Once Upon A Time…

Sheenah Archive, Books 4 Comments


We were sad when he left...

I read somewhere that “Once upon a time” was one of the most cliched and boring beginnings, right up there with, “It was a dark and stormy night…” Obviously the former has been used in many a fairy tale throughout the years and because it’s so synonymous with fairy tales, it became the title of a hit TV show (which I’m addicted to). So maybe within a few more years, we’ll get a TV show called “Dark and Stormy Night” and it’ll be about horror characters in the modern world or something.

Fairy tales have been around for centuries, often supporting a lesson or solely for pure entertainment purposes. I’m sure just about everyone is aware that not all fairy tales have happy endings — and most of those unhappy endings are most notably linked to the Grimm Brothers. But they were just writing down what had been orally told for eons in their area. After all, the stories were originally meant for adult entertainment before someone decided that one could tell the stories to children to teach them not to stray in the woods lest the big bad wolf comes out to snatch them away or don’t take candy from a stranger, even if said stranger’s house is made of candy.

Once Upon A Time Beauty and the Beast

And then this episode happened and we were like, "Graham who?"

Many a storyteller has been inspired by fairy tales from John Updike to Walt Disney. Arthur Rackham, a British illustrator, has mentioned “that we should be behaving ourselves very differently if Beauty had never been united to her Beast . . . of if Sister Anne hadn’t seen anybody coming; or if ‘Open Sesame!’ hadn’t cleared the way, or Sindbad sailed.” And you know, perhaps he’s right. If Belle hadn’t been in my life, I often wonder if I’d still be as enthralled with books as I am now. Perhaps some of our childhoods would have been filled with something else instead of living in worlds of fantasies filled with fairies, witches, goblins, and cyclopes.

Fantasy wasn’t a genre back in the early 1900s. There wasn’t a genre to fit books like The Wizard of Oz or The Hobbit so they got lumped in with fairy tales and it makes sense; fairy tales are filled with the same creatures that fantasy worlds are filled with.

The words “Once upon a time…” will always bring a smile to our faces for they’ll always bring us to a time of innocence. And if Disney has any say in it, we’ll always be reminded of the fairy tales we were read when we were younger.

Comments 4

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      I love fairy tale retellings, especially if they’re done right. I end up devouring the rest of the author’s books if I loved a retelling they did.

  1. For me the phrase, “Once upon a time …” starts a warm glow inside. I know I’m being taken out of ordinary reality into a new and special place where anything is possible. Cliche? Who cares?

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      I know. I have no idea who wrote the article or where I read it from. But if a story starts with, “Once upon a time…” then it’s bound to be good.

  2. I agree. The “cliche” of Once Upon A Time is only a cliche for those who don’t understand the magic behind the words.

    I read your post about Beauty and the Beast and loved it. Peter Pan did the same for me. I wanted more adventures, like he had, so I went looking.

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      Peter Pan is wonderful. I was always rooting for Peter Pan and Wendy to be together. There’s just something sweet about first loves/crushes. Good for you for looking for adventures!

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