Fairy Tales & Fables

The striking thing about fairy tales is not their dissimilarity to reality, but their resemblance to life as we know it. We don't fight dragons on our way to work (though we might when we're there) or find magic lamps when we need them, but existence has its ups and downs the same as any story about witches and Princes Charming, even if they're typically less magical. But the people we see in fairy tales are very much like the people we encounter every day, people we can relate to because they experience the same victories and defeats we do.

G.K. Chesterton says in Orthodoxy that a good story used to be about a hero among dragons, while in our modern age what is considered a good story is one about a dragon among dragons. It's true—today, most serious fiction is about lonely people struggling against existential angst in a dark world of cement and automobiles, a world devoid of beauty. Perhaps the great pull of fairy tales is that they aren't serious fiction, that their characters inhabit worlds of magic and wonder, that bad guys are identified by their pointy eyebrows and wicked grins, that eggs are made of gold and princesses have hair long as a castle tower.

But, some will object, this isn't consistent with what we know. Okay, we could respond, what of it? Why must our literature reflect exactly the world we live in, with its prosaic drudgery and numbing ambiguity? Why can't we have heroes who go to the moon on horseback and rescue fair damsels with a well-placed kiss and kill ogres in epic battles beneath enchanted trees? Why shouldn't we read about gnomes and pixies and mushrooms that hold the secrets of the universe? Why do we all have to be boring old people wallowing in ennui?

Or maybe we could put it another way— how do you know there isn't gold in that huge fish too big for fishermen to catch? Are you certain your ugly and mean coworker isn't under a curse....or an evil sorcerer himself? Who's to say all those good things that happened to you last week weren't the result of finding that lucky penny on the sidewalk? Did you really just misplace your socks, or are there brownies under the couch? And when you married the love of your life, wasn't it a bit like climbing a secluded tower, Love's First Kiss, and riding off into the sunset all rolled into one?

It's interesting to note that it was scholars who preserved the old fairy tales in writing. Charles Perrault began the trend in the 17th century, and the Brothers Grimm followed in the 19th, recording what for centuries past had existed only in the minds and speech of the people. Fables (shorter fairy tales with morals blatantly attached at the end) had always been written, but fairy tales themselves were, until these chroniclers appeared, purely oral tradition.

The reason is plain—stories of the common people, they offered clearly defined morality, hopefulness, and entertainment beyond the merely mundane, all set in the context of violence, oppression and injustice they knew so well. This isn't the kind of thing that gets written down, because then it would lose its power and its capacity for refuge from the horrors of actual existence.

