Which Fairy Tale Is Your Favorite?

Fairy Tales

Most of us grew up exposed to fairy tales, at least to some degree. My childhood experience with these fanciful stories came less from Disney, and more from lovely volumes filled with a variety of fairy stories. Of course, I developed some decided preferences, and my favorite fairy tale of all time–Beauty and the Beast–hasn’t changed over the years. So I began to wonder about the favorite tales of others, and from my curiosity sprang this poll. Vote for your favorite tale and, if you wish, leave the reason it’s your favorite in the comments.

[polldaddy poll=5795645]

And speaking of fairy tales, I’ve done two in-depth fairy tale series, exploring origins, variants, modern interpretations, and so forth, one for Beauty and the Beast (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) and one for Rapunzel (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). Would any of you be interested in another series of fairy tale blog posts? If so, which tale would you like to see explored?


  • Bethany A. Jennings
    December 30, 2011 - 8:23 am · Reply

    I vote for Rapunzel…having super long hair myself, I’ve always identified with her. I like the cleaned-up, more modern adaptations of the story, however. 🙂 Some of those older fairy tales are pretty dirty in their original form!

    Hmm, I’d be interested in another fairy tale series but I’m not sure which. I am intrigued by Snow White and Rose Red, though, because it’s a more obscure fairy tale and I don’t know much about it.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 9, 2012 - 5:46 pm · Reply

      Rapunzel is a fascinating story, and I’m glad that it has gotten more attention following the release of Tangled. One tidbit I found interesting about this particular fairy tale was that a recent study demonstrated that human hair is strong enough to bear the weight of a person, as long as it’s properly supported so that it won’t be pulled out of the head. Sometimes things in fairy tales aren’t as odd as they seem. 🙂

      Thanks for letting me know about your interest in future series. Snow White and Rose Red has always been an appealing story to me, in part because of the sisterly devotion, a rare display in fairy tales. I’m making a list of future tales to explore, and that one will certainly be on it!

  • Maria Tatham
    December 30, 2011 - 12:45 pm · Reply


    I plan to read your posts on Beauty and Rapunzel. By the way, like you, much of my experience of fairytales came from “lovely volumes filled with a variety of fairy stories.” My Mother bought me several. One was the Big Golden Book (it was big and wonderfully illustrated) of Chinese Fairy Tales.

    Perhaps you could explore The Little Mermaid? It’s less well known as Anderson’s tale, while very well known as the Disney take. There is so much there, I feel. However, if you plan on posting on a fairy tale, please make it the tale that currently interests YOU the most.

    Happy New Year!


    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 9, 2012 - 5:51 pm · Reply

      Maria, the collection of Chinese fairy tales sounds interesting. I love seeing how the same types of fairy tales exist across cultures, but they vary according to cultural trends.

      Ah yes, The Little Mermaid. I think people tend to gravitate toward Disney’s version because it has a happier ending than Anderson’s tale…but the Anderson version raises more interesting questions about life, love, and eternity.

  • Jamie T
    December 30, 2011 - 11:17 pm · Reply

    The poll isn’t working for me at the moment, so I’m leaving mine here.

    My favorite is Beauty and the Beast!

    I actually was not exposed to a lot of fairy tales or magic when I was younger—I have gone back now that I’m older to see many of the Disney Princess films, but Beauty and the Beast remains my favorite for it’s depth, and stark truth about true beauty. I love the Disney version to death. 🙂


    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 9, 2012 - 5:51 pm · Reply

      I’m sorry the poll wasn’t working when you tried it, but glad you took the time to leave a comment anyway. 🙂 Beauty and the Beast appears to be the favorite of most who voted, although there’s a nice variety. Like you, I was older also when I saw many of the Disney Princess movies, and I was struck by Beauty and the Beast from the first time I watched it.

      The fact that Disney invested the time and expense to create an IMAX version and a 3D version of the film suggests that it’s a favorite for many people. For Christmas this year, I got a book on the making of the film, and it was absolutely fascinating to see how the storyline and art came together. I’ll probably do a post on that soon.

