Okay, so this week I've been looking at Fairy Stories in class and once again, I was the first to admit what I pushover I have always been for fairy tales.  When I was a child I absorbed them all, like a sponge soaking up water.

I don't know what it was about them that fired my imagination.  Hansel and Gretel terrified me - the thought of a parent deliberately leaving two children alone in the woods was more than I could imagine as a child, especially as I was much-loved by my parents.  Little Red Riding Hood I thought was a stupid girl because she ought to have known what her grandmother looked like, whether she was in bed or out of it.

I loved the tale of the 12 Dancing Princesses and I was thrilled by the original tales of the Brothers Grimm.  I got to see these horror stories in their full unadulterated (muahahaha) glory!  My favourite tale was predictably Cinderella, not that I ever truly believed that love existed back then; my mind's certainly more open now.  As with all folk tales there's a moral to the story, work hard and you'll have your happily ever after.  In the case of Cinderella's slothful, lazy, selfish, grasping, money-grabbing, ugly step-sisters, you can almost forgive them for wanting to live the life of Riley.  However, in their own way, they already were because they had no responsibilities, no chores, no worries. 

Disney and some other film makers would have you believe that these girls and their mother were forgiven by Cinderella, but not in the original stories; they were punished severely for their avarice.  Cinderella's sisters did mutilate themselves for their own ends and were further mutilated when a bird pecked out their eyes for good measure (in the original story in any case). 

It was the story of Cinderella that inspired me to read and it is probably the first book I had "Read it Your Self" - does anyone else remember those.  Cinderella went to three balls over three consecutive nights and wore a more stunning gown on each successive occasion.  How I loved that story; and it fired my imagination as a child.

These fairy tales are likely the reason why I love the supernatural so much now: animals that could talk, shape-shifters, gory and often blood-thirsty events such as cannibalism; magic spells and witches...  The supernatural was a natural succession.  After all, what creatures are more cannibalistic than the zombies of popular fiction?  Which creatures are more blood-thirsty than vampires?  Witches might commune with Satan and the dead in the stories of days gone by, but ghost stories still prevail in the present day; we need look no further than The Exorcist for proof of demonic possession. 

I feel so blessed to have had these inspirational tales form my upbringing and I know there are many of you who will feel the same way.  Go on, switch off the television and pick up a book!   Have another look at the fairy tales you used to read as a child... I dare you!  You will find hidden meanings throughout which will open your eyes.