Fortunately for us, however, they were written down before they dropped forever into the black hole of the Past. Our lives aren't typically as fraught with danger as those of peasants in Medieval Europe or Bushmen in deepest Africa, but they are just as in need of light and even frivolity. We lose sight of the joy of the magical at the risk of losing sight of the joy of life itself. Fairy tales are nothing if they aren't magical, and less than nothing if they aren't sources of the kind of profound joy their protagonists often seem to enjoy.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Episode 70: Why Read Fairy Tales?
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Aesop's Fables
by Aesop
from Signet Classics
Fairy Tales & Fables for 10th grade-adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: LIT1-ANC)
$5.06
Aesop's Fables
by Aesop, Isaac Bashevis Singer
from Nelson Doubleday, Inc.
for 7th-Adult
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Aesop's Fables
Puffin Classics
by Aesop
Reprint from Puffin Books
Myths, Fairy Tales & Folklore for Kindergarten-4th grade
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$6.79
Aesop's Fables
by Aesop, illustrated by Harry Rountree
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Aesop's Fables
by Aesop, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
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Aesop's Fables
by Aesop, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
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Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 1st-Adult
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$12.74
Aesop's Fables
by Aesop, illustrated by Michael Hague
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Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 1st-5th grade
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Aesop's Fables
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Aesop's Fables and Life of Aesop
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Alex O'Donnell and the 40 CyberThieves
by Regina Doman
from Chesterton Press
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
Illustrated Junior Library Series 4
by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Arthur Szyk
from Grosset & Dunlap
Fairy Tales for 3rd-6th grade
Andersen's Fairy Tales
Junior Deluxe Editions
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard
from Grosset & Dunlap
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Troy Howell
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Valdemar Paulsen
from Barnes & Noble
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$4.80 (1 in stock)
Andersen's Fairy Tales
Illustrated Junior Library Series 1
by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Arthur Szyk
from Grosset & Dunlap
Fairy Tales for 3rd-6th grade
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
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by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Arthur Szyk
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Fairy Tales for 3rd-6th grade
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
Illustrated Junior Library Series 3
by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Arthur Szyk
from Grosset & Dunlap
Fairy Tales for 3rd-6th grade
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Kay Nielsen
from Viking Press
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
Illustrated Junior Library Series 2
by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Arthur Szyk
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Fairy Tales for 3rd-6th grade
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Illustrated Junior Library Series 2 Paperback
by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Arthur Szyk
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Fairy Tales for 3rd-6th grade
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Andersen's Fairy Tales
Windermere Readers #8
by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Valdemar Paulsen and illustrated by Milo Winter
1954 Edition from Rand McNally
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
Windermere Series 1
by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Valdemar Paulsen and illustrated by Milo Winter
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
Windermere Series 2 (Cover 1)
by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Valdemar Paulsen and illustrated by Milo Winter
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Windermere Series 3
by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Valdemar Paulsen and illustrated by Milo Winter
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Andersen's Fairy Tales
Windermere Series 4
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Andersen's Fairy Tales / Grimm's Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen, Brothers Grimm
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Annotated Brothers Grimm
by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
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Annotated Classic Fairy Tales
by Maria Tatar
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Annotated Hans Christian Andersen
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Annotated Hans Christian Andersen
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Arabian Nights
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Arabian Nights
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Arabian Nights
International Collectors Library
by Sir Richard Burton, illustrated by Steele Savage
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Arabian Nights
Scribner Illustrated Classics
by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith, editors, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish
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Eastern Fairy Tales for 9th-Adult
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$29.99
Arabian Nights
by Sir Richard Burton, trans.
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Arabian Nights
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Arabian Nights
by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith, editors, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish
from Book-of-the-Month Club
Eastern Fairy Tales for 9th-Adult
Arabian Nights - Two Volume Set
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Arabian Nights I
Signet Classics
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Eastern Fairy Tales for 9th-Adult
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$8.46
Arabian Nights II
Signet Classics
by Anonymous, Sir Richard Burton (Translator), Jack Zipes (Adapter)
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Eastern Fairy Tales for 9th-Adult
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$7.61
Ardizzone's Hans Andersen
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone
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Argosy of Fables
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$51.20 (1 in stock)
Bremen Town Musicians
by Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
Tra from Minedition
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Buckwheat
Scandinavia Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen
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Classic Fairy Tales
by Peter Opie & Iona Opie
from Oxford University
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Classic Grimm's Fairy Tales
by Brothers Grimm, retold by Louise Betts Egan, illustrated by Various
from Courage Books
for 1st-4th grade
Classic Tales of Oscar Wilde
by Oscar Wilde, illustrated by Charles Robinson
from Egmont
for 3rd-8th grade
Clod Hans
Scandinavia Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen
from Word Inc.
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
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$6.40 (1 in stock)
Complete Fables of Aesop
Penguin Classics
by Aesop
from Penguin Classics
Fables for 9th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: LIT1-ANC)
$11.90
Complete Fairy Tales
Penguin Classics
by George MacDonald
from Penguin Classics
