I encountered the following text:

Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragon can be beaten.

I'm struggling to find the meaning of "more than true". Does it mean that the fairy tales lie in this respect? Or the other way round, that in these tales there is some additional truth?

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    "More than true" is hyperbole. That's pretty much the precise opposite of "negation" (which I assume must be what made you think it might "mean that the fairy tales lie in this respect"). Commented Apr 6 at 20:38
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    Fairy tales are not about telling the truth as usually understood, because their characters (such as dragons) may be unreal, but they convey a greater truth. Please see fable: a short story that tells a general truth or is only partly based on fact. Commented Apr 6 at 21:21
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    Fairy tales don't tell lies that the reader is expected to believe. On the contrary, the reader should be aware that the story takes them to a fantasy world. It is a vehicle for presenting truths without reality getting in the way. Commented Apr 6 at 22:36
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    The quoted text is by Neil Gaiman in Coraline, based on something similar by G.K. Chesterton ("Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey.... What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.")
    – Henry
    Commented Apr 7 at 1:11
  • "More" here means "different but greater/bigger/more important", as in "love is more than words", "that is more than I can say"...
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 7 at 12:32


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