Since this is a column that has fairy tales as its theme, I would say to start from where it all begins.
When a story is told.
Yes, because before the narrators began to compose the books, the fable was transmitted orally. In the countryside villages, where few could read and write, the stories were inspired by legends and popular traditions. And they were told orally by the elders or by the most prominent figures, such as churchmen.
It was a special moment: for the little ones but also for the adults, who had the opportunity to learn and hear about fantastic places and interesting characters.
A way to let the mind escape from the daily routine of work.
In Daniel Maclise’s work, “A Tale of a Winter’s Night”, slowly, without being seen, we witness a family gathered by the fire while the grandmother tells and mimes with her hands. The winter night shines silently through a small window on the left. And the environment in comparison is immediately warm and collected.
The detail of the granny’s shadow on the screen is beautiful, making her seem at the same time an elderly family presence but also a character from her own stories: the old woman with the spinning wheel.
The power of the fairy tale lies above all in the narrator’s ability to suggest.
Of the public to be enchanted. And as the story changes shape, it also changes according to the country and the period.
A fairy tale has its own body in the book, but its own soul in the oral tradition.
Fairy Tale – “A Tale of a Winter’s Night”
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This post is also available in: Italian