Fairy tales for kids have been a part of storytelling culture as far as anyone can remember. These fables and legends often have hidden moral messages while they take your child on a trip to fantasy land. These stories may seem all about magic, but they may become effective tools in instilling the virtues of kindness and mercy in children.
If your child is fascinated by fairy tales, you may want to read out some stories during their bedtime or when at leisure. These stories about heroes, princesses, dragons, witches, dragons, giants, dwarves, and talking animals will hold their interest for a long time. This post brings you a collection of interesting fairy tales to make your child happy.
21 Fascinating Fairy Tales For Children
1. The Little Girl and the Winter Whirlwinds:
One year, the wicked Winter Witch decides that earth can have only one season and stops spring from coming. The earth gets covered in heavy snow and the sun is covered behind black clouds.
People from a tiny village in the mountains of Bulgaria wake up to see their houses covered with snow up to the roof. They dig tunnels to reach their neighbors and discuss any possible solutions for this problem. They decide to ask for help from Father Frost, who lived on the icy peak of the mountains.
An old man among the villagers says he can go but is afraid if he can make it in time. His granddaughter asks him not to worry and offers to go herself. The villagers discourage her as they are worried the little girl is too delicate to climb up the challenging icy mountain peaks.
“I’m not afraid,” the little girl says, “My feet are strong and I’m as fast as a mountain goat.”
Children from the village lend their warm clothes to the young girl and she embarks on the tough journey. Blizzards, whirlwinds and Winter Witch throw several challenges at the little girl and threaten to kill her. But little mice, squirrels, and rabbits come to her rescue and help the little girl reach Father Frost.
In his palace, Father Frost is sleeping peacefully and the little girl wakes him up to explain the situation. Father Frost blows his whistle and a crystal ball appears; in the ball, he sees everything that had happened around him. He punishes the Wicked Witch, makes her lift the enchantment, and brings everything back to normal. Villagers are happy and proud of the young girl as the sun starts shining again.
In a faraway village lived a peasant and his wife. When a beggarwoman comes seeking food, the peasant’s wife offers her food. The beggarwoman gives her a barleycorn in return. The wife plants the barleycorn and surprisingly a tiny girl named Thumbelina emerges from the sprouted flower.
One night, when Thumbelina is fast asleep in her cradle, she is carried off by a cruel toad to marry her off to her son.
A friendly fish and butterfly help Thumbelina to escape the toad and her son. But her struggles don’t end. A beetle stag captures her but throws her away when his friends don’t like Thumbelina’s company.
An old mouse gives her shelter but insists her to marry the neighbor, a mole. Thumbelina does not like the mole because he stays insides and never comes out to enjoy the light and air. She runs away from the mouse’s home and escapes to a faraway land.
In a sunny flower field, she meets a tiny flower fairy prince who is her size and starts liking him. They marry each other and after the wedding she gets a pair of wings. She starts flying with her husband from one flower to another.
Cinderella is a beautiful and kind-hearted girl whose world turns upside down on the death of her beloved mother. Her father marries a wicked lady. The stepmother and the stepsisters are cruel to Cinderella, and treat her like a maid in the house.
One day, the king throws a royal ball and invites all the maidens in the kingdom as the prince would choose his bride. While the step sisters go to the ball dressed in fancy gowns, the stepmother tells Cinderella to stay at home and do the chores.
The beautiful Cinderella is depressed about not going when her fairy godmother appears, blows fairy dust on a pumpkin and mice to convert them into a carriage and horses, and helps Cinderella dress up in the prettiest gown and crystal shoes. But the fairy tells her that she has to return by 12 after which the magic will be all gone.
The prince and Cinderella dance together all night but when the clock strikes 12, she leaves the party as per the instructions of the fairy godmother. Her glass shoe slips off her foot and is picked up by the prince.
Next day, the prince goes in search of the girl whose feet would fit perfectly in the crystal shoes. It does not fit any girl’s feet except Cinderella. The prince marries Cinderella and they live happily ever after.
A pregnant, sick woman is craving for a fruit called Rapunzel, which she sees in the garden of a witch. Her husband is worried for his sick wife and steals the fruit from the witch’s garden. When the husband is caught by the witch, he begs for mercy. The witch agrees to leave him but, in turn, asks for the baby when she is born. The parents are heartbroken but give away the beautiful baby girl to the witch.
The baby girl is named Rapunzel. The witch locks the little girl in a tall tower which has no door. Rapunzel’s hair is never cut and when she grows up, her hair is more than 40 feet long. Each time the witch has to climb up the tower, Rapunzel lets her hair down.
There comes a day when a handsome young prince finds the tower and sees Rapunzel. They fall in love with each other and start meeting often as Rapunzel lets her hair down for him to climb up.
