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Shafii, M. Shafii, S. (1974). Symbolic Expression of Developmental Conflicts in a Persian Fairy Tale. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 1:219-225.

(1974). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 1:219-225

Symbolic Expression of Developmental Conflicts in a Persian Fairy Tale

Mohammad Shafii and Sharon Shafii

Children tell tales,

and in their tales are hidden

many secrets and levels of wisdom.

Although, in their tales,

they say much nonsense,

look for the treasure among the ruins.—RUMI.

Fairy tales are as old as man's dreams. Dreams are the symbolic representation of man's unconscious wishes and conflicts. Fairy tales are the verbalization of these dreams which have overcome repression and the test of time. Through centuries of verbal transmission, fairy tales have evolved, modified and changed their form and manifest content, but the essential message has remained the same.

Ella Freeman Sharpe, at the beginning of her beautiful book on Dream Analysis, wrote: 'Dreaming is a universal psychical functioning, common alike to primitive and cultured peoples. It is a psychical activity inseparable from life itself, for the only dreamless state is death' (1937p. 13). Dreams gain longevity and immortality in fairy tales.

The universal appeal of fairy tales which often transcends the bounds of geography and time could be related to their ability to reactivate man's deepest unconscious wishes and to recreate the symbolic expression of these wishes through identification with the heroes of the fairy tales. Fairy tales often create as much excitement and pleasurable discharge in the little listeners as they do for the grown-ups retelling the tales which they have heard so many times as children. Roheim felt that myths and fairy tales originated from dreams: '… actually [we] can think of tales and myths as having arisen from a dream, which a person dreamed and told to others who retold it again, perhaps elaborated in accord with their own dreams' (1953cp.

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