Fairy Tales Are For Boys, Too

fairytale2I’ve often thought that fairy tales are unfortunately named. Not many boys want to get near any story that has the name “fairy” or “princess” in it. That sounds like a stereotype – but go ahead, ask the next boy you see how many fairy stories he’s read lately. Or ever.

But I say that if a girl wants to read a story about romance and princesses in towers that just happens to include sword fights and danger … then why can’t a boy want to read a story about sword fights and danger that just happens to include a bit of romance and maybe a princess or two?

I grew up as a bit of a tomboy. I liked having mud sliding contests in the field behind our barn more than I enjoyed playing with dolls. You would have found me by the creek or up a tree more often than you’d have found me in the house (ok, that’s still true…). I liked the scary stories, the adventuresome stories, the stories with pirates and swordfights and battles. I didn’t seek out fairy tales for the romance, and I didn’t much admire the damsels in distress. Yet I read them, and I loved them.knight dragon2

My own son, who is seven, loves them too. He’s not embarrassed to read fairy tales because he, like a true innocent, looks straight at the heart of the story – not at the title or the genre or the implications thereof. And when he looks at the heart of fairy tales, he sees the adventure in them. He is drawn by the mystery and the danger and the ultimate triumph of the hero. He flies around the house, brandishing his wooden sword while his homemade cape billows behind him … he’s a little hero himself. And it’s all because of fantasies and fairy tales and the dreams they have planted in his brave, sweet heart.

Boy, girl, man, woman … do you read fairy tales? What draws you to them? Which are your favorites?

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About bookishashlee

Ashlee is the author of The Word Changers, a Christian YA fantasy that released June 2014.

Posted on March 26, 2014, in Books, Boys, fairy tales, Reading and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Hi Ashlee! I’m 52, and I love fairy tales! I was like you–had little use for princesses but loved the brave knights and third sons and wounded soldiers. I raised our children on a steady diet of fairy tales, along with plenty of real-world history. Our oldest son was like yours–spent his days fighting “dragons” with a beautiful wooden sword and shield we bought for him in England. His heroes were William the Conqueror and Harold Godwinson. 🙂 And he grew up to be a decorated war hero who risks his life to save others.

    So, I guess you might say I’m a big proponent of fairy tales! Oh–and some of my favorites include The King of the Golden River, St. George and the Dragon, The Golden Bird, and The Glass Mountain.

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    • I’m always, always thrilled to meet another fairy tale fan! My son was just looking through our home “library” the other day and he found St. George and the Dragon and read it to himself. He just loved it!! You can’t beat the classics 🙂 I’ve seen Anne Elisabeth’s blog updates about your book that is soon to come out … I’m looking forward to that! Just love historical fiction. Thanks so much for stopping by!!

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  2. Your posts always set me off Ashlee! I love the way you think… =)

    I think a boy really is interested in the damsel and the romance, just from a different place. In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge says that a girl’s question in life is “Am I lovely? Can I be a princess? Will I be worth fighting for? Will he fight for me?” This question is obviously a romantic question, but also involves a battle to make it come true.

    On the other hand, Eldredge says that a boy’s question is “Am I powerful? Do I have have what it takes to win her, to protect and love her?” This question focuses of the battle, the whole purpose of which is intimacy and romance.

    Ultimately God must answer these questions, hopefully with the help of parents. Eventually boys must learn the true purpose of their sword, the reason for its existence: the damsel. (Ephesians 5:25-28) And girls must learn that their beauty (and all girls have it) has a reason for existence: to arouse the man to fight, to cause his strength to swell to meet the danger.

    When these two great questions are answered in the Lord, the holy trinity of a marriage is forged. This pact is a place where their divergent strengths are united in God, blending romance and battle together. They become one in purpose against the enemy and in fervor for the Lord.

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    • Why, thank you, Brent 🙂 How kind. Yes, what wonderful points you make! I know society can tend to get a bit touchy about the “traditional” roles of men and women as Christians see them, but God made us that way for a purpose and I think it’s a beautiful thing – something to celebrate. (Even for a tomboy like myself! Haha.)

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  3. I think that is why The Princess Bride is so popular! And Robin Hood! I am an odd mixture myself, both girlie-girl and tomboy. I used to play with Barbies, my brothers’ GI Joes, and cars, even all together. I climbed trees, had mud pit fights, and loved to dress up. I have eclectic book “tastes” so I don’t have just one kind of favorite. Recent favorites: Mirriam Neal’s books, RJ Larson’s books, Hannah Cobb’s Mortis (It was a truly good, clean read!), The Five Glass Slippers selection put out by Anne Stengl surprised me and made me glad, and many others…

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    • I am the same way 🙂 I remember my childhood and can’t decide if I was “girlie” (I loved Barbies, too!), or a “tomboy” (half my time was spent up trees or playing “war” with my best friend – a boy). I’ve concluded that I just was, and still am, a person of extremes. Very refreshing to meet another such person 😀

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  4. OH! How could I forget! George MacDonald’s fantasies are some of my favorites!

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