Fairy tales are by their nature timeless. They are old stories that speak to old truths; lessons about right and wrong, societal expectations, the dangers of veering from the path. What I find interesting about fairy tales is that the way we experience them and enjoy them changes depending on the times of the reader. For example, I doubt that many readers would have viewed the actions of Hansel and Gretel's parents in the 1800s the same as a modern reader. Who is the real villain of that piece - the parents or the witch? Old fairy tales often have different layers of meaning that have come down through various incarnations.
A perfect example of that is Cinderella. It is one of the older tales - there are version of it that date back to ancient Greece and China. Today, most of what we know about Cinderella comes from the Disney film version. A fairy tale of a lovely but neglected girl who gets her prince through the help of some fairy godmother magic. A happily ever after if there ever was one.
But is that all there is to this story? I find it intriguing. A girl lives her whole life neglected and then poof - someone comes to make her fancy, fancy enough to catch the eye of guy who is going to save her from her life. Doesn't sound exactly relevant today, does it? But I would argue that it is extremely relevant. The story though looks different through a different lens. When Charles Perrault wrote his version of the story in the 1697, the moral was more about success comes from who you know (i.e. the fairy godmother). Today, I would say the moral should be that kindness means more than beauty and that real things last as opposed to things that only look good on the surface (a pumpkin coach, mice as footmen). Those things aren't real and they are only made to look good. Kinda reminds me of a lot of Instagram feeds.
To explore the various ways this old story can be interpreted for new readers, I am excited to announce that Byrd Nash, fantasy author, will be teaming up with me to co-edit an anthology of new fiction all stemming from Cinderella - but with new twists. The proceeds will be benefitting the relief efforts for the Australian wildfires. Stay tuned for author announcements, cover art and our publication date.