The oldest fairy tale dates back to the bronze age and tells a story of the smith who sold his soul to the devil in order to gain supernatural abilities.
The Smith And The Devil
This fairy tale came around 4000 years B.C. It was orally passed from one generation to another. There are many versions of it. In all of them, the smith strikes deal with a supernatural being. Most of the time, that being is the Devil. Some people even believe that the Halloween folk tale of stingy Jack was inspired by this story. But in some versions, it is a genie that can also be related to inspiration for Aladin. The power smith gets is to weld any materials together. He uses that power to merge the entity that filled his desire for an immovable object so it can avoid filling his end of the deal. This is also very similar to the way Stingy jack tricks the devil. But, as it was already explained, all these stories were passed orally. The first written fairy tale is multiple millennia younger.
Who and When Wrote The First Fairy Tales?
This is a very debatable question because the answer is dependant on the criteria for defining a fairy tale. If the presence of supernatural motives would be the only criteria then Vishnu Sharma would be the first author of the fairy tales. While some dispute his credits, Vishnu, an ancient Indian scholar, is considered for the creator of Panchatantra.
What is Panchatantra And When Was It Written?
Panchatantra is the name of animal fables that can, to some degree, be considered for a fairy tale. These stories were written around the 3rd century B.C. in the Sanskrit language. As it is the case with fables, animals had the ability to speak. Such style represents the traditional form of allegorical writing. But, you will agree, allegory is no fairy tale.
Honorable Mention – Aesop
Aesop was a Greek storyteller remembered by his fables. He lived in the 6th century B.C. However, no records of his writings were ever found while his stories were assembled and written during later centuries.
What Is a Fairy Tale?
There is no fairy tale without once open a time. The reason for this is that the mentioned time determinant pushes the plot in the world of a distant past in which there were creatures and magic that are now long gone. The term fairy tale was first used in 1697. It came from the translation of Madame D’Aulnoy’s “Conte de fées”. It is why we are going to take this year as a starting point for tracking the first formally written fairy tale. The regular approach conflates fairy tales with beast fables and folk tales. Another important indicator is the degree to which fairies and other supernatural and mythical beings appear and take part in the story. It is important to understand that animals need to do much more than just to talk. Otherwise, if they are only masks for human faces, we speak of fables, not fairy tales. After many disputes, the conclusion was made. Fairy tales are stories about the adventures of men in the land of fairies, fairytale princesses, dwarves, elves, and not only other magical species but many other marvels. And that leads us to Hans Christian Andersen, the man who wrote the first fairy tale.
Genuine Fairy Tale Discovered – The Tallow Candle?
Hans Christian Andersen was born in Denmark and lived from 1805 to 1875. According to established classification norms, he wrote the first fairy tale – The Tallow Candle. Hans did it when he was a teenager as it is esteemed that the papers date from around 1820. It was a six-page manuscript about the tallow candle, the child of a sheep and melting pot, that can’t find the purpose of life. Things change when the candle meets the tinderbox. The tinderbox lights a flame on the candle’s top and the candle finally finds its purpose and lives happily ever after. Some Danish philologists question the authorship of the fairy tale. But for now, there are no tangible pieces of evidence capable of neglecting current claims.
However, the Tallow Candle is not the first fairy tale even by the standards we explained. Both “Beauty And The Beast”, “Aladin” and many others were written almost one hundred years earlier. And it was just after the term fairy tale was first used.