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Fairy tale

A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features folkloric fantasy characters, such as dwarves, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, mermaids, trolls, unicorns, or witches, and usually magic or enchantments. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables. The term is mainly used for stories with origins in European tradition and, at least in recent centuries, mostly relates to children's literature.

In less technical contexts, the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in "fairy tale ending" (a happy ending) or "fairy tale romance" (though not all fairy tales end happily). Colloquially, a "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can also mean any far-fetched story or tall tale; it is used especially of any story that not only is not true, but could not possibly be true. Legends are perceived as real; fairy tales may merge into legends, where the narrative is perceived both by teller and hearers as being grounded in historical truth. However, unlike legends and epics, they usually do not contain more than superficial references to religion and actual places, people, and events; they take place once upon a time rather than in actual times.

  • K. M. Briggs, The Fairies in English Tradition and Literature, University of Chicago Press, London, 1967.
  • A. S. Byatt, "Introduction", Maria Tatar, ed. The Annotated Brothers Grimm, .
  • Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales, .
  • John Clute and John Grant. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. New York: St Martin's Press, 1997. . (Hardcover)
  • Linda Degh, "What Did the Grimm Brothers Give To and Take From the Folk?" James M. McGlathery, ed., The Brothers Grimm and Folktale, pp. 66–90. .
  • Patrick Drazen, Anime Explosion!: The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation, .
  • Philip Martin, The Writer's Guide of Fantasy Literature: From Dragon's Lair to Hero's Quest,
  • Catherine Orenstein, Little Red Riding Hood Undressed,
  • Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folktale, .
  • Steven Swann Jones, The Fairy Tale: The Magic Mirror of Imagination, Twayne Publishers, New York, 1995, .
  • Maria Tatar, The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales, .
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, "On Fairy-Stories" , The Tolkien Reader
  • Harry Velten, "The Influences of Charles Perrault's Contes de ma Mère L'oie on German Folklore, Jack Zipes, ed., The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm.
  • Jack Zipes, The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, .


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