Spring is finally here on the west coast where I live, and it feels like stepping into a fairytale. The orchard outside my window is bursting with blossoms, and I've been spending my days planting new seedlings and tending to my garden. As I've been enjoying the emergence of spring, I've also been thinking about fairytales that capture the essence of this season of growth and renewal.
Tales like "The Secret Garden," "The Frog Prince," and "The Princess and the Pea" all have a magical quality that seems to mirror the feeling of the weather warming, and the promise of new things around the corner.
In fairytales, this theme of new beginnings is a common one, with many protagonists finding fresh starts and second chances in their stories. Fairytales are full of examples of characters who start with humble beginnings and go on to live happily ever after. They are stories of new beginnings, of hidden beauty, and of the transformation that comes with hard work and dedication.
Just as the seeds we lay for our future lay dormant for the winter, our consistent, small efforts are like seedlings that will blossom into happily ever afters. In this blog post, we'll explore some of my favorite springtime tales and share some ideas for readers to usher in this season of renewal in a fairy-tale way.
One of the most common themes in fairytales is the idea of starting over. Whether it's Cinderella escaping the clutches of her cruel stepmother, or Rapunzel finding a new life outside of her tower, fairytales often feature characters who are given a fresh start.
In the story of "The Little Mermaid," a beautiful young mer-princess dreams of having an immortal soul. After talking with her grandmother, she thinks the best way to achieve this is to earn the love of a human, who will share a part of his soul with her, and grant her life in heaven after she dies. But when she fails to get the prince's love, her sisters plead with her to return to the sea before she dies. They offer her a dagger and say that if she kills the prince, she can return to the sea. But the mermaid refuses and dies, turning into foam on the sea.
This is where most people think the fairytale ends in tragedy, but the truth is there are a few sentences at the end that most people gloss over completely. The wind spirits see the little mermaid floating as foam on the sea, and pick her up, telling her that her virtuous and unselfish decision earned her a place in heaven. It's actually a happy ending, as she gets her initial wish to have an eternal soul, and suggests that new beginnings are possible when we stay true to the things we know are right and true.
The process of starting over is often not an easy one, and fairytales reflect this. The heroes and heroines of these stories often face great obstacles and challenges along the way. In "Beauty and the Beast," for example, Belle must overcome her initial fear and disdain for the Beast, and find the inner beauty beneath his exterior appearance. Similarly, in "The Ugly Duckling," the protagonist must overcome the ridicule and rejection of those around him, and learn to embrace his true identity.
Fairytales remind us that new beginnings are possible, but they require courage, resilience, and a willingness to persevere. By taking inspiration from these stories, we can find the strength to start anew in our own lives.
Seeds of Renewal
Another common theme in fairytales is the idea of planting seeds for the future. In stories like "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Rumpelstiltskin," characters take small actions that eventually lead to great rewards (or consequences!) These small efforts may seem insignificant at first, but they eventually blossom into something much larger.
This metaphor of seeds and growth is a powerful one, and it's one that we can apply to our own lives. I've been learning this lesson a lot lately. About a year ago, I made a small production calendar, keeping small and consistent goals in my radar. I've been fitting writing in between the cracks in life, a writing sprint here, a marketing effort there. But I had a difinitive plan and deadlines I had set for myself. This kept everything rolling along and all of a sudden, last week, all at once, they all started paying off. The book I had been working on for a full year was suddenly edited, formatted, and ready to publish! Another book I had been daydreaming about for just as long suddenly had the words "The End" tagged onto the last page. And I got the best news ever about a secret project that I'm hoping I can announce soon! For so long it felt like I wasn't making fast enough progress, then suddenly it was all complete at once! So, keep planting those seeds, and don't worry if it feels like "not enough". Because you'll get there!
Fairytales as Metaphors
One of the things that makes fairytales so powerful is their ability to serve as metaphors for our own lives. Just as the characters in these stories face challenges and obstacles, we too must navigate the ups and downs of our own journeys. By taking inspiration from the lessons of these stories, we can find the strength to overcome our own challenges and pursue our own dreams. As the snow melts away, and the days get longer, we can't help but feel a sense of renewal and hope for the future. Just like the protagonists in our favorite fairy tales, we too can find new beginnings and fresh starts.
One such example is the story of Cinderella. She started her story as a mistreated and neglected stepdaughter but through her kindness, perseverance, and the help of her fairy godmother, she was able to attend the royal ball and capture the heart of the prince. Her new beginning allowed her to escape her oppressive situation and find true happiness. I loved playing with this story in "Sculpting Fables", digging into the real-life inspiration of Cinderella from ancient Egyptian lore.
Bringing Fairy Tales Into Your Life
I have loved the surge in "cottage core" lifestyles, and even though I'm not hardcore like some of the incredible influencers out there, I've started integrating little pieces of this into my life to make my life feel just a little bit more magical.
In fairy tales, nature often plays a prominent role in symbolizing new beginnings. The arrival of spring brings with it budding flowers, green grass, and warmer temperatures. These natural elements remind us of the potential for growth and change. I've started decorating my home with fresh flowers, planting a small vegetable garden in the back yard, and even bought some potted flowers for my front porch. Taking a moment to water my seedlings every morning has brought a little peaceful reset into my day that I didn't realize I needed.
Another way to bring fairy tale magic into our lives is through literature. Reading a favorite fairy tale or discovering a new one can transport us to a world of wonder and possibility. What are some of your favorite springtime fairy tales? Leave them in the comments so we can gush about them!
It feels like the winter was the most brutal we've had in a while. So, as we emerge from the darkness of winter and embrace the warmth and light of spring, let us remember the lessons of our favorite fairy tales. Just like the characters we love, we too can find new beginnings and happy endings. With patience, perseverance, and a little bit of magic, anything is possible.