The witch gets to know about their affair. She cuts Rapunzel’s hair and shuts off the window of the tower. The prince and Rapunzel are disconnected from each other but eventually, their love unites them and they live happily ever after.
5. Beauty and the Beast
In a faraway village, lived a merchant with his daughters. While going on a journey, the merchant asks his daughters what they want when he returns. Elder daughters ask for jewelry and precious stones but the youngest daughter, Belle, asks for his safe return. When her father insists, Belle asks for a rose.
When the father is returning, he stops by a garden to cut a rose flower but an ugly beast spots the merchant and punishes him. When Belle gets to know about the beast, she goes to rescue her father. The beast says that he will free her father only if she comes to stay with him in the palace.
Belle agrees and joins the beast at his palace. All her needs in the palace are satisfied at just the clap of her hands. Eventually the beast and Belle bond over friendship. One day, Belle finds the beast stumbling in pain outside the palace. Belle is scared. She fears the death of the beast and expresses her love for him. Then the magical spell reverses, and the beast is transformed into a charming young prince. The prince marries Belle and they lived happily ever after.
6. Sleeping Beauty
When a queen gave birth to a little princess, angels were invited to give blessings to the infant. Some angels, who were not invited, get furious. And one vicious angel gives a curse that the little baby will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die.
Queen gets upset upon hearing this and asks another angel to help the little princess. The fairy angel tries to reverse the curse with her magic wand and says the princess would not die but sleep for 100 years and only a prince can wake her up from the sleep.
When the princess turns 16, her finger is pricked at the spindle, and falls asleep. After almost 100 years, a charismatic prince hears the story of a beautiful princess who is sleeping in a castle. The prince visits the castle and meets the beautiful sleeping princess.
When they meet, she wakes up from the 100-year slumber. They instantly fall in love with each other and eventually get married.
7. Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel lived on a mountain with their father and stepmother. Their father was a poor woodcutter. Due to poverty, the stepmother convinces the father to abandon Hansel and Gretel in the forest.
The little children panic on hearing her plan, and they gather small white pebbles to leave a trail so they can get back home. Once they are back, the stepmother convinces the woodcutter to abandon the children again. However this time they could not find pebbles but they leave a trail of tiny breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, wild animals in the woods eat away their trail of breadcrumbs. Hansel and Gretel are lost in the forest.
After struggling for a long time, Hansel and Gretel find a gingerbread house with sugar windows. The children get tempted and start eating the bread. The witch, who lives in the house, disguises as an old lady and invites the children into the house. With the gingerbread house, she attracts children and feeds them to fatten and eventually eat them.
Hansel is caged and Gretel is forced to become her servant. She begins the preparation to boil Hansel in a huge vessel and asks Gretel to ensure the oven is ready to bake. Gretel understands the intentions of the witch and tricks her to lock the witch in the oven. Hansel and Gretel take some jewels and stones from the house, and they leave for home to reunite with their father.
Finally, they reach their home and find out the stepmother is dead. Their father is happy to be reunited with his children and sells the precious stones to buy food stocks for the family.
8. The Singing Bone
Two brothers are sent to kill a wild boar infesting a kingdom. The younger brother gets a magic spear and kills the boar with no difficulty. The jealous older brother kills his sibling and buries him under a bridge, to claim the reward from the king – the hand of the princess.
Years later, a shepherd passes by the bridge, notices the bone and thinks it to be a mouth-piece. As he blows it, the bone sings thus:
“Ah, friend, thou blowest upon my bone!
Long have I lain beside the water;
My brother slew me for the boar,
And took for his wife the King’s young daughter.”
Shocked, the shepherd takes the bone to the king, who understands the meaning of the son. The wicked older brother is punished for his crime.
9. The Six Swans
A king has six boys and one girl. He hides them in the forest so no one can find them. However, the king’s second wife finds out about the six boys through witchcraft. The cruel queen sews six shirts and throws them on the boys.
The boys turn into swans. The girl continues to hide in the house as the queen does not know about her. The sister goes in search of her brothers and finds a hut which has six beds inside. She identifies her brothers and they are happy to be reunited.
To break the spell, the sister has to sew a shirt with star flowers but cannot talk or laugh while sewing. It takes six years for her to complete the shirts and make her brothers wear them. The six swans turn into humans and they all return to the castle.
10. The Old Sultan
An old dog Sultan overhears the master planning to kill him as he is too old to be of use anymore. The dog tells his friend, the wolf, about the discussion. The wolf comes up with a plan that it will falsely attack his master’s child, and the dog can pretend to ‘rescue’ the boy.
The dog does as the wolf said and the farmer regrets his decision to kill him. He promises to take good care of Sultan.
The wolf asks Sultan a favor in return of its help. He tells Sultan to stay quiet when he steals a baby sheep. But the loyal Sultan refuses and barks hard. The wolf runs away but comes back with a wild boar next time. The old Sultan takes help of a limping cat.
