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ONCE UPON A TIME A FAIRY TALE WAS BORN...

(Kde bolo tam bolo, narodila sa rozprávka …)
Ivana Žemberová
What is a folktale? Is there any difference between a folk and fairy tale? When and where did the folk tale
originate and what is its purpose? These are only some of the questions that scholars in the field of
folkloristic, cultural anthropology, literary science and psychology have been trying to find answers to.
While some of the questions seem to be rather easy to answer some of them require complex and
elaborate research. The study of folklore in general and folk tales in particular is much younger than
folklore itself. While folklore is probably as old as mankind, its study in Western culture began about two
hundred years ago with the rise of the romantic spirit and the interest of the Romantics in folklore, or
rather in materials of folkloristic nature, as the term folklore had not yet been coined at that time.
Although in Europe great credit is attributed to the Grimm brothers as the founders of the folklore studies,
scholarly materials collected in Asia, particularly in India are much older. (Handoo 1989: Chapter 1) As
mentioned before, within the course of two centuries, folklore, particularly folk tales have been studied
by scholars from various disciplines. Naturally, they treated the material from different perspectives.
Consequently, several theories concerning the origin, development and meaning of folk tales arose, a
short survey of which forms a part of this study. But before one starts dealing with the genesis of folk
tales, it is necessary to mention what folk tales actually are, how we classify them and what place they
have in the great body of folklore.
Folk Tales as a Part of Folklore
Folk tales form a part of a more complex term referring to the heritage of a nation – folklore. Folklore is based
on the beliefs, manners, customs, observations and superstitions of the people. Many of its forms are closely
connected to the attempts of people to explain the phenomena of the natural world they did not understand or
were afraid of. The term itself was introduced by a British scholar William Thoms in 1846 (Handoo 1989:
Chapter 2). The Saxon compound folk-lore (Lore of the people) referring to the wisdom and knowledge of the
people consequently substituted the non-unified terminology that had been used to label the materials of
folkloristic nature before.
In western folkloristics (Dorson 1972) we differentiate between four broad categories of folklore and folklife –
oral literature, material culture, social folk customs and performing folk arts. Each of the categories includes folk
expressions which according to their basic characteristics can be classified into a number of genres.
1) Oral literature has traditionally been known as folk literature and will be referred to as such throughout this
study. Within the folk literature we differentiate between folk narratives (myths, legends, fables, folk tales), folk
poetry (ballads, folksongs, lullabies, work songs and songs associated with ritual and rites), folk speech
(dialect) and short forms of folk literature, such as proverbs, sayings and riddles. Each of these forms may
have numerous sub-forms depending on the culture in which the form or forms are available.
2) Material culture encompasses craft, art, architecture, costumes and food.
3) Social folk customs are studied in relation to folk festivals, games and ritualistic practices.
4) Performing folk arts include folk music, dance and folk drama.

As Melicher ((2) 2007:112) states. while 'fairy tale' represents one of its forms 'magická/čarovná rozprávka'. From this point of view. The same problem concerns the Slovak translation of the work ʼs title Morfológia rozprávky. and realistic fairy tale. he distinguishes the forms. it is necessary to mention the Aarne-Thompson classification system. He continues to say that it is absolutely impossible to draw a sharp line between folk tales. 'rozprávka' refers to a more general term 'folk tale'. For example. However. For example. Morphology of the Fairy Tale would be less misleading. related to their form. dramatic and pantomimic expression of children. and legends. Apart from that. he finds out that the translation of 'fairy tale' is 'rozprávka'. legendary fairy tales. These are further classified into several sub-genres or genre forms. style and function. dance. the classification of folk narratives is utterly relative. . particularly children’s games clearly demonstrate the genre syncretism. Children’s drama. Folk tales. if one looks up the expression 'fairy tale' in an English-Slovak dictionary. animal fairy tale. the same form which corresponds with Aarne-Thompson tale tapes 300-749. Classification of Folk Tales As Propp (1969:23) states. and folk tales. in professional literature we also come across this translation problem.Each of the genres encompasses various forms of folk expression classified according to specific criteria. dancing and singing. As stated above. In relation to the translation of terminology. myths. For example. many folk narratives show