An Happy?

The girls received, as one of their Christmas presents, yet another set of fairy tales. They really like this set’s version of Cinderella, which is nicely illustrated (you gotta see Cinderella’s ball gown!), to the point (the versions of the story which have C’ella going to balls on two consecutive nights are dumb), and not too scary (no need to overdo the stepmother and stepsisters!).

Julia is continually confused by one sentence, though. Just after the pages in which Cinderella first falls in love with the prince after dancing all evening with him, then flees the castle but leaves behind one glass slipper, the book reads, “The next day, the Prince was very unhappy. He had fallen in love with the girl without a name.”

Every time I read this aloud, Julia stops me. “Does it say ‘an happy’?” I tell her that the word is “unhappy,” like “not happy,” and each time she responds, “Why is the prince not happy if he is in love? He should be very happy.”

I reply with something like, “When you fall in love with someone, you can feel unhappy when you’re not with them. It’s part of being in love, to feel sad when you’re not around the person you love.”

After listening to this adult nonsense, Julia usually just furrows her brow, or asks me to resume reading. Tonight, though, she looked up at me, then studied the accompanying picture of the prince looking rather bummed out, and said, “That’s weird. I don’t think that’s right.”

One thought on “An Happy?”

  1. You know what? That’s actually an great statement from her. I could plumb that nugget for some serious literary / metaphorical gold. Why is it right? Why isn’t it? What does it say about the prominence for temporal/physical satisfaction over mental/emotional needs? What is it about being with someone you love that makes it better than simply being in love? Much to think about…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *