A lecture given by Rudolf Steiner Berlin, December, 1908 

The subject of today’s lecture is a kind of principle or rule for the explanation of fairy tales and legends. In a wider sense this principle can be extended to the world of myths, and we propose in a few words to indicate how this can be done. Naturally it is impossible in one hour to specify exactly how one should satisfy a young child with the fairy story itself and then later, when the child is older, with the explanation of it; but perhaps this may be done as a continuation of today’s lecture. I would now rather try to make clear to you what should exist in the soul of one who wishes to explain such stories, and what he ought to know. 

An article by Susan Perrow, 2014

The universe began as a story ... we are part human, part stories...

The importance of stories and storytelling has been understood and worked with since the beginning of recorded history. Anthropologists have long observed the importance and popularity of stories in every culture. Joseph Campbell, through his extensive study of world mythology, states that our cultural mythswork upon us, whether consciously or unconsciously, as energy-releasing, life-motivating anddirecting agents ...

"Whenever men have looked for something solid on which to found their lives, they have chosen not the facts in which the world abounds, but the myths of an immemorial imagination".


© Susan Perrow

In simple terms, a metaphor shows us one thing as another, and in doing so extends the way we see the world, also often refreshing and enlivening our perception. In oral and written language, using the medium of picture imagery, metaphor speaks directly to our imaginative faculties, bypassing our rational brain. Such metaphoric byways and pathways enable us to explore the ideas, forces, and powers that lie behind or beyond our rational thought. 

An article by Susan Perrow 2018

'Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life' - Friedrich von Schiller.

This article attempts to show that fairy tales in the broad sense of the term i.e. “folk fairy tales" from folkcultures all around the world, speak a universal language that is understood by and of value to children world-wide. It also addresses the various fears that have led to fairy tales being outlawed by some schools and parents, and concludes with some age-appropriate indications for choosing stories.

Thanks to Susan Perrow for generously sharing a story for children everywhere..

This story was written for use with young children (suggested ages 3-7 years) who are required to stay home during the current C-19 pandemic, or who have had their freedom severely modified (e.g. perhaps they can attend school but can’t attend special assemblies, festivals, parties or events). The song at the end has been left open for teachers and parents to create more verses with ideas from the children. The story can be changed/edited to suit different situations – e.g. mother tree could be father tree or grandmother or grandfather tree, or you may want to omit the part about ‘gnome school’. The main character could also be changed (e.g. instead of using a gnome the story could be about a mouse stuck in his little house, or a bird that must stay and rest in the nest).

Note: since writing this story in March it has been translated into 25 languages –you will find the links to the translations here:

A rhyming story for children in this C-19 pandemic who are overly anxious about ‘germs’ and getting ill.

Thanks to Susan Perrow.