Sunday Storytime: A Collection of Fairy Tales

I grew up with a copy of The Random House Book of Fairy Tales, which is a pretty comprehensive collection of classic stories from Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, and more. I was obsessed with the illustrations; they were so different from what I was accustomed to seeing.

There’s the usual tales: Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White. The Emperor’s New Clothes, Puss in Boots, The Elves and The Shoemaker. Sleeping Beauty, Jack in the Bean Stock, Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince. Familiar story lines, illustrated with unique characters bordering on caricature.

Then there’s the less popular stories, like The Steadfast Tin Soldier, which had the saddest ending. I felt so betrayed each time, because that’s not how fairy tales are supposed to end.

Photo on 2014-05-23 at 18.35 #3

The Valiant Little Tailor is a story about a tailor who I remember to be quite clever, but upon rereading, he starts off being mostly arrogant. He swats seven flies dead, and decides the whole world must know, so he immediately makes a belt that says, “Seven at one blow” and then sets off into the world. He pretends to squeeze milk out of a rock by hiding cheese in his hand, and tricks a giant into doing him all sorts of favors.

Photo on 2014-05-23 at 18.36

Watching Frozen, I realized that its loosely based on The Snow Queen, a story about a queen who shoots ice into the heart of a little boy, and takes him captive. Fortunately, his sister loves him quite a lot, and rescues him and melts the ice. I always marveled at how brave she was, venturing into the unknown to save her brother.

So it doesn’t have to be THIS exact collection, but traditional fairy tales should be a staple to any child’s reading, if only to provide a broader understanding of where Disney gets its movie ideas.



I’d just arrived in Anaheim via train, coming from Costa Mesa where we drank sake and sat in the garden and talked about spirituality.

Turn up the volume and turn on the lights: in Anaheim I was visiting theater friends who all work at Disneyland. Here we crowded into a plastic booth at Del Taco with our burritos on greasy paper in front of us. Here, three crude and charismatic guys folded their long limbs around the table, laughing loudly as they brainstormed names for their softball team. Cly’s Taurus, Clyde’s Tortoise (sound them out…) or maybe Matt’s Ass, but written as Matt Sass, to avoid censorship.

Later that night, we congregated in the cramped hallway of their Stanton apartment, and they immersed themselves in the process of creating a medley of “Timber” by Pitbull ft Ke$ha and “Shiver My Timbers” from the movie Muppet Treasure Island. Curtis played the harmonica for “Timber.” Meanwhile, Matt was in his room learning the sax part of “Baker Street.” It’s hard to pick one favorite moment from the night, but Matt blasting out that solo in the hallway is a serious contender. (I can’t remember if he was wearing his Doctor Who pajamas at that point, but let’s just imagine that he was.)

Later I joined Megan in the kitchen as Hank and Curtis recorded Pitbull’s part of the song. We had to stifle laughs when Curtis said the lines,”…like Miley Cyrus, clothes off, twerkin’ in their bras and thonngggs. Face down, booty up…” Considering that Curtis and I grew up in the church together, it was hard to take his rap seriously, but they kept at it until two or three am. And that’s a wild Monday night with actor folk. One of these days they’ll finish the medley, and I’ll be able to link you to it.