Leicester City and the Grimm side of fairy tales

We’re willing to bet that the words ‘fairy’ and ‘tale’ have been used exponentially more across the media in the last few weeks than is average!

We haven’t crunched the numbers, but we’re willing to bet that the words ‘fairy’ and ‘tale’ have been used exponentially more across the media in the last few weeks than is average – and we’re also pretty sure we wouldn’t get odds of 5,000/1 on that particular wager, either.

The reason, of course, is Leicester’s Premier League triumph, which has been universally heralded as the ultimate victory and vindication for frog-kissing. And there’s no doubt that these are extraordinarily unlikely champions, or that their rise is a cock right in the snook for a handful of bigger, richer clubs.

But, before we unconditionally accept our invitation to a 'Vardy Party', might we consider a few mitigating circumstances: the billionaire Thai owner with no connection to the city; the fact that the club is still under investigation for financially doping their way out of the Championship; that they pay far more in transfer fees and wages than the ‘Cinderella’s ball gown budget’ the media would have you believe; the video evidence (not tabloid gossip) of several racist and misogynistic episodes in very recent times; oh, and talking of doping, the fact that they are one of only three clubs named by drugs-in-sport whistle blower, Dr Mark Bonar, as part of the recent Sunday Times front page exposé.

So, maybe Leicester's not about to be twinned with the Magic Kingdom, after all. But, hold on, it might still be the stuff of fairy tales. Because, actually, fairy tales, proper fairy tales, have always been a hell of a lot darker than Disney.

In fact, classic, literary fairy tales, including those by the 
Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, are often based on quite unpalatable historical events and legends. Recurrent themes include, brace yourself: murder, incest, rape, torture and child abuse.

In the original version of 
Cinderella (although that’s a tough phrase to use, as the story seems to date back to China in 860AD), for instance, the step-sisters hack off their own toes and heels to try and fit the glass slipper. Biggins doesn’t do that in panto, right?

Meanwhile, in one of the lesser known Grimm Fairy Tales, 
The Juniper Tree, a woman decapitates her stepson as he bends down to pick up an apple, then chops him up and cooks him in a stew so tasty her unwitting husband demands seconds.

Even in 
Rapunzel, originally, the reason the evil witch knows her stolen ward is ‘seeing’ a prince in her tower is because she foolishly mentions her dress is getting too tight. Why is it getting tight? Because she’s pregnant. Seems it wasn’t just her hair Rapunzel was letting down. 

You get the picture.

So, maybe the media’s constant reference to Leicester City’s ‘fairy tale’ is cloying, not to mention annoying, but also, perhaps unintentionally, it’s more accurate than they mean it to be.

Roll on the Euros and an England win! Although now we fear we’re venturing into another realm of fiction altogether: fantasy. 

Previous/Next Posts