As a child I always thought Alice in Wonderland was crazy for eating that cake just because it said ‘eat me’ and for drinking from that little mysterious phial just because it said ‘drink me’. Of course, if she hadn’t been so curious she would have stayed stuck where she was, so maybe it was reminding the reader to take a leap of faith.
Of course, Snow White showed us what might happen when you do that. Biting into that beautiful red apple, like another Eve only with a witch instead of a serpent urging her on. If she hadn’t bitten that apple she would never have died, but she also would never have been resurrected into a dream life of happily ever after.
Ideas about eating and being eaten are the stuff of our primal selves and thus our children’s stories where we share the basic fears and hopes of life with life’s newest participants. We warn both of the dangers of trusting that what we desire will do us good, while showing that not desiring and seizing what we want will sentence us to a life time of nothing much.