Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Fairies Tales and Folk Tales

Fairies  tales vs Folk tales

Most girls are big fans of bedtime stories. This fact is not amusing as it is always good to hear stories of magic and mythical creatures before drifting off to dreamland. Young girls also don’t care about the literature piece as long as the stories involve fairies helping princesses or damsels in distress who would live happily ever after.
Note, however, that not all stories with magic are fairy tales. There is quite a difference between a folk tale and a fairy tale. Kids, of course, wouldn’t mind the variation, but as teachers and literature experts, it is always a must to draw the line between the two.

Some say that all fairy tales are folk tales, but not all folk tales are fairy tales. This is a bit of an oversimplification because these two differ greatly in structure and in characters.
A folk tale is a story with origins rooted from what is coined as oral tradition. This means that the story has been passed from one generation to another orally. Since they rarely have written accounts, the story can have added or eliminated elements as the stories are told by the perspective of the teller. Folk tales, nowadays, have already taken a written form, but these are already a piece coupled with changes.

A fairy tale, on the other hand, also takes its roots from oral tradition, but fairy tales involve magical creatures such as dragons, ogres, witches, and unicorns. While a folk tale derives the story from a real-life phenomenon, fairy tales are made up and written down. Simply, a folk tale is a story with a basis of true-to-life events while fairy tales are based on fiction.

Both fairy tales and folk tales are instructive. Meaning, they leave the readers or listeners a few lessons. They also give caution to readers about the possible outcome of a particular behavior or attitude. These stories would revolve around a major character who would experience pain and suffering but survive because of finding the way to make things right in the story. Traditional folk tales and fairy tales are made for entertainment, but they can be scary. These make them effective in inculcating manners and values to youngsters.

The major character discovers resolution differently from the two types of literature. In folk tales, the characters would resolve conflicts by using their human capacities. The characters are usually patterned after societal stereotypes which can take on the guise of a stepmother, evil stepsisters, kind, loving fathers, fair maidens, etc. The conflict then arises from the human vs. nature or human vs. human form. Thus, the characters survive through carefully planned strategies that reflect real-life situations.

The princesses from fairy tales are usually helpless. They would be freed and liberated only with the help of fairies and other magical creatures. The conflict takes on the form of human vs. magic and, thus, can be resolved only by magic.
In a nutshell, folk tales generally take on active conflict resolution from the major character against the minor characters. Major characters in fairy tales are simply passive and subject to sufferings usually resolved with the help of the minor characters who happen to be fairies and other mythical beings.

From a narrower view and more modern view, fairy tales can also be referred to as stories more inclined in aristocracy as modern fairy tales use princesses and princes as major characters. Folk tales are usually centered in the story of a commoner with a story derived from the cultural practices of the folk tale’s origin.


1.Folk tales are orally transferred from one generation to another, while fairy tales are written literature.
2.Folk tales reflect real-life events, while fairy tales involve magic and mythical creatures.
3.Both types of literature are instructive.
4.There is a more active conflict resolution in folk tales than in fairy tales.
5.Fairy tales are inclined more in aristocracy than folktales.

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