N.D. Wilson in the introduction to Twilight Land by Howard Pyle:
Fairy tales and fantasies are as old as the world. This is an easy thing to forget. It is easy to see only the stories we tell today – fresh and shiny – and then assume that they came from nowhere, that they have no ancestors, and no narrative parents whatsoever. But today’s fantasies are built on a rich imaginative heritage, a global heritage. As long as there has been language, there have been stories. And as far back as we can trace, those stories have been about dragons and magic and sacrifices, fools and wise men and wizards, fate and luck and love. What we call realism in storytelling is a relatively new concept. It is the sapling in the wood surrounded by towering moss-covered giants as old as history, giants grown up out of myths and legends. Fantasy.
Absolutely true. I’ve been saying this for years. Homer was a fantasist, as were Dante and Shakespeare and Milton.