I am reading Fragile Things. It is filled with wonderful short stories. I was particularly struck by “Locks”. Gaiman’s intro:
“Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was a story by the poet Robert Southey. Or rather, it wasn’t – his version told of an old woman and the three bears. The form of the story and what happened was right, but people knew that the story needed to be about a little girl rather than an old woman, and when they retold it, they put her in.
Of course, fairy tales are transmissible. You can catch them, or be infected by them. They are the currency that we share with those who walk the world before ever we were there. (Telling stories to my children that I was, in my turn, told by my parents and grandparents makes me feel part of something special and odd, part of the continuous stream of life itself.) My daughter Maddy, who was two when I wrote this for her, is eleven, and we still share stories, but they are now on television or films. We read the same books and talk about them, but I no longer read them to her, and even that was a poor replacement for telling her stories out of my head.
I believe we owe it to each other to tell stories. It’s as close to a credo as I have or will, I suspect, ever get.