Fairy tales are not things you want to think too hard about, really, though sometimes it is fun to try. I once had a psych professor who said, "We are not really surprised to discover that when a princess kisses a frog he turns into a prince. What would really be surprising is to see the frog turn into a peasant."
Kim and I were taking a break tonight from putting the house back together after our Week Of Many Projects and we ended up watching a few minutes of Comedy Central, which had a brother act doing their vision of a conversation between Snow White and the Prince about eight months into their marriage. It ended with the question, "So how many corpses did you hook up with before you found me?"
"Snow White," the brothers said, "a story about necrophilia."
I understand this urge to read more into fairy tales than perhaps they were meant to take. I devoted much of my childhood to watching Fractured Fairy Tales on the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show, after all. Plus, you can't raise little girls and not come to the end of your rope that way at least once. I spent most of the years 2002 to 2006 reading fairy stories at night, much to Tabitha and Lauren's delight, and on the whole I consider it time well spent.
But sometimes you just snap.
When she was about three Tabitha really loved a series of fairy tale books that Grandma had bought her when she was born, and we cycled our way through them fairly often. One of them was a Snow-White-type story, or perhaps a Sleeping-Beauty-type story - a story that had a handsome prince ride up and kiss a lovely young girl who just happened to be comatose (imagine the legal issues there, why don't you). The girl promptly wakes up, gazes adoringly into her suitor's eyes, and asks, "Are you the Prince?"
One night I just had had it with that question. "No, lady," I ad-libbed. "I'm the janitor. Who do you think I am?"
Tabitha, bless her heart, thought that was hysterically funny. So we read it that way for the next six months until she got tired of the whole series and moved on to something else.
Really, though. Who else would it be?