Young children’s book sales must be plummeting even as the opportunity for reading to them has jumped, as parents are staying at home more. Why? The world has turned itself into a living, breathing fairy tale. All the parents have to do is recite a little of the day’s happenings. Why read Anderson’s classic, “The Emperor Has New Clothes” when you can see a new chapter every night on the TV. Trump plays the Emperor with a depth that not even Anderson could convey. The flacks on Fox news then weave new clothes of words every night. Other Republicans, especially the Senate Majority Leader, embellish the stories with their flourishes. His courtiers, by the millions, that make up his base ooh and ahh approvingly. So far, Dr. Fauci, who plays the child who exposes the sham, has yet to have his voice clearly heard above the clamor of the crowd. The charade continues day by day, but ends on a different note than the original. Unlike fairy tales have happy endings or teach us a lesson, this one hasn’t ended yet. It will be up to the voters next November to write the closing.
In one of the Grimm Brothers’ lesser known stories, “The Hare and the Hedgehog,” the hare makes fun of the hedgehog, calling out his spindly legs. He eagerly accepts a challenge to race the hedgehog for a prize and a bottle of brandy, sure he will win. But the wily hedgehog has put his wife at the end of the course. As the hare approaches, she call out that she is already there. Unable to accept the truth of defeat, the hare demands another try, which ends up the same way. In the fairy tale, he collapses and dies on the 74th repeat. Like the Emperor’s tale, this one hasn’t fully played out. The stage is set with Trump insulting just about everyone that opposes him or threatens to puncture his ego. The race has yet to begin.
Then, of course, we have been living with “Pinocchio” for the last three years. The modern version has the marionette becoming more orange with every lie, rather than from the nose growing longer. With more than 18,000 lies, our modern Pinocchio has proven the old maxim that truth is stranger than fiction. If only the plot followed the same pattern that has the wooden boy become real at the end, one day, we would see the President and all his alternate facts become nothing but pieces of wood.
I am sure in the hundreds of children’s fairy tales there are many more than could be mistaken for today’s news. Life for adults, as well as children, has taken on fairy-tale-like feel for the past several years, now exacerbated by the corona virus mess. Its unreality permeates through every crack of the shields worn for protection against both the virus and the strange disease emanating from the White House. As much as I would like to believe it is nothing but a story, I cannot. Hopefully, the chapter about the virus will close soon, but I won’t know the ending of the other for some months to come. I do hope it has a happy ending.
(Image thanks to Dedipic)