April 19-20, 1991: Allan B. Chinen

Lecture and Workshop: Handed down over centuries, fairy tales are treasuries of wisdom distilling the observations and reflections of countless generations. In most familiar stories, like “Cinderella” or “Snow White,” the protagonist is a child or adolescent. These tales emphasize the psychological tasks of youth and end when the hero and heroine marry and (supposedly!) live “happily ever after.” 

A unique group of fairy tales feature protagonists who are in the second-half of life. These “elder tales” reveal what really happens in the “ever after”-when the Prince becomes bald and the Princess dons bifocals. 

In this lecture and workshop a number of “elder tales” from around the world will be retold and discussed. The stories contain deep insights about the tasks of maturity, from self-reformation and self-transcendence, to helping the next generation and being open to magic. In charming and poignant dramas, the tales depcit the final quest in life-for wisdom and illumination. 


Allan B. Chinen, M.D. is a psychiatrist in private practice in San Francisco, and is on the Clinical Faculty of the University of California. He is the author of In the Ever After: Fairy Tales and the Second Half of Life, published by Chiron. 

In the Ever After: Fairy Tales and the Second Half of Life