Fairy Tales: Public Domain

Have you ever wanted to retell a fairy tale? You’re  not alone.

I love fairy tales. I’ve been crazy about them since I was a little. There’s something about the bare bones of the stories that make me wonder what the people were thinking. Why they made their choices. In my mind, the Grimm Brothers, Anderson and other recorders of folk tales have essentially recorded a newspaper story, short and to the point. Or, in other versions, rather longer. I want to know what else was happening. The perspective of a minor character. Or, what if the character that we know and love as the “good guy” actually isn’t? I want to know.

Disney has produced several fairy tale stories, including The Frog Prince, Tangled, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Mulan. But they don’t have a copyright on fairy tales, because fairy tales are public domain. Disney didn’t come up with them. They simply took tales that have a long oral tradition and wrote their own versions. Their stories are often “lighter” than the original tales, which have rather gruesome beginnings, middles or ends.

If you love fairy tales as much as I do, you might be thinking about telling one of your own, particularly if you’ve seen all of the other retellings rolling around lately. Consider this very small selection:


The 10th Kingdom

A Cinderella Story

Ever After

Ella Enchanted


Mirror, Mirror

Red Riding Hood

Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Snow White and the Huntsmen

TV Shows

Beauty and the Beast (The 80’s)


Once Upon a Time


Beastly by Alex Finn

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Deerskin by Robin McKinley

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Entwined by Heather Dixon

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

Stardust by Neil Gaman


Again, that’s only a small selection. The amazing thing is there’s still a market for retellings because people can’t get enough of them. Do you have a fairy tale you want to retell? What intrigues you about fairy tales?

If you write short stories and you’re thinking about a retelling of a short story, consider some of these magazine publications that publish fairy tales: Enchanted Conversations, Faerie Magazine and Cabinet des Fees.

Come back next week for tips about how to rewrite a fairy tale.

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  1. Very interesting info. I have written a children’s story which I am trying to get published. Based on the aforementioned information, I will now attempt to develope my own fairy tales. Thank you so much sharing.

  2. Robin says:

    Thanks for your comment, Johnny. I wish you the best of luck with your story.

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