Fairy Tales

“If I’m honest I have to tell you I still read fairy tales
and I like them best of all”–Audrey Hepburn

Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” -G.K. Chesterton
Fairy Tales: Not for the Faint of Heart...
It's story time! What would you like to read about?

Cannibalism...Murder...Child Abandonment...Mutilation...Rage...Torture...
Slavery...Jealousy...Serial Killers...Deception...Imprisonment....Incest...Greed?

Ah, the classics--the stories we grew up with--full of morals, justice and salvation from evil...or are they?

Let's take another look at these well-known and well-loved stories, at their histories, meanings and their evolution across cultures and time. Go ahead, pick your favorite:

Fairy Tale Choices: Click to Jump Directly to Your Tale

  1. Little Red Riding Hood
  2. Snow White
  3. Sleeping Beauty
  4. The Frog Prince
  5. Rapunzel
  6. Hansel and Gretel
  7. Cinderella
  8. Jack and the Beanstalk
  9. Beauty and the Beast
  10. Bluebeard
  11. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  12. Rumpelstiltskin
  13. The Little Mermaid

Project Instructions:

Step One: You and your partner will chose one of the commonly known fairy tales above and begin by reading the modern version (that you are most likely familiar with today). Beneath each modern version are intermediate versions and original versions that will allow you to see how the tale has changed and evolved throughout history. Read all three versions and complete your "Evolution of a Fairy Tale" worksheet:

Step Two: Using the provided links below your fairy tale, (these sources have been checked out for reliability and accuracy and are teacher approved), research the history behind the fairy tale and read the analyses provided. Then complete the "Analysis of a Fairy Tale" worksheet:

Step Three: For your presentation, you will choose ONE version to read to the class, provide us with a summary of how the tale has evolved over time, share interesting facts, and end with your analysis of the tale's purpose and metaphorical meanings. This presentation should be designed to be engaging and informative. You should provide visuals, dates, authors and facts. When you read your story, it should engage the audience: use voices, act it out or provide a dramatic soundtrack or special effects. Think creativity! Consider the effect that these tales had on children when they were first told; how can you transfer that into your classroom audience and create the same chilling effect?

Fairy Tale Assignment Packet honors.doc

Note: As this unit requires you to be present in class in order to equally engage and participate in each phase of the project, it is essential that you are in attendance in order to participate in the partner version of the assignment. Therefore, if you are absent for three or more days during this unit, you will be given an alternative, individual essay assignment to complete in lieu of the partner project.

Individual Alternative Essay Assignment*

Fairy Tale Individual Essay.doc
*After completing your essay, you will complete a 3-5 minute speech based on your paper.

Little Red Riding Hood


A Modern Version:
Little Red Riding Hood (modern).doc

A Brothers Grimm Version (1914 translation):
Little Red Cap.doc

An Original Version:
Little Red Hat (original version).doc

Little Red Hat: Various Versions

Red Riding Hood Project: Archive of Texts and Images 
(Click here to jump directly to versions)

Annotated Red Riding Hood

Freudian Symbols in Little Red Hat


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


A Modern Version:
Snow White (modern).doc

A Brothers Grimm Version (1914 translation):
Little Snow White.doc

An Original Version:
Death of the Seven Dwarfs.doc

Snow White Various Versions

A Disturbing Analysis

Based on History? The Case of Margarete von Waldeck

More on Historical Origins

Annotated Tales

Sleeping Beauty


A Brothers Grimm Version (1914 translation):
Little Briar Rose.doc

Charles Parrault's Version (1697):
The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood.doc

An Original Version (1634):
Sun, Moon and Talia (Sleeping Beauty).doc

Sleeping Beauty Various Versions

Summary/Explanation of the original tale

Dark Origins of Sleeping Beauty (scroll down)

Analysis of Symbolism in Sleeping Beauty

Overview of History of the Evolving Tale


Return to Project Instructions
The Frog Prince


A Brothers Grimm Version (1914 translation):
The Frog King.doc

Intermediate Version:
The Well of the World's End (Frog Prince).doc

An Original Version:
The Frog Who Became an Emperor.doc

Archives of Various Versions of the Tale

Symbolism (scroll down past the story to the numbered annotations)

Summary of Psychoanalytical Symbolism in the Tale

Annotated Bibliography showing the intertextuality of the tale

Is Disney's Adaptation Racist?



