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The Arabian Nights
The Arabian Nights

The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault
The Complete
Fairy Tales of
Charles Perrault

The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
The Complete
Grimm's Fairy Tales

The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales
The Complete
Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales
Shadow & Evil
in Fairy Tales by
Marie-Louise von Franz

The Uses of Enchantment: Meaning & Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim
The Uses of Enchantment:
Meaning & Importance
of Fairy Tales
by Bruno Bettelheim

Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg
Rootabaga Stories
by Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg

Boys & Girls Forever by Alison Lurie
Boys & Girls Forever

Boys & Girls Forever by Alison Lurie
Giambattista Basile's
“The Tale of Tales,
or Entertainment
for Little Ones”

Teacher's Best - The Creative Process

Fairy Tales & Folklore Posters & Prints
for classrooms, homeschoolers, and room decor.

literature > children's lit | FAIRY TALES POSTERS < children's authors < children < mythology < social studies

Once Upon a Time, Photographic Print
Once Upton A Time....

Fairy tales are episodic stories involving a world filled with marvelous things and events - the hero (or heroine) overcomes evil and then usually lives happily ever after.

Based in folklore, the fairy tales are written versions of oral and narrative traditions and include proverbs, jokes, and riddles. In the oral tradition

The study of folklore can identify religious and mythic elements that help recognize the interconnectedness between what otherwise appear to be total separate societies, however fairy tales usually regale the daily life.

Finnish folklorist Antti Aarne developed a system for classifying folktales by very basic motifs: animal, fairy tale, realism, tales of the Stupid Orge, jokes & anecdotes, and formula tales; Stith Thompson, an American folklorist, translated and enlarged Aarne's work.

Noted Folklorists: Julius Krohn, FitzRoy Somerset, Alan Dundes, Simon J. Bronner;

Joseph Campbell
Ernst Cassirer
Mircea Eliade

James Frazer
Robert Graves
Brothers Grimm
Edith Hamilton
Zora Neale Hurston
Károly Kerényi

Washington Irving
Andrew Lang
Suzanne Langer
Claude Lévi-Strauss
George MacDonald
Charles Perrault

• “Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers.” ~ Hans Christian Andersen
• “Play reaches the habits most needed for intellectural growth.” Bruno Bettelheim
• “Child of the pure, unclouded brow/ And dreaming eyes of wonder!/ Though time be fleet and I and thou/ Are half a life asunder,/ Thy loving smile will surely hail/ The love-gift of a fairy tale.” Lewis Carroll
• “Fairy tales are more than true - not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” G. K. Chesterton
• “I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.” Marie Curie
• “Fairy tales are the purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic processes.” The Interpretation of Fairy Tales, Marie-Louise von Franz

Marie-Catherine, Countess d'Aulnoy
Countess d'Aulnoy

no commerically
available image

Marie-Catherine, Countess d'Aulnoy
b. 1650/51; Barneville-la-Bertran, Calvados, France
d. 1-4-1705

Madame d'Aulnoy, remembered today as the originator of the term “fairy tale” (contes de fées), recorded stories she may have heard in travels to Spain and England, and retold in her famous Paris literary salon.

The Fairy Tales of Madame D'Aulnoy

Andrew Lang Print
Andrew Lang

Andrew Lang
b. 3-31-1844; Scotland
d. 7-20-1912

Novelist, poet, and literary critic Andrew Lang is best remembered as a historian and anthropologist collecting folk and fairy tales. He did not collect from the oral traditions but rather translated and published others collections.

Andrew Lang at Amazon

Illustrations of Fairy Stories, the Majority of Charles Perrault, Giclee Print
Illustrations of
Fairy Stories

Charles Perrault
b. 1-6-1628; France
d. 5-16-1703

Charles Perrault, by adapting early folk tales, laid the foundations for the fairy tale genre in a book subtitled “Tales of Mother Goose”. His works include Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Cinderella, and Bluebeard.

The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault

Ali Baba (Cover Design for "The Forty Thieves"), 1897, Art Print, Aubrey Beardsley
Ali Baba,
Cover Design for
"The Forty Thieves"
Art Print

Aubrey Beardsley, 1897

Ali Baba and the story of the Forty Thieves, from the Book of One Thousand and One Nights, tells how a poor man discovers the loot of a band of thieves and takes just enough (“Open Sesame”), the greed of his brother who takes more, and the cleverness of his slave who saves himself by saving the people who stole from thieves.

Scheherazade Dinarzade and the Sultan, Giclee Print, Henry Justice Ford
Scheherazade, Dinarzade,
and the Sultan,
Giclee Print

Henry Justice Ford

The Arabian Nights, the story of Scheherazade telling one unfinished story a night for three years, is the frame a collection of stories whose roots can be found in ancient Arabic, Indian, Persian, and Egyptian sources.

