Two Fairy Stories
Just finished working on an audio book project for Canon Press this week. I had the privilege of reading Peter Leithart’s book Wise Words. Having never read it before, I wasn’t entirely sure what the stories might be like, but as with all of Peter’s stuff, I must say that I am quite impressed. There are 18 fairy stories based in some way on the sort of thematic narrative of the book of Proverbs. But they are quite a bit more than that. In addition to the ‘proverb’ or moral of the story, he weaves traditional fairy tale elements together with biblical imagery and symbolism. Talking animals, damsels in distress, dragons, enchanted seeds, hidden kings, talking trees, and any number of other ordinary magical characters combine with his unassuming and subtle wit to make for a great read. One of the best titles is “Braxton Hicks,” the story of a young man who is quite good at fake labor.
Somewhat related is the fact that my wife and I watched Emma Thompson’s latest Nanny MacPhee on Saturday. Thompson wrote the screenplay and starred as Nanny herself. This was a simple delight to watch. Admittedly, it was not a great movie, but it was fun. It is perhaps one of the closest attempts I have seen in a while at an old fashioned fairy tale. Billed as the next “Mary Poppins” I was rather skeptical, but frankly I enjoyed it a bit more than MP even without the singing and dancing (ok, MP still has the edge in that regard: who can beat the chimney sweep song and dance routine?). Nevertheless, Nanny was effortless fun complete with a talking pig, magic spells, and a wedding at the end. As with all great fairy stories, it was an enjoyable imitation of the real magical world God made.