genre syncretism across the genre borders and consequently a single work could be classified into several genres. thereby various folk expressions can belong to more than one genre. being one of the genres of folk narratives are further categorized into several sub-genres or genre forms. Although it is relatively easy to define the individual genres. a question arises whether the translation of the title of Propp ʼs influential work Morfogija skazky (1928) into English as Morphology of the Folktale is appropriate with regard to the content of the work. Folk narratives refer to a general category encompassing the following genres: myths. legends. While this seems to be a quite common problem with the general public. folk genres rarely have clearly defined frontiers. drama is often associated with preChristian wedding or funeral traditions and customs. including a fairy tale. content. However. in literary science. the English term 'Legend' comprises also genres that are in the Slovak terminology designated as 'povesť' and 'legenda'. to categorize a particular work into one of these genres and genre forms may sometimes seem tough work. Ambiguities also emerge while translating terms from one language to another. Folk Tales and Fairy Tales Folk tales form a part of folk narratives. within the general term which Franko (1994) labels as 'fairy tales’. However. classification is one of the first and most important stages of the research. A specific problem may also arise from the terminology itself. while the Slovak term 'legenda' is more specific and refers to what is known as 'Christian Legendas' or 'Legends of the Saints'. However. dramatic performance is often accompanied by oral literature. as they include oral literary genres (epic or lyric). such as the fantastic fairy tale. what he designates as a 'fairy tale' is by folklorists and literary scholars generally referred to as a 'folk tale'. When it comes to the classification of folk tales. The specific genre form that Propp is concerned with in the work is the fairy tale. Hence. On the Difference between Folk Narratives. music. fables. this is apparently a result of the above mentioned translation ambiguity.

. was translated into English and enlarged by the American folklorist Stith Thompson in 1928 and revised in 1961 under the title The Types of the Folktale.g. The last category of the ATU system also involves so called cumulative tales. Hans-Jörg Uther. also known as Fantastic or Fairy tales. Cumulative tales are the simplest of all. There is not much plot involved. Formula Tales (AT 2000. tales are organized according to the type and given a number and letter. It groups folk tales into the following categories: Animal Tales (1-299). (Propp 1969:21) Since their publication. brings together a reorganized and expanded list of the types of folk tales. based upon The Types of International Folktales (Uther 2004). e. In AT-catalogue.Aarneʼs classification catalogue of folk tale types Index of Types of Folktale (1910). Realistic (Novelle) Tales (850-999). depicted in the context of a large body of folk narratives. According to the types to which they belong. It was thanks to Aarneʼs register that the coding of folk tales became possible. the Aarne-Thompson catalogue groups all folk tales into Animal Tales (AT 1-299). a new classification system based upon the Aarne-Thompson catalogue of folk tale types. Religious Tales (750-849). The Old Woman and Her Pig. Events follow each other logically in a pattern of cadence and repetition. designated as the ATU catalogue (ATU standing for the initial letters of Aarne. Professor of German literature. In 2004. edited The Types of International Folktales.2399) and Unclassified Tales (2400-2499). The Types of the Folktale together with Thompsonʼs revised and enlarged Motif-Index of Folk Literature (1955-1958) have belonged to the most important and helpful sources for comparative folk tale analysis. The following figure offers a visual representation of the classification of folk tales. From the comparison of the two classification systems it is obvious that Uther did not considerably change the basic categories. Jokes and Anecdotes (AT 300-1999). but they carry a lot of rhythm. Tales of Magic (300-399). Novelle tales and Tales of magic. The importance of the catalogue is that the authors created a system in which culturally different variants of folk tales are organized on the basis of a common reference number. Uther ʼs catalogue. Ordinary Folk Tales (AT 300-1199). Cinderella is designated as AT 510AB. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and One Fine Day are examples of such tales. apart from trying to meet the objections mounted against the AT classification system. The House That Jack Built. but rather reorganized the Ordinary Tales and Unclassified Tales category of the original Aarne-Thompson classification. A great part of the catalogue is made up by the Ordinary tales which include Religious tales. Thompson and Uther). Tales of the Stupid Ogre (1000-1199). Anecdotes and Jokes (1200-1999) and Formula Tales (2300-2399). Jack and the Beanstalk is classified as AT 328 etc.

