Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wisdom, Wit and Wonder - Fabulous Fairy Tales!

The Frog Prince and Other Stories
by Walter Crane, 1874
“Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life.”
 Friedrich von Schiller

Recently, my colleagues and I have been discussing the lasting importance of fairytales amidst the plethora of personal stories on festival stages and  at story slams. Don't misunderstand me, I love a well-told personal tale; I have taken part in story slams and strongly support my local organization, The current popularity of that genre offers the wonderful benefit of introducing a younger audience to the art of oral tradition. However, more than ever it seems as if the old tales are being relegated back to the nursery and adults assume fairy tales are for children.

In doing a bit of research for this post I came across this wonderful quote:

"Once upon a time, back when animals spoke and rivers sang and every quest was worth going on, back when dragons still roared and maidens were beautiful and an honest young man with a good heart and a great deal of luck could always wind up with a princess and half the kingdom - back then, fairytales were for adults...." Neil Gaiman

It is my hope that one day telling fairytales will be as mainstream and hip as The Moth and its facsimilies around the country. So here is short list of antique books on line, filled with stories. In the new year I will research and post more; the possibilites are endless.

Fairytales contain the wisdom, wit and wonder of the ages. Give them a try and you just might be swept away by story!

A Book of Fairy Tales from Many Places
Andrew Lang’s Colored Fairy Tale Books – They’re all here from blue to violet!

Armenian Fairy Tales - Sixteen interesting folktales from the ancient country of Armenia.

Beauty and the Beast by
Warwick Goble, 1923
Canadian Wonder Tales by Cyrus MacMillian

Celtic Fairy Tales

Czechoslovak Fairy TalesSeventeen stories from the Baldwin Project.

Fairy Tales by Howard Pyle, 1903.
Fairy Tales from the Arabian Nights by E. Dixon, 1893.
Fairy Tales from Many Lands by Katharine Pyle, 1911. The Evil One Who Married Three Sisters, The Seven Golden Pea Hens and other unique stories are found within.

Fairy Tales and Folktales of the Irish Peasantry - Edited by W. B. Yeats and published in 1888 the stories are here to enjoy, courtesy of Sacred Texts. Revel in tales of the Merrow, Changelings, Pookas, Fairies and Banshees, Saints, Priests, Giants and Devils, Kings, Queens, Earls and Robbers; Yeats covers them all!

Fairies at the Cradle
by Warwick Goble
Grimm’s Fairytales – 209 tales by the Brothers Grimm.

Indian Fairytales by Joseph Jacobs, 1912. It offers twenty-nine tales from Eastern India and gorgeous illustrations to complement each story.

Japanese Fairy Tales by Teresa Peirce Williston, 1911

Pepper and Salt – Literary Fairy Tales by Howard Pyle, 1885

Roumanian Fairy Tales and Legends
by Mrs. E. B. Mawr, 1881.

Russian Fairy Tales - The site shares twenty-one fairytales. Most offer both a short and long version, for those who want more details.

Slovak National Fairy Tales - A Tribute to Pavol Dobšinský (Dobsinsky) -Interesting background information on the writer who created the largest collection of Slovak folktales. It also offers insight into the Slovak heritage and presents fourteen folktales.

The Junior Classics (Volume One: Fairy and Wonder Tales) edited by William Patten.

The Magic Ring and Other Oriental Fairy Tales by James Miller, 1861.

The Wonder Clock – Literary Fairy Tales by Howard Pyle, 1887.

There’s Magic in Fairy Tales – My blog celebrating the birthday of Harry Houdini from March of 2011. There are fairy tales filled with magic, crafts, curriculum and a fairy tale story stretch I wrote as well.

Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards by Frances Olcott, 1928.

If you missed the previous blog posts of public domain story collections go to:

Karen Chace 2011 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.


WorldofStories said...

I have four of the Lang coloured fairy books, two of which ARE antiques! As is my copy of WB Yeats book - I swapped my perfect paperback copy at the library I used to work at for the old one which was falling apart so a copy would stay on the shelves! The old one was being discarded with no thought to replacement!

Also check out:

I am a HUGE Kevin Crossley-Holland fan. My second real folk/faerie book was his Northern Lights book. My first was the Lang Blue Fairy Book! I still have both.

A few for you now: Balin's Turkish Fairy Tales:

The Borzoi book of French folk tales By Paul Delarue

Boys' and Girls' Bookshelf: Famous tales and laughter stories

Boys and Girls Bookshelf (Vol 2 of 17) Folk-Lore, Fables, and Fairy Tales

As always: Thanks for sharing!

Simon Brooks, storyteller

Karen Chace said...

Thanks for the additional resources Simon. I will list them in my next fairy tale blog post, with attribution to you of course!


JB Rowley said...

That is an impressive number of links to fairytales, Karen. Well done! I am heartened to see anything that encourages the discovery or rediscovery of fairytales. Fairytales were the victim of bad press at one stage here in Australia and no doubt in other countries. Some groups, apparently, believed they were not good for children because they feared children would take them literally - or some such adult nonsense. That attitude seems to be changing now so that parents and teachers are returning to fairytales.

In some secondary schools these days students study fairytales and often create their own fractured fairytales. Although I love the traditional fairytales, I also think fractured fairytales a lot of fun. Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs are typical subjects for fracturing. A very clever and successful example of Three Little Pigs retold and reworked is The Biography of Gilbert Alexander Pig by Gael Cresp. Gilbert, based on the legendary American trumpeter Gil Askey, uses negotiation and his trumpet to outwit and befriend the 'big bad wolf'.

JB Rowley, educator, writer and storyteller.

Juliet Bruce, Ph.D. said...

This is a fantastic compilation, Karen.

Thank you so very much!

Juliet Bruce

Silvia De Cèsare said...

Thanks so much Karen for your generosity!!

FairyTaleLover said...

Hi, you made another valuable list of not so famous, but many times even more beautiful fairy tales than most of people ever heard for. Seeing a lot of gems from Slavs and being from Slovenia myself, I can add another address:

Despite the fact some stories belong to more than one group, careful observer can learn a lot about differences between e.g. Slavs from East or South thus giving the opportunity to connect the development of fairy tale or folk tale with forming of nations and states.

Thank you and all the best with your blog:)

Karen Chace said...

Dear Fairy Tale Lover,

Thank you for your interesting and full response. I love the story site you referenced as well and actually included it in my Sept/October newsletter at

In my next fairy tale post I will remember to include it. Thank you for reminding me and for sharing your valuable thoughts.

I went to your blog, which is full of wonderful information. Each newsletter I highlight a blog connected to storytelling. May I have your permission to highlight yours?

Thank you again.

Karen Chace said...

Hi JB,

Interesting information about Australia. I am so glad to hear the tides are changing. There has been a lot of research on why the dark side of fairytales are important to the psychological development of young children. I will try to find some of those articles and post them.

I love fractured tales as well, they always make me laugh and I marvel at the writer's creativity.

Thank you for your comment; I always love to hear your voice. :)


Karen Chace said...

Thanks Juliet. So glad to know it may be useful to you one day.


FairyTaleLover said...

Hi, Karen Chace, thanks for visiting my blog. You asked for permission of highlighting it in one of your posts... I would be honored and it would certainly be great motivation for my further research of fairy tales (and improving my English:))
Have a great day!

Karen Chace said...

Wonderful! My next issue comes out at the beginning of January. You may find the archives here

Thank you again!
p.s. Your English is grand!