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the Devil rewards him amply for his “fair play,” and he too makes no attempt to circumvent the agreement. In the first example unscrupulous trickery in dealing with the Devil triumphs; in the second it is shown that honesty is rewarded, even in dealings with the Evil One. Thus the question of the morality of fairy tales does not appear to be so simple. And what about courage? On first thought we might suppose this to be one quality that is never lacking in the fairy-tale hero—and yet we find countless stories in which appropriate conduct consists in socalled magical flight. A good illustration of this is provided by a fairy tale of the Siberian Jukagirs.13 A girl living alone is pursued by an evil spirit, whose upper lip touches the sky and whose lower lip touches the earth, and who darkens half the sky. While running away from him, she throws her comb behind her; it turns into a dense forest, which delays the spirit for a time. Then in the same way she sacrifices a red kerchief which becomes an enormous fire; but the evil spirit puts out the fire with river water. Then the girl turns herself successively into a silver fox, a wolverine, and a wolf in order to be able to run faster. Finally she reaches a tent, at the entrance to which she sinks down exhausted. Then suddenly a handsome young man appears before her—the evil spirit metamorphosed—and asks for her hand in marriage. Often in this type of story the evil pursuer is not transformed, but he desists from his pursuit or destroys himself. All over the world we find stories of this type, showing that it can be a heroic achievement to run away from the power of evil, to avoid being “possessed” by it in the literal sense—and it is known to us from practical psychology how great an achievement it can be to withdraw inwardly from a destructive complex such as that which is at work in paranoia, for example, or from an affect or destructive idea. The suggestive power of the unconscious complexes is so enormous that ego consciousness can only escape it with the utmost exertion. Thus countless fairy tales do not relate the central character’s deeds of courage but his or her successful flight. But it is not, as one might suppose, the hopelessness of the situation that makes flight seem preferable to action. In the Russian tale “The Virgin Tsar,”14 for instance, Ivan, the hero, comes to a pillar on which is written: “He who takes the right-hand way will eat his fill, but his horse will go hungry; he who takes the left-hand way—his horse

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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