What Are the Characteristics of a Fairy Tale?

The defining characteristics of a fairy tale include a typical beginning and ending, magical elements, good and evil characters, enchanted setting, occurrences in groups of three or seven, fantastical creatures and an explicit problem that eventually gets resolved. These key elements are blended in the story to impart an enduring lesson to its readers.

A fairy tale is a short narrative considered as classic children’s literature. It is often introduced with the conventional phrase “once upon a time.” The story is usually set in a far-away kingdom or a forest, where human characters interact with magic and mystical beings. The good side ultimately triumphs over evil, and the promise of a happily-ever-after ending is realized.