one has gone before.
13 You are a magical item hoarder
Look around in your house. Or in the inventory of your computer game character. The more special stuff, the better, yes?
In fairy tales you always have to have all the special items. You can’t share. You can’t leave one of them for others. Tsss….
Hope you enjoyed these crazy but common problems in fairy tales as much as I did, writing this article. Thinking about telling one of these fairy tales? I wrote this article for you.
💡 Once a month, I send out an email with new writings on storytelling and fairy tales.