Reading stories is a great way to learn about different aspects of life, understand the characters’ minds, see how they think, and have fun. The world should be grateful that stories have been told since the beginning of time and to this day. Moreover, reading different kinds of stories will teach you a lot about diverse cultures, religions, and traditions.
Fairytales are no different. They are classic stories that most people know about and appreciate them. The most significant element of this kind of story is that they are not real. And that is why they are so magical, happy, and perfect, but life can get a little more challenging and realistic than fairytales.
Fairytales are familiar stories from folklore. Their prominent role is to enhance the creative side of children and develop their moral compass. It is important to note that most events and creatures that occur in fairytales are usually unreal. These creatures can be elves, unicorns, witches, or talking animals.
6 Great Benefits Reaped From Reading Fairytales At A Young Age
Reading generally has a tremendously positive impact on children’s brain development. However, reading fairytales has its benefits as well. However, fairytales are usually fictional stories with many mystical and magical creatures, and the twist in events allows children to experience different emotions.
The best part about fairytales is that every story presents its fair share of lessons. These lessons can be anything from learning not to judge people, always telling the truth, humility, and much more. No matter what your kid knows, it is undoubtedly a positive trait that will build their personality.
1. Help in Building Emotional Resilience
Stories allow readers to get into the characters’ minds, learning about how they think and feel. Fairytales intensify those emotions, paving the way for children to relate them to their everyday lives.
2. Teach Problem-Solving Skills
Fairytales put the challenges in the frame of good guys and bad guys. This makes it easier for children to distinguish between right and wrong choices. Such stories offer the problem with a couple of solutions to choose from.
3. Present Different Cultures
Children often learn from the surrounding environment. Thus, it is hard for them to recognise traditions, languages, and beliefs outside of their small circle. One of the ways to introduce them to the presence of other cultures is through reading. There are many famous fairytales around the world set in different places and times.
4. Feed the Creative Side
The overly imaginary side of a fairytale helps stimulate the children’s creative side. They learn to build new worlds in their minds and imagine themselves as part of the story. It is also an excellent way for your kids to express themselves, where they start narrating plots they wish to live in.
5. Widen One’s Perceptiveness
The best part about reading childhood stories is that you grow up having parts of them in your heart and mind. Even more, you may find yourself returning to these stories, and when you do, you will see a story from a different angle every time. The same happens with little kids; they discover new horizons while re-reading their favourite fairytales.
6. Strengthens their Moral Compass
A happily ever after is an essential part of every fairytale, especially the ones addressed to children. The happy ending indicates that the protagonists made the right choices and lived healthy lives. This teaches children to opt for kindness and help those in need to lead a happy life.
12 Most Popular Fairytales of All Times
Fairytales are plentiful. Cultures have their fair share of stories whose purposes were to teach children lessons and morals. Some stories stuck with people for years and centuries, and others remained in the shadows. One of the interesting facts about these stories is that some alterations were made to fit the mindsets of different generations.
It’s also important to know that the ancient versions of fairytales were not fairy and magical. They were sort of darker with grim plots. This was long before Disney adapted many of those stories and changed them into the magical and delightful movies we grew up with. So, let’s get acquainted with the world’s most famous stories and what the original versions looked like.
1. Little Red Riding Hood
This fairytale has been famous among many generations, dating back to the 17th century. It’s a story about a young girl who encounters a sly wolf that tries to deceive her and her grandmother into eating them. The story’s moral is never to trust people you just met, for they may be trying to hurt you.
The original story was written in French, then translated and published in several languages. One of the most prominent versions was the Brothers Grimm’s, yet it wasn’t one of those fairytales with happy endings.
Rapunzel is a German fairytale about a beautiful young girl with extraordinarily long magical hair. This story has many versions in different languages, and they’re all different from the whimsical version of the Disney movie.
Rapunzel’s story was among the fairytales meant to address young girls, teaching them to learn from their mistakes. The original story also urges women to live their best lives while clinging to religious principles, so they don’t make the same mistakes as Rapunzel.
Cinderella is one of the world’s most well-known fairytales. It’s originally a folktale named “The Little Glass Slipper,” Like any other fairytale, it travelled the world and had many alterations. Every culture seems to put its spin on every classic and popular fairytale.
