“I think the poets have made a mistake: because the world of the fairy-tales is a brighter and more varied world than ours, they have fancied it less moral; really it is brighter and more varied because it is more moral.”
I am going to do something very dangerous, I am going to debate a point—posthumously—with arguably one of the most influential and well-respected commentators and moralists of the Western world, G.K. Chesterton, who wrote extensively and eloquently on many subjects, among them fairytales. (And also had a great head of hair.) You may not have heard of Chesterton, but if you are a fan of fairytales, which, if you’re reading this you probably are, then you have almost certainly stumbled across a quote of his that has been often repeated without attribution:
Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.