Fairy Tales Are Over 6,000 Years Old

By | October 3, 2019

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A fairy tale illustration. Source: (gettyimages.com)

The Brothers Grimm are often credited with writing some of the earliest and best-loved fairy tales, but the truth is, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were cultural researchers and lexicographers who simply compiled the stories and folklore into a single collection in the 1800s. They were among the first academics to understand the cultural value of folktales and preserve them for analysis. They laid the foundation for the study of early fairy tales as a means to understand cultures who lived thousands of years ago. Let's look at how far back researchers have traced the history of fairy tales.

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Fairy tales are a part of our culture. Source: (torontopubliclibrary.ca)

Collecting and Analyzing

While the work of the Brothers Grimm was a great start for those interested in collecting and compiling early fairy tales, it was far from complete. Historians still toil to collect, preserve, and categorize old stories from various European cultures. The Aarne-Thompson-Uther index, a repository of more than 2,000 different fairy tales from various cultures around Europe, has formed the basis of study of the development of modern languages.