“Storytelling, an obsolete word in an era of great transformations in everyday life and of technologies applied to education. Yet there is nothing more modern than reading a fairy tale, and nothing more useful for the growth of a conscious community. (…) There is a need to tell and listen, says a palpable desperate need to hear and feel again. To imagine ourselves different and alive every time”.
With fairy tales, the journey into the immense landscape of human nature begins in a time so distant that we cannot even imagine it, and it reaches us, more punctually than ever.
From the last century to the Third Millennium
In the twentieth century, among the greats such Saint-Exupéry, Calvino and Rodari, we find ourselves in an innovative fairy-tale landscape, with the arrival of science fiction and its expansion, more modern and sophisticated.
While with Saint-Exupéry and “The little prince” we are among new habitats, such as the interplanetary space and the desert, in silence and isolation, with Calvino we enter the modernity of the city with its streets and rhythms, but also into the arboreal world, the great protagonist of “The Baron in the trees”, and in the scientific and virtual spaces of “Cosmicomics”, which become a place and reason for reflection.
The landscape is thus shattered into multiple dimensions, but the symbolic function of the fairy-tale space is confirmed.
With Rodari, through a more narrative and less intellectual form than Calvino, you can find yourself in the land of liars, as on imaginary planets like that of Christmas trees, in an invitation to invent stories in different universes.
In its continuous regeneration with history, the fairy tale resists the elements of time, reaching us, now, in the Third Millennium.
By embodying and expressing feelings, emotions, aspirations, hopes common to all humanity, it is universal and with its ability to speak to the unconscious, it can and must play a fundamental role in the intercultural, social and relational dynamics of the new generations.
Through the fairy tale, with its arguments and contents capable of reconfiguring themselves in contemporary (and not only) writing, it is possible to identify new horizons of dialogue, points of connection between different cultures and civilizations, creating bridges and passages and overcoming distances and differences. Thus, from books to cinema and theatre, from manga to comics, to anime, new stories reshape the existing ones, transforming them into something different, but always recognizable.
In the fairy tale, the weaving of the space-time relationships between the characters and their environment occurs without distinction. Trees or rocks, mountains, wolves, fairies, castles or human beings, blend and complement each other, opening up to a universe in constant formation, where there are no impermeable boundaries between the elements of a “talking” landscape, which implies knowing how to understand, choose and relate.
If in the meaning of ecology, the profound and constructive interaction between organisms and their environment is contemplated, then in the world of the fairy tale we can breathe an ecological essence, we move in an inspiring space for dynamics that are more current than ever, where everyone is free to find their own interpretation.
Fairy tales are true
The fairy tale is the mirror reflecting the deepest part of each of us. The powerfully intimate and personal freedom to “wear” its meaning allows us to feel it as our own. In the belief that it is not just a question of listening, but of perception.
“Fairy tales are true”, wrote Calvino in the introduction of his “Italian fairy tales collected from popular tradition over the last hundred years and transcribed into languages from various dialects by Italo Calvino”.
“They are, taken all together, in their always repeated and always varied series of human events, a general explanation of life, born in ancient times and preserved in the slow rumination of peasant consciences up to us; they are the catalogue of the destinies that can be given to a man and a woman, especially for the part of life that is precisely the making of a destiny: youth, from birth which often carries within itself a wish or a condemnation, to the leave-taking from home, to the tests to become an adult and then mature, to confirm oneself as a human being. And in this summary drawing, everything: the drastic division of the living into kings and poor, but their substantial parity; the persecution of the innocent and their redemption as terms of a dialectic internal to every life; love encountered before knowing it and then immediately suffered as a lost good; the common fate of being subjected to spells, that is, of being determined by complex and unknown forces, and the effort to free oneself and self-determination understood as an elementary duty, together with that of freeing others, indeed not being able to free oneself, freeing oneself by releasing; fidelity to a commitment and purity of heart as basic virtues leading to salvation and triumph; beauty as a sign of grace, but which can be hidden under the guise of humble ugliness like a frog’s body; and above all the unitary substance of the whole, men, beasts, plants, things, the infinite possibility of metamorphosis of what exists”.
> Good listening with “Gesù e San Pietro in Friuli” and “Cannelora”
from “Piccolaestate” | Rai Radio 3 | RaiPlay Radio
“La fiaba nel Terzo Millennio. Metafore, intrecci, dinamiche” Angela Articoni e Antonella Cagnolati (Salamanca: FahrenHouse, 2019)
“Paesaggi della fiaba. Luoghi, scenari, percorsi” Franco Cambi e Gaetana Rossi (Armando Editore, 2006)