Fairy Tales in the Western Tradition

In common use, a fairy tale is any short tale usually thought to have its origin in the folk of a historical time; used this way, the category may include many different genres like folk tales, animal tales, and legends. A narrower definition of fairy tale is a short work set in a world where magic and the supernatural go without comment. The story will often have transformational moments, helper, and archetypical characters, and, perhaps most importantly to the modern mind, a Happily Ever After. This last characteristic gives rise to fairy-tale being used as an adjective to describe a particularly happy but unlikely event. Oddly, fairy tales need not contain fairies and might more usefully be called wonder tales. The phrase fairy tale comes ...

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