Fairy Tales



Henry Marnell's "Once Upon A Time"

Henry Marnell's "Once Upon A Tme"

Fairy Tales may or may not involve the faerie, but will involve the fantastic. They are usually set in another time or place and concur with the transformation of that place, time, or circumstances of its people and or the stories characters. The emphasis is on story and the story has been passed on generation by generation in an effort to instruct as well as entertain. Since Victorian times fairytales have been largely associated with children. However, they were not originally created to entertain children. 
[In fact, there was much debate later on about the suitability of some tales for children as they were often times, horrific and violent which was hardly conducive to sweet dreams and sleep.]
 They were told to inform or warn and to inspire and instruct through wonder or awe making use of the fantasy to not be really believed but to illuminate the meaning of the story and to apply it in the real world. 

Cupid and Psyche

Cupid and Psyche by Sir Edward Burne Jones

The oldest known fairytale "The Doomed Prince" appeared in 1300 B.C. in Egypt.

There were many fore runners to the modern fairytale with many writers using similar types of storytelling with an emphasis on teaching or explaining. One of the earliest of this kind, "Cupid and Psyche And The Golden Ass," a kind of a Greek fairy tale by Apuleitus in 165 A.D. is an example of this. Later, it was retold in Giovanni Strapola's, compiliation, "The Delectable Nights." This book contained over 70 stories and anecdotes inclusive of "The Golden Ass" and was widely read. It gave form to this kind of story telling. However, not until Madame d'Aulnoy gave it its name with the advent of her very popular book, Tales of the Fairys in 1699 did the fairytale take not only form but definition. 
Charles Perreault, also of France, published his histories, compiliations of many stories and writings, giving each a very easily identifiable moral which led to an interest in using these to instruct children. He was largely responsible for their later, association with children and children's literature and in 1697 he published a collection of folk stories he called, "Tales of Mother Goose." Thus, it was that fairytales after this time were divided into children's fairytales and literary fairytales.

The Brothers, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, German scholars, were very important in the development of fairy tales because they translated and transcribed many folk songs and oral tales to written works. They recorded them with as much exactitude as possible and included their points of origin as well, which in turn, preserved a certain amount of the folk lore of the time prevalent in the various countries. Other countries followed suite, thus preserving some of the their cultures, histories and lore of the times.

Two very important writers entered the scene, Wilhelm Hauff and Hans Christen Andersen, they began telling their own fairytales, fictions they created. Hans Christen Anderson is read widely to this day and has had a most enduring affect upon the medium. He with his ficitional tales and The Brothers Grimm with their record of collected folk tales endure as the most widely recognized recorders of the times and the fairytale.

These are some of the sites which house many popular fairytales and or studies of them. 

Brothers Grimm
Hans Christen Anderson  
101 favorite fairytales and fables

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Next: Fairytales and the Realm of Fantasy
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