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 About Fairy Tales

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Toby
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PostSubject: About Fairy Tales   Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:32 pm

Fairy tale is an English language term for a type of short narrative corresponding to the German term Märchen, the Swedish saga, or the Italian fiaba.
Only a small number of the stories thus designated explicitly refer to
fairies. Nonetheless, the stories may be distinguished from other folk
narratives such as legends and traditions (which generally involve
belief in the veracity of the events described)[1] and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables. Fairy tales typically feature such folkloric characters as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. Often the story will involve a far-fetched sequence of events.

In less technical contexts, the term is also used to describe
something blessed with unusual happiness, as in "fairy tale ending" (a happy ending)[2] or "fairy tale romance" (though not all fairy tales end happily). Colloquially, a "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can also mean any far-fetched story.

In cultures where demons and witches are perceived as real, fairy tales may merge into legends, where the narrative is perceived both by teller and hearers as being grounded in historical truth. However, unlike legends and epics, they usually do not contain more than superficial references to religion and actual places, people, and events; they take place once upon a time rather than in actual times.[3]
Fairy tales are found in oral and in literary form. The history of
the fairy tale is particularly difficult to trace, because only the
literary forms can survive. Still, the evidence of literary works at
least indicates that fairy tales have existed for thousands of years,
although not perhaps recognized as a genre; the name "fairy tale" was first ascribed to them by Madame d'Aulnoy.
Many of today's fairy tales have evolved from centuries-old stories
that have appeared, with variations, in multiple cultures around the
world.[4] Fairy tales, and works derived from fairy tales, are still written today.

The older fairy tales were intended for an audience of adults as
well as children, but they were associated with children as early as
the writings of the précieuses; the Brothers Grimm titled their collection Children's and Household Tales, and the link with children has only grown stronger with time.

Folklorists have classified fairy tales in various ways. Among the most notable are the Aarne-Thompson classification system and the morphological analysis of Vladimir Propp.
Other folklorists have interpreted the tales' significance, but no
school has been definitively established for the meaning of the tales.

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