FairyTales and Fairy Stories

Fairy Tales Art

Fairy tales are a genre of literature that typically features magical and fantastical elements, often involving supernatural characters such as witches, fairies, giants, and talking animals. These stories have their roots in ancient oral storytelling traditions and have been passed down through generations in various cultures worldwide.

Fairy tales often convey moral lessons or explore universal themes such as love, bravery, and the struggle between good and evil. They can be found in many forms, including oral storytelling, written literature, theater, and more recently, film and television adaptations. Some well-known fairy tales include "Cinderella," "Snow White," "Beauty and the Beast," "Little Red Riding Hood," and "The Little Mermaid."

Fairy tales, or fairy stories, have fantasy creatures such as fairies, faeries, fey, pixies, goblins, elves, dragons, mermaids, leprechauns, dwarves, trolls, witches, giants, and  talking animals. Enchantments and far-fetched events are also usually part of the these tales.  Most start with a reference to time and place such as  "Once upon a time in a place far away".

Charles Dickens wrote: 
"In an utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairytales should be respected."

Where do Fairytales come from?

Two different theories exist on how similarities can exist between a fairytales story from different cultures and even different continents. One theory is that a particular tale started from one point and then over hundreds of years spread across cultures and continents. The second theory is that fairy stories are from similar experiences that humans have in most all cultures across all continents.

Fairytales started as oral stories taken from folklore, legends and myths. They have been told to children and adults since before recorded history. The origin of these fantasy tales, or any of these types of oral stories, is impossible to determine. This oral handing down from generation to generation came long before the written page. Tales were taught or acted out for each of the new generations. We do know that ancient cultures from all over the globe have similar stories. Ancient Egypt, c. 1300 BC, has the oldest known written Fairy story.

Préciosité is a literary style that comes from les précieuses, the witty and educated intellectual ladies of Paris. The name FairyTale was coined when the précieuses took up writing literary stories from their conversations and fun word games. The précieuses wrote their stories mainly for adults but knew that servants or women less privileged would repeat these stories to children.

Madame d'Aulnoy invented the term 'contes de fée', or fairy tale. "Beauty and the Beast" was written by Madame Gabrielle de Villeneuve in 1740. Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont rewrote "Beauty and the Beast" so as to be more suitable for children. This version, published in 1756 is the tale that is most popular today.

Fairytales must be included in any site about fairies.  Here we will discuss the Origin and some of the Classic Fairy Tales.  We will also include a list of what I consider to be  my favorite.  In addition we will discuss the famous Aesop known as the originator of Fables.

The Brothers Grimm

Picture of The Brothers Grimm

Most tales were oral at this time. One of the first authors to try and capture these oral tales on paper were The Brothers Grimm(Pictured). These oral stories had to undergo many changes to be written and then printed under the Grimm name and still be fit for children. 

The Victorian era's moralizing caused changes to be made to these Historical tales to teach good habits to children. One of the many rewrites was George Cruikshank’s Cinderella in 1854. Temperance ideas were inserted.

Little Red Riding Hood

The older fairytales that have been around for many generations are put into the "Historical" section in libraries that have an area just for children. The "Wonder Stories" section  refers to tales that the fairies, dwarves and many of the other fantasy creatures have been removed. In addition, most of the blood curdling parts that the authors used to show a moral in the story are also gone. Since today's education includes morality, children seek only entertainment from these "Wonder Tales" that have removed most of the gore. These “Historical” tales are considered much worse than the evening news or the crime drama shows on TV.

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" was written for today’s child. It is a modern fairy tale that contains joy and wonderment without the heartbreak and horror that sometimes cause nightmares.

Prior to the definition of the genre of fantasy, many works that would now be classified as fantasy were termed "fairy tales", including Tolkien's The Hobbit, George Orwell's Animal Farm, and L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Indeed, Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories" includes discussions of world-building and is considered a vital part of fantasy. Fairy Fantasy is a sub-genre  of the Fantasy genre and uses a lot of places from these tales. The exact genre definition for these tales has been the cause of many arguments for years. Everyone seems to agree that Fairies need not be a part of his type of Tale. In today's usage, the term could describe something very beautiful or very happy. ("She had a FairyTale Wedding"), or it could mean a statement or story that is an exaggeration and very unlikely. ("He thinks that I believe that 'Fairy Tale' he has been telling.")