Hi.  I am interested in finding stories that have the elements of the fairy tale - adventure, medieval setting, etc. - but without the magical & spiritual elements of sorcerers, witches, spells, enchantment, etc.


This can be for any age group.  I'm really interested in Once Upon A Time stories but feel free to list any you can think of.  Thanks!

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Some examples:


1. Hans Christian Andersen "Emperor's new suit"

2. Hans Christian Andersen "The Little Match Girl" (as far as I remember, the girl saw pictures of her grandmother etc only in her imagination, so no magic involved; at the end the child dies and her grandmother "carries her soul to heaven", is this magic enough? ;-) )

3. Hans Christian Andersen "The Ugly Duckling".


There are some other fairy tales based on 3 brothers, one of them "stupid", all three of them are trying to marry a princess but the princess wants to "test" the candidates by surprising them with strange questions. The "rational" brothers have no idea what to say, the "stupid" brother uses his imagination and gives really cool answers. He gets the princess. No magic involved.


Is this the kind of stories you possibly could mean? What about "Fantastic Mr Fox" by Roald Dahl?

Thanks Hania!  Do you remember the name of the one with the three brothers.  That sounds like what I'm looking for :-)   And yeah, the Emporer's New Clothes is great too!  The Atheist version can be the Emporer's New God :-)
I have found the English version! Apparently it was originally written by Hans Christian Andersen. The title is "Jack the Dullard" and you get an English translation of the Danish version there: http://hca.gilead.org.il/dullard.html (I do not know if it is a complete translation and how accurate it is). There are a lot of fairy tales by Andersen which are "rational", based on common sense or imagination (e.g. what kind of feelings and thoughts could animals or... toys have).

I have now read it, it is the real version of the fairy tale I meant! You get more of Andersen's fairy tales here: http://hca.gilead.org.il/


One more story which is fantasy but no apparent magic is "Pippi Långstrump" by Astrid Lindgren (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pippi_Longstocking).


Time for me to take the kids to school (mine are 9 and 5.5; how old are yours?).

That's right!  I forgot about Pippi Longstocking.  She is definitely a great role model.

Aw :-)  I hope you all don't mind, I'm not a parent but I'm fasinated by atheist parenting, child psychology, children's literature and the role that culture plays into it.  In particular, studying these subjects from my newly found atheist perspective.

No problem, I found your question interesting. Does not matter if you need the answer for your own parenting, or if you are writing a thesis about the subject, or if you just want to discuss :-) .
Thanks for being welcoming :-) I'm glad you find the topic interesting!
Thanks Hania!  I checked it out.  Cool :-) Yeah, I agree, imagination is a good thing to encourage, or else where would inventors get their ideas from and how could we ever move forward as a society?  Plus it's just fun. 

Stephen and Lucy Hawking: George's Secret Key to the Universe, George's cosmic Treasure Hunt

Gerald Durell's books

Hervé This: La casserole des enfants (1998) - (Revealing the Science of Cooking - for children) Hervé this is a physical chemist of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. One of the two founders of the science called molecular gastronomy.)

Masaharu Takemura' books: The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology, etc.



Thanks Csende :-)  They sound great!
Oh yeah!  Robinhood!  *facepalm*  I forgot about that!  I loved that story growing up, and out of the Disney movies it was one of my favorites :-) 
I hear what you are saying. It is really difficult to find any children’s stories that are Naturalistic the whole way through. Most if not all of them are based in myths – be that obvious myths about angels and dragons, or subtle myths about good and evil.

It is for this reason that I take a more of an educational approach with my kids. So we read any old book (as I’ve not come across any that aren’t mythical in some way). Then we read it. Then we spend some time afterwards talking about the implications of the book in terms of our own beliefs about the world.

Even the TV news or kids shows on TV or just people we meet in the street – they all have mythical slants to them. TV news perpetuates the myth of good guys and bad guys, people we meet in the street perpetuate the myth that we must have manners otherwise we should be punished.

If I encourage open dialogue and debate about these issues then when my children enter the real world of myth and fantasy that they will encounter every day of their lives (because I can’t see people everywhere realising reason and logic any time soon). Then my kids will have the skills to deal with this conflict in a well practised way – and I will also have had lots of opportunity to introduce my values and world perspectives to my children in context to all these myths that are perpetuated by society.

A dialogue after reading a book might go thus –

So are there any such thing as angels?

Yes / no

No, Angels don’t exist, they are just an idea that some people came up with because (insert your naturalistic explanation here…)

In this way you can slowly talk about all the myths in our culture and dispel them one by one, using the vehicles that others perpetuate them with… books based in myth and fantasy.


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