rebelling against low expectations

Why Everybody Loves Fairy Tales


Life is an adventure, but oftentimes we don’t see it.

Everyone loves a good fairy-tale. The valiant knight rides off on his quest with his trusty white steed, braves many dangers, trials, and traps, and at last faces the dreadful dragon. Yet our brave hero does not despair, but fights off this fearful foe, finishing him off with one mighty blow. In the process, he rescues the lovely princess.

She blushingly puts forth her hand, which our knight raises to his lips to kiss, whispering “as you wish.” The pair ride off together into the sunset, to live happily ever after. The little children cheer, and we smile good-naturedly as we close the book and put it back on the shelf.

Regardless of age, I think there is always a little part of us that enjoys fairy-tales. I used to think this was because fairy-tales showed normal life as more exciting, more beautiful, more adventurous than it really is.

And perhaps there is truth in that.

But perhaps, just perhaps, there is truth in the opposite.

Perhaps we enjoy fairy-tales because they show normal life as simpler, less confusing, less intense than it really is.

After all, from a certain perspective, storybook quests are rather easy. Have to go retrieve a precious cup from an evil wizard? Of course, the actual fighting isn’t going to be easy, but you already know exactly what you are trying to find, and who your enemy is. And — hint — he probably lives in that big, scary, defying-the-laws-of-physics-with-the-way-the-towers-are-built castle, with the skeletons on the flag.

And fantasy dragons aren’t terribly hard to identify either. Scales? Check. Lots of teeth? Check. Fire-breathing? Check. Huge and terrifying? Double-check. Yes, we definitely have a dragon on our hands, in need of being slain. And though the slaying part may be a bit tricky and arduous, it is still rather straightforward. Special arrow or sword in a soft part, and no more dragon!

The princess is the simplest part of all. See the tall, lovely, blonde girl you just rescued? That’s her! And because you were the one who rescued her, you and her are obviously perfect for each other, and now that you’ve found each other, the rest of your life is so easy and simple that we don’t even have to mention it.

Now, I certainly enjoy fairy-tales. (The princess was always red-headed in my stories.) They are beautiful, sweet, and simple. But that may be exactly why I like them. They are simpler than everyday life.

Because real-life quests aren’t dreadfully clear-cut. No friend or family-member can authoritatively tell us, “Here’s your goal, now all you have to do is makes this grade on these three classes, spend this many hours volunteering at that place, and go to this exact place at this exact time,” and, viola, happily ever after.

And real life dragons aren’t so easy to see. Hatred has no claws. Lust doesn’t breathe fire. Depression has no teeth. Wrong influences don’t have scales. Addiction doesn’t have a winding tale. Envy isn’t big and green. Loneliness doesn’t live in dark mountains. Pride doesn’t sleep on a mountain of gold. At least, not that we can physically see.

And yet all of these are things that we fight, that we struggle against. And you cannot slay them out with one special strike. They re-spawn, and we must fight them over and over again, continually battling the ills of our flesh.

And the princess? Let’s not even get started. Everyone knows relationships aren’t nearly as easy as a Disney movie.

We face more fearsome trials than any Sir Gavin or Sir Lancelot ever knew. We’ve just become de-sensitized to them by their constant presence. We are so surrounded by these enemies and foes that we’ve started ignoring them. Because life can be hard, it can be painful, it can be dark, and it can be frightening.

Yes, we face greater foes and must scale greater mountains. Yet, we also have a greater ally and aid than those heroes ever did. In most tales, the hero is taken in and trained by a wise master, or given a special shield, a magical sword, to help him overcome. Through sage wisdom, the protagonist grows and matures, being readied to complete his task, to truly be the hero. His special equipment allows him to defeat the before-unsurmountable odds, to reach heights he never would have scaled by himself.

Likewise, we have not been left defenseless in this fight.

Now, we aren’t given steel swords, nor modern-day tanks; our weapons aren’t physical. But this shouldn’t surprise us, because neither are our enemies.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness in this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12)

Rulers of darkness, spiritual wickedness in high places, these are our dark lords, wicked wizards, and evil queens that we fight against.

But we have been given the whole armour of God, that we may be able to stand in the day of darkness and despair, and having done all to stand. To stand victorious, to stand a conqueror! When the dust settles, he wearing the armor of God still remains.

We have been greatly protected from the fiery darts of our enemy, we have been girt about with truth, given the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and greatest of all, the sword of the Spirit.

