Fairy Tales in Other Cultures

What do fairy tales in other countries sound like? What kind of fairy tales are told in other cultures, and what inspires them? When it comes to this topic, we certainly have a wealth of information to explore!

Some of the most illustrious tales originated in Asia. In India, fairy or folktales often appear as fables. Originating in the 3rd century AD, Panchatantra is a collection of ancient fables, featuring animals with very human-like qualities, making them easy to relate to, as well as the occasional human. The animals were often used as a metaphor for human qualities; for example a deer might symbolize a gullible, vulnerable or peaceful person who is easily preyed upon by the crocodile, a quietly cunning and cruel creature lying wait under calm, welcoming waters. These tales were framed as moral stories for children to pay attention to, and seem to be the inspiration behind the Greek Aesop’s Fables. The Panchatantra are beloved in the country by children and adults alike! It’s impossible to meet an Indian who does not have a favourite Panchatantra story.

Of course, we must talk about one of the greatest collections of fairy tales ever created - A Thousand and One Nights - stories of mostly Middle Eastern origin that became some of the most popular fairy tales of our time. A Thousand and One Nights is a collection of fictional stories narrated by Scheherazad, wife of Sassanian king Shahryar, in an attempt to avoid being murdered by him in a vengeful plot to rid the land of all women (yep, its pretty intense!). The stories Scheherazad told were loosely based on true events, legends, love stories, and tragedies. They were always tales of great adventure, featuring all kinds of genies, magicians and protagonists, and often included stories within stories.

In Europe, one of the largest collection of tales can be credited to the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, as well as Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. Here, fairy tales were often written reproductions of common folk tales and escalated during the Renaissance, when fairy tales caught the attention of prominent writers of the age. Later, these stories were popularized by written collections like those of author Charles Perrault in the 17th century, and the Grimms that followed in the later years. Recently in 2016 research on the origins of fairy tales suggested that stories like Beauty and the Beast may have originated thousands of years ago, even dating all the way back to the Bronze Age! What an inspiring thought, that some of our favourite stories have such ancient roots.

It is clear that fairy tales have many different interpretations; as long as they exist, they will continue to be adapted and retold in different ways.

By Lianne Oonwalla


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96 reviews
Aschenputtel (Deutsch)
Clara Schröder

Aschenputtel (Deutsch)

Snow White (German)
Melanie Hub
Much better version

I bought the German version of Snowwhite and love it. My daughter, too. I have to read it a lot.

Endlich ein Märchen, was in diese Zeit passt :)

Schneewittchen neu erzählt ist wunderschön divers geschrieben! Es gibt viele erfrischende Ideen, wie beispielsweise die Darstellung des Königs als alleinerziehenden Papa. Auch das Ende ist perfekt!
Allein die Charaktere der Zwerge hätte noch etwas ausgeschmückt werden können.
Auch die Illustrationen sind wunderschön bunt und divers!
Insgesamt ist die Neuerzählung wirklich gelungen! :)
Ich freue mich auf eine Fortsetzung von Schneewittchen und/oder weiteren Märchen von euch!

Snow White (German)
Annika Ulich
Wollen Fortsetzung, sofort ;)

Hallo ihr Lieben

Und ein herzlcihes Danke für dieses wahnsinnig tolle Buch! Ich habe es am Holzmarkt für eine befreundete Familie gekauft und als ich sie nun an weihnachten nicht gesehen habe, gestern mit meinen Kindern gelesen (3 Jungs, 2x7 und 1x6 Jahre). Wir waren alle begeistert und kurz vor Ende mein kleiner: Gibt es da auch ein zweites von? (Im Sinne einer Fortsetzung).

Meine Frage: Gibt es schon ein neues Buch in der Reihe in Planung? Ich wollte mir gleich alle Märchen bestellen, sehe aber es ist bislang nur das eine?
Ich freue mich auf einen Hinweis oder eine Art Newsletter, wenn es wieder ein neues Buch gibt.
Ganz liebe Grüße und danke für das tolle Buch,

With little change HUGE difference

I got the book initially from a friend when my second child was born. I loved it so much that i bought 3 books to gift to mom-friends' children. The book has just a few small changes to the 'original' (because let's face it, folktales have a lot of different versions) but it makes it more inclusive to people of colour, empowering to both men and women and so much more 'active'. The protagonist is actually in charge of her own life, as are all the other persona. LOVE! I am Dutch, so I translate 'on the go', but if you need someone to translate it to Dutch so all Dutch parents can read it to their children I would love to do that!