As with many of Simplia’s imponderables, this one came out left field, apropos of nothing any of the Fairy Tale Lobby’s clientele had been discussing.
Sagacia squinched her eyes at her friend. It was her silent way of asking, “What on earth are you talking about?”
“Everybody’s telling Pondering in Pomona that new fairy tales are being created all the time. So why not diversify and write some new myths while you’re at it?”
As with many of Simplia’s imponderables, this one brought all conversation in the Fairy Tale Lobby to an abrupt halt. What she was proposing was ridiculous. They knew that. Myths had been and were still being retold and reinterpreted, but there had been no recent inductions in the pantheons of ancient mythologies.
If new fairy tales were being minted, why not new myths and modern dieites to populate them?
As if on cue, the Postal Service carrier pigeon swooped into the Fairy Tale Lobby and dropped an envelope in Sagacia’s lap. The return address read: Charles Kiernan.
Dear Pondering in Pomona,
No one likes to be the bearer of bad news, but alas, the fairy tales, as you infer, are moribund butterflies under glass. The ages that created those stories have past. That is not to say we cannot make a fairy tale flutter anew when we tell them, but there are no new fairy tales to flutter for the first time.
We might write something that reads like a fairy tale, but we would be imitating a past form. We can write fantasy, but that is a different genre. My definition of a fairy tale may be too strict for some tellers, but here it is:
A fairy tale must have the element of magic, and come out of an oral tradition from non-literate, non-philosophic minds.
That last term “non-philosophic minds” is what I believe set the fairy tales fluttering far back in the middle ages. Not that there were no great philosophers at that time, but unless one could read Latin, one would not know of them.
The cult of fairy tales flourished among the great unwashed and unread, finding its form in the disorderly thoughts of unlettered folk. Philosophic minds look for order in the universe, understandable through logic. The non-philosophic minds saw the random nature of their existence and told stories that held their world together though the intercession of magic.
Kingdoms and empires that sprung from the Middle Ages, with all their attending struggles, have slipped away, destroyed, in part, by the Enlightenment philosophers, who prompted the education of the common man to right the ills of society. As a result, we of the twenty first century have more orderly minds. We are no longer uncouth, or innocent enough, to create a fairy tale.
A murmur of dissent arose among the Fairy Tale Lobby’s clientele. But Simplia re-read the letter, nodded, and muttered to herself, “Well, that’s a disappointment. But I think he’s right.”