Our favourite fairytales look very different when the villains practise meditation

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Our favourite fairytales look very different when the villains practise meditation

Posted by Megan Murray Published

What would the villains from our favourite fairytales look like if they had practised mindfulness? 

We might be fully grown, empowered, kick-ass women but there’s still a special place in our hearts for the fairytales from our childhood.

Although some of them were problematic (back away from the sleeping woman, prince), they instilled in us a sense of right and wrong, drawing a clear line between the dark and the light.

But although villains such as Little Red Riding Hood’s Big Bad Wolf taught us to trust our instincts and stay clear of those who are not what they seem, leading meditation app Calm thinks that these fables could have been even more useful if they’d have featured the benefits of meditation and mindfulness.

The app has launched a new series called Fairy-Tales De-Stressed, which will retell classic stories with a focus on mindfulness, teaching adult listeners how better to deal with stress.

Starting with a reimagining of Rumpelstiltskin, the first installment looks at how the imp known for stamping his feet in rage could have resolved his issues by using meditation. 


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The story itself is thought to be more than 4,000 years old but is most commonly known for being part of a collection of stories, gathered by the Brothers Grimm in 1812.

In the original, Rumplestiltskin manipulates a helpless young women into giving away her first-born child in return for his talent of spinning straw into gold. He makes a bargain that she can only keep her baby if she can guess his name, which she successfully does, causing him to cause quite a stir before running away forever.

In Calm’s version, Rumplestiltskin “does what any creature famed for their foul temper should do – and learns to meditate” which makes him a “calmer, gentler, more compassionate and benevolent soul.”

Calm says its new version of the story is more than just a piece of whimsy: “the sort of transformation that Rumpelstiltskin undergoes in the new tale is based on scientific evidence of the real effects that meditation can have.”

What’s more, Rumplestiltskin is read by Game of Thrones star Jerome Flynn, which is another reason to give it a listen. “If only Rumpelstiltskin had learnt to meditate as a much younger imp, how differently his story might have turned out,” he says.

Coming up in the series which is available now, is The Wicked Witch of the West Discovers Mindfulness and The Big Bad Wolf Learns Anger Management.

Could grown-up bedtime stories be the antidote to the stressful times we’re living in?

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