Fairyland: The Sunny Country Of Common Sense



More larger-than-short-quotes goodness today from G.K. Chesterton and his magnificent Orthodoxy.
This, too, is from Chapter 4: The Ethics of Elfland. Enjoy. 

   My first and last philosophy, that which I believe in with unbroken
   certainty, I learnt in the nursery. I generally learnt it from a nurse;
   that is, from the solemn and star-appointed priestess at once of
   democracy and tradition. The things I believed most then, the things I
   believe most now, are the things called fairy tales. They seem to me to
   be the entirely reasonable things. They are not fantasies: compared
   with them other things are fantastic. Compared with them religion and
   rationalism are both abnormal, though religion is abnormally right and
   rationalism abnormally wrong. Fairyland is nothing but the sunny
   country of common sense. It is not earth that judges heaven, but heaven
   that judges earth; so for me at least it was not earth that criticised
   elfland, but elfland that criticised the earth. I knew the magic
   beanstalk before I had tasted beans; I was sure of the Man in the Moon
   before I was certain of the moon. This was at one with all popular
   tradition. Modern minor poets are naturalists, and talk about the bush
   or the brook; but the singers of the old epics and fables were
   supernaturalists, and talked about the gods of brook and bush. That is
   what the moderns mean when they say that the ancients did not
   "appreciate Nature," because they said that Nature was divine. Old
   nurses do not tell children about the grass, but about the fairies that
   dance on the grass; and the old Greeks could not see the trees for the
   dryads.


via: CCEL.org

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