Friday, 10 February 2012

I've been thinking too hard about Fairy Tales

Why does the three bear's porridge defy the laws physics? Lets think about this; porridge from one pan goes into 3 bowls; a big one, a middle-sized one and a small one. When Goldilocks arrives the big one is too hot (makes sense, bigger volume, its going to retain its heat longer) but the middle-sized one is somehow colder that the small one which is just right!!! How does that work? Did Mummy bear put hers in the fridge? Or did she leave baby bear's on a 1970's style hotplate?

My problems with the Three Bears go further. Goldilocks rejects Daddy Bear's bed because it is too high, yet she was already lying on it when she decided this. Surely a bed is only too high if you can't physically get onto it. Its not only the Three Bears that make no sense (yes I know they are children's stories and I'm taking it too seriously, but I'm not complaining about the fact that bears have beds, chairs and eat porridge, just that their food appears to come from a parallel universe with different physics).

The Three Billy Goats Gruff makes me gruff. They can't cross the bridge because the Troll is there, the smallest goat finally ventures on and convinces the Troll not to eat him, but wait for his larger brother. So far so good. In fact quite a good story to teach children patience - wait longer and you'll get a bigger goat to eat (if thats what your kids like, mine prefer fish fingers, but they can't trip-trapp across bridges). The middle sized goat plays the same trick on the Troll, and then the bit that gets my goat (so to speak). The biggest goat crosses the bridge and when confronted by the Troll butts him into the water, never to be seen again. So if the big goat could do this why didn't he cross the bridge first? In fact, why did he not do this years ago rather than waiting for the grass on their side of the bridge to run out first?

There are also other Fairy Tales that meddle with physics; the three pigs don't put the water on the fire until the wolf starts climbing the chimney, yet by the time he falls in the water its boiling. Think about the time it takes to boil a kettle - now think how long that might be if that kettle was big enough to put a wolf in. How slowly was the wolf climbing? Its only a house big enough to house one pig, its not the Empire State Building.

And you really don't want to get my started about why they wolf doesn't just eat Little Red Riding Hood when he first meets her in the wood......

22 comments:

  1. I always thought that Little Red Riding Hood must have been pretty blind to have not spotted the wolf in her grandma's nightdress. Good post.

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    1. I did see a bit of a play with blind actors on TV (think it was the Culture Show) they were doing Little Red Riding Hood and commenting on how even the blind would have spotted it was a wolf!

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  2. He he he, good post it's the kind of thing I wonder about :)

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  3. I'm holding off on a rant about penguins and polar bears appearing together!

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  4. Well, I've never really questioned the fairy tales…….but come to think about it, they weren't actually very bright, were they?

    Great post!

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    1. Thanks Gemma, glad you liked it. I thought fairy tales were wonderful as a kid, but now I'm reading them again I don't have the same affection for them (maybe I just haven't found a well written version).

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  5. Tag!

    ps. I love the fact that you have found these little inconsistencies in fairy tales!!!!

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  6. TAG!

    (and I love the post too...)

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  7. TAG!

    you know I've never analysed fairy tales like this!

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  8. Tag! :) And great post. I dissect television programs just like you've done with this.

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  9. Isn't it funny how kids NEVER question these oddities? What about The Princess and the Pea? That was always a favourite of mine as a kid - how on earth could she even get on top of all those mattresses?! Great post and thanks for linking up :)

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    1. Good point, I always thought that if she couldn't get any sleep with the pea then possibly she was a bit high maintenence and why on earth would the prince want to marry her!

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