According to neurologist Dr. Gerhard Hüther, when a fairy tale is told from memory, more so than when it is read, something important happens in the brain of the listener. The safety of a storytelling setting activates the emotional centers and substances are produced which promote the building of new connections between nerve cells. The fairy tales promote the enhancement of compassion, as well as the abilities to form better relationships, to overcome obstacles and to give hope. When things get dark and dangerous in the tale, but are told in a cozy storytelling setting, there can be a learning effect of a new “virtual” situation. However, it is of the utmost importance that the darkness and the danger are followed by a happy ending. The resolution then ensures the listener, who has started to identify with the story, that the actions were not meaningless after all. Therefore, Hüther claims storytelling of “Märchen” to be the highest form of teaching, since the suspense and the action of the tale are felt yet are not happening in reality.
Excerpt from my book "The True Hero’s Journey in Fairy Tales and Stone Circles"
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