Scheherazade is also the inspiration for a symphonic suite by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and a ballet.

Beauty and the Beast, Giclee Print
Beauty is Just in Time
to Save the Beast's Life,
Giclee Print

Henry Justice Ford

Beauty and the Beast captures our longing for good to triumph over evil, for enduring love and virtue to be valued more than gold.

Bluebeard Attempting to Kill His Last Wife, Fatima, Illustration from "Contes De Ma Mere L'Oye", Giclee Print
Bluebeard Attempting to Kill Fatima, His Last Wife,
Giclee Print

Illustration from “Contes De Ma Mere L'Oye”, illustrator Frédéric Théodore Lix

Bluebeard is in the tradition of the one forbidden thing: “Eve, don't eat the apple.”, “Psyche, don't look on his face.”, “Pandora, don't open the box.”

Giant Statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Guard, Trees of Mystery, Klamath, California, USA, Photographic Print
Paul Bunyan and
Babe the Blue Ox
Photographic Print

The mythological folklore figure Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox Babe were born in the bitter winter cold (hence blue with cold) logging camps of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Cinderella and the Glass Slipper, (Aschenputtel), Illustration from “Les Contes De Perrault”, Gustav Dore, Giclee Print
Cinderella (Aschenputtel) and the Glass Slipper
Giclee Print

Gustav Dore


There are hundreds of versions of unjust oppression overcome by an attendant spirit and love. The earliest known version is Chinese from c. 860 AD.

Cinderella ballet
Cinderella opera poster

The Son of Cuchulain and the Helpful Animals, Giclee Print
The Son of Cuchulain and the Helpful Animals,
Giclee Print

In Irish mythology Culann was a smith who was protected by a fierce dog. An unexpected friendly visitor killed the attack dog to save himself and then offered to become Cú Chulainn (“Culann's hound”), to replace the loss.

Celtic Myths and Legends

Goldilocks & the Three Bears Art Print, Jessie Wilcox-Smith, illustrator
Goldilocks &
the Three Bears
Art Print

Jessie Wilcox-Smith,

The bedtime story “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, has been told so often that it lost attachment to its author, Robert Southey, one of the “Lake Poets” and Poet Laureate of England.

Hanzel & Gretel Art Print
Hanzel & Gretel
Art Print

Jessie Wilcox-Smith, illustrator

Hanzel and Gretel is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm. It originated in the Middle Ages when infanticide was a common practice.

In researching Hanzel and Gretel I found that what was called gingerbread in Medieval times was more like a candy than the cake we have today. See Sharing Food lesson plan ideas for more information.

Engelbert Humperdinck opera Hänsel und Gretel

Little Red Riding Hood, Giclee Print, Gustave Dore
Little Red Riding Hood,
Giclee Print

Gustave Dore, Ill.

Little Red Riding Hood was first published in 17th century France, based on versions from the 14th century and many countries - the message is “it's safer in town than in the country (or let's put some technology between us and wild nature).” So why did they leave the elderly in the woods and then send a child to care for her?

Well, clearly it's was just as difficult to care for elderly parents in the 17th century as it is now; today's wolf does cold calling to steal identities, and working parents rely on their children to help with family situations.

teeth & dental posters

Melusina, Jean d'Arras

Melusine is a water-nymph spirit with a serpentine tail living in the sacred springs and rivers of Northern European legends, a female dangerous to mortal men.

Jean d'Arras, the author of the first literary reference to Melusine, has been followed by numerous writers, artists and composers, building on the story. Just to name a few: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Sir Walter Scott, Felix Mendelssohn, Marcel Proust, Maurice Maeterlinck, Claude Debussy, André Breton, Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, and Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué wrote Undine which lead to the ballet Ondine. Also compare the Starbucks logo to Melusine.

Puss in Boots - Puss Tells the King and His Daughter That His Master the Marquis de Carabas is Drowning, Giclee Print
Puss Tells the King &
His Daugher That
His Master is Drowning,
Giclee Print

Puss in Boots is the tale of a cat helping an impoverished master, the “Marques de Carabas”, attain wealth through trickery.

French author Charles Perrault included Le Maistre Chat, ou Le Chat Botté (”The Booted Cat”) in his collection of eight fairy tales called Histoiries ou contes temps passé.

Three Little Pigs, Photographic Print
Three Little Pigs, Photographic Print

Three Little Pigs is a cautionary tale for children about heeding parental advice and avoiding the Big Bad Wolf.

