This year for Christmas I received a big blue book of Grimm’s fairy tales, complete with exquisite illustrations by Arthur Reckham, his drawing from my favorite of the collection, “The Goosegirl,” etched across the cover in gold. The giver of the book knows me well, being well aware of my fondness for fairy stories and certain I would prefer his gift above all others. He is not overconfident, as it is true that I enjoy an ardent affection for fairy tales and the book was indeed my dearest holiday present. I have already read several of the tales, relishing both the familiar and the unknown.
Lest you dismiss my love of fairy tales for a childish fascination, be assured that I will never grow too old for ‘once upon a time’ and the subsequent ‘happily ever after.’ While many of Grimm’s stories contain a good deal of violence, blood, and heartbreak, most of them also end with an accomplishment of justice that is most satisfying. The structure of these tales is simple and beautiful, and I find more significance in it now than when I was young.
To read about brave princes and fair maidens, enchanted forests and mysterious towers, defeated villains and pleasant endings, it gives one a sense of hope. This feeling of hope is right, because it is a reminder of the real hope that is alive in the midst of this grand story that is being told. Yes, there is pain, suffering, violence, blood, death, sadness, and heartbreak in this world. But there is also a great King, a Prince, a Bridegroom, who is very real, and will one day return. For all those who believe in Christ, a happy ending is a sure thing.
So I will continue to read my big blue book of Grimm’s fairy tales, and persist in exciting myself with princesses and talking horses. And though I may sigh and wish from time to time that my life was like a fairy tale, I will remember that one day reality will be greater than any happily ever after I, or the brothers Grimm, could ever imagine.