Authored by Sylvia Cochran in Comics and Literature
Published on 09-10-2009
Fairy tales hold a special place in the folkloric development of a people, since they point to uniquely defined value systems, mystic beliefs, and also mores of the time. While each country might have its own tales, the top fairy tales managed to span numerous cultures, countries, and also conquer time, becoming famous on each hemisphere in the world and providing easily recognizable imagery.
One Thousand and One Nights
Ranking high among the top fairy tales of the world are the 1001 Nights. Against the framework of 1,001 nights of stories told by Persian queen Scheherazade to her cruel husband Shahryar – he would behead his wives at dawn to remarry a new one the next morning – famous tales, such as Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves or Aladdin’s Wonder Lamp came into existence. These stories also introduced Westerners to the Arabic art of storytelling and the spinning of sailor yarns, such as is embodied in the retelling of the voyages of Sinbad the Sailor.
German Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
The top fairy tales with largely Germanic influences are credited to Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, who collectively as the Brothers Grimm published Grimm’s Fairy Tales. These stories were collected from various sources, and frequently dealt with the Germanic feudal system. Although these stories were considered children’s stories, some have rather gruesome elements, which are not suitable for kids. The most famous stories include Snow White, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hansel and Gretel.
The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde
Famous – and during his lifetime notorious – playwright and satirist Oscar Wilde also crafted a number of stories that qualify for inclusion in the list of all time top fairy tales. These stories are frequently tragic, and deal with death and the fickleness of love. Some, however, also capitalize on the noted witticisms of Oscar Wilde, which forever secured his place in English literature.
American Fairy Tales by L. Frank Baum
When considering the ages of the top fairy tales penned and collected by his rivals, L. Frank Baum is a relative newcomer to the genre. Nevertheless, the creation of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz brought Baum to the forefront of the literary scene in the United States, and subsequently his fairy tales also became quite popular. Although critics believed them to be little more than satirical writings, noting that they distinctly lacked the spellbinding quality of Oz, it is evident that they were wrong; story lines, such as a mannequin coming to life, soon permeated the American consciousness and spawned a number of movies and short stories.