Have you ever gone back to read the fairytales you loved as a child? Were you surprised to find them different then you remembered? Not necessarily the stories themselves, but the parts we take away from them.
When I went back to read Rocking Horse Land by Laurence Housman, I was surprised to find that little Prince Freedling was quite a spoiled brat. And in fact, that was the whole point of the story! Since it goes on to show him becoming a more caring boy.
However, that is not at all like the story I remembered reading as a little girl. For my part, I remembered the prince being more compassionate and with a kinder heart. Of course, that could have been because I often took the stories I was reading and rewrote them in my head.
Stone Soup was another example of a tale whose message changed with adulthood. I will always remember thinking what a wonderful thing it was to make something out of nothing. Having to hunt around for whatever ingredients were at hand, having to make due with what you had and still being able to make something delicious out of it. I still love the idea of taking what food I have, especially when the fridge and pantry are close to empty, and coming up with a tasty meal nonetheless. It wasn’t until I reread the story as an adult that the working together theme became clear.
I can certainly see how the stories I read as a child influenced my interests as an adult (I am sure they had some say in my love of cooking). But not always in the way the stories may have been written to. I remember Saburo the eel catcher and the amazing meal he was going to have after having an incredibly lucky day. And my poor grandmama made me stacks and stacks of pancakes when I was little, just so I could pretend that I was eating them with tiger butter. Yet, none of these stories were really about cooking at all!
It makes me wonder if the meanings and morals that we, as adults, derive from these tales are the same as the ones children do. I guess we can never be sure unless we stop and remember what it was like to look through the eyes of a child.