Folk Lore and Fairy Tales

The original versions of many common fairy tales are often graphic, violent, and witty as evidenced in Peasants Tell Tales: The Meaning of Mother Goose by Robert Darnton. Many folk tales, mainly European ones (French, German, and English) were analyzed by Darnton.  He claims that knowing the region that a tale originated from, as well as the time period, often helps to explain the content of those tales.  French fairy tales tended to be witty with peasants triumphing over lords and kings while German fairy tales tended to be very violent tales rooted in fantasy.  In addition, English folk tales tended to be more down to earth than the others.  However the common factor of these tales was that they were often created by the lower classes in order to explain the world in which they lived.  Often, the tales were so violent in order to warn people to be cautious for life was cruel.  Also, the more uplifting stories often had people outwitting richer people.


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