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Folklore for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$14.45
Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde
Signet Classics
by Oscar Wilde
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Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 10th-Adult
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$5.06
Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm
3rd edition from Bantam Books
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Folklore for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$20.40
Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
by Brothers Grimm, Josef Scharl
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$6.40 (1 in stock)
Complete Illustrated Stories of the Brothers Grimm
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by E.H. Wehnert
Redesigned Edition (1st Edition in this form) from Chancellor Press
for 9th-Adult
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Complete Tales of Uncle Remus
by Joel Chandler Harris
from Houghton Mifflin
Animal Fantasy for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$33.99
Complete Tales of Uncle Remus
by Joel Chandler Harris, retold by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
from Dial Press
Animal Fantasy for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$50.00
Don't Count Your Chicks
by Edgar & Ingri D'Aulaire
from Doubleday & Company
for Preschool-2nd grade
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Dulac's The Snow Queen
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Edmund Dulac
from Doubleday Book For Young Readers
ECL: Andersen's Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Brigitte Bryan
from Classic Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Educator Classic Library (Location: VIN-ECL)
ECL: Sleeping Beauty and other Tales
by Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Wayne Brown
from Classic Press
for 1st-6th grade
in Educator Classic Library (Location: VIN-ECL)
Emperor and the Nightingale
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Bill Sokol
from Pantheon Books
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Vintage Picture Books (Location: VIN-PIC)
$6.40 (1 in stock)
Emperor's New Clothes
by Virginia Burton, illustrator
from Sandpiper Books
Fairy Tale/Allegory for 1st-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$5.91
Enchanted Book
by Janina Porazinska, translated by Bozena Smith, illustrated by Jan Brett
from Harcourt Brace Jovanich
for 2nd-6th grade
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$4.80 (1 in stock)
English Fairy Tales
Calla Editions
by Flora Steel, Illustrated by Arthur Rackham
from Dover Publications
Eric Carle's Treasury of Classic Stories for Children
by Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, retold & illustrated by Eric Carle
from Scholastic Inc.
for 3rd-6th grade
Fables of Aesop
by Aesop, illustrated by Edward J. Detmold
from Gramercy Books
for Kindergarten-4th grade
Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Margaret Tarrant
from Gallery Books
for 4th-8th grade
Fairy Tales and Stories
by Hans Christian Andersen, Edited by Signe Toksvig, Illustrated by George and Doris Hauman
from Macmillan
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$20.00 (1 in stock)
Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
from George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd.
for 1st-6th grade
Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
from Weathervane Books
for 1st-6th grade
Fairy Tales from Hans Christian Andersen
by Hans Christian Andersen, compiled by Russell Ash and Bernard Higton
First Edition from Chronicle Books
Fairy Tales from Hans Christian Andersen
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Tasha Tudor
from Henry Z. Walck, Inc.
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
Fairy Tales from the Arabian Nights
Dent & Dutton Illustrated Series
by E. Dixon, illustrated by Joan Kiddell-Monroe
from E.P. Dutton & Co.
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
Fairy Tales of Brothers Grimm - Comprehension Guide
by Emily Fischer
from Veritas Press
for 3rd-6th grade
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$19.00 $10.00 (1 in stock)
Fairy Tales of Hans Christen Andersen
by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Reginald Spink and illustrated by W. Heath Robinson
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
for 4th-6th grade
$15.30
Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Isabelle Brent
from Viking Press
Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Kay Nielsen
from Viking Press
for 3rd-8th grade
$9.60 (1 in stock)
Fairy Tales: The Brothers Grimm
Everyman's Library Children's Classics
by The Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Folklore for 2nd-6th grade
$16.96 $8.00 (1 in stock)
Favourite Tales from Grimm and Andersen
by Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by JirĂ­ Trnka
1983 Printing from Paul Hamlyn
for 4th-8th grade
$14.40 (1 in stock)
Favourite Tales from Hans Christen Andersen
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova
from Floris Books
for 4th-6th grade
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Fir Tree
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Nancy Burkert
from Harper & Row
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
Fir Tree
Scandinavia Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen, Translated by Hans Henrik Breitenstein, Illustrated by Tiziana Gironi
from Word Inc.
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
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Flying Trunk and Other Stories from Hans Christian Andersen
by Naomi Lewis retelling Hans Christian Andersen
from Simon and Schuster
for K-3rd
Fox & the Cat
by Kevin Crossley-Holland, Susan Varley (Illustrator)
from Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books
Animal Fables for Preschool-2nd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
by Brothers Grimm, translated by Margaret Hunt
from Canterbury Classics
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$21.24
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Junior Deluxe Editions
by Wilhelm & Jacob Grimm, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 3rd-6th grade
Grimm's Fairy Tales
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Lucille Corcos
from Heritage Press
for 4th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Children's Classics
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Noel Pocock
from Dilithium Press, Ltd.
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Folklore for 3rd-8th grade
Grimm's Fairy Tales
by Grimm Brothers, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
from Viking Press
for 4th-8th grade
Grimm's Fairy Tales
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, selected & edited by Louis & Bryna Untermeyer and illustrated by Lucille Corcos
from Easton Press
for 4th-10th grade
in Leather Bound Collectible Books (Location: VIN-LEA)
Grimm's Fairy Tales
by Grimm Brothers, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
from SeaStar Books
for 4th-8th grade
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Windermere Readers #4
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Hope Dunlap
1954 printing from Rand McNally
for 4th-10th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Windermere Series 1
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Hope Dunlap
from Rand McNally
for 4th-10th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Windermere Series 2
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Hope Dunlap
from Rand McNally
for 4th-10th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Windermere Series 3
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Hope Dunlap
from Rand McNally
for 4th-10th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Windermere Series 4
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Hope Dunlap
from Rand McNally
for 4th-10th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
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