Fairytale vs Folktale
In old times when there was no means to preserve words of wisdom, storytelling used to be a favorite pastime. In every culture and during every civilization, there have been different forms of stories in prose and poems that have been passed on to successive generations to preserve the virtues and moral lessons considered worthy by the people. Fairy tales and folktales are two such types of story forms that have been used extensively across cultures. There are many similarities in the two types to confuse readers. There are many who cannot make out between a fairytale and a folk tale. This article attempts to point out the differences between a fairytale and a folk tale.
Folk tales are short stories that are a part of a tradition of passing down generations orally. They come from ancient times when there was no printing or electronic media to preserve them; which is why elders indulged in storytelling to the younger generation so as not just to entertain, but also to enlighten them with words of wisdom and moral lessons. Earliest of folktales were passed from person to person through word of mouth, and it moved down generations only through human memory. Folk tales mostly talk about nature, explaining forces of nature, or they contain human characters where one is evil and the other is good and wise. These stories contained characters with which audiences could relate. As such folktales involved common human beings with everyday problems and instances of bravery, loyalty, honesty, and other virtues for inspiration. Folktales have some moral lesson to be learnt from them.
Fairytale is a short story that contains fairies as their main characters along with their magic and magical creatures. It is believed to be an offshoot or a subgenre within the genre of folktales. Fairy tales mostly begin with Once upon a time… and involve battle between the good and the evil with fairies and other magical creatures helping the good characters inside these stories that mostly end with triumph of good over the evil.
If you find it hard to tell whether it is a folktale or a fairytale, you can consider this as a thumb rule. If the story contains fairies, it is a fairytale. Fairytales in oral form have been there for thousands of years though, in literary form, they have appeared as late as 17th century in Italy. Fairy tales are intended mainly for kids as they relate more easily with magical characters such as elves, goblins, fairies etc.
What is the difference between Fairytale and Folktale?
• Folktales and fairytales are short stories that have been parts of folklore and culture across the world with the difference that folktales contain ordinary human beings and everyday problems of life whereas fairytales contain fairies and other super natural creatures and their magical world full of fantasies.
• Fairytales are often considered to be a subgenre of folktales.
• Kids relate easily with magic and fairies, whereas folktales are meant for adults.