The wolf and the boar see Sultan with the limping cat from a distance and mistake the cat to be a sword. They assume the dog is picking up stones, and hide in the forest afraid of an attack. When they realize that it is not a sword but just a cat, they feel ashamed of their cowardice and walk away into the forest.
Short Fairy Tales For Kids To Tell
11. The Glass Mountain
There was a glass mountain on which an apple tree grew. Anyone who picked the apple would be led into a castle where a beautiful princess lived. Many try but fail and get killed in the process. A knight in golden armor tries but could reach only half way.
In his next attempt, an eagle attacks him and he dies. Another young boy tries to go up but is attacked by a wildcat. He kills the wildcat and uses its claws to climb the mountain. When the eagle attacks the boy, he kills the eagle by playing tricks.
He picks the apple and is led to the castle where he marries the princess. All the previous young men, who were killed while trying to go up, turn alive when the dead eagle’s blood falls on them.
12. The Frog Prince:
A bratty princess mistakenly drops her golden ball into a pond. In the pond, lives a frog and on seeing the golden ball, the frog comes out. He tells the princess that he shall give the ball back if she agrees to take him along with her to the palace. The reluctant princess agrees to the deal, and the frog goes with her to the palace.
The frog befriends the princess and makes her kiss him. The princess kisses him unwillingly but when that is done, the frog’s spell is broken and he magically turns into a young handsome prince. They fall in love with each other and get married.
13. The Crystal Ball
A sorceress thought her three sons were out to steal her magic tricks and turns the oldest into an eagle and the second into a whale. They can take human form only for a couple of hours in a day.
The youngest one escapes from their house. He comes to know of a princess, who is bewitched and kept captive in a castle. He sets out to rescue her, and also free his brothers from the spell.
When he meets the princess in captivity, she tells him about a crystal ball and how it can be broken to free her. He follows all the instructions, fights the bull, frees a bird and eventually takes the crystal ball to an angel, who breaks the spell and the brothers are freed.
In the end, the crystal ball sets the princess free and the boy marries her.
14. The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids
A mother goat has seven kids. She warns the kids about a wolf when she goes into the forest.
The wolf comes disguised as the mother goat. The kids try to hide, but the wolf finds them and gobbles them up one after the other until the youngest is left as it hides inside.
The mama goat gets distressed when the youngest baby goat narrates the entire incident. When they find the wolf sleeping, the mother goat suspects her babies may be alive in the belly of the wolf. So she cuts it open and takes out all the babies safely. She stuffs the belly with stones and stitches it back. The wolf drowns when he goes to drink water from a well.
15. The Bright Sun Brings It To Light
A tailor’s apprentice was traveling in search of work. On his way, he meets a Jew and assumes he must be carrying plenty of money. Out of poverty and desperation, he robs and murders the Jew. Before dying, the Jew says, “The bright sun will bring it to light.”
On traveling a little further, the apprentice meets a young and pretty girl and marries her. Years later, one fine morning while having his coffee, the sun shines brightly and reflects the circles made in the coffee on the wall. He remembers the words of the Jew and gasps heavily.
His worried wife asks the reason behind his fear. He tries hard to hide the truth but ultimately reveals it and asks her not to tell anybody. His wife is shocked and gossips about this incident to the other villagers. When everyone finds out about the incident they get him arrested and executed.
16. The Crumbs on the Table
A rooster convinces his hens to go nibble on the crumbs from the kitchen countertop. They refuse to do so because they fear the mistress would beat them if caught. Finally, they give in and the mistress enters the kitchen at that very moment. The mistress beats the hens with a stick and the hens run out.
The hens ask the rooster, “Don’t you see, see, see, see, see, see, see?”
The rooster laughs loud and says, “Didn’t I know it, know it, know it?”
17. The Elves and the Shoemaker
A poor shoemaker and his wife were going through difficult times. They have only one last piece of leather, which can make only one pair of shoes to sell. When they wake up the next morning, they are surprised to see a beautiful pair of shoes ready.
The shoes get sold for a price higher than usual and the couple buy more leather with the extra money. On the following day, they are again surprised to see more shoes on the table.
They decide to stay up all night and check who is making the shoes. The couple is very happy to see that the elves are helping them. The shoemaker is now able to make a profitable business.
18. The Riddle
The princess of a kingdom announces that she will marry a person who asks her a riddle that she can’t answer. But if she answers, the suitor will be killed.
The princess answers the riddles and gets nine persons killed. Then a wandering prince hears about it and decides to try it.
He asks the princess, “One killed none, but still killed twelve?” “What is it?”
The princess fails but steals the answer from the prince when he is sleeping. The next day, she answers the question and sentences the prince to death. But he proves that the princess cheated him to get the answer to the riddle. Eventually, they get married.
