Although many of you may not know, the 26th of Feb. is indeed National Tell a Fairytale Day. So, in honor of the 26th, I decided to list four of today’s most popular fairytales and explain where, when and how they were created, or first told.

1. Cinderella

Photo by Sofi on Flickr.

“The Tale of Cinderella” actually has many different versions, most originating in ancient Egyptian. However, the following three stories are the versions most related to the (Disney) “Cinderella” we know today.


This story was written in China during the T’ang Dynasty (618-907 AD). Just like the Disney version, Yeh-Shen was under the care of her stepmother, but she had one stepsister as opposed to two. A fish played the role of her only friend and the role of her fairy godmother.

The Little Glass Slipper

This version is French, and was written by Charles Perrault in 1667. It contains all of the major elements that the modern Cinderella has: the pumpkin carriage, fairy godmother and glass slippers.

Kinderund Hausmarchen

This German tale was written by the Grimm brothers, in 1812. In this more violent version, the stepsisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit into the slipper and fool the prince. Also, the brothers’ Cinderella cries so much after her mother’s death that a tree grows. This tree helps Cinderella get ready for the ball and meet the prince.

2. Mulan

Photo by Adele Blancsec on Flickr.

The story of Mulan was sung as a Chinese folk song in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-557 AD). The plot of the song is essentially the same as the Disney movie we know today. However, in some versions of the song, after Mulan returns from war, she learns that her father is dead and no longer feels like a hero. In other versions, she becomes traumatized after the war and commits suicide. The Disney version provides a happier ending.

3. The Frog Prince

Photo by Sofi on Flickr.

The first (verbal) version of this fairytale appeared in 16th century Scotland and was known as “The Well at the World’s End.” However, the first written adaptation of this story is the Grimm brothers’ 1812 tale, “The Frog Prince.”

Another notable version of this fairytale was written by William Elliot Griffis in 1911, and hails from Korea. Entitled, “A Frog for a Husband, ” this tale gives more insight into what the Frog Prince was like as a human.

4. The Snow Queen

Photo by Adele Blancsec on Flickr.

This fairytale was written by Hans Christian Andersen in Denmark in 1844. However, the Snow Queen is nothing like Disney’s Elsa, and in fact is not the story’s main character.

I encourage all of you to click on the links above and read the variations of the fairytales we know today!