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. It’s simply magical and feeling good.
As a child growing up in a middle-class family, I delighted in repeating this fairy tale to my younger siblings come bedtime, and years later as a mother, I never tired of reliving this tale to my two sons when they were little.
So whenever there would be a play or the Disney film version of this on TV, even as an adult, a childlike excitement would still fill me as I watched Snow White with my young boys.
Snow White was the girl I dreamt 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 could be.
Also, my mother was a dominant figure in my growing up years being a housewife, and my father would go to work each day. So she brought us up in the traditional Filipino strict, but loving way, disciplining and teaching us chores.
Though I loved my Mom, and strove to be obedient, still there was a streak of rebellion in my little girl’s heart – so somehow, a teeny weeny part of me would put my mother in the role of the Queen – and myself as Snow White. And that made me feel victorious!
As an aside, Mom was beautiful and fair, and it was my younger sisters who inherited her fairness and beauty.
Thus, for me, the ugly duckling was me personified, especially as I was wearing glasses, and my school friends would call me “four-eyed.” Me in ponytails and eyeglasses was the perfect butt of taunts from naughty, but nice, well-meaning friends.
I took them all in stride, the teasing, yet because it was the 60’s, the ideal beauty was supposed to be fair complexion, and loose, flowing hair. My saving grace – my high-bridged nose! How petty you might say, but I guess children pass this stage.
Even if my Mom would often build up my self-esteem saying I’d be a Miss Universe too someday, as a grade schooler, I yearned 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.
The battle between good and evil had already been strongly ingrained in my young mind by my religious upbringing at home and in school, by the time I first met Snow White. So the good winning over evil, in this tale, was in a way what hooked me.
Reading this fairy tale was like being home away from home, assuring me everything would still be fine even if there was evil around. 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 too still enjoy such stories from their childhood.
I’m certain that Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, the magical story of my childhood, will tug at my heartstrings in a special way forevermore.
*NOTE: Edited title. I edited the title of this post after discovering there have been too many articles/posts with the same title – Once Upon a Fairy Tale. I also made some minor revisions in my content.
– marichu f.jose