Doctors can memorize stack upon stack of clinical textbooks, but they should keep at least a few fairy tales on hand. Valerie Gribben—a medical student and author of The Fairytale Trilogy—says that in her work, she draws just as much from the Brothers Grimm as she does Gray's Anatomy. "Fairy tales are, at their core, heightened portrayals of human nature, revealing, as the glare of injury and illness does, the underbelly of mankind," she writes in the New York Times. "Both fairy tales and medical charts chronicle the bizarre, the unfair, the tragic."
Fairy tales remind her that the problems she faces are nothing new. "They also remind me that what I’m seeing now has come before," she writes. "Child endangerment is not an invention of the Facebook age. Elder neglect didn’t arrive with Gen X." More than anything, she's encouraged that a dark tale like Cinderella can end with joy. "I now find comfort in fairy tales," she writes. "They remind me that happy endings are possible."