  • Mirriam
    December 31, 2011 - 12:39 pm · Reply

    I love Beauty and the Beast, but my all-time favorite is East o’the Sun, West o’the Moon. =D Beauty and the Beast is a close second, with The Twelve Dancing Princesses third.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 9, 2012 - 5:54 pm · Reply

      Oh, East O’The Sun, West O’The Moon is definitely a classic in my book. It falls into the same Aarne-Thompson type as Beauty and the Beast (supernatural or enchanted husbands), so there’s common thematic ground but it definitely has its own charm.

      Of the two, Beauty and the Beast remains my favorite, but East O’The Sun, West O’The Moon is high on the list. Have you read Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow? It’s a lovely retelling of the tale.

  • Gail Sattler
    January 1, 2012 - 7:05 pm · Reply

    My absolute favorite is Cinderella, I love it so much that I”ve rewritten it (it’s out in March 2012, see http://www.seattlecinderella,com) but also, the story has fascinated me as well about the other characters. What happened to the 2 evil step-sisters? Also, the Fairy Godmother was a good soul, what kind of story would she have?
    So, I continued on Cinderella’s story with those, and they are compiled in a Barbour novella anthology.
    This is an interesting poll, it’s interesting to see which are everyone’s favorites, and why.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 9, 2012 - 6:06 pm · Reply

      As with so many of these tales, Cinderella never seems to grow old. Like you I find fairy tales spark so many questions that their relatively short lengths leave unanswered. That’s one of the reasons I love retellings, because there’s opportunity to enrich the characters and their experiences.

      I tend to read fantasy versions of fairy tale retellings, but I’m always excited to hear about more coming out in the Christian market, regardless of genre. It sounds like you give the stepsisters a better fate than they suffer in many versions of the stories, and that they get a chance at redemption and their own happy ending. Thanks for stopping by to tell us about it!

  • Susan Lyttek
    January 2, 2012 - 9:14 am · Reply

    I have loved Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (and used it to base several stories) ever since I became a Christian at 23. It has one of the clearest gospel messages of any of the fairy tales.
    I also love many of the less read fairy tales like the ones Mirriam mentioned and Cap O’ Rushes.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 9, 2012 - 6:08 pm · Reply

      Another writer inspired by fairy tales…that’s great! I’m fond of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves also. I’m not as keen on the Disney version, but I enjoy most of it’s other forms, and like you I find the spiritual analogies compelling.

      While I couldn’t list them for space reasons, many of the more obscure fairy tales are fascinating. Of course, some are quite strange, but I have many lesser-known favorites as well. 🙂

  • Sienna North
    January 2, 2012 - 1:26 pm · Reply

    I voted for Beauty and the Beast, the Disney adaptation and Robin McKinley’s two retellings remaining forever close to my heart. (That’s not to say that I approve of the idea of “taming the beast” or falling in love with a beast or any such thing. As a fairytale, however, I think the beauty of the story and the level of complexity makes for a very satisfying tale.)

    However, one of the above comments also brought to mind one of my all-time-favorites, the twelve dancing princesses. A long time ago, I wrote a narrative poem about that fairy tale, and I really enjoyed getting to dig into the story. While it’s difficult to juggle twelve main characters, the plot and story itself is complex and fascinating, as well as hauntingly beautiful. I might suggest this one for your next series, if you’d like to.

    That’s just my two cents!

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 9, 2012 - 6:11 pm · Reply

      Thanks for adding your two cents, Sienna. 🙂 McKinley’s Beauty is amazing, and probably my favorite fairy tale retelling. I never read Rose Daughter, because I feared it might not compare. Which of the two did you prefer?

      I’ve heard the concept of the woman taming the beast discussed extensively in relation to Beauty and the Beast, but personally I’ve never seen a strong correlation between the two. The themes underlying the tale seem very different to me, perhaps in part because the earliest versions had mild and gentle Beasts, who weren’t in need of taming at all, only someone who was able to look beyond appearances and see true beauty of character. Of course, that’s just my perspective on the story.

      Narrative poetry sounds like an intriguing (and challenging) way to delve into the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. With all the interest in the story, it’s definitely going high on my list of tales to explore.

