National Tell a Fairy Tale Day takes place annually on February 26. National Tell a Fairy Tale Day provides a perfect opportunity to read fairy tales to your kinds and enjoy your favorite childhood tales yourself. A fairy tale is a short story that typically features fantasy characters and magic. Many started off as oral histories, myths, and legends retold around the fire or by traveling storytellers. They were written down and become known the world over as fairy tales. The origins of many fairy tales were quite gruesome and would not be approved or rated as appropriate for children by the Association of Fairy Tales by today’s standards. Most were told as a way to make children behave, teach a lesson or to pass the time much like ghost stories around a campfire today.
Many of the stories have some basis in truth. For example, some believe the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is inspired by the real life of Margarete von Waldeck, the daughter of the 16th century Count of Waldeck. The area of Germany where the family lived was known for mining. Some of the tunnels were so tight they had to use children – or small people such as dwarfs – to work the mines. Margarete’s beauty is well documented, and she had a stepmother who sent her away. She fell in love with a prince but mysteriously died before she could have her happily ever after.
As the stories evolved they began to take on a more magical quality and started including fantasy elements such as fairies, giants, mermaids and gnomes. Some of the stories also had rather gruesome story plots such as: Toes being cut off to fit into a slipper, a wooden boy killing his cricket or a prince having his head cut off. The brothers Grimm collected and published some of the more well-known tales we are familiar with today. Jakob and his brother Wilhelm together set out on a quest to preserve these tales at a time in history when a tradition of oral storytelling was fading. In 1812, they published their first volume of stories titled Household Tales. Their stories had a darker quality and were clearly meant for an adult audience. Rumpelstiltskin, Thumbelina and Snow White Are some of the tales they collected.
Some fairy tale storytellers, such as Aesop, have a long and sometimes ancient history (The Fox and the Goose, The Ant and the Grasshopper), whereas others such as the Grimm brothers are more recent . Danish Author Hans Christian Andersen, also published written versions of many fairy tales such as the Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid and many more. Many Fairy tales have also been adapted for film and television numerous times (This seems like a good excuse to watch Tale of Tales again).