A Brothers Grimm Version (1914 translation):

An Intermediate Version:
Prunella (Rapunzel).doc

An Original Version:
Parsley (Rapunzel).doc

Various Versions (Archives)

Intertextuality (similar tales across cultures)

Annotations and Explanations with notes on Various Versions

A Synopsis of General Meaning and Links to Variations

Summary of History 

"Rapunzel Syndrome" (Google this for more info and lovely pictures)

Hansel and Grethel


A Modern Version (1853):
Hansel and Grethel.doc

An Intermediate Version:
Nennillo and Nennella (Hansel and Gretel).doc

An Original Version (1698):
Finette Cendron (Hansel and Gretel origins).doc

History of the Tale

Explanatory Notes and Annotations on the Tale

Various Versions of the Tale and Similar Tales

Eating_Their_Own__Maternal_Cannibalism_in_Hansel_and_Gretel (p. 36).pdf



A Modern Version:

Two Intermediate Versions:
Cinder Blower.doc
Little Saddleslut (Cinderella Greece).doc

An Original Version:
The Hindu Rajah (Cinderella).doc

Collection of Various Versions of the Story

The Cinderella Project (Archives or Various Versions/Artwork)

DNA of Fairy Tales: Their Origin and Meaning (Cinderella)

Rhodope Summary and Explanation (Greek version of original tale)

History of the Tale

Annotations on the Tale

A Cultural Analysis

Jack and the Bean Stalk


The Two Competing Versions:

Lang's Adaptation of Tabart's Version (Moralized):
Jack and the Beanstalk (Lang - Tabart).doc

Jacobs' Version (Thought to be closest to the original):
Jack and the Beanstalk (Jacobs).doc

Various Versions of the Tale

Comparison of Three Versions (including a modern film)

History of the Tale

Annotations on the Tale

Analysis: Jack as a coming of age story (excerpt from critical paper)

Freudian Analysis


Beauty and the Beast


A Modern Version:
Beauty and the Beast (modern).doc

An Intermediate Version:
The Singing Rose (Beauty and the Beast intermediate).doc

The Original Version (1566):
Cupid and Psyche (origin of Beauty and the Beast).doc

Various Versions of the Tale

History of the Tale

Annotations on the Tale

Analysis and History of Illustrations 




A Modern Version:
Bluebeard (modern).doc

An Intermediate Version:
The Brahman Girl That Married a Tiger (Bluebeard Intermediate).doc

An Original Version:
Conomor and Triphine (one possible historical origin of Bluebeard).doc

Various Versions



Explanation and Historical Overview

Bluebeard ~ A Killer to reckon with: How to Survive the Soul’s Predator 


Bluebeard - the natural predator in us all

 GoldiLocks and the Three Bears


A Modern Version:
Golden Hair and the Three Bears (modern).doc

An Intermediate Version:
Scrapefoot (Intermediate 3 Bears).doc

An Original Version:
The Story of the Three Bears (original).doc



Various Versions

Freudian Analysis

Feminist Perspective?

Many Fates of Goldilocks




A Modern Version:
The Three Spinners (Rumpelstiltzkin 1914).doc

An Intermediate Version:

An Original Version:
Peerie Fool (Rumpelstiltzkin 1903).doc

Various Versions



One analysis

Feminist Analysis (Scroll down)

Excellent Collection of Different Critical Lenses

The Little Mermaid



A Modern Version

An Intermediate Version

Another Intermediate Version

The Original Recognizable Version

Film Version of Anderson's Original

Various Versions



Shmoop Guide (Anderson version)

Feminist Analysis of Disney Film

Ambiguity in Anderson Version


Common Resources:

Pitt's Archives of Fairy Tales and their Various Versions

SuraLaLuna: Annotated Texts and Histories

Grimm Brothers 1914 Translations Online

Top 10 Gruesome Fairy Tale Origins

The Gruesome Origins of 5 popular Fairy Tales

Story Origins and Variations

Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales: Jungian and Freudian Analyses Excerpts Online

Maternal Cannibalism in Fairy Tales

Student Presentations:

Narrative Assignment:

Fairy Tales Narrative Assignment.docx

PSSA Narrative Rubric.pdf

MLA Response Paper Rubric 2013-14.docx

Bluebeard ~ A Killer to reckon with: How to Survive the Soul’s Predator
Bluebeard ~ A Killer to reckon with: How to Survive the Soul’s Predator
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