however there can be exceptions. e. they are either good or evil. Although they are further divided into several sub-genres or forms. good princesses are beautiful. Villains of fairy tales have high social status (queens in Cinderella and Snow White). In general.g. evil. or great knowledge (the witches of Hansel and Gretel and Sleeping Beauty). beauty. and pride.  Hyperbolic exaggeration is typical for the characterization of specific personal traits. or great size and strength (the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk. . wicked witches are ugly. they have many common characteristics.  At the beginning of the fairy tale the hero or heroine is often presented as powerless in relation to someone more powerful. Characters are flat and stereotyped. Many folk and a vast majority of fairy tales start with a conventional beginning: “Once upon a time in a kingdom far. most folk and fairy tales take place in medieval and pre-industrial times. such as the cruel stepmother in Snow White or the ugly princes in Beauty and the Beast or The Frog Prince. noble princes are handsome.  The story is often situated in place of incredible wealth (palaces) or incredible poverty. the wolves in Little Red Riding Hood and Three Pigs). folk tales constitute a significant part of folk narratives. far away”.Figure1 Characteristics of Folk Tales As seen in Figure 1. Despite the fact that not all of the characteristics listed below apply to all folk tales in general. Setting  In folk tales the time and place are usually unidentified. Someone who is in trouble at the beginning ends up living happily ever after. the following list should serve as a summary of what is most typical for this genre.  Physical appearance is often associated with the character. Characters  The characters are clear-cut.

escaping mighty and evil enemies. Poetic justice is being served. Each of Thompson ʼs . golden eggs. magic. The events are chronologically organized.  Traditional folk and fairy tales have happy endings. For the purpose of this study it is not necessary to name all of the categories. Themes  Themes are simple. or orphaned children. poor people. images). but always serious and powerful. are typically used in traditional folk and fairy tales. a beanstalk. Style  Gradation is achieved by repetition. characters and motivation for future actions are presented. presenting the fight of good against evil.. animal motifs. there might be some more obstacles after the climax but finally the plot ends happily. often by the “threes” principle: three sons. three princesses. time.  The events move swiftly to conclusion. supernatural forces come to his/her aid throughout the course of the story. to a great extent due to the oral tradition.  Tales begin with the exposition where place. Folk Tale Motifs A great contribution to the study and classification of folk tales according to the motifs was definitely made by Thompson. When the hero is of royal origin it is usually the youngest of the princes or princesses. the only child. etc. Heroes or heroines are children. tests. and the wicked punished.  Conflicts are quickly established. after the climax the plot moves very quickly to the conclusion (denouement).  Traditional folk and fairy tales are simple. accomplishing monumental tasks. as well as often repeated motifs (phrases. ” and conventional ending: “They lived happily ever after”.  The conventional opening: “Once upon a time. such as mythological motifs.. chance and fate etc. marvels. Plot and Structure  Action is more important than character development. reversals of fortune. the youngest child. such as a glass slipper. three tasks in three days etc.  There are usually simple sentences or coordinate clauses rather than subordinate clauses.  The description is minimal. the good rewarded. ordinary village people or foolish people. but we can name at least a few. excluding I. motifs of taboo. O and Y.  Even though the main character is presented as isolated at the beginning. the exposition is followed by the complication where some conflict situation and obstacles in achieving the goal develop and which gradually moves up to the climax (peak) usually presented by the fight between the hero and the evil powers. In his 1955-1958 revised six volume Motif-Index of Folk Literature he arranged motifs into twenty three index categories marked by letters from A-Z.

development and meaning of Folk Tales The discipline covering the oral traditions of the people belonging to various cultures emerged as a new field of learning at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The attempts of scholars to explain the genesis. presents motifs to be found in one of the folk tale type – fairy tale.  place motifs – wild wood  motifs of objects  motifs of action – guest.motifs was assigned a specific letter and number. impossible tasks to perform. such as:  metaphor  simile  metonymy  synecdoche  epithet – dark wood  oxymoron  diminutive  zeugma  hyperbole  euphemism – passed away for died. Even before the introduction of the term by William Thoms in 1846. opening and closing lines Language in Folk Tales The use of numerous literary tropes and figures is typical for the poetics and syntax of folk and fairy tales. The following list. villains. 12. reversal of fortune  motifs of style . 13. development and meaning of folk tales have resulted .Theories of origin. based upon Slatterʼs Fairy Tale Motifs. etc. anthropology. 7. animal bride/bridegroom. repetition Study of Folk Tales . 40). which together with the already mentioned AT catalogue served as an important tool for folk tale classification and analysis. less elaborate ways of grouping motifs into categories. there are also other. endurance test. However.  character motifs – orphans.  personification  sentence structure: inversion. wicked stepmothers/stepsisters. such as suggested in the title. folklore in general and folk tales as an essential part of folklore had become and still are the subject of research of numerous scholars in various disciplines. etc. thus creating an extended list. such as folkloristics. magic helpers. literary science and psychology.magic numbers (3.

