As you may have guessed, I loved being read stories when I was a little girl. And then, as I got older, I adored being able to read books by myself, too. Recently, I was thinking about which were my favourite stories to read, and reminiscing over my childhood love of classic fairytales, which ultimately led to this week's story. Enjoy!
You can listen to this week's story as a podcast, by clicking here.
Walking Through Fairytales
"...And they all lived happily ever after. The end." Jemima's mum smiled as she closed the book. She leaned forwards and kissed Jemima's head. "Goodnight, sweetie."
"Oh, no!" Jemima sat up, tugging at the book in her mum's hands. "One more story, Mum. Please?!"
Her mum chuckled as she looked back at her. Jemima's eyes were red with sleep. She was already gently sliding back against her pillows, all tucked up and warm beneath the duvet. "You wouldn't stay awake for another story," she replied. "You're falling asleep right now!"
"No, I'm not..." Jemima insisted, trying to stifle a yawn. "I can stay awake, I promise!"
Jemima's mum snuggled up next to her on the bed. "Okay," she began. "If you're so sure you're wide awake, why don't you tell me a story?"
Jemima blinked back at her. "Which story would you like me to tell you?"
Her mum shrugged. "You choose," she said. "Which story is your favourite?"
"I like them all," Jemima smiled. "They're all my favourites!"
Her mum nodded. "Why don't you tell me why you love them all so much?"
So, Jemima took a long, deep breath and, when she was sure her mum was sitting comfortably, she began:
"I love stories, because they take you to a different place. I like that magic can happen in them and that most of them all have a happy ending, so you fall alseep thinking of nice things. I love the characters you meet and the adventures they have. I love that for a little while, when you read a fairytale, you're not thinking about boring things, like maths tests or where you put your school shoes."
Mum laughed. "I like fairytales," she said. "Tell me about those."
And so, Jemima did:
"Well, there's Goldilocks and the three bears,
Where the girl eats all their porridge.
Or, you might want to read about Cinderella,
Whose stepmother was quite horrid!
In Sleeping Beauty, you meet a princess,
Who slept for a hundred years.
And Rumplestiltskin is a funny little man,
Who caused the Queen such tears!
Rapunzel had the longest hair
That I have ever seen.
And Snow White had seven little friends,
To help protect her from the Queen.
The Gingerbread Man was silly,
He thought he could outsmart a fox!
And In Stone Soup, they make dinner
Starting just with a pot of rocks.
The Snow Queen knew how to freeze people
Into statues made of ice.
In fact, in almost every fairytale,
There's someone who's not nice.
In Red Riding Hood, there's a Big, Bad Wolf,
He's In The Three Little Pigs, too.
And there's a witch in Hansel and Gretel!
Yes, fairytales can frighten you.
But sometimes there are funny stories,
Like The Emporer's New Clothes,
Where the Emporer goes out naked
From his head down to his toes!
And some fairytales have heroes,
Who are brave and strong and kind.
Like Aladdin, who discovers a lamp,
With a real genie inside.
Sometimes, the stories make me sad,
Like when The Little Match Girl cries.
Or when that little boy comes back to see
The Selfish Giant as he dies.
But whatever happens in the tale,
There's another one to read straight after!
And if you're sad or scared one minute,
The next you're full of laughter!
Like, when the princess knows that there's a pea,
Somewhere beneath her mattress.
I don't think I could feel something so small;
It must take lots of practise!
Another thing I love about fairytales,
Is the moral at the end.
Like not to be selfish, or cruel.
Or to be a kind and generous friend.
The heroes and heroines of these tales
Are kind and do their best.
Like the elves who come and make wonderful shoes
At night, whilst the shoemakers rest.
Or Thumbelina, who tends so kindly
To a bird who could no longer fly.
Or the swan who told The Ugly Duckling
He had no reason to cry.
In these stories, anything can happen,
Sometimes nothing is as it seems.
And when you get to the very last page,
You're ready to slip into dreams.
So, whether you're reading about princes or princesses,
Dragons, villains or friends,
You know you've been on an adventure,
By the time you get to the end."
Jemima smiled, thinking of all of her favourite fairytales. "I'm ready for another story," she said. "Honest, Mum. I'll stay awake, I promise."
But to Jemima's amusement, her mum's eyes were closed. She had already fallen fast asleep.
Gently, Jemima took the story book out of her mum's hands and let it drop to the floor beside the bed. The stories would just have to wait for another night. Jemima knew they would be there, any time she wanted them. And she smiled at the thought, as she drifted off to sleep.