Retelling the Classics

The first time I saw the film adaptation of these timeless stories was from a Reader’s Digest mail order. My Nana picked me up from preschool and surprised me with a VHS tape and some chocolate milk. These are two of my favorite videos in retelling the classics. They are both beautifully heart-warming and a perfect introduction to classic literature for young children.

The Little Mermaid (1975)

Hans Christian Anderson’s tale, narrated by Richard Chaimberlain.

The Disney version of The Little Mermaid (1989) had not come out yet and I was fascinated by the idea of a mermaid tail (pun intended). The original story written by Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen is represented in its full story form in this 1970s animated movie. Songs written for the storyline are intertwined between narration read by veteran actor Richard Chaimberlain (Thornbirds).

As tragic as the original story ends, this animated version will pull at all of your heart strings, and enrapture you in the profound vision of love, longing, and sacrifice.

Click play on the image below to watch the full Reader’s Digest Version.

The Happy Prince

Original Story by Oscar Wilde

Narrated by Christopher Plummer, including Gylnnis Johns

The Happy Prince was less familiar to me than The Little Mermaid, but this is also a story that falls into the category of the human experience of love and sacrifice. This story of a bird on his way to migrate for the winter, happens upon a golden statue of The Happy Prince in the courtyard of a city.

The heart of this prince who once reigned in a joyful and happy kingdom, wept for the sadness of his people being rules by the oblivious and careless aristocracy. The Happy Prince asks his new feathered friend to carry out favors by stripping his body of the jewels and gold and giving it back to the people.

This beautiful story of friendship and the human condition is a reflection of our need for warmth, personal touch, and love in an often ruthless and money-hungry society. Your heart will be touched by this tale, and the narration read by Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, All the Money in the World)makes for a rich and familiar experience.

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