Folktales, Fairy Tales, Fables, and More

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What exactly is a folktale?

A folktale is a story or legend handed down over a long period of time. They often explain something that happens in nature or relates a truth about life. Often, there is a moral to the story. They may explain how something came to be.

The characters are often people or animals who have to face an impossible journey or task. There is usually a battle between good and evil. I like to read folktales from other countries with my fifth grader that are similar to ones she’s grown up with. Often, in the end, goodness prevails.

Folktales, Fables, Fairytales, and More

Types of folktales

Trickster Tales

  • One character, the trickster, is the clever or devious one
  • Cause problems for others
  • Rarely get caught

Examples of “Trickster Tales”

Fairy Tales

  • Conflict between good and evil
  • Typically contain elements of fantasy and magic
  • Start and end with “Once Upon a Time” and “Happily Ever After”

Examples of Fairy Tales:

Be sure to check out my Fairy Tale Unit Study Round-Up at This Sweet Life. It’s full of wonderful ideas for bringing the fairy tales to life.

Pourquoi Stories

  • explain why things are the way they are
  • explain how things came to be

Examples of Pourquoi Tales


  • short stories
  • have a moral
  • animals have human characteristics

Examples of Fables:

Poppins Book Nook Folktale Posts


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About Tara Mitchell

Tara Mitchell is a wife and mom to three beautiful children ages 19, 15, and 10. She enjoys reading, cooking/baking, and crafting. When she's not driving to and from her children's activities, you can find her blogging at This Sweet Life. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Facebook.


  1. Great explanation of them, and great examples!

  2. Because good prevails in these books, they’re great early reading experiences for kids, and they bring back a lot of wonderful early years to the adults who revisit them with their kids.

    Loved your explanation of what these books are about.

  3. Great definitions and lists. Thanks for the examples.

  4. My favorite has always been Hansel and Gretel.

  5. I’m a sucker for the fairy tales but have just introduced my 3 year old to some trickster tales and he really likes them!

  6. I love your explanations for the types of stories and you really picked great titles to include.

    Thank you for helping to bring a spoonful of reading fun to the Poppins Book Nook this month!

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