Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Phi 4:8
We saw last time that that which is true, is that which is grasped and secured as what continually is, across time and cultures – absolute truth.
So then we had to ask, if fairy tale, myth, and fable fail as worthy at the very first test, since elfin beings, or animals that talk and act as men, are not what is.
C. S. Lewis once famously said to J. R. R. Tolkien, that myth and fairy-story making was “breathing a lie through Silver.” This is often the reason given that myth, fable, and fairy-story fail as worthy at the very first test.
In order to analyze Lewis’ objection, and Tolkien’s answer to him, whether either the objection or the answer are true, we have to understand the nature of Story itself. Story is, according to Webster’s, an account of incident or events. So far, so good. An article in a newspaper can be a true story, if it accurately relates the incident or events. A newspaper account is defined as non-fiction. It corresponds to the Real World. A parable of Jesus, such as the Parable of the Good Samaritan, is also a true story, for it is an account of incident or events which reflects what continually is. A parable is defined as fiction, however, because the incident and events described did not actually happen. But this is the key point: it also corresponds to the Real World. It corresponds to the Real World, because it tells the truth in the greater framework of His Story.
You see, there is One True Story. It is the Great Story of the Father’s Love for His Children, and the Bridegroom’s Love for His Bride. It is the story of the wicked enemy, in whatever form he may take, and the ultimate triumph of our noble Hero in overcoming him. It is the story of the Redemption and Rescue of the Children or the Bride from kidnap or destruction. It is the story of Life triumphing over Death, and Good triumphing over Evil. It is the story of the Children or the Bride as they journey from foolishness (rejecting the Father or the Bridegroom) to wisdom (recognizing and accepting Him). For all True Story, is His Story. And a thousand and ten thousand different stories may tell a facet of that One True Story, for a particular time or place. (This was Tolkien’s answer to Lewis, and it corresponds to the Real World.)
When the brave knight rescues the fair princess from the clutches of the great and fearsome dragon, that is no more a false story than the one in this morning’s newspaper. In fact, it may be a truer story, because in this morning’s newspaper you might read that evil triumphed over good. That, my friends, is the ultimate false story.
|Journal or Newspaper articles
Myth, Fable, Fantasy
Therefore true myth, true fable, and true fantasy (which also includes fairy tale and science fiction), like the true parable, are true because they correspond to the One True Story, even if the characters (such as talking beasts, or elven kings) are unlike our own, or the setting (such as Tatooine, or Narnia) is a world unlike our own. Eden was a world unlike our own, and the Millennial Kingdom is a world unlike our own, and Heaven is a world unlike our own, and yet they still correspond to the Real World: What Continually Is.
So we see that we cannot discard Myth, Fable, Fairy tale, or Fantasy outright as failing the test of true, but each myth, each fable, each fairy tale, and each fantasy must be examined individually to see if it tells the One True Story. If it does, it passes the test of true, and then it may be subjected to the other tests of worth.