I have been debating what to blog about today, but nothing useful or fun sprung up, so I decided to wing it and do a book review. Then again, the book I read most recently is The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K.Rowling. I can hear you protesting that you've had enough of Harry Potter from me, but... well, I'm winging it, so it doesn't count. Ha.
What struck me as I re-read this little gem I found in my bookcase, dwarfed by bigger and heavier books (I'd rather not give titles because then you'd know my darkest secrets), was that it bore just as much strength as those other books surrounding it. With only 108 pages of illustrated magic, Beedle's Tales was a literary treat I swallowed without chewing first.
And I'll tell you what, I'll give my kids to read the stories of Beedle the Bard because they carry lessons as powerful as their Muggle counterparts: fairytales. And who doesn't like a good fairytale? My earliest childhood memory was devouring fairytales (my favorite was Rumpelstiltskin), re-reading them, and I didn't stop there. I read fairytales (folktales) from all around the world and I discovered the magic of storytelling in its most ancient and raw form.
What is more, I learned that every culture had its unique morals and priorities, and that was my first taste of another culture. I read about lands where fishing was the most common practice, where fish were as big as a ship, and where the fish could converse with the fishermen. I also learned about superstition. Even though I knew about it because every family has its superstitions, including my own, it was enthralling to read about other people's views of the world, or rather how their world different from mine.
I suppose I should have known back then I would grow to travel and explore the wonders of the world. What is curious, though, is how a story can actually translate and embed this wonder onto a page. That's when I knew I was in love with storytelling.
Anyway, the same feeling emerged when I was re-reading Beedle the Bard last night. It was yet another reminder of how worldly and wise my favorite author was. J.K. Rowling has a lot of wisdom in her books and I believe it is because she has lived through hell and she has seen hell (when she worked with families of missing people) in others. And that is why, I think, Rowling's work can be related to in many cultures.
Now... let's look at some of the lessons she delivers in the tiny book:
--"Magic causes as much troubles as it cures."
--You should always help those in need if you have the power to do so.
--The lessons along the way matter more than the end goal.
--One cannot be invulnerable but one always strives to be.
--You should never pose to be something you are not.
--You can never cheat death, but you can sometimes try to delay it.
And so on. What adds more to the tales are Dumbledore's notes which are completely true to his character, as always. He inserts some playful remarks and admits to his flaws. But the stories themselves can absolutely be read on their own, even if one has not read Harry Potter, the sentiments are there for you to grasp them if you so choose. And that's the thing. I chose to be inspired by Harry's journey and by the Tales of Beedle the Bard. I think a part of me is still in love with fairytales... not because of their happy endings (which eludes one of the stories in the booklet), but because of their encompassing wisdom.
I don't always manage to write what I mean. And I don't always end up sounding smart at all. But it is my belief that fairytales touch that part of us that believes in the myth of perfect storytelling. They almost sound like music, don't they? And what's greater than music in this world?
But I digress.. I warned you I was winging it. ;)
Bottom line is... my favorite stories were The Fountain of Fair Fortune and The Tale of the Three Brothers because they spoke the loudest to me. Which were yours?
And what about YOUR favorite fairytales? Are you a Disney fan or do you like other folklore? I am all ears when it comes to magic in words. :)