can equally be used in the field of folklore to trace the origin of folk tales. sounds and forms in various dialects of the German language. writes Sokolov. "If in the field of linguistics". although in the formalistic analysis by Vladimir Propp a purely synchronic approach to fairy tales is evident.  Mythological school According to the mythological theory. He also tried to construct the routes through which the folk tales spread from India to other areas of the world. Benfey found similarities between the Sanskrit tales of ancient India and the tales of Europe. in fantastic forms and subjects must also be treated as a heritage. . (Čeňková 2006:108) The comparative method which the Grimm brothers employed in tracing the origin of the German language and its dialects. through his translation of the Indian anthology Pancatantra into German. many of them apply the comparative method and approach folk tales in a diachronic way. He believed that all the folk tales originated in ancient India and only later they migrated (hence the migrational theory) to Europe and other parts of the world. similar elements also in the field of folklore. criticised by the anthropological school. the myth was a poetic primordial reflection of reality. leading us back to the Indo-European parent language. and mythology the primordial material of artistic representation. a German philologist and Indologist. the migrational theory was highly influential especially upon the founders and supporters of the historical-geographical school in Finland. The founders of the conceptual framework which began to be known as mythological theory are the Grimm brothers. Jacob and Wilhem Grimm. Despite its shortcomings.  Historical-geographical school The historical-geographical school from around the turn of the 19th and 20th century. language and mythology laid the foundation stone of folk tale studies and adaptations of folk tales. "the coincidence of words. then according to this same system of the 'comparative method'. Different as they are. which has come down to new peoples or their tribal branches from a common ancient ancestor" (Sokolov cited in Handoo 1989:Chapter 2). with their profound knowledge of ancient German literature. The following serves as a short summary of the development of folklore studies and briefly introduces the premises of various schools dealing with the analysis of folklore material. which they considered to be the remnants of the ancient Indo-European myths. considerably influenced by the migrational theory.  Theory of Borrowing – Migrational theory (Diffusionists) A remarkable contribution to folklore studies was made by Theodor Benfey. also sought to trace the origin (history) and possible travel routes (geography) of folk tales and other elements of folklore. approaches and methods. leads us back to a general Germanic parent language and the coincidence of these same elements in a series of several related languages leads us to an Indo-European parent language.in the formation of several schools.

He. unknown hitherto.  Anthropological theory The anthropological theory contradicted the previously mentioned migrational theory in that the same or similar motifs could have been found in the folklore of nations. He claims that fairy tales not only provide answers to the child’s questions about his identity and the world around him. based upon Antii Aarne’s classification of folk tale types. a major development that arose out of this Historical-geographical method was the scientific way of breaking down folklore forms. Jung. . According to this notion. in which he attempted to explore the human mind and the unconscious self. what they called the anthropological evolution of mankind which rejected atomistic and diffusionistic explanations and offered polygenesis (multiple origin) as a possible explanation to the phenomenon of multiple existence of cultural artefacts. Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious (1905). The psychoanalytic approach brought out new perspectives in the study of folk tales and was a great influence upon scholars but also common public values of the 20th century. jokes and tales as the symbolic expressions of the unconscious human mind.S. He also deals with and emphasizes the emotional and symbolic importance of fairy tales in the life of a child. In his book Bettelheim offers psychoanalytical analyses of selected fairy tales in terms of Freudian psychology. Snow White. such as folktales. a cultural artefact or an item of folklore could have originated at two or more different unrelated places independently at the same time or at different times. This notion was however based on the fact that scholars began realizing the existence of the universal human psyche and human behaviour. and Totem and Taboo (1913). e. The Sleeping Beauty etc. The Interpretation of Dreams (1899). into identifiable traits for cross-comparative analysis. Among numerous works in the field of psychoanalysis and folk tales The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (1976)1 by an American psychoanalyst and educator Bruno Bettelheim stands out particularly. "(Handoo 1989:Chapter 2)  Psychoanalytical school The folklore studies of the 20th century were considerably influenced by the works of the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939). such as C. "(Sahu 2009:25) The most significant works compiled by the historical-geographical school are the Motif-Index of Folk Literature by the American folklorist Stith Thompson and the famous and widely used index for classification of folk tales The Types of the Folktale. but under similar conditions. but through 1 The book won the U. Critic's Choice Prize for criticism in 1976 and the National Book Award in the category of Contemporary Thought in 1977. both of which have already been discussed earlier in this paper. G. and therefore these resemblances could neither be explained in terms of genetic relations of different nations nor their migrations or borrowings from each other. and many of his followers of the psychoanalytical school. by recourse to. "An English ethnographer Tylor and his Scotch follower Andrew Lang explained this peculiar phenomenon. which had not been historically connected. dreams. used to see myths. (see Sahu 2009:26)."Besides the precision techniques of comparative analysis of folklore data.g. Little Red Riding Hood.

Propp. The presence of such constant actions. however. engage in practicing black magic. Despite the undeniable role of formalism in the development of the structural approach." (Sahu 2009:27) In a fairy tale. which he called functions. the Russian Formalist School was in a deep crisis. but the order/sequence in which they follow one after another stays the same. He showed that the vital components of a folktale are not its characters but certain actions of the characters. "(Bettelheim 1977:51) Such assertions definitely need to be proven and supported. therefore it is possible to study a fairy tale on the basis of the functions of individual characters. some functions may be missing. In a particular tale. he was interested neither in finding the origin of these similarities nor in random comparison and classification of the similar traits of tales. component parts of their structure. Besides. all folk and most fairy tales fit into the same sequence of 31 functions. which are found to be constant in folktales from different places. It was officially denounced in Russia and unable to communicate with the rest of the world. or who in some other fashion escape from reality into daydreams about magic experiences which are to change their life for the better. it was not in accordance with the diachronic orientation of folklore studies at that time. and analyzed their structural forms. "Regarding the issue of the similarities of folktales of different places. J. they [young people] will be unable to meet the rigors of adult life. but in our view it is too daring to claim that: ". (Propp 1969:32) . the same activity or function is often ascribed to various characters. some of his assertions seem to be unsupported and disputable. the work was not given proper recognition until 1958 when it was translated into English. The importance of fairy tales in a child’s life is undoubted. being based on synchronic principles.. and the relations among them.Formalism of Vladimir Propp In his work. apprentice themselves to some guru. Many young people who today suddenly seek escape in drug-induced dreams. particularly one of its forms – fairy tales. Apart from that it is too simplified.  Structuralism The theory which most influenced folklore studies in the 1960s was the structural theory. as the behaviour described above is a much more complex problem in which the lack of fairy tales in the early childhood may but also may not play any role. (see Čeňková 2006:109) Propp limited the abstract event-types which he called functions to 31. believe in astrology.reading fairy tales children are also better prepared for their future life. The beginnings of the structural approach are associated with the famous and still highly influential book Morphology of the Folktale (1928) by the Russian formalist V. are responsible for the similarities between different folktales. Despite the significance that the book is given amongst academics. the two diverged from each other due to dissimilar attitudes and methods of analysis of folklore materials. were prematuraly pressed to view reality in an adult life. Although published in 1928. .. The French structuralist LéviStrauss (2007:11) further points out that when Proppʼs work was published.having had a period of belief in magic. Although not all functions appear in every story. Propp took a synchronic approach to the study of folk tales.

) someone lacks or desires something The HERO enters the tale 7. the hero is the one who receives magic 13. The hero is branded or recognisably wounded 16. allowed to go or despatched 8. the hero is approached with or makes a request or demand. The hero and the villain join in direct combat 15. The hero is rescued from pursuit (Sometimes new villainy occurs.. The villain is defeated 17. The villain attempts to deceive the victim (often by disguise) in order to take possessions of him/her 1. The interdiction is violated The VILLAIN enters the tale 4. The villain receives information about the victim 6. we can examine which tales have identical functions. which starts the plot sequence off on a ’second move’ with a new lack and restoration) 21. One family member absents him/herself from home 2. unrecognized. The hero is tested. The hero acquires the use of the magical thing/power The hero creates the ’AXIS of the narrative’ for Propp. to prepare the way to receive help of some kind 11.) The villain causes harm or injury to someone.Propp (1969:32) states that after functions have been singled out. The hero leaves home The DONOR is introduced (friendly or unfriendly) who will provide the hero with something (magical) which will help bring the tale to conclusion 10. etc. The hero reacts (positively or negatively) to the actions of the future donor 12. This is the ’PEAK of the narrative’. 18. The villain makes an attempt at reconnaissance 5. attacked. The hero is pursued 20. The initial misfortune or lack is reversed. arrives home or in another place 22. a. The seeker/hero agrees or decides on counteraction 9. or led to the place where the thing sought for can be found 14. interrogated. The hero returns 19. A difficult task is proposed to the hero 24. A false hero presents unfounded claims 23. The hero is transferred. An interdiction (command to do something) is addressed to the hero 3. The task is resolved . OR b. Misfortune or lack is made known. Propp extracted the following functions: The preparatory part of the tale (simple introduction of the family/hero) 1. delivered. The victim submits to deception and thereby unwittingly helps the enemy The COMPLICATION of the tale 2. The hero. Tales with identical functions are considered to belong to one type. When analysing fairy tales.

net/allanmcnyc/propp. "(Sahu 2009:27) Folk and Fairy Tales in Children’s Literature – historical perspective The last issue concerning folk tales. or in workrooms. the task of the structural analysis is to go beyond the superficial linear structure to the true underlying paradigmatic structure. The hero is given a new appearance 28. At fireside gatherings. Now. [quoted April 8. isolated from its social and cultural context. just as 'shabby or old-fashioned furniture is relegated to the play-room. primarily because the adults do not want it'. He states.: Propp’s structure of the magic Tale. especially myths. A. Where Propp deals only with the formal aspect of the text. 2011].”3 (Lévi-Strauss 2007: 127) "Unlike Propp. J. around the kiln. For centuries. S. to be found in somewhat codified binary oppositional schemes. LéviStrauss considers the paradigms he finds in the folklore material in relation to various aspects of culture. Lévi-Strauss believed that a universal structural scheme could be possible to explain entire myths around to world. Further he claims that “before the formalism we undoubtedly did not know what these folk tales have in common.. Available at: < http://www. tales were told to while away a long winter evening or to shorten the hours devoted to domestic and agricultural chores. In his critical discourse on Proppʼs Morphology of the Folktale. the form is 'condemned' to such a level of abstraction that it has no meaning or value any longer. Available at: < http://allanmccollum. The precise historical 2 The English translation taken and adapted from ROUHIER-WILLOUGHBY.: Introduction to Vladimir Propp. The hero is recognised 26. The hero is married and ascends the throne2 . The false hero or villain is exposed 27. Lévi-Strauss did not separate the form and content (meaning) of folklore texts. The villain is punished 29. We have advanced from the concrete to the abstract.html> 3 Translated by Ivana Žemberová . was employed by a French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss in The Structural Study of Myth (1955) and Mythologiques (1964). which are constructed in cultures to overcome the contradictions of human understandings. These messages are logical formulations. we have no chance to understand what makes them different.. that if the form and content are separated. He presented a paradigmatic model of polar oppositions. Lévi-Strauss (2007:126-127) points out the shortcomings of the formalistic approach. 2011]. but no longer are we able to descend back from the abstract to the concrete.Structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss A distinct method of structural analysis of folk narratives.uky. Lévi-Strauss ʼs model is different from Propp ʼs linear syntagmatic approach to the study of folk literature. [online]. [quoted April 8. that we want to deal with in this study is the process of the transformation of folk and fairy tales from the adults ʼ world to the realm of children ʼs literature.25. in the spinning room.html> and MELLOR. particularly one of their forms – fairy tales. According to Lévi-Strauss (1964:313). He treated myth as a higher and complex level of communication carrying mythic messages. folk-tales served the cause of adult entertainment.edu/~jrouhie/rae370_proppmagic. "Tolkien tells us that fairy tales did not always belong to the culture of childhood – they were retired only relatively recently to the nursery. [online].

In the 17th century Puritans considered fairy tales ungodly and pagan and thus unsuitable for children. At the time of the Enlightenment the educationalists and authors of moral tales also condemned fairy tales and argued that children should not be exposed to them because they were uncultured and irrational. Tatar (1992) is convinced that the stories in the Pentamerone must have been aimed primarily at adults. In order to make clear what Tatar objected against. For centuries folk and fairy tales served as adult entertainment at gatherings or during work and although children listened to them the tales were not meant directly for them. However. adults still continued to enjoy the tales through their children. transformed themselves from adult entertainment into children’s literature is difficult to identify. murder.juncture at which folk-tales. The education and the views of Puritans towards children were very strict and it was almost impossible for fantasy and entertainment to find their place in the lives of children. Perrault proved his intention to rewrite these fairy tales into the form suitable for children ridding them of the vulgar and violent issues. frivolous and of dubious morality. however the first changes occurred in the seventeenth century when the upper classes started to consider folk and fairy tales to be too childish and suitable only for children and lower classes. baby-smotherer. and cannibalism. Perrault’s tales offered "morals right along with entertainment. in particular fairy-tales. lump of filth. The writer of Goody Two-Shoes complained that 'People stuff ." (Tatar 1992”90) This collection contained fairy tales like Cinderella. the literate part of the population had looked on them as peasant crudities. fart-face' was really intended as bedtime reading for children". It is difficult to say when exactly these tales transformed themselves into children’s literature. Is has become the basis for many fairy tale adaptations for children. it is necessary to say that Basile’s collection of 51 baroque style adaptations of fairy tales contained such issues like adultery." (Tatar 1992: 89-90) The process of the transition of fairy tales into children’s literary canon is closely connected with the conception of childhood development and the views of adults and educationalists towards children. Little Red Riding Hood. Tatar (1992: 90) continues to say that "it is hard to believe that a tale (I cite only one of many possible examples) in which a boy calls an old woman 'a bloodsucking witch. On the other hand. Since the 18 th century English and American children’s literature was dominated by Perrault’s fairy tales collection. and Puss in Boots. Tatar further claims that the changing views upon the child and his distinctive needs also influenced a French re-teller Charles Perrault whose collection of adapted fairy tales Histoires ou Contes du temps passé (1698) translated into English as Tales of Mother Goose (1729) is often seen as pivotal with respect to the question of audience. The Puritans had objected to them because they were untrue. and it was not only because of the violent and vulgar issues. rape. Perrault added some other issues that were in accordance with the spirit of that time. fairy tales were not approved of by the educationalists of that time. Although the frame story of Giambattista Basile’s Pentamerone (1634-1637) describes the Neapolitan narratives in that collection as 'those tales that old women tell to amuse children'. Anyway. At the beginning of the 19 th century folk tales were considered harmful because it was believed that literature dealing with fantasy could corrupt the child. Sleeping Beauty. "In Tudor and Stuart times. and they were often framed with both adult and child in mind. To the Age of Reason they appeared uncouth and irrational: the French courtly revival associated with the names or Perrault and Mme D’Aulnoy had no strong echo in England.

as many would have it) supernatural thing. no fairy tales. A change regarding the needs and interests of children had already occurred in the 19 th century. and remains a treasure for folklorists. Little children believe everything. Consequently. the argument against them continued. many were adapted often in an effort to bring some instructive moral and stress some educational point. Apart from the purpose to entertain the child. For example. most of all one should not think.und Hausmärchen (1812). In his argument against fairy tales." (Swann Jones 1995:40) . characters as well as the style of the oral folk narratives. Zipes (2007:83) further states that the Grimms’ "book is not so much a book of magic as it is a manual for education that seeks to go beyond the irrational. "How much fear and worry would people save themselves. The Grimms rewrote the tales in later editions to make them more acceptable. opinions like that of Oppel did not represent the general educational view any longer. Fantasy and imagination were finally given proper attention. with terrifying figures and by this they lay the foundation of scare and fear and of nervosity.. various editions of adapted fairy tales began to appear. that one should never tell children any extranatural (or. Folk tales were preserved in noncanonical literature. Sarah Trimmer condemned fairy tales for their violence and absurdity in the review The Guardian of Education (1802). in order not to open the door for superstition! "(Oppel 1903) Nevertheless. once the superstition was rooted out! I am of the opinion. underlining the morals that were in accordance with the Protestant ethic and a patriarchal conception of sex roles (Zipes 2007:78). many fairy tales from the brothers Grimms’ Kinder. on the contrary. no miracle stories. it began to be seen as an important part of the child’s development. Although fantasy and folk tales were rehabilitated in the course of the 19th century.. in 1903 Dr. that a child. nothing of fairies and ghosts. Oppel said that many fairy tales fill the imagination with horrible images. and patriarchalism. Fairies. whether one says with it:”It’s true. because they do not think yet. Karl Oppel strongly objected to telling fairy tales in The Parent’s Book: Practical Guidance for the Education at Home. when told it is just a fairy tale. So no more fairy tales.“ or ”It’s not true“. J. ' "(Townsend 1977:4) J. the Protestant work ethic. Rousseau himself argued that fairy tales and many adventures (except Robinson Crusoe) are dangerous digressions from what the child should be exposed to (Ousby 1992:172). the following editions see major changes in editing the tales. would not believe it for that reason. and such Nonsense when they are young and so they continue Fools all their Days... According to the same source." While the first edition of the book (1812-1815) preserved the plot. which ensured their sales and the later popularity of their work. Far from it. In the 1773 review of Mother Bunch’s Fairy Tales (1773) she opposed to the imaginary beings for children. and it does not matter much. Her books and those of Mary Sherwood were in fact didactic books dealing with issues of morality and religion in which good children were rewarded and bad were appropriately punished. translated into English as Children and Household Tales (1823) may read as lessons of proper behaviour for German boys and girls. the Grimms imbued the tales with a heavy dose of Christian morality. commonly in the form of chapbooks.Children’s heads with Stories of Ghosts. they also wanted the tales to depict social injustices and possibilities for self-determination. Witches. Since the second half of the 19th century fantasy was no longer considered harmful. Her tales Fabulous Histories (1786) present talking animals always representing the proper models of behaviour. For example.

It has become an object of study for scholars who have scrutinised it with and observant eye. It comes in many variants and adaptations. Andrew Lang (1844-1912) who "retold classical fairy tales in a beautifully illustrated Blue Fairy Book (1889)" as well as Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908). " . Pokrivčáková (2008:23) also mentions John Francis Campbell (1822-1885). It has been here since ancient times. long ago a folk tale was born .Zipes (2007:78) concludes that apart from a number of other changes. und willst du alles ordentlich und reinlich halten. & Grimm. W. wash and knit. and cook. In: Jechová. so kannst du bei uns bleiben.. and it happily lives on.. sew. you may stay. betten.: Survey of Children´s and Juvenile Literature." Willst du unsern Haushalt versehen.." (Grimm. Brno 2011. make the beds. To conclude the story of the folk tale. L.g. the publisher of the bilingual four-volumed collection of Popular Tales of the West Highlands in 1860-1862). before available in chapbooks and adult versions. and keep everything tidy and clean. e. The folk tale is a very intriguing phenomenon.. were gradually rewritten in a form suitable for children. These role models are for example clearly reflected in the dwarfs’ view upon Snow White’s duties. et al. und es soll dir an nichts fehlen. Since then it has gone through many changes. American folklore (1959) and American Negro Folktales (1967) by Richard Mercer Dorson. waschen. In reference to collectors and editors of fairy tales. (Published as: Žemberová Ivana: Once Upon a Time a Fairy Tale Was Born. 1995:466)4 Many folk tales. the author of the Uncle Remus Stories (1881). added numerous Christian expressions and references" and "emphasized specific role models for male and female protagonists according to the dominant patriarchal code of that time". the Grimms also "eliminated erotic and sexual elements that might be offensive to middle-class morality. in the Grimm’s version they are willing to let her stay under the following conditions: "If you keep our house for us. nähen und stricken. long. Although we remember the dwarfs pleading with Snow White to stay. ISBN: 978-80-7392-170-5) 4 Translated from the German original: . kochen. J. Pokrivčáková (2007:23) further mentions collections of retold folk tales of American origin. we can say: Once upon a time. as well as an object of pure entertainment for children.