      • Maria Tatham
        January 9, 2012 - 6:25 pm · Reply

        A few years ago I did a Twelve Dancing Princesses: The Six Dancing Daughters. My Mother was hospitalized, and as I sat by her bed, I just wrote…It was one of the happiest writing experiences I’ve had, as she had introduced me to this story, and I added an Italian touch for her, my first generation Italian-American Mom.

  • TheQuietPen
    January 4, 2012 - 9:42 pm · Reply

    I can’t rightly choose one fairy tale over another. The bittersweet ending of the “real” The Little Mermaid intrigues me, as does the power that fate has in Sleeping Beauty.

    However, the one that interests me most currently is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This is a tale that I often had a great deal of animosity due to the Disney Cartoon (I really dislike the voice of Snow White). However, I was interested in the revamped portrayals of Snow White that have become so prevalent in pop culture. From the Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard character in “Once Upon a Time” to the three (yes, three!) different versions of Snow White due out in the coming years, it seems like this old-school fairy tale is experience a renaissance–albeit with a strong dash of female empowerment! Also, it’s interesting how comparatively few retellings there have been of Snow White in comparison to Beauty & the Beast or Cinderella.
    I’m considering doing a 3-part series on Snow White focusing on these very issues–although it might take a bit, depending on the work load of my day job.

    I’ve read through your previous series, and your depth of research and source citation is impressive! If you were ever interested in guest posting (albeit in a more modest blog), I’d welcome your expertise–or I’d be willing to offer what I’ve culled together about the modern renditions in a post here.

    In any case, I welcome your next series, and I know you’ll do a great job!

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 9, 2012 - 6:15 pm · Reply

      I agree, it is hard to choose a favorite when there are so many good ones. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves has a rich history, and I’ll be quite interested to see how you explore the story on your blog, if you decide to do it.

      I actually have an outlined novel-length retelling of the tale that’s waiting for me to come back and write it, once I wrap up some of my other projects. It’s funny, but I wrote up the detailed scene-by-scene outline for my Snow White retelling long before all these other retellings started popping up, and I was surprised by the sudden surge of interest in the story. As you said, it’s one that has been less explored outside of Disney…but that’s changing now.

      I love Once Upon A Time, and the hints we’ve gotten of Snow White’s story. I’m eager to see how they develop it and the unique twists they’ll add.

      And thank you so much for your encouraging words–they mean a lot! I’m pretty booked up right now, but once things settle down, I’d love to talk about doing some sort of guest post exchange between our blogs. 🙂

      • TheQuietPen
        January 10, 2012 - 10:41 pm · Reply

        It’s interesting how projects we think are all our own suddenly come into popular culture.

        I have decided to go ahead with the Snow White series, and the introductory post is up.

        Thanks for the feedback on guest posting!

        • Sarah Sawyer
          January 16, 2012 - 1:09 pm · Reply

          Yes, but at least I haven’t seen anyone take the approach I have yet. We’ll see!

          By the way, I’ve really enjoyed your posts on Snow White so far, and I look forward to seeing how you develop the rest of it. 🙂

  • Emily
    January 17, 2012 - 8:02 pm · Reply

    First off, I have to say, I know this is a pretty old post, but I missed several of your blogposts and decided it’s high time I caught up. 🙂 That being said, I had a bit of a hard time picking a favorite fairy tale… they’re all so good! After a bit of indecision I picked what I was leaning towards all along: Beauty and the Beast. One of the things I love about it is how it’s not some instantaneous falling in love as soon as the herione and handsome prince lay eyes on each other (although I’ve always liked those fairy tales too 😉 ). There’s just something very special about the way Beauty falls in love with Beast for his wonderful character, despite his looks. All in all, I’ve always had a soft spot for Beauty and the Beast. It was also interesting to see that the majority of votes goes towards it.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      January 24, 2012 - 5:31 pm · Reply

      I’m glad you took the time to get caught up and share your thoughts, Emily! You’ve mentioned some of the reasons I love Beauty and the Beast also. The developing relationship feels natural and the focus on character is appealing. As you pointed out, evidently we’re not the only ones who feel that way. 🙂

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