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These elder tales symbolize the developmental tasks one must master in the second half of life. They deal with psychological and spiritual growth and maturity in the later years. The author defines a fairy tale as "a folk tale with a happy ending, featuring ordinary people in fantastic situations, struggling with basic

human dilemmas." Elder tales offer a welcome relief to the ubiquitous symbols of idealized youth so prevalent in our culture. And they offer "a new image of maturity, centered on wisdom, self-knowledge, and transcendence... virtues of an archetypal figure long overlooked in modern society, but equal in importance to that of the Hero - the Elder."

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