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Telling Fairy Tales

(Year: 2016)

When telling fairy tales, stories are told freely in front of an audience. In addition to heroic and magic tales, this includes farces, animal fairy tales, etiological narratives, mythological substances and mixed forms.

Fairy tales do not have any real or individual references and therefore allow every listener a wide range of interpretation. Through the narration of traditional narratives and those firmly anchored in a group’s culture, thought-provoking impulses are given and meaning is conveyed, but also language is fostered and imagination is stimulated. Telling of and listening to fairy tales is a collective, identity-creating experience, which is constantly updated.

The traditional telling of fairy tales was once an important part of community life and even today it is a living tradition, often publicly performed. Storytelling needs community and it is important that the narrative material appeals to the audience. The interaction between audience and narrator has great influence on the interpretation of the fairy tale.

Telling fairy tales is an art that is aimed at all levels of education, age and population. Since all cultures have oral narrative forms, a fairy tale’s material and narration are suitable for intercultural cooperation and understanding. Integration projects exist, which have the goal to build bridges with fairy tales.

How old fairy tales are is, due to their shaping and characterization by an oral transmission process, hardly identifiable. According to the latest findings in research on myths, some of the narrative complexes that are still common today can be traced back to the Paleolithic period. Many fairy tales were written down over the course of time, for example by the brothers Grimm from 1812 onwards. Today, these records serve as basis for oral fairy tale telling.


Europäische Märchengesellschaft e.V.
Thomas Bücksteeg (managing director)
Bentlager Weg 130
48432 Rheine



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