ONE OF the ways that grown-ups take care of children is by telling them fairy tales. The pretend atmosphere of fairy tales shelters children from the overwhelming uncertainties and the confusing sense of helplessness that adults must face from time to time. No matter how scary or violent the tale is, the struggle between good and evil is always clear and good always triumphs in the end. Also, the difference is clear between courage and cowardice, justice and injustice, help and hindrance.
Even though grown-ups are trying to take care of their children by making up stories, when we become adults, we have to give up the fairy tales our parents told us. Desperately holding onto the vision of a life in which the face of the enemy is clear and the good guys always win, we waste our lives waiting for the happy ending.
What makes life’s pain seem so unbearable is the mistaken belief that we can avoid it somehow.