Sunday, May 11, 2008

Chesterton on Fairy Tales

Prompted by a friend's praise, I have recently read Chesterton's Orthodoxy. It has not been an easy reading, perhaps simply because in this quite special period of my life I my brain is so overloaded with my own life, that those written words have (rare event indeed!) little part in it.

I shall refrain from commenting on the book itself, and its scope: some readers will find it sublime, some boring, I suppose. Instead, I focus on what really fascinated me, because it resonated in my soul with a deep echo. Here are Chesterton's words:

The things I believed most then, the things I believe most now, are fairy tales. They seem to me to be the entirely reasonable things. They are not fantasies; compared with them other things are fantastic. Compared with them religion and rationalism are both abnormal, though religion is abnormally right and rationalism abnormally wrong. Fairyland is the sunny country of common sense.

Outlandish? Perhaps a bit provocative, but, I believe, basically true. We have learned so many rules growing up, so many assumptions, so many prejudices, that the simple candor of children's fairy tales strikes us down with his morning's brightness...

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