The Power of Story

I finally got a really good collection of the tales of the brothers Grimm.  (By the by, how much do I love that we still refer to them, not as the Grimm brothers, but as the brothers Grimm?)  I’ve been wanting to get a good collection for some time now–you know, where the prince in Rapunzel gets his eyes gouged out and the step-sisters in Cinderella (or Ashenputtel, thankyouverymuch) get their eyes pecked out.  But it’s not all about the horror inflicted on eyes, it’s just about good storytelling.

Anyhoo, the version I obtained at Myopic Books was edited and selected by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  She’s some lady I’ve never heard of.  But she wrote a great introduction.  (Perhaps now that I’ve heard her name, maybe I’ll hear of it again).  Here’s a particular excerpt from that introduction that captures well the power of stories.

It is unlikely that one country at war with another will publish or perform any stories from the opposing cultural group.  Think of the wars across the world at the present.  Can you imagine one people performing the most beautiful poetry of the other group?  The arts carry more power than politics.  Huge power.  Why would one want to resort to banishing fairy tales or music or poems for heaven’s sake?  Because nothing of the “enemy” culture ought to impinge on the “home” culture?  No, even more so, one might fall in love with the “enemy,” because the hearing of stories and poems, and the beauty of others, moves us, unites us, causes love to flower over and around all artificial barriers.

Beautifully put.  Thank you, Clarissa.

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