If this is your child, take a deep breath. This issue comes up more frequently than one might suspect.
First of all, check yourself. I had a friend once who said how much she enjoyed fairy tales and felt comfortable with them, but then admitted there were parts that “were not so nice”. Okay, so not as comfortable as she thought she was! The thing is, one HAS to look at the fairy tales as archetypal images, not from an adult perspective of literal happenings.
Secondly, check the age of your child and what adult factoids the child has been exposed to in their educational career. If your child has been exposed to lots of “but these are the facts, m’am” regarding science and other subjects and things usually have a “literal” answer for the child, then it will be more difficult for the child to absorb these tales in an archetypal way. Some children are truly not comfortable with Grimm’s tales until age six and a half or seven, but there are many other kinds of tales to pick before then. If you need suggestions, please leave a comment in the comment box and I would be happy to suggest something for the age of your child!
Third, pick tales that you are comfortable with. Read the tale for three nights before you tell the fairy tale so you absorb it yourself and you can TELL it to your child. Consider songs and puppetry and props for your tale as opposed to just straight “telling”. I think especially for children who have been “over-factoided”, they need that soothing visual imagery of silk marionettes to help them along. There are many wonderful Waldorf resources that have turned fairy tales into Circle Times and puppet shows. “Plays for Puppets”, available through Waldorf booksellers, is a lovely place to start.
I wrote a full post regarding the necessity of fairy tales with more suggestions for choosing fairy tales by age here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/20/the-importance-of-fairy-tales/
These tales are medicine for your child’s soul; for helping your child deal with their own fears, for showing a child the optimistic view that the world is truly a good place. Meditate on this, find the truth in this.