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Activity

FAIRY TALE DREAMS

Once upon a time...

No matter what your age, fairy tales carry with them a certain magic. In a magical childhood fantasy scene in Dream, characters from several popular fairy tales and myths are illustrated. Can you identify each story? What can you learn from each story about reaching for dreams and goals?

Fairy tales, myths, and legends can help you make your own dreams and goals come true. To the Navajos, a person's worth is determined by the stories they know, because this knowledge links the individual to the history of the entire group. The very word "story" comes from "storehouse." A story is a store or a storehouse. Things are actually stored in a story, and what tends to be stored there is meaning. Through story, we get a sense of what the world and our life in it means.

Once upon a time... So begin the stories of childhood. These are stories that center on heroic combat with forces of evil, romantic fantasies of true love, and riddles and paradoxes that address our baser instincts. They are noble and patriotic, brave and true, alluring and beautiful. They generally end with evil being eradicated, love triumphant, and everyone decent living happily ever after. These stories have a function and are instructive in many ways.

Favorite stories are passed along generations and around the world (nearly every culture has a version of Cinderella) because as human beings we reach back into our common history and experience for knowledge about truth and direction for the future. Fairy tales, legends, heroic historical epics, biblical stories, and poignant family stories are often the first hint at a meaningful order a child gleans from the experience of the past. It's through story that young and old can connect very meaningfully. Stories help us understand our relationships with others, encourage compassion, create a sense of wonder, and give us the feeling that, "Hey, we're all in this together." Stories can make both young and old reflect on why we're here, shock us into a new truth, give us a new perspective. Hearing stories about things as they were long ago also gives children the ability to dream and try to imagine what it could be like in the future.

Go through some books of fairy tales. You can also look on the Internet to find many popular stories. One website you can check out is www.literature.org/authors.
It offers a collection of classic stories you can read online -- for free! Just click on an author's name to see the list of works available.

What's your favorite childhood story? Do you remember the first time you read or heard it? How did it make you feel? What was the best part? Was there a scary part? How does the story end? What character do you most identify with? What do you think the meaning of the story is? Why do you like it? What lesson can you take from that story that might help you with some of the challenges in your own life right now?

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org

Materials
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Books with fairy
  tales, myths,
  legends
Internet (you can
  find many popular
  stories online)

Connections
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Schools
  (language arts)
Families
Youth groups

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