Fairy Tales and Women

Gustave Doré's illustration to the European fa...
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Why is it in all the fairy tales that the Princess is rescued, or saved?  What makes it so that the women in these tales must be protected?

The true answer is that the women in these tales and their live counterparts in this world are not protected because they are weak but because they are strong.

‘Beauty’ had the power to turn a ‘Beast’ into a man,  Snow White used her charm to escape the woodsman and make seven outcasts her friends (I’ve always thought that Snow White was not as physically beautiful as the Queen, but was more breathtaking in her character and grace), Cinderella charmed a Prince not with the magic of her dress but with the magic of the heart.

That is the crux of all the power and majesty of women – they have the power to change hearts.  Men have the power and drive to conquer; but that comes with a cost.  We may win the day, win the battle, but lose the heart.

Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, Fanny Crosby, and Abigail Adams, are just a scant list of the women who have challenged and changed the heart of the world.  It takes true strength and power to change the heart than it does the mind.  It takes patience, love, kindness, to change the heart; changing someone with force takes little virtue at all.  Men are called to defend – defend the defenseless, defend those who ought to be defended, defend the Truth, defend those so the truly powerful are not snuffed out.

These treasures of the world must be protected (and not forgotten), protected from those who would stifle the power, dignity, and grace because they are afraid of the overwhelming strength of women.

How can they be protected?  Even the bright light of a raging bonfire can be stifled by smothering it in dirt.  That is why the code of Chivalry was penned.  In recent times this code has been forgotten letting people follow the desires of lust and power – therefore the code ought to be reintroduced.

Thanks to this site: http://www.astro.umd.edu/~marshall/chivalry.html (edit: site changed because geocities has shut down) here are some of the points of Chivalry and of Courtly Love:

The Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry

From Chivalry by Leon Gautier

  1. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
  2. Thou shalt defend the Church.
  3. Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
  4. Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
  5. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
  6. Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
  7. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
  8. Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
  9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
  10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.

The Twelve Chief Rules in Love

From The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus

  1. Thou shalt avoid avarice like the deadly pestilence and shalt embrace its opposite.
  2. Thou shalt keep thyself chaste for the sake of her whom thou lovest.
  3. Thou shalt not knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in.
  4. Thou shalt not chose for thy love anyone whom a natural sense of shame forbids thee to marry.
  5. Be mindful completely to avoid falsehood.
  6. Thou shalt not have many who know of thy love affair.
  7. Being obedient in all things to the commands of ladies, thou shalt ever strive to ally thyself to the service of Love.
  8. In giving and receiving love’s solaces let modesty be ever present.
  9. Thou shalt speak no evil.
  10. Thou shalt not be a revealer of love affairs.
  11. Thou shalt be in all things polite and courteous.
  12. In practicing the solaces of love thou shalt not exceed the desires of thy lover.


    1. I am totally in agreement that the generalization between men and women that I stated is just that: a generalization. Like all generalizations it is not deductive but deals with probability, and possibility.

      I am also in agreement that men can also change hearts (in a different fashion though), but I have found that women have a greater gift at that talent. Protection goes both ways: a man protects a women, and a women protects a man – but not in the same way. In general women have the power of transformation and in general men have the power of protection. It is a different road to the same ground. Martin Luther changed the heart of western religion by first defending the Scriptures, Martin Luther King Jr. by defending those who were oppressed changed the hearts of America and still does. Gandhi defended his country by actively resisting in a non-violent way and thus challenged and changed the heart of the world (especially that of Britain).

      The most valuable things are not the physical things, but are things of the heart. Today Men have forgotten that but most women have not.

      A fairy tale (play) that I should have additionally stated was “The Divine Narcissus” by Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz. She was the first significant playwright in the Americas and this play of hers dealt with the battle over the heart.

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