Dad bought a very old edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales when I was small. He was very pleased to have acquired it and dramatically read it to us little people. He excelled at that kind of thing. He made up different voices for the different characters and held all of us in thrall.
The first story he read to us was Cinderella. That sounds nice, doesn't it? Friendly little creatures helping our heroine with housework, handsome prince, happily ever after. You haven't read Grimm if you think that's the story. No, Cinderella is an abused child whose sisters chop up their feet to get them into that glass slipper. Birds peck out eyes... "That's enough for tonight. I'll tell you another story tomorrow." We were packed off to bed.
I went to sleep like I always did, and then the screaming started. I had horrible, horrible, bloody nightmares. Bloody feet everywhere.
Dad read another story the next night. More child abuse and death threats. In fact, let's decapitate a child. "Bedtime!" More screaming in the night.
I think you can see how this was all going. Dad quit reading stories from his treasured book. The screaming nightmares continued. Dad tried reading nicer stories in the evenings. He sang soothing songs just before bedtime. Nothing worked. I screamed in my sleep for two weeks.
It was fall then, and it was before anyone was concerned about carbon emissions from burning leaves. I helped Dad rake and burn while he lectured me about how I couldn't let my whole life fall apart because of fairy tales. I needed to get some sleep, and everyone else in the house needed sleep too. They were just stories. Part of growing up was knowing the difference between real life and fiction.
I burst into tears. I sobbed as I told him I tried to have nice dreams. I wasn't "trying to get attention" like Mom thought. I went into the fetal position in a pile of raked leaves and couldn't stop crying while Dad stood over and looked at me.
He made a loud huff and stomped into the house. I continued to cry. He came back with his treasured volume and we put it in the leaf fire together. No more fairy tale nightmares. Everybody in my house agreed; it was the best book burning ever.
For better fairy tales...
Politically Correct: The Ultimate Story Book by James Finn Garner
Faeries by Froud, Brian and Alan Lee