Fables & Fairy Tales
Fables and fairy tales are two of the most common types of folklore, both of which typically take the form of short stories. Fables are particularly short, and are used to share a moral or belief, while fairy tales can be longer and typically involve fantastic elements like giants and trolls.
Infoplease has collected some of the world's most recognized fables and fairy tales for you to peruse.
Aesop's Fables are a collection of stories attributed to Aesop, a Greek slave who allegedly lived over 2,500 years ago. These short tales are famous around the entire world, and have been a mainstay of Western literature since they were created. Most likely every reader on Infoplease is familiar with at least some of the fables, like the Tortoise and the Hare, or the Ant and the Grasshopper.
Hans Christian Andersen started writing this collection of stories back in the 1830s, and they would go on to be his most famous work. His stories are often melancholy, like the Little Match Girl, although others aren't so grim. Andersen stories famously inspired Disney's The Little Mermaid and Frozen.
Ambrose Bierce was an American writer who was well-known in his day for his caustic wit. His collection of fables, much like his Devil's Dictionary, offers some pointed commentary and humor about American politics and society in the 1800s. Readers might find that his exaggerated jokes about crime in Chicago and corruption in the courtroom feel perfectly familiar to a modern audience.
The Brothers Grimm set about collecting and editing a huge collection of German folk and fairy tales back in the 1800s. Their collection, most widely known as Grimms' Fairy Tales, became a household staple. The Grimm stories have inspired generations of artists and writers, and have only been further popularized by such influential animated adaptations as Disney's Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.