Sharper than Excalibur, brighter than Andúril, the Word of God is powerful, able to cleave between the soul and the spirit, able to separate bone and marrow. We have great protection from the dragons of this world if we choose to put it on.

But even more than that, we have a greater Teacher, a greater Ally, a greater King. The Source of all wisdom is He who teaches us. The All-powerful One is He who trains us for the battle. The All-knowing One is He who instructs us where to go.

And yet, in many stories, the mentor, the sensei, dies or is gone in some way, leaving the hero to face the world alone only with what he has learned.

And, truly, our King did die. But because He did so, we are not separated from Him, but can rather always dwell in His presence! We are never alone; we abide in Him, and He abides in us. (John 15:4) No matter where we wander, He is still there.

Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me…. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. (Ps 139:7-12)

We have a Mentor who not only shall never leave us, but One who incomprehensibly loves us, delights in us, and wants and knows what is the very best for us.

Life is a great adventure, an epic tale. So, courage, dear heart. Hold your ground sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers. You have great dangers to face, great dragons to slay. Walk not around with your eyes closed, thinking what you cannot see can neither hurt you. But look not only at your foes and fears either.

Fix your gaze instead on Him who has overcome the world.

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isa 41:10)


Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section! There are currently __ Comment(s)

Photo courtesy of Lauren Rushing and Flickr Creative Commons.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Isabelle Schweitzer

Isabelle Schweitzer (formerly Ingalls) has been a Rebelutionary since she was 15—learning how to trust God's faithfulness and do hard things as she wrote, walked through several international adoptions with her family, ministered at-risk kids, and mentored teens at camp. She now lives in South Carolina with her husband, where they continue to do hard things as they finish seminary, raise their new baby girl, and lead their church's youth group.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I love this article! It is so true and so inspiring! Thank you for taking the time to write it, Isabelle. 🙂

  • Agreed! I’ve always loved fairy tales, so this is very relatable. (And my princesses always had red hair too)

  • Wow!! You made me really want to pull out LOTR and the Hobbit!; ) Thank you for this encouraging article! It made me really want to stand strong and to stand firm! I think the Chronicles of Narnia are some of the best examples of Christians fighting the good fight, and Aslan always reminds me that we have a Great Lion of the Tribe of Judah!

  • Thank you for this, it was so encouraging:)
    I LOVE fairytales!
    I love ” His Princess” by Shari Rose Shepard, those books are good!

  • This was so beautifully written and so very true! I always do love a good fairy tale, but I love finding the adventure in fighting the Good Fight even more. Keep up the good work!

  • Reminds me of something a friend of a friend said a few week ago, “We tell fairy tales to our kids not so they believe that dragons exist, but so they know that dragons can be slain.”

    Great post! Thanks so much for writing it, and keep up the good work. 😊

    • Thank you so much! I love that quote. I’m so glad God can take my simple words and work them to encourage and strengthen you all in your walk! Keep on following Him!

  • Wow, that was an amazing article, Isabelle! Everything you said was so true and I absolutely loved the allusions and whole theme you pulled in. Thanks for sharing it’s a great reminder!

  • I would try to say how wonderful this is, but everything I would have said has already been mentioned. I love seeing things from a different perspective and this was so cool! It reminds me to stay focused on my goal and keep fighting onward 🙂

    “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

  • Great article!!! It is a good reminder not to get too comfortable or ever relax or let down our guard, as we keep coming back to the realization that we are fighting against a very real enemy. Armour up!

  • Whooo!!!

    When I finished reading this article, I just had to stand up and cheer. Your style is very gripping, and I’m glad you’re using it to further God’s kingdom. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • So wonderful Isabelle! You are a (red-headed) princess of the MOST HIGH! Your price if far above rubies and you will lay many crowns at His feet! God’s perfect blessings to you and your family!!!

  • Wow.. thank you for this article. I really enjoy reading it. As a fairy tale reader, I have to say this is sooo true. Courage, dear heart….

  • Hey Isabelle! Great job and yes it all makes sense. While we have a natural inclination for fairy tails — whether it’s work related or Taylor Swift’s conception of it in her songs (!!) — we need to remember that God is more powerful than any fantasy we can conjure up. Very nice blog you have too!

  • This was an amazing article. I loved how you presented the concept. You made great comparisons. Loved it!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →