Questions tagged [folk-tales]

Questions about folktales or folk tales, i.e. stories that have been orally passed down from generation to generation. For myths and legends, use the [myths] tag.

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In which version of "Snow White" is her name really "Lips Red as Blood, Hair Black as Ebony, Skin White as Snow"?

Is there a version of Snow White where her name is a longer description? TVTropes says: Snow White. Her real name is "Lips Red as Blood, Hair Black as Ebony, Skin White as Snow" based on ...
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  • 500
5 votes
1 answer
96 views

The Grand Old Duke of York: how did historical events become nursery rhymes?

"The Grand old Duke of York" is a well-known English nursery rhyme concerning the exploits of an not-specifically-identified duke of York. Wikipedia, citing the Opies and other books, gives ...
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4 votes
0 answers
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Are all Aesop's fables available in English?

There is an index of all Aesop's fables, called Perry Index, that was organized by Ben Edwin Perry in the 20th century. But some stories are nowhere to be found, like "579 - The Sword and the ...
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  • 183
2 votes
0 answers
97 views

Fairy tale about a Princess who turns into a monster at night

I'm searching for a fairy tale, or a fairy tale retelling, that I've read in English. The story is about a Princess who turns into a monster or a beast at night and so is locked away. If a man can ...
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20 votes
4 answers
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In what Chinese fairy tale does a painter disappear into his own painting?

The online description of Rüdiger Safranski's book Wieviel Wahrheit braucht der Mensch? begins with the following sentence: In einem berühmten chinesischen Märchen verschwindet der Maler in seinem ...
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5 votes
0 answers
53 views

Is there a "moral-index" of fables?

There is a motif-index for folk-literature composed by Stith Thompson. I wonder if there is a similar index regrouping fables by the moral they convey? As a rough example G. Blinded by greed G.1. &...
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5 votes
1 answer
119 views

Story about two men walking through the forest

This is a story (fable) that I remember reading or hearing when I was young (UK, probably between 2000-2010). It felt more like an older fable than a story written then in the 2000s. The part I ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
156 views

Original Grimms' fairy tales

The problem with Fairy Tales is that with the passage of time they were changed in order to become more politically correct. Which version of the Grimms' fairy tales was least affected by "...
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  • 115
1 vote
1 answer
50 views

Tale of a Dog Chasing the Sun/Trying to Find Its Owner?

So during the Korean Folktale Topic Challenge, I was actually searching for a specific story that I thought was associated with a mythical beast called "Haetchi" or a "Haetae". It'...
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3 votes
0 answers
307 views

In "The Magpie and the Bell", how can the snake transform into a dragon?

I just read the Korean folk tale "The Magpie and the Bell" (I don't know whose translation this is), in which a huge snake claims to be able to transform into a dragon and rise to heaven: &...
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3 votes
1 answer
173 views

What is the evidence that Flemish fables or fairy tales began with the words “back when the animals could still speak”?

In an answer to the question Why do many Korean folk tales start with “back when tigers smoked”?, user @Flater, who comes from the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium (i.e. Flanders), claims that the Dutch ...
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7 votes
1 answer
149 views

What religion is suggested by the "God" in the Korean sun/moon origin story?

In the Korean folk story 해와 달이 된 오누이, translated here as "The Origin of the Sun and the Moon" from Pyun Yung-tai, Tales from Korea (Seoul, 1948), two children are pursued by a tiger and end ...
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3 votes
1 answer
399 views

Are the sun and moon generally personified in Korean folklore, or just in this origin story?

There's a Korean folk story entitled 해와 달이 된 오누이, variously translated as "The Origin of the Sun and the Moon" or "Sister Sun and Brother Moon" etc. I read it here, cited to Pyun ...
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35 votes
3 answers
20k views

Why do many Korean folk tales start with "back when tigers smoked"?

I've read in a few sources that the Korean equivalent of the "once upon a time ..." which often begins English folk stories is something like "back when tigers smoked ..." or "...
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5 votes
1 answer
224 views

What is the original Korean title of "The Tiger and the Persimmon"?

This short Korean folk story has been variously translated into English: The Tiger and the Persimmon Tiger and Dried Persimmon The Tiger and the Dried Persimmons The Tiger and the Dried Persimmon I ...
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4 votes
1 answer
77 views

What story is the idea that it's better to pick a small box rather than a large one from?

For as long as I can remember, whenever I'm presented with a choice between a small and a large box in a video game or something, I've had the idea that I should pick the small box rather than the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
108 views

Why are so many fairy tales so similar?

In Europe, fairytales have various different names of the same story, or variants. One example of this is Charles Perrault's Cinderella ("Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre") and the much ...
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3 votes
0 answers
51 views

Is this a real Indian fairy tale about a monkey who changes colour and marries a princess?

In R. K. Narayan's short story "A Willing Slave" (which I read as part of his 1982 collection Malgudi Days), the nanny Ayah tells a story to the young girl Radha: The Ayah squatted below the cot ...
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4 votes
1 answer
148 views

"This Is Water" David Foster Wallace Commencement Speech Fish Story Reference

In David Foster Wallace's "This Is Water" Commencement Speech, there is a story used as a metaphor about a fish asking another fish "what the hell is water": There are these two young fish swimming ...
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4 votes
1 answer
106 views

Source for the Stages of Drunkenness resembling sheep, lion, ape, sow?

While researching various levels of drunkenness, at the Online Etymology Dictionary site I found a statement that medieval folklore recognized four successive stages of it, in which drinkers resembled ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Why are The Wild Swans by Andersen and The Six Swans by Grimm so similar to each other?

Why are The Wild Swans by Andersen and The Six Swans by Grimm so similar to each other? Which one is more original?
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  • 111
3 votes
1 answer
97 views

What is the title of this fable where a mongoose is getting married but takes too long to collect a dowry?

My friend described a possible fable to me that they read as a child. They recall it being a picture book that was a fable/folk tale that had a weasel/mongoose type character. The main character gets ...
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  • 191
2 votes
0 answers
509 views

Fairy tale about disguised Prince searching for Princess [closed]

I’m searching for a fairy tale I’m almost sure I once read as a child about a Prince who was searching for his Princess. Because all the established Princesses he knew from surrounding kingdoms were ...
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3 votes
0 answers
65 views

Looking for the title of a folklore which was about moon princess being jealous of her sister sun princess

I read this short story back in middle school during my literature class when we were studying about folklore. It was about a moon princess being jealous of her sister sun princess so much that she ...
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11 votes
2 answers
452 views

How familiar would the "Blind men and an elephant" tale be in the West?

I am translating my article to English, which heavily uses the Blind men and an elephant tale. Since the metaphor is important, I wonder how it would be perceived in the West, especially in the US. Do ...
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  • 385
10 votes
2 answers
300 views

How did Mama and Papa bear know someone was sitting in their chairs?

Goldilocks sits in Mama and Papa bears' chairs, but does not break them: After she'd eaten the three bears' breakfasts she decided she was feeling a little tired. So, she walked into the living ...
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8 votes
1 answer
180 views

Are there significant differences across the Nordic countries in the traditional portrayal of trolls?

Trolls are a common feature of Scandinavian folklore - and possibly also of those of the wider Nordic region, Finland and Iceland as well as Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, although I'm not sure about ...
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

What was "Rip Van Winkle" based on?

I was recently surprised to discover that the story of Rip Van Winkle is credited to the US author Washington Irving, who published it in 1819. I'd always vaguely imagined it to be a Brothers Grimm ...
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8 votes
1 answer
785 views

What's the defining difference between a fairy tale and a fable?

In Is a moral lesson a requirement for fairy tales?, the commenting crowd has pressed for clear distinguishment between whether fables or fairy tales are being discussed. How do fables and fairy ...
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26 votes
1 answer
2k views

When and why did the Brothers Grimm start collecting fairy tales?

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are well known for authoring multiple collections of traditional folk tales in the late 18th/early 19th century. Their first major collection of stories was published in 1812. ...
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22 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is a moral lesson a requirement for fairy tales?

Many of the fairy tales collected by the Grimm's have a moral. Is a moral lesson a requirement for fairy tales?
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