This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Saturday Rave: Happily Ever After.

The fringe bit of mane is called the forelock. And, no, I haven't posted this picture here by mistake.

I've come across quotes from GK Chesterton twice in the last few days, and they've both given me that feeling of leaping joy you get when you discover that there's someone out there who really understands.

The first of them was brought to my attention by Alex O'Connell in The Times (the second of them can wait for another Saturday).

"Fairytales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly;" Chesterton says, "that is in the child already because it is in the world already. What fairytales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon ever since he had an imagination. What the fairytale provides for him is a St George to kill the dragon.”

It also (even more importantly, I think) presents the child with the  possibility that he might be able to kill the dragon himself.

It has been said that children need unhappy endings to their stories because they need to know about injustice and tragedy. mean that children never fall over? That they never drop ice cream in the sand?

Injustice and tragedy are all over the place.

Now, I'm not suggesting that every story has to have a happy ending. But to live well we need hope, and the point of a story is to give some shape to reality. That, you see, is what makes it a story.

So. What's the ending that tells us that after all the suffering everything is as it should be?

And they all lived happily ever after.

I think it's the most important ending of them all.

Well, we can't have dragons spreading terror and despair all over the place, you know.

Word To Use Today: ending. This word is related to the Sanskrit antya, last, and also to the Latin antiae, which means, surprisingly, forelocks.


  1. Approve thoroughly of this post!

    1. Thanks, Adele. it's comforting to have some company in such an unfashionable opinion.