Once upon a time, you would like to wake up to find?

“Once upon a time” there were – hold it – why do all these old stories always start with “once upon a time?” Is there something special in these words? Does the line evoke certain images for you or certain feelings? I think you will probably answer: “Why, yes it does.” Somehow, the words “Once upon a time” have the power and magic to take us far far away to strange fantasy lands where good is battling evil. And despite how dark it might seem for the hero or heroine, in the end, we know that the evil King, Queen, Witch, Warlord or Dragon, will be defeated and the good guys (or good creatures) will live happily ever after. How many fairy tales were you told when you were a child that ended “happily ever after?”

“Once upon a time” takes us to a world where good always trumps evil. Who would not want to live in such a place? “Once upon a time” is a much sweeter opening line than “And now the six o’clock news.” Faced with the evening news, who would not want to escape to a magic kingdom that was someplace far far away? It is interesting that during hard times, people seem to want more fantasy stories with happy endings to escape too. Stories like the Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins were very popular during some tough economic and social times. We might call this escapism but it actually shows that humans can only handle so much bad news and after that we must have some happy news. Like the old axiom, “all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl”, it is likely true that all bad news and no good news makes us bitter and angry people. We must have fantasy and happiness in our lives or we shrivel up and become sour like old prunes.

What is your favorite story or fantasy land? Why? What dreams or fantasies does this story hold for you? Do you realize that none of these stories ever tells you what the time period was? The time they take place in is simply “once upon a time.” Where would you like to go now if you could go anyplace in time?

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