Fairy tales play an important part in everyone’s life. The first book read to a child is likely to be a fairy tale. The first movie seen by a child is likely to be a movie based on a fairy tale. Even if a person has never read a fairy tale they probably know the gist of Cinderella, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and others. Every culture has their own fairy tales or folk tales. They reflect ideals that are important to a society and serve as moral tales that guide everyone’s sense of right and wrong. February 26 is known as Tell a Fairy Tale Day, and this is an excellent time to reflect on the importance of fairy tales and to re-read some of your old favorites or read a fairy tale you have not yet read.
Picture is my copy of Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales
Importance of Fairy Tales
Fairy tales are so ingrained in every culture that it may be difficult
to see just how important they are. Fairy tales impart onto children the
importance of being good – no matter how the people around them are
behaving. Much like in real life, being good has no immediate rewards in
fairy tales. But the people who maintain their morals are rewarded in
the end – and the bad people get their comeuppance. More importantly,
fairy tales teach children that pretending to be good gets you nothing,
it’s actually having a good heart that leads to rewards. In fairy tales
the evil characters usually attempt to obtain the rewards upon learning
the method by which good people are rewarded. Their deceit is always
uncovered in the end.
Fairy tales teach us that there is an immense power in being good. In
fairy tales children are faced with evil adults and dangerous
circumstances and they are armed only with their good heart and are able
to overcome the obstacles put in their path. This goes a long way in
giving children confidence that they, too, will be able to overcome
their own obstacles as they are faced with difficulties in their own
Research the History of Your Favorite Fairy Tales
Fairy tales often transcend cultures and have many different versions.
While a similar story from one culture may not be based on a story from a
different culture, it is still interesting to read about familiar fairy
tales from another culture’s perspective. Below are links to different
versions of the most well-known fairy tales.
Cinderella Across Cultures
The story of Cinderella from multiple cultures.
Sleeping Beauty Across Cultures
The story of Sleeping Beauty from multiple cultures.
Hansel and Gretel Across Cultures
The story of Hansel and Gretel from multiple cultures.
Fairy Tales From Various Cultures
In addition to reading about a familiar fairy tale in another culture,
you can look at fairy tales that are unfamiliar to you from other
cultures, or even unfamiliar fairy tales in your own culture.
American Fairy Tales
The Project Gutenberg eBook American Fairy Tales. Twelve of the Greatest ‘Little Known’ Fairy Tales by L. Frank Baum
Native American Fairy Tales
Librivox recording of Native American Fairy Tales, collected by Henry R.
Schoolcraft and retold by William Trowbridge Larned. These are
recordings, not text, but the recordings are in the public domain so you
don’t have to pay to listen to them in their entirety.
English Fairy Tales
The complete text of English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs
Irish Fairy Tales
The Project Gutenberg eBook, Irish Fairy Tales, Edited by W. B. (William
Scottish Fairy Tales
Most of these Scottish Fairy Tales are children’s stories from the West Highlands.
French Fairy Tales
Old French fairy tales by Comtesse de Segur
Indian Fairy Tales
Indian Fairy Tales, Fairy Tales of India, Stories of Bodhisatva, Stories of Bodhisatta, Indian Literature.
Chinese Fairy Tales
The Chinese Fairy Book at World of Tales – Stories for children from around the world!
Japanese Fairy Tales
Japanese Fairy Tales compiled by Yei Theodora Ozaki. Project Gutenberg e-book
Canadian Fairy Tales
The Project Gutenberg eBook. Canadian Fairy Tales by Cyrus MacMillan.
German Fairy Tales
The Grimm Brothers’ Children’s and Household Tales (Grimms’ Fairy Tales) compiled, translated, and classified by D. L. Ashliman
West African Fairy Tales
West African Folk Tales by William H. Barker and Cecilia Sinclair Kaffir
Persian Fairy Tales
The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Cat and the Mouse: A Book of Persian
Fairy Tales, Edited by Hartwell James, Illustrated by John R. Neill
Contemporary Fairy Tales
It’s tempting to think of fairy tales as the domain of the distant past,
consisting exclusively of stories that have been passed down for
generations. But the twentieth century saw many new fairy tales
introduced and take hold, sure to be passed down for generations to
Fairy Tales and Their Hidden Power
has a blog, Fairy Tales and Their Hidden Power, where he discusses the
meaning and importance of well-known fairy tales. It’s a very
Fairy Tales and their Hidden Power
A blog about the deeper meanings in some well-known fairy tales.