The origin of fairy tales dates back thousands of years. The history of fairy tales or fairy stories have fantasy creatures such as faeries, fey, goblins, elves, trolls, witches, giants, and or talking animals. It is not necessary for these tales to be about fairies. Enchantments and far-fetched events are also usually part of the plot. Unlike legends and folklore tales, they seldom contain any references to religion, actual places, persons or events. The term "once upon a time" is used rather than an actual reference to date.
Early oral fairy tales and folklore were for adults as much as for children. The early written fairy tales text of the literary type were intended for adults. They became more kid's fairy tales in the 19th and 20th centuries. Grimm and Andersen have kept many, many children entertained with their tales of winged fairies.
The Two theories that have attempted to explain the common elements in the text of the different fairytales found spread over many continents. One theory is that a tale comes from a single source and spreads from culture to culture over time. The other theory is that these tales reference common human experience. That the many cultures over time, tell similar tales of similar human experiences. The first written fairy tales are from ancient Egypt and occurred around 1300 BC.
Both long and short Fairy tales, folklore, legends and myths have been passed from generation to generation since before recorded history. The origin of fairy tales such as these types of oral stories is impossible to determine. All ancient cultures from all over the globe have fairy tales. It is amazing to me to find very similar fairy tale plots that occur in the folklore from different countries at different times and in totally different cultures.
For Example the Fairy Tale "Little Red Riding Hood":
The early European version is about a little girl that is tricked by a wolf that has already eaten her grandmother, then disguises himself as her grandmother crawls in bed and tricks Little Red Riding Hood to come close to the bed so that he can grab her and eat her.
The Chinese story is very different. It is a tiger instead of a wolf that is the villain and gets the girl.
Aesop was a Greek author from the 6th century BC. There have been many translations since then. A Roman named Phoedrus's did one of of the earliest translations into Latin around 320 BC. Aesop's fables were among the first fairy tales that became famous in the Western world.