A long, long time ago, I feasted on fairy tales: Grimm’s, Andersen’s, Aesop fables and Filipino folk tales. And of all the fantastic tales narrated to me, or I myself read, again and again, Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs captivated my heart the most. Why? It was simply magical and feeling good.
As a child, I delighted in repeating this fairy tale to my younger siblings come bedtime, and years later as a mother, when my two sons were little, I never tired of reliving this tale to them .
So whenever there would be a play or the Disney film version of this on TV, a childlike excitement would still fill me as I watched Snow White with my young boys.
Snow White was the girl I dreamed to be because then, I was always teased by my playmates for my dark complexion, and as a shy girl, I saw in her what I wanted to be. Perhaps you may say I had not outgrown my childhood fixation — to be fair like other kids — just because I was bullied for my dark skin (as how I viewed my complexion then).
Also, my mother was a dominant figure in my growing up years being a stay-at-home mom. So she brought us up in the traditional Filipino strict, yet loving way — a stern disciplinarian tempered with motherly tenderness.
Surely I loved my mom and strove to please her. But as a child with a streak of rebellion in my little girl’s heart, there was a teeny weeny part of me that would put her in the role of the Queen – and myself as Snow White. And that made me feel victorious! So much so for my childish imagination.
As an aside, Mom was beautiful and fair, and it was my younger sisters who inherited her fairness and beauty. At the core of my childhood insecurity regarding my complexion was the so-called colonial mentality which still governed many Filipinos at the time.
In the 60’s, the ideal standard of beauty was to be fair complexioned with long, flowing hair. My saving grace – my high-bridged nose, as others would point out. I guess children pass this stage of pettiness — but their limited understanding and immaturity make such all real for them.
So even with my Mom building up my self-esteem, as a vulnerable, imaginative child, I would yearn for dwarf friends like Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey (Wikipedia) who would protect me from the bad ones.
Reflecting deeper, I realized the story of Snow White and her friendly, caring 7 dwarfs provided me with a safe comfort zone in my own little world of imagination.
Because of my religious upbringing at home and in school, my awareness of the battle between good and evil was already strong. And the story of Snow White and its depiction of the good winning over evil was in a way what inspired me. Immersing myself into her situation, being Snow White in my mind was like being home away from home, and that I would be safe from the bad ones.
I guess that’s the secret to all these fairy tales, the element of good over evil, and the desire to be and do good – which rouses what is innate in the human soul, even in a child’s soul.
Children have their own way of relating to fairy tales, as I did, but the main thing that attracts them to fantasy stories like these is wanting to see the good forces to triumph over the bad, or the beautiful winning over the ugly.
And surely, many adults still have the child in them, so they still enjoy such stories from their childhood.
Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, the magical story of my childhood, will forever tug at my heartstrings in a special way.
How about you ~~ what is your favorite fairy tale and why?
*This is a revised edition. First published here in 2016.