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Frequently Asked Questions about Favorite Fairy Tales
 

Little Red Riding Hood:

What is the origin of the Little Red Riding Hood tale?

According to fairy tale scholars Iona and Peter Opie, authors of The Classic Fairy Tales, ".the earliest datable version of the Little Red Riding Hood story anywhere in the world occurs in Perrault's 1695 manuscript of Histories or Tales of Past Times, published in French in 1697.

The first English version was published in A Pretty Book for Children; or, An Easy Guide to the English Tongue circa 1744.

Where can I find out more information about the tale?

As mentioned The Classic Fairy Tales by Iona and Peter Opie, published in various editions by Oxford University Press, is an excellent place to start learning more about the history of the Cinderella tale and how it came into English folklore. The tale is also discussed in many other sources which can be accessed from your local public or school library by using the subject heading Fairy Tales - History and Criticism.

Jack and the Beanstalk:

Who is the author of this tale?

No one knows. Jack Zipes in The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales classifies the story of 'Jack the Giant Killer/Jack and the Beanstalk' as a "Wonder Tale" which grew out of the oral tradition. Iona and Peter Opie, authors of The Classic Fairy Tales, quote Sir Francis Plagrave, who once wrote, ".Jack, commonly called the Giant Killer, landed in England from the very same keels and warships which conveyed Hengist and Horsa, and Ebba the Saxon," in other words, the tale was brought to England by conquering Norsemen.

The Opies go on to state that the earliest known written version of the tale was titled The History of Jack and the Giants and was printed by J. White of Newcastle in 1711. Tales of 'Jack the Giant Killer' do not contain the beanstalk storyline familiar to modern readers. These older versions reflect the medieval belief that Giants were real and lived among men on earth-no magic beanstalk was needed to encounter them. You can read The History of Jack and the Giants in the Opies' book The Classic Fairy Tales ( Oxford University Press, 1974)

When did Jack the Giant Killer become Jack and the Beanstalk?

Many fairy tales in their original forms contained bawdy, sometimes erotic passages, as well as cruelty and violence. For a while they were out of favor as children's stories. In the early to mid 19th century, however, many of the tales were rewritten to eliminate these unacceptable descriptions (See Zipes, When Dreams Came True: Classic Fairy Tales and Their Tradition, Routledge, 1999). In the case of the Jack tale, Zipes writes in The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales (Oxford University Press, 2000), ".[the] gory killings disappeared, King Arthur faded away, Jack became an earthly Everyboy and the Giant a geographically unlocalizable married oaf, reachable only by the magic of a bean that grew endlessly heavenward." An early version of this tale was published as a Chapbook in 1820 by Francis Orr and Sons in Glasgow.

Where can I find out more information about the tale?

As mentioned The Classic Fairy Tales by Iona and Peter Opie, published in various editions by Oxford University Press, is an excellent place to start learning more about the history of the Cinderella tale and how it came into English folklore. The tale is also discussed in many other sources which can be accessed from your local public or school library by using the subject heading Fairy Tales - History and Criticism.

 

 

 

   
 

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The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
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(601) 266-4349
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