Red Riding Hood 

A little girl in red is preyed upon by a hungry wolf who devours her. In her bright red outfit she is as easy a target as children are to ‘predators’. She forgets her mother’s warning to stay on the path and falls prey to the charming and friendly wolf - every parent’s nightmare as they begin to allow their children more freedom and independence.

A rhyme telling a moral at the end of Perrault’s story (Red Riding Hood’s author)expresses his warning to young girls about the nature of wolves. For instance,it makes it abundantly clear he was not referring to canines in “Little RedRiding Hood.” One English translation reads:
Littlegirls, this seems to say, Never stop upon your way, Never trust a stranger­ friend;No one knows how it will end. As you’re pretty so be wise; Wolves may lurk inevery guise. Handsome they may be, and kind, Gay, and charming—never mind! Now,as then, ’tis simple truth—Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth! 


Pinocchio, a wooden boy without a heart, struggles to obey the rules and behave according to the norms. He tries, often to no avail. Only once he learns to be a good boy does he receive a heart from the fairy. What does it mean to have a child whois incomplete or a ‘misfit’? When does a label stop being a label?

I am themother of a boy that was born with congenital heart disease, having to undergosurgery to correct the anomaly. He is also autistic, which results in aconstant battle with received notions of normality and acceptance.

He is theportrait of a modern­ day Pinocchio. How many more Pinocchios inhabit theEarth? How many faces embodying difference?

Sleeping Beauty

Trying toprotect their daughter from a curse, which predicts she’ll die by pricking herfinger on a spindle, the King and Queen destroy all the spindles in thekingdom. But the bad fairy leads the princess to a spindle and in her curiosityshe pricks her finger and falls into a 100­ year sleep. Instead of warningtheir daughter about the dangers she faced, the parents tried to protect her bysheltering her from the threat. The curse became a taboo. But having been over­protectedfor so long she didn’t know what a spindle was or that it could ever poses athreat. And touch she did.

Naturally,all parents want to protect their children from the dangers that lie ahead. Butoften over protecting our children can give rise to rebellious behaviour and aninability to recognise danger.

The Pied Piper

In the storythe piper sought revenge on the town after the Mayor refused to pay him forridding the town of rats. This picture represents the story of power, betrayaland revenge underpinning the tale. The children are shown caught up in thepower game, represented here by the chessboard. More often than not, it is theinnocent (the children, the dispossessed, the marginalised) who are at thereceiving end of the mindless power struggles plaguing modern society. 

Madame Butterfly

MadameButterfly, a young Japanese girl, is waiting for the return of her beloved husband, an American naval officer. She retreats from the world in depression and pain, becoming a cocoon. When he eventually returns with his new American wife she is unable to live with the pain of betrayal and the sense of abandonment. She finds release from her insufferable pain by becoming a butterfly.

The innocence of youth allows romantic ideas of love to fill the mind with unrealistic expectations that are seldom met in real life. 

The tale of the milk lady 

The tale tell us about the daughter of a farmer that is carrying a jar full of milk to sell in the village and on her way, she starts making plans for the future.

'When I sell this milk I will then buy 300 eggs and those eggs will give me at least250 chickens. When the chickens grow up I will sell them all in the market to the highest price so I could buy with this money the best dress to go to parties. When in the party all the handsome boys will want to be with me and I will decide which will be my future husband...'

But at that moment she twisted her foot and all the milk spilled on the floor and so all her dreams vanished.

Day dreaming and dreaming ‘big’ is normal in childhood. Big plans, big projects, big visions. But it is arguably everyone’s experience that ambitious dreams do not always become a reality. And there is but a short step between reality and disappointment. 


Rapunzel is a lonely girl who wants to see the world but she is not allowed and is kept locked up in the tower by her mother. Sometimes the world is staring us in the face but we are scared to see it or take the opportunities it offers us. Should we wait for the right person to save us? The prince to climb up the tower and rescue us? Or should we take the plunge and jump? How can we step outside the confines of whatever is holding us back? 

Alice in Wonderland

The rabbit is always in a hurry, running to keep time and meet the demands from the Queen of Hearts. He is trapped. The window and the open cage represent freedom. This is a reflection of how we ­ children and ​adults­ choose to live our lives, forever rushing around in an insane effort to meet spurious needs. Hamsters on a wheel going nowhere. How can we ever hope to free ourselves from the unrealistic demands placed on us by society and ourselves? 

The son of the moon

A gypsy woman falls in love with a man from another tribe whom she is not allowed to marry. She cries and pleads to the moon for help. The moon agrees on condition that the woman surrenders her first-born child. The baby is born with pale skin and the man thinks the woman has betrayed him. So he kills her and abandons the child who is taken away and looked after by the moon. According to the story,the phases of the moon depend on

the mood ofthe child. This child was born into conflict, being part of two opposing tribesand being promised to the moon.

We don’t choose the circumstances into which we are born. We might be born rich or poor, boy or girl, into a world of peace ora theatre of war, nurtured in love or thrown into the arms of hatred. And that is the raw material, the foundation stone of our life journey. 

Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack exchanges the family cow for some magic beans. The beansprout grows and, against the warnings of his mother, Jack climbs up. He meets the giant, invades his property, steals from him and ends up killing him. Yet this thief and murderer is the hero of the story ­ why do we go along with this? Our morals and ethics are often openly contradictory: the thing we accept in one situation we reject in others. 

The Tales of Mr Tod

This Beatrix Potter story tells the tale of a badger Tommy Brock and his archenemy Mr Tod a fox. They fight and get at each other all the time. They are incompatible. It is this seemingly unbridgeable gulf that makes both animals and humans struggle with acceptance.Empathy, patience, tolerance... sometimes no mediation can lessen the impact of what is a head-­on collision.

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea

Professor Aronnax is sent to investigate mysterious encounters that are disrupting international shipping by what they believe is a monster. Professor Aronnax, his servant Conseil, and harpooner Ned Land are captured when their ship is sunk. The monster turns out to be a submarine, the Nautilus, c​aptained by Nemo, who captures the investigators and takes them on an underwater adventure.

We are often taken in by the allure of adventure, which can lead us to amazing situations but also to danger. Maybe sometimes we sail too happily into the world of the unknown, failing to acknowledge that it is only a matter of time before we are out of our depth. 

Using Format