Sunday, May 23, 2010

G.K. Chesterton: Fairy Tales, Dragons & Children

    Last night, I was watching the show Criminal Minds when there was an interesting quote mentoned at the end of one of the episodes that caught my interest.  When I looked the quote up on the internet I found out that there are actually three versions of the quote by G.K. Chesterton.
The first two quotes are examples of the ipsissima vox ("the very voice")  of Chesterton, but they are not his exact words.

Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten. -- G. K. Chesterton, as quoted in Coraline (2004) by Neil Gaiman, epigraph.

Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed. -- G. K. Chesterton, as quoted in Raising Young Children: 52 Brilliant Little Ideas for Parenting Under 5s (2007) by Sabina Dosani and Peter Cross, p. 38

Here are his ipsissima verba:

What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. -- G.K. Chesterton in Tremendous Trifles (1909)


Matt said...

Hmm. So Obama CAN be defeated!

cube said...


ben268 said...

Very interesting. I never thought of it that way before