Fairy tales are timeless stories of love, friendship, magic and adventure. The characters in a fairy tale are beautiful princesses, heroic princes, evil queens, witches, magical animals and noble kings. Fairy tales are unique because they always have a "moral," or a message about living a good and generous life.
Aladdin is a lucky trickster who finds a magic lamp in a cave. Inside is a genie who grants Aladdin three wishes. Aladdin ends up with his own kingdom and a beautiful princess! While many people think Aladdin is about China or the Middle East, clues in the story actually hint that it may take place in Morocco.
A girl named Alice falls down a rabbit-hole and discovers an amazing word of strange creatures like the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and a giant caterpillar. One favorite poem featured in Alice in Wonderland goes: "How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail, / and pour the waters of the Nile on every shining scale! / How cheerfully he seems to grin, how neatly spread his claws, / and welcomes little fishies in, / with gently smiling jaws!"
A man takes shelter in a castle during a storm. The Beast who lives in the castle has other plans for the father, and imprisons him. When his daughter Belle gets to the castle, her heart slowly warms up to the hideous beast. At the very last moment, Belle and the Beast admit their love for each other and he transforms into a beautiful prince! They both learn to see the good and beauty in everybody.
A bored shepherd boy has his fun by yelling out "wolf!" to scare the villagers. One time, there really is a wolf. When the boy yells for help, nobody believes him and he perishes at the hands of the beast. Very simple, the story is a warning to everyone who reads it against the dangers of lying.
Poor Cinderella, hated by her family, gets her wish granted by a fairy godmother and charms the prince at the ball. However, her gorgeous dress will disappear at midnight and she must flee the palace. She leaves behind one glass slipper and the prince strikes out to find her. In the end, she gets her prince. Cinderella teaches us all the value of humility, hard work and a kind heart in the face of hard circumstances.
While the three bears, Mom, Dad and baby are out, Goldilocks sneaks into their house. She sits on their chairs, tries their porridge and sleeps in their beds. When the bears come back, they either scare her away or kill her, punishing her for snooping. From this story we get the expression "just right," as in "Mommy's porridge was too cold, Daddy's porridge was too hot, but baby bear's porridge was just right."
Hansel and Gretel get lured into the woods by their evil stepmother. They manage to sneak away a piece of bread and drop breadcrumbs that will help lead them home. Unfortunately, animals eat the breadcrumbs and they get lost in the woods. They stumble upon a witch's house and ask for help. She wants to help them... right into her oven! They trick her in there first and make it out just in time.
Jack's mother sent him to market to sell their cow and he ended up trading it for magic beans. His mom was so mad that she threw them away. Overnight, they grew into a huge beanstalk that led to a giant's house in the sky! Jack went up the beanstalk and stole gold coins, a hen that laid golden eggs, finally a harp that sang by itself. This story is where we get the giant's call: "Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman!"
Little Red Riding Hood gets lost in the woods and chased by a big, bad wolf. She races to grandmother's house, only to find that the wolf has eaten the old woman and disguised himself in her clothes! "My," says Little Red, "what big eyes you have!" Her wolf grandmother replies, "the better to see you with, my dear." "My," says Little Red, a little more afraid, "what big teeth you have!" The wolf roars back, "the better to eat you with!"
Pinocchio is a wooden puppet who wants to be a real boy. He has one quirk, he cannot lie or his nose grows extra long. Even though he has a weakness, just like everybody else, a fairy comes along and grants his wish. A beloved tale, the story of Pinocchio has been remade into movies, cartoons and music over fifty times.
The only person who visits Rapunzel in her tower is the witch who calls "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!" One day, a prince tries this trick and she lets him up. They fall in love and plan their escape. The witch learns of this and casts Rapunzel away, throwing the prince from the tower and blinding him. He wanders through the woods and hears Rapunzel singing and crying. Her tears heal his eyes and they live happily ever after.
A wicked fairy says that Sleeping Beauty will prick her finger on the needle of a spindle and fall asleep for a hundred years. The right prince must fight his way through the brambles around her castle and awaken her before the kingdom is lost! Luckily, a prince comes right in time and wakes Sleeping Beauty up.
An evil queen, obsessed with her mirror, keeps asking: "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" One day, the mirror answers “Snow White." Extremely jealous, the wicked queen sends a hunter to kill Snow White. Amazed at her beauty, he can't do it and lets her go. The queen learns this and decided to take matters into her own hands. She poisons Snow White with an apple, but a handsome princes comes to save the day. The wicked queen smashes her magic mirror in a rage and dies, proving the harm of jealousy.
The Little Mermaid is a beautiful girl who loves her home under the sea. When she turns fifteen, she can swim to the surface and see the world above. She sees a prince and falls in love, and her world is never the same. A wicked witch gives her a potion to drink so she'll get legs just like a human. The Disney version features classic songs like "Kiss the Girl," "Under the Sea" and "Part of Your World."
There is a rat infestation in the town of Hamelin, Germany. A magical man comes to lure the rats away with his pipe playing. He drowns them in the river and, when he returns, the people of the town are greedy and will not pay him. He takes his revenge and lures away the children next. This story is where we get the expression that we must "pay the piper."