Fairy Tales, Comments 2
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Fairy tales or fairy stories may be about fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, witches, giants, and talking animals - and enchantments. But not all fairy tales contain fairies. Talking animals and magic seem to be more common to the fairy tale than fairies. The genre also contains stories about very unlikely, fancied happenings. Further, in many tales there is a happy ending. Sometimes the stories are romances, and other stories are plain far-fetched.
Not surprisingly, then, fairy tales have been enacted dramatically, and the Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 was a ground-breaking film for fairy tales made primarily for children. There have also been modern erotic adaptations of fairy tales.
Old fairy tales were intended for both adults and children. Tales transmitted in an oral tradition, were told or enacted. In some cultures, past and present, fairy tales may merge into legendary narratives. Literary fairy tales and oral fairy tales freely exchanged plots, motifs, and elements with each other and with the tales of foreign lands. Folklorists classify fairy tales in different ways. In one such way, fairy and folk tales are grouped according to their overall plots - common, identifying features are picked out to decide which tales are grouped together. Also, fairy tales tend to take on the colour of their location, through the selected motifs, the style of telling, and the depictions of characters, animals, and landscapes
The history of the fairy tale is difficult to trace. The fairy tale has ancient roots. The oldest known written fairy tales come from ancient Egypt.
Some tales teach or imply moral lessons, which at least partially reflect dominant moral in an era. Others seem to furnish some imagined relief and great wish-fulfilment.
AT 531. A firebird, a magical, glowing bird from far away, appears in this tale and other Slavic folk tales too. The bird is a large bird in majestic plumage that glows in red, orange and yellow light. In later works the bird is somewhat like a small peacock of fire colours, a crest on its head and tail feathers with glowing "eyes".
In fairy tales, searching for the firebird after first getting one of its feathers, becomes a difficult undertaking. The hero meets a magical helper on the way, one who helps in travelling and capturing the bird alive. The magical helper also helps the hero to return from afar with the prize.
The firebird has parallells in such as Iranian legends, "The Golden Bird" by the Grimm brothers, and the story of the quest is parallelled in an Armenian tale. The effects of the bird differ among the versions from several countries. In the Armenian tale the bird does not glow but makes the land bloom, in other tales the bird gives hope to those who need it.
The present Russian version about Ivan Tsarevich (tsar-son), the glowing bird and the grey wolf is the most popular one. (Wheeler, p. 93-121)
Aarne, Antti. The Types of the Folktale: A Classification and Bibliography. Translated and Enlarged by Stith Thompson. 2nd rev. ed. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia / FF Communications, 1961.
Ashliman, D. L. A Guide to Folktales in the English Language. New York: Greenwood, 1987.
Hodne, Ørnulf. The Types of the Norwegian Folktale. Bergen: Universitetsforlaget, 1984.
Uther, Hans-Jörg. The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography Based on the System of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson. Vols 1-3. FF Communications No. 284-86, Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 2004.
Wheeler, Post. Russian Wonder Tales. London : Adam and Charles Black, 1917:93-121
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