In the original story, Cinderella was a young girl who lived a miserable life with her stepsisters and stepmother. However, her life turned upside down when she married the Prince after the glass shoes fit her feet. Although she seemed poor and unfortunate, the Prince did believe she originally came from a wealthier life.
4. Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel was a well-known fairytale written by the Grimm Brothers and was published in 1812 in the first edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen. The story had many dark turns and twists, making it unfriendly for kids. However, it tries to teach them how trusting a stranger can lead too unlikeable circumstances, which is a valuable lesson. Most importantly, we get the happy ending that we hoped for.
The story follows the two siblings, Hansel and Gretel, who are impoverished and live with their father and his wife, where he works as a woodcutter. Famine struck hard in European regions; thus, the wife suggested that the father leave his children in the forest.
The two siblings fall victim to an evil witch who lures them into her trap with cake and candy house. She wanted to get the boy fat before she could eat them alive. However, the girl realised her evil intentions and shoved her into the burning oven to save her brother.
5. Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk is a fairytale that goes way back to 1734, and it formerly went by the title “Jack Spriggins and the Enchanted Bean”. It originated in England, where it was an oral folktale. The story gained popularity in 1890 after Joseph Jacobs took the initiative to pen it down and publish it in a collection of fairytales.
This story was adapted into several animated movies throughout the years, with Disney Learning Adventures: Mickey and the Beanstalk being the oldest. Modern adaptations also took place in 2013, releasing Jack the Giant Slayer and Tom and Jerry’s Giant Adventure. The classic tale is a lesson about the value of trust.
The story follows Jack, a young country boy who lives with his impoverished family. His mother asks him to sell their cow for money, but he trades it for magic beans instead. These beans grow into a gigantic beanstalk that goes high into the clouds, where there’s a magical world. Jack climbs the beanstalk only to find himself trapped in a mansion of an evil giant.
6. Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots is a famous fairytale that spread in Europe in the 16th century, with Italy being its original home. However, the popular version is the edition in France in 1697, with some slight alterations. It’s one of the famous fairytales that turned into a movie, with a hit animation under the same name.
The tale revolves around a trickster cat that talks and always wears a pair of boots, and goes out of his way to gain wealth and power. He also uses deceptive methods to earn the princess’s trust and talk her into marrying his master, who comes from a low life and is poor, to make him rich. However, the moral of this story is quite questionable.
This story was meant only to be enjoyed as a tale, but there isn’t much to learn from it. It shows some poor characteristics one shouldn’t possess, like lying and cheating. Even those who seem to achieve everything through deception are destined to take a real hit, risking losing everything they ever got.
7. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is a prominent Arabian fairytale famous in the Middle East and India. This folktale was one of the stories published in the One Thousand and One Nights volume. It’s yet another fairytale that turned into movies, including the 1996 Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
This folktale was famous all over Europe after Antoine Galland took the initiative to translate it into French. He heard it from Hanna Diyab, a Syrian storyteller when the story became international in the 18th century. The story follows Ali Baba, a woodcutter who learns about the magical cave where the 40 thieves hide their gold and collected treasure.
Ali Baba keeps watching them from afar, where he learns that the magical cave opens with some magic words “Open Sesame!” He later uses this phrase to get into the cave and steal some treasures to help him lead a lavish life. However, the thieves try to kill him, but they kill his brother instead. The story teaches an important lesson about greed and how this can negatively impact the lives of everyone around.
8. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Long before Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became a popular Disney movie, it was an old famous German fairytale that all of Europe knew about in the 19th century. In 1812, the Brothers Grimm published the story in their Grimms’ Fairy Tales collection, and that’s why some people give them credit for the story, although they only collected it.
Snow White is a beautiful young princess living in a castle with her stepmother, a witch jealous of Snow White’s beauty. When the magical mirror responds that Snow White is the most beautiful lady in the kingdom, her stepmother orders her guards to throw Snow White into the forest. She hopes she’ll die, but Snow White wanders until she finds shelter in a cottage house where the dwarfs live.
