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No punchline

May 7, 2017

So this mean, unkind alcoholic man makes a deal with the devil. And the alcoholic outsmarts the devil. 

What’s the punchline?

There isn’t one.  It’s the storyline of a Czech fairytale my Hubster and son were listening to recently. 

When I think about the differences between Czech and American cultures, it’s things like this that always stand out. 

I’m not saying I always prefer the American, Disney-style happy ending. Princess fairytales are not something we often participate in. But an alcoholic and a devil are profound concepts for a young child to comprehend, even just a little. 

It’s dark, as Czechs always enjoy telling you their sense of humor is. 

They are not the lone country unafraid of, well, scaring the children.  I’ve read about Scandinavian stories that do the same. 

Norwegian fairy tales are, even by the genre’s grim standards, dark, thematically and often literally, too (e.g. “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”). For an American audience, accustomed to tall tales that focus on the heroic, and devils who rarely do anything worse than argue with sharp-witted Yankee lawyers, Norway’s fairy tales are downright scary.

I guess I’m just a bit American about my fairytale sensibilities. And I know that you don’t children can be deeply impacted by everything they see and hear, and that one cast-aside comment can stick with them and create fear. 

I don’t know if they’ve listened to that story again, or if it raised any concerns for him. I’ll just have to counterbalance it with extra Happy Feet, or something like that. Check out the trailer yourself if you need a little smile. He has some struggles, I’m not gonna lie. But lay your mind at ease. Everything turns out happy in the end for our penguin hero. 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2017 05:58

    I’m torn between thinking it is a good idea – perhaps exposing kids to the harsher side of life and talking about it will help them when confronted with it later in life? and wishing kids could live in a positive, sheltered bubble for as long as possible before they have to confront he realities of life.

    Like

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