Fairy Tales

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Illustration by Gustav Dore

Fairytales are a form of folklore. They have been defined as:

"a tale of some length involving a succession of motifs or episodes. It moves in an unreal world without definite locality or definite creatures and is filled with the marvelous. In this never-never land, humble heroes kill adversaries, succeed to kingdoms and marry princesses."

Stith Thompson,The Folktale, 1977

While fairytales are nowdays considered benign children’s tales, the original folktales often contain dark and violent occurrences. Like many folk tales or mythology, they may be cautionary tales, about what happens when the desired dominant cultural norms are violated.

Three Little Pigs – in an early version the third pig kills and eats the wolf.

Snow White – in the original tale after Snow White marries the Prince and she forces the wicked step-mother then to put on the iron shoes, which have been heated in a fire, and dance until she dies.

Red Riding Hood – In the pre-Grimms Brothers version, Red Riding hood is not rescued but is eaten by the Wolf.