The Stepmother learns about Snow White living in the forest, so she disguises herself as an older woman and offers her a poisoned apple. Unknowingly, Snow White takes the apple, falls to the ground, and the dwarfs place her in a glass coffin. However, she wakes up when the apple gets out of her throat and marries the prince. The story’s moral is never to trust a stranger who offers you something to eat.
9. The Three Little Pigs
The Three Little Pigs is among the world’s oldest fairytales in Europe. Although it’s one of the popular folktales, it doesn’t fit the criteria of a traditional fairytale, for there isn’t a moral lesson behind it. It was only meant to be enjoyed like the Puss in Boots folktale.
The story revolves around three pigs, each building a house of different elements. One uses straws, the other uses sticks, and the third uses heavy bricks. A wolf comes around, causing mischief, and he blows down the houses. The one built with bricks is the only one that doesn’t fall.
Looking closely, we might analyse the story as advice for little children not to resort to easier options. The first two pigs used light materials that didn’t require lifting strength, while the third used bricks. This conveys that laziness and lack of determination always have dire circumstances. It’s another way to look at the moral behind this story.
10. The Gingerbread Boy
The Gingerbread Boy is an American fairytale about an actual gingerbread biscuit. It seems like an interestingly funny story for young kids, but its ending is relatively dark and unexpected. Happy endings are vital elements in creating fairytales, which may take this old folktale out of the categories.
However, it’s an enjoyable story with a valuable lesson, but one that’s taught the hard way. This story follows a gingerbread boy that a woman makes while baking at Christmas. When fully cooked in the oven, he elopes out of the house, where the woman and her husband fail to catch him. The gingerbread boy embarks on an adventure on his own, where he explores the outside world.
He keeps coming across animals that attempt to eat him, yet he always succeeds in running away. His victory only lasts until she encounters a fox who tricks the gingerbread boy into believing he’s uninterested in eating him. However, the fox is known to have a sly nature; thus, he deceives the poor biscuit and eats him. It’s a harsh lesson about trust and not believing strangers you know nothing about.
11. Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
Aladdin is a popular fictional character in the Middle East, and it gained even international recognition after Disney turned it into an iconic animated movie. The story of Aladdin was among the fairytales collected in the 1001 Nights collection along with Ali Baba. This may be one of the reasons people confuse the characters, although they’re not the same.
Aladdin and the Magic Lamp was the very first version of this famous story. It was popular around the Arab World. The story follows the poor young man who comes across a magic lamp, where the genie grants him three wishes. He uses one wish to become a prince so he can marry Princess Jasmine. Unfortunate events start piling up after Aladdin lies about his identity.
Aladdin is an enthralling story that the whole world seems to enjoy. Not only is the storyline quite captivating, but the lesson it teaches is instead a valuable one. Aladdin is a lesson about being true to yourself and those around you. This is a powerful lesson that needs to be taught to every generation, especially the ones influenced by the deception of social media.
12. Emperor’s New Clothes
This is a list of all the famous fairytales the world is familiar with, yet we insisted on adding this less-known fairytale, the Emperor’s New Clothes. It has an exciting plot and valuable life lessons, yet it never gained massive recognition like the others. Disney, as usual, took the initiative to bring this story to light in its 2000 comedy movie Emperor’s New Groove, yet it remained among the underrated animated films.
Emperor’s New Clothes is a Danish folktale that Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen, wrote back in 1837. It’s a story that follows a vain emperor who is selfish and greedy. He hires two tailors who give their word to supply him with astounding clothes that no one can see unless they’re intelligent or competent. When they declare his suit is finished, the emperor visits them, not seeing any clothes in the looms. However, he remains silent to avoid being called a fool.
The weavers then mime dressing the emperor, leaving him completely naked. He feels uncomfortable but doesn’t want to say a thing. When the emperor goes out in public, people realise he’s completely naked, which makes him walk with even more pride, implying that only he can see the clothes, for he’s intelligent and competent. The story’s moral is that vanity and entitlement can make you look like a fool.
Although many fairytales have dark twists and pure horror, most have enjoyable storylines. The darkness may be inappropriate for young children. Still, teenagers may appreciate the reality check of taking a glimpse of the real world, learning that it’s not always about pixie dust and flying elephants.
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