19. The Turnip
Two brothers, one rich and another poor, once served as soldiers. The poor brother decides to move to farming to make a living. He grows turnips and when one of the turnips grows very big in size to fill the entire cart, he presents it to the king.
The king is happy and in return for the turnip, he gives the poor farmer land and wealth. The rich brother is jealous of his brother’s riches and tries to kill him. The poor brother is rescued by a young boy.
20. The Ear of a Corn
In a village faraway, people were ungrateful towards God’s creation of hundred-fold ears of the corns. They ignored the beautiful creation and misused it. The angered Lord announces that the corn will no more have any ears.
People realize their mistake and seek mercy. Then the Lord agrees to bring back a few ears to the corn but not hundreds of them like the corn used to have in the past.
21. Sweet Porridge
In a village, there lived a woman with her daughter. They were very poor and hungry. The poor daughter meets an old woman, who gives her a pot that can cook porridge. Whenever the girl says, “Little pot, cook,”it cooks up sweet porridge.
The mother and daughter have enough to fill their stomachs every day. One day the mother forgets how to stop cooking, and the whole village drowns in porridge. The little girl arrives and says, “Little pot, stop,”and saves the village.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a fairy tale?
A fairy tale is a story that contains imaginary and enchanting characters such as fairies, goblins, giants, talking animals, and elves. Most stories have meaningful conclusions and morals.
2. What is the purpose of fairy tales for children?
Fairy tales help in the psychological development of children in several ways. Here’s how they may help (1):
- They develop emotional intelligence
- They make children more aware of themselves and others
- They enhance children’s imagination
- They help children develop a sense of identity
- They make children more culture-sensitive
3. What is the oldest fairy tale?
There may not be a specific answer to this question, as many fairytales can be traced back thousands of years. However, it is believed that the folktale “The Smith and the Devil” is one of the oldest, dating back to the bronze age.
4. How have fairy tales evolved over time?
Over time, fairy tales have evolved to reflect societies’ varied cultural beliefs and customs. For example, some fairytales were filled with gore, but in the post-World War period, the theme of ‘happily ever after’ started being portrayed in them. In the modern-day, female characters in these stories are much stronger and smarter than before. The tales continuously adapt to reflect existing issues and concerns related to the environment, technology, and diversity.
5. What are some modern adaptations of classic fairy tales for children?
Goldline by Jimmy Cajoleas, The Lost Frost Girl by Amy Wilson, The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine are some of the popular modern adaptations of classic fairy tales.
6. Who wrote the first fairy tales?
The 19th-century Brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm get the credit for writing the oldest fairy tale (2). Some scholars say fairy tales originated as much as 6000 years ago. But it is not easy to trace them because of the lack of historical records. Also, many tales began as oral stories.
7. Do fairy tales always have a happy ending?
Most fairy tales have happy and optimistic endings. It’s mainly because they are intended to make children distinguish between right and wrong. Evil and mischievous people meet a bad end in these tales, which makes children realize that good deeds always triumph over bad ones and helps shape their emotional development.
8. How can reading fairy tales benefit a child’s language development?
Fairytales encourage children to read. When they acquire a love for reading, it naturally enriches their vocabulary and makes them understand the correct sentence structure and grammar rules. They visualize the tales’ scenes, characters, and happenings, which may promote their language development.
Reading short stories or fairy tales to children and toddlers is a common bedtime routine in many homes. These fascinating and magical stories about kings and queesn, animals, and fairyland may spur their creativity and even cause them to have fantastic dreams full of adventure. Moreover, whether it is the story of a kind-hearted girl named “Cinderella” or the tale of an elderly dog named “Sultan,” these make-believe tales have a lesson that will assist you in instilling good moral values in your children. So make this a part of your child’s bedtime routine and see the difference!
Infographic: Popular Bedtime Stories And Fairy Tales For Children
Including story-reading in a bedtime routine promotes a way to get your children ready for sleep. It will also help them have a sweet, dreamy night while thinking about these stories when drifting away in sleep. Check out the infographic below for some popular bedtime stories and fairy tales you can read for your children.
How did you like our list of fairy tales for kids? Let us know about your kid’s favorite fairy tales in the comments below.
- Cinderella is a beloved children’s fairy tale about a good-hearted girl who lives with her evil stepmother and cunning stepsisters.
- The Frog Prince is a story about a handsome young prince who turned into a frog by a magical spell and required a kiss of love to break it.
- The Elves and the Shoemaker, the Old Sultan, and more as you scroll through.
- Koutsompou Violetta-Eirini; (2016); The Child and the Fairy Tale: The Psychological Perspective of Children’s Literature.
- Koutsompou Violetta-Eirini; (2016); The Child and the Fairy Tale: The Psychological Perspective of Children’s Literature.
- Grimm’s fairy tales.
Check out this video to explore the classic story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff! See the goats bravely cross the bridge and outwit the mean old troll!