Neal Stephenson seemed especially surprised by this question. His forehead scrunched up as he tried to work his way back to his very first bedtime story.
“I remember D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths,” he said, “but that wouldn’t have been the first. Too many amputations, too many gods ‘marrying’ people. In D’Aulaire’s book Zeus is always ‘marrying’ mortal women…”
He promised to keep thinking about it.
Stephenson’s novel The Diamond Age is partly about the formative powers of bedtime stories, by the way.