A certain wistful disappointment accompanies the discovery that Santa Claus is not real, and the tooth fairy is actually your dad. Learning that one’s favorite fairy tales, the Brother’s Grimm in my case, have been extensively tampered with, produces a similar feeling. Somehow “Cinderella,” “Rapunzel,” and “Jack in the Beanstalk” are supposed to be “real,” “true” tales faithfully handed down from one generation to the next. But ample proof indicates that fairy tales have long been used as a type of propaganda, to moralize, socialize, and advance various personal or cultural agendas.
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