Monday, February 12, 2018

Happily Never After?

The shoe fits!  [The peasants rejoice!]

To everyone's surprise, the ash-streaked girl who has waited hand and foot on her ugly-wicked-stepsisters for many long years marries a prince. Her life is changed forever. Freedom. Riches. And best of all, True Love.  💗 💗 💗

Wait! There's one more girl to try!

What is this, a fairy tale? You bet. 

By magic, a beautiful mermaid loses her tail and grows legs like a human. She washes up on the shore and is rescued by her prince. At last she has everything she ever wanted.

Almost. In order to grow legs, she has traded her voice, and now she has no way to tell the prince of her love for him. The prince -- her everything, her one true love -- marries another. The only option left to her is to pursue an immortal soul for three-hundred years.   😧 😧 😧

The Mermaid bargains with the Sea Witch

A fairy tale? Yes, this one is too.

Which story is a reflection of real life? They both are, for fairy and folk tales contain glimpses of deeper truths. 

Sometimes a real-life love story works out. And sometimes, not so much. In spite of what Disney and Avalon Romance try to tell us, not all love stories have a happy ending. 

What is "happily ever after" anyway? I have trouble believing that Cinderella and her Prince spent the long, blissful years of wedded life with never a cross word muttered or eyes rolled in impatience, with never a dispute about whose turn it was to take out the trash or who tracked mud on the Persian carpet.

I think we all know by now that having a fairy tale wedding or becoming a princess doesn't necessarily mean happy-ever-after.

And how many of us, I wonder, now look back with fondness and a sense of relief  on that girlfriend or boyfriend who broke our hearts so long ago. Oh, the pain, the tears! The comfort food consumed! But in hind sight, it's a blessing that relationship fizzled out. How different our lives would have been. And look at all we would have missed.

Next week, my Valentine and I will be celebrating 43 years of marriage. We have four grown children, five grandchildren, and many happy memories. So hats off to the boyfriends of days-gone-by. How nice that they merely broke my heart instead of ruining my life.

Even the Little Mermaid's story didn't have a truly tragic ending. She lost her prince but gained an immortal soul. Ironically, it was she who wound up with a true happily-ever-after.

Happy Valentine's Day from the Stark Raving Mythopath! 💗

Photo credits:
  Little Mermaid: Ivan Billibin illustration, Public Domain
  Princess Diana: Author:  Princess_diana_bristol_1987_01.jpg: Rick; derivative work: Crisco 1492  
  Little Mermaid Postcard:  E. S. Hardy, Public Domain

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