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A Kids Guide to Fairytales and Folklore

By: Molly Schwichtenberg

Fairy tales have helped shape our entire world! That statement may sound incredible, but it is shockingly true. Almost everyone grew up hearing and reading fairy tales. They are some of the best-known stories written. Scientist, politicians, writers, artists, philosophers, and engineers all heard tales of knights and princesses, and these stories helped inspire their imaginations. Fairy tales would help spark ideas that have led to some of our greatest discoveries. Even if the tales themselves were made up, they have taught listeners life lessons for generations.

"Rumpelstiltskin"

Rumpelstiltskin is a classic fairy tale that teaches readers that nothing in life is free. The character has been used as a villain in movies and TV shows, too.

"The Ant and the Grasshopper"

One of Aesop's most famous fables, this story shows the advantages of hard work. Having fun and playing games is great, but not at the expense of important work. The story also shows the wisdom in planning ahead and saving for harder times.

"The Prince Who Acquired Wisdom"

Sometimes, lessons may not seem useful at the moment, but they may help in the future. There are times when English, math, or history lessons can seem pointless, for example, but these lessons can be useful later on.

"Little Tiny or Thumbelina"

Thumbelina was written by Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote many fairy tales. The story was not very well-received when it was written because critics claimed it had no moral. There is a message about always being kind, but it is a loose connection at best.

"How the Tiger Got its Stripes"

Fairy tales have been popular all over the world. This tale takes place in Brazil, and it helps teach readers the dangers of being greedy.

"The Mouse's Marriage"

Japan has a long and rich history of fairy tales. Many current mangas are based on old Japanese fairy tales. This story teaches that it is often too easy to ignore what makes you great when you compare yourself to others.

"Beauty and the Beast"

The story helps teach readers that what's on the inside matters far more than what's on the outside. As the old saying goes, "Never judge a book by its cover."

"Three Little Pigs"

The story of the Three Little Pigs praises hard work and preparation, themes that are seen in many fairy tales. The brother who worked the hardest and built his house out of bricks is able to save his family from the big bad wolf.

"Little Red Riding Hood"

These stories were told at a time when traveling was very dangerous. No one had phones, and if a traveler wasn't careful and trusted the wrong people, they could be in trouble.

"Chicken Little"

Whenever a group of people is freaking out about something silly or small, people say they are acting like the sky is falling, a saying that they got from this story. An idea can be very silly and make no sense, but if it's expressed with enough emotion, sometimes, other people will believe it, too.

"Cinderella"

In the original story, Cinderella was wearing a fur slipper, but thanks to later versions of the story, the world will always think of a glass slipper.

"Old Mother Hubbard"

This story was first printed in 1805, but it is thought to be much older than that. The seemingly silly lyrics may have at one point been a joke about the government, but it was written so long ago that no one knows what it was making fun of.

"Snow White"

What are the names the Seven Dwarfs? Well, thanks to Disney, we know that they are Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Dopey, and Doc, but in the original story, they were never named.

"The Princess and the Frog"

This is another fairy tale that warns against judging a book by its cover. The princess finds a frog that becomes a prince. Had she treated the frog poorly, she may never have found her true love.

The Princess and the Pea

This fun story talks about a princess who is so delicate that she can be bruised by a pea buried under 20 different feather mattresses. There may not be a strong moral to this fairy tale, but the absurdity of the story has helped it endure.

"The Hare and the Tortoise"

Slow and steady beats quick and reckless every time. Everyone knows how this race should end, but the Hare never takes the Tortoise seriously, and this causes the Hare to learn a very important lesson about showing off.

"Sleeping Beauty"

Long before this was a Disney movie, it was a fairy tale. Modern versions of this tale paint a kinder picture of the witch.

"The Boy Who Cried Wolf"

The lesson of this story is to not lie. A person who lies a lot will one day not be believed, even when they are telling the truth. Sometimes, the best stories have the simplest lessons.

"Aladdin"

Aladdin goes through a lot of trouble to be something that he isn't, but in the end, it is the lessons he learned when he was poor that save the day.

"The Adventure of Pinocchio"

This is another fairy tale that talks about the importance of truth and hard work. Even though Pinocchio wants to have fun and play games, it isn't until he takes life a little more seriously that he becomes a real boy.

"Jack and the Beanstalk"

Jack learns to take risks and trust his instincts in this story. While everything doesn't go as he plans, it all works out in the end.

"The Goose Who Laid the Golden Egg"

This story teaches readers to appreciate what they have and not become greedy and reckless.

"Goldilocks and the Three Bears"

Goldilocks breaks into the bears' home, eats their food, breaks their furniture, and then goes to sleep in their house. Because of this, she ends up in great danger.

"Puss in Boots"

This cat is a trickster, but he uses his wits to help his owner become rich and happy.