Some of the best-known fairy tales include "Cinderella," "Snow White," "Puss in Boots," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Bluebeard" and "Beauty and the Beast." Fairy tales are widely shared short stories that depend on popular plots and magical tropes drawn from a shared folklore. They were often intended for adults as well as children. Many favorite fairy tales were crafted by skilled writers, not simply collected oral traditions.Continue Reading
Fairy tales are a form of folk literature best defined by what they are not. Unlike mythology, fairy tales do not involve religion or the gods in any way, and unlike legends, fairy tales are not purportedly true. Instead, they happen in an imaginary world that is often similar to the everyday world while being removed from it. Magic exists in this imaginary world, and the good are usually rewarded, while the wicked are punished.
Fairy tales are marked by the frequency with which the same plots are retold. For instance, folklorists often claim that every culture in the world has a story similar to "Cinderella;" stories like "Cap 'o Rushes," "Kongji and Patzzi," and the ancient "Rhodopis" use the common motifs of unfair treatment, cruel step-relatives, and a lost shoe used to find a spouse, though they were written throughout the world and at different times.
Fairy tales are not necessarily part of a shared folklore. L. Frank Baum's "Oz" stories are arguably fairy tales, and many popular fairy tales were invented by writers such as Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Andersen and Madame d'Aulnoy.Learn more about Folklore