Box of Crayons Blog


“…dragons can be beaten” (Great Work quote)

“Fairy tales are more than true – not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”
~ G. K. Chesterton, writer

To my surprise, I ended up writing my Masters thesis on Angela Carter, a British feminist writer with a wild and marvelous imagination. My favourite book of hers is Nights at the Circus, but I’m also a fan of The Bloody Chamber, which includes a number of radically cool rewrites of tradition fairy tales.

I heard the Chesterton quote while listening to an interview with Neil Gaiman, who was ranting (with full justification in my opinion) about how children don’t experience fear like we do, and that part of what great books can do (like Gaiman’s Coraline) is give them understanding of these darker forces – and that they can be beaten.

But all of that’s an aside, really.  I just love this quote, because we all of us have our own dragons to fight.

And this reminds us that we can indeed beat them.

So what dragons are you fighting right now?

5 Responses to “…dragons can be beaten” (Great Work quote)

  • Dave

    I have been in an epic battle with my Smaug over the last 6 months and I have finally found the missing scale and drove my own sword in hard. I would heartily suggest this site – There are many resources there that helped me to injure Smaug in many ways. But the final blow that killed my dragon was – Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – Steven Hayes. That was my STING!

  • Patricia

    A good way I found to fight my dragons is reflected in this phrase.”If you see failure as a monster stalking you, or one that has already ruined your life, take another look. That monster can become a benevolent teacher, opening your mind to successes you cannot now imagine.” by Martha Beck.The first dragon to master is me, so the others can be beaten afterwards

  • valerie

    Thank you so much i have been wanting this quote for so long i remembered like have of it but didnt have the right words by any chance this quote was in the start of a book but i cant remember so if you know could you email me at

  • Beth

    Hey I love the quote….but you missed some of it…the quote goes
    “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children..dragons can be killed.”
    G.K. Chesterton
    So that’s the whole quote
    Thanks for posting part of it or I never would have found it

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