Saturday, May 4, 2013

Big Claus and Little Mermaid

I must have been no older than five when my grandfather brought out an old book of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and asked me to pick out a bedtime story. I chose one called Little Claus and Big Claus because—silly me—I thought it must have something to do with Christmas. My grandfather obviously was unfamiliar with the story, or he would have insisted that I pick out something more appropriate for children, such as The Tell-Tale Heart.

To this day, I'm not sure why he read it all the way through. He should have stopped when he got to the part where Big Claus brains Little Claus's horse with a hammer. Maybe he wasn't listening to what he was reading, because I distinctly recall that he read it through to the very end before remarking on what a horrible story it was.

Tell me about it. For weeks I had nightmares in which Big Claus was chasing me with his hatchet. It sort of changed the way I felt about Santa, too.

The lesson to be learned here is to never read a child a story you don't already know. Also, never read a child any story—even if you think you know it—that was written by Hans Christian Andersen.

Have you ever actually read The Little Mermaid? It's nothing like the Disney version.

However, if you'd like to see a live performance of The Little Mermaid that is like the Disney version (well, sort of), come see the opening show of the 2013 season of Fairy Tales in the Park, playing in various parks throughout Ventura county this weekend and next.

I guarantee there will be no hatchets.

Cast of The Little Mermaid, including yours truly as Big Claus—I mean, King Triton

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