My favourite fairy tale; the one I always asked my mother to read, was Snow White and Rose Red. These sisters were named after rose bushes and they were kind and gentle and so beautiful. I wished I were Rose Red.
I didn’t really care for the fairy tale ending of their adventures, but I loved that when Snow White and Rose Red were children, if they should happen to forget to come home from playing in the forest before it got dark, they would just curl up against one another with the moss as their pillow. There they would sleep safely through the night in the forest and go home the next morning. No wild animals harmed them, for the wild animals were their friends.
When we went on family walks in the old forest near Healesville, sometimes the late afternoon sunlight filtering through the enormous trees made me imagine I was in Snow White and Rose Red’s forest. I could believe that I had glimpsed a deer or a bear or a dwarf in the distance.
But then a wallaby would hop past and break my trance.