The “pigs” tale is from the 19th century and bears resemblence to an earlier recording by the Grimm Brothers of “The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids”, also Little Red Riding Hood.

The Witch Spies on Rapunzel, Anne Anderson, Giclee Print
The Witch Spies Rapunzel,
Giclee Print

Anne Anderson,

Rapunzel was one of the first tales published by the Grimm Brothers in 1812.

A woman, long childless, finds herself pregnant and craving the greens “rapunzel” growing in the walled garden next door. The husband, caught by the old woman gardener as he steals some of the rapunzel (also called rampion), promises her the newborn child, if she will only let him go.

The old woman keeps the girl child “safe” in a doorless, stairless tower. When the old woman wants to visit Rapunzel she would command the girl to “let down her hair”, and the old woman would climb up.

Eventually a wandering prince sees the old woman climbing the long hair and uses the same access to meet and fall in love with the Rapunzel. When the pair are discovered, the enraged old woman pushes the prince out the high window into a bed of thornes that scratch his eyes and blinds him; she also casts Rapunzel out.

The homeless girl, and the now blind, wandering prince, find one another and Rapunzel's tears to joy cure the Prince's blindness. The End.

Rampion is a gourmet salad green - seeds here.

Rumplestiltskin, Art Print, Warwick Goble, illustrator
Art Print

Warwick Goble,


Rumplestiltskin is a dwarf or goblin who seeks an advantage by playing on the need for feeling important and greed - first the father brags his daughter can spin straw into gold, then the king wants lots of gold, so the girl bargains with a strange little man to fulfill the wishes of both men. What she has to do is give up her first born - but when the time comes the dwarf gives her a reprieve, if she can guess his name.

Rumplestiltskin is first mentioned in an adaption of Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel.

Sleeping Beauty Art Print
Sleeping Beauty
Giclee Print

Jennie Harbour

Sleeping Beauty, a fairytale classic, has several versions.

The basic theme is a much desired child is cursed because of an oversight by the parents in the invitations to the christening. The slighted fairy dooms the princess to prick her finger on a spindle and die. The good godmothers can only alter the spell so the Princess will fall asleep for a hundred years until a prince awakens her with a kiss. The King decides to eliminate the problem by banning all spinning from the land (this would be a huge hardship in those days - if no one was spinning eventually the kingdom would be without clothing.) Despite the prohibition on spindles, the day arrives when the princess sees an old woman spinning.

Sleeping Beauty, Giclee Print, Anne Anderson
The Witch Shows
Sleeping Beauty
the Spinning Wheel

Curious about this strange activity, she reaches for the spindle, pricks her finger and falls asleep - as does everyone else in the kingdom. In one hundred years the prince show up, kisses the Sleeping Beauty, awakens everyone, and they all live happily ever after.

Sleeping Beauty ballet

Snow White Giclee Print, Roland Risse, Illustrator
Snow White,
Giclee Print

Snow White

The Snow White story is another common theme in fairy tales: young child loses mother (primary protector), step mother devises a way to remove child from home, child survives and is stronger for the adventure (hero's journey).

In other versions the mirror is the moon, and the seven dwarfs are seven robbers.

The Witch Baba Yaga, Illustration from the Story of 'Vassilissa the Beautiful', Russian Folk Tale, Ivan Bilibin, Illustrator, 1902, Giclee Print
The Witch Baba Yaga
Giclee Print

Ivan Bilibin

The Witch Baba Yaga, the Story of ‘Vassilissa the Beautiful’

Baba Yaga is the wild old woman (Baba means grandmother), mistress of magic and a forest spirit. She flies about in a mortar, steering with a pestle - the imagary of putting together magic potions, and her house is built on chicken legs.

Compare the Baba Yaga with the witch of Hansel and Gretel, or the wicked stepmother of Cinderella.

Bilibin was an influential 20th-century Russian illustrator who was strongly inspired by Slavic folklore. He died during the siege of Leningrad in WWII.

The Little Humpbacked Horse: A Russian Fairy Tale
The Little Humpbacked Horse:
A Russian Fairy Tale

The Little Humpbacked Horse ballet is based on a fairy tale by Russian Pyotr Yeshov.

The little horse helps Ivan, the peasant's son, meet all the unreasonable demands of the Tsar, capture the magic firebird, and marry the princess.

The Emperor and the Nightingale, Illustration for "The Nightingale", Giclee Print
The Emperor &
the Nighingale Illustration

The Emperor and the Nightingale, Illustration for “The Nightingale”
by Harry Clarke, Giclee Print
also The Old Man is Always Right, The Ugly Duckling, & The Little Mermaid

Hans Christian Andersen posters

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last updated 1/3/14