Fairy tales have been around for generations, yet we are only aware of those made popular by Disney. Did you know that many countries have their own home-grown fairy tales? They are often derived from the country’s rich history and unique folklore; these fairy tales are as interesting as the mythical elements they consist of. Get ready to delve into the world of fairy tales- to read about Japanese sea kings, Cossack seductresses, Swedish trolls, Irish mermen and of course, Arabian genies!


Celtic Fairy Tales

Joseph Jacobs

Celtic nations, particularly the Irish and Welsh regions, have had their own fairy tales that have remained popular throughout history due to their imaginative and striking description of magic. Joseph Jacobs’ Celtic Fairy Tales has stories that depict horned women,  brave wolves, sea creatures, and many more exciting characters. Tales like King O’Toole And His Goose, Dierdre, and Beth Gellert will teleport you to a magical realm where heroic wolves save royal princes. This collection of 26 tales is sure to leave you wanting more, so once you’re done with this, pick up Jacobs’ More Celtic Fairy Tales.

Buy it here.


Roumanian Fairy Tales And Legends

E.B. Mawr (Ed. & Tr.)

Romania has a long and violent history. Yet, it is fortunate that some of the most extraordinary fairy tales were passed down for generations to enjoy. E.B. Mawr has thoroughly researched and translated 17 such stories in Roumanian Fairy Tales And Legends. In tales, such as The Voice Of Death, The Pea Emperor and Youth Without Age And Life Without Death, expect to meet a variety of supernatural creatures such as a morning star and a griffin.

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Cossack Fairy Tales And Folk Tales

R. Nisbet Bain (Ed. & Tr.)

Originally a Slavonic dialect, Ruthenian was spoken in Ukraine, Russia and Poland; it was also the language of the Cossacks. R. Nisbet Bain’s Cossack Fairy Tales And Folk Tales is the first book containing fairy tales that have been translated from Ruthenian into English. The inclusion of unique supernatural elements, typically absent in European folklore, makes these fairy tales stand out. With stories such as The Vampire And St Michael, The Serpent-Tsarevich And His Two Wives and The Story Of The Unlucky Days, this book is guaranteed to wow you with serpents who fly, witches that seduce and lots of magic.

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Irish Fairy And Folk Tales

W.B.Yeats (Ed.)

One of the largest collection of Irish Fairy Tales, Irish Fairy And Folk Tales by W.B. Yeats, showcases the typical Irish wit and humour. Yeats wanted to preserve the traditional stories of his people, and he’s done it wonderfully with these tales of changelings, merrows (more commonly known as mermen), shy fairies, leprechauns, pookas and banshees. These are not your regular happy fairy tales. They are often creepy and morbid, but nevertheless, occupy an important place in Irish literary history.

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Swedish Fairy Tales

Holger Lundbergh (Tr.)

Swedish fairy tales are a blend of all things that make up a typical fairy tale – elves, gnomes and fairies that grant wishes. This book features fascinating characters – from villainous magicians to terrible trolls and from terrifying sea monsters to magical humans born from eggs. Stories such as The Changelings and The Seven Wishes are sure to bewitch all those who come across them. Swedish Fairy Tales contains 21 such marvellous tales, each of which has been brought to life through John Bauer’s wonderful illustrations. 

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The Arabian Nights

Richard Burton (Tr.)

The exotic world of Arabian fairy tales is already popular throughout the world for its stories of genies, sea-farers, thieves, kings, queens, and animals who can talk. Stories such as Aladdin, Sinbad The Seaman and Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves have made their way into mainstream culture. Richard Burton’s The Arabian Nights is a brilliant translation of The Thousand And One Nights. It is said that these tales were originally told by Scheherazade, King Shahryar’s wife, over a period of one thousand and one nights, in order to escape execution. 

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Japanese Fairy Tales

Grace James (Ed.)

Japanese fairy tales are said to have been shaped by Japan’s religious ideologies, reflect Japan’s cultural heritage and are even influenced by the literature of India. Grace James, although not a Japanese citizen, was impressed with the country and decided to collect 38 of Japan’s most popular fairy tales. With stories such as The Sea King And The Magic Jewels, The Peony Lantern and The Robe Of Feathers, this book will definitely fascinate you. Expect to meet spooky spirits and scary monsters that will send chills up your spine.

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Czechoslovak Fairy Tales

Parker Fillmore

Czechoslovakian fairy tales are derived from Slavic culture, and often contain lessons of morality. Czechoslovak Fairy Tales by Parker Fillmore is a brilliant retelling of such tales with stories such as The Three Golden Hairs and The Flaming Horse. You will come across themes like divination and fortune telling, as well as the use of devilish creatures to scare children. In Czech mythology, devils were given more importance than god and this is reflected in these tales.

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Fairy Tales From Brazil

Elsie Spicer Eells (Ed.)

Elsie Spicer Eells’ Fairy Tales From Brazil is a wonderful book that portrays the myths, legends and folk tales from Brazil that have been passed down from generation to generation. Most of the stories have animal protagonists, such as How The Rabbit Lost His Tail and How The Tiger Got His Stripes. Brazil is a melting pot of cultures and reading these stories will definitely help gain an insight into the rich history of its folklore.

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The Chinese Fairy Book

Richard Wilhelm (Ed.)

Chinese fairy tales form an important part of the country’s history and have been deeply influenced by its philosophy. They have even found inspiration in stories from other Asian countries. In The Chinese Fairy Book, R. Wilhelm, a prominent scholar of China, has compiled 74 tales that include princesses who get in trouble, sorcerers (both good and villainous), and mystical ghosts. This captivating collection is sure to leave fairytale fans spellbound.

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Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Andersen

Norse Mythology and Scandinavian folklore have deeply impacted the various Danish fairy tales. These stories have been made famous by one of the world’s leading fairy tales author, Hans Christian Andersen. His characters were often based on ancient Danish legends and have managed to captivate young and old readers alike. His book, Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales include beloved stories such as The Snow Queen (on which Disney’s smash hit, Frozen, is based), Little Thumbelina and The Ugly Duckling. This book is sure to make you nostalgic with childhood memories.

Buy it here.

Which of these fairy tales books do you find most interesting? Do you recommend any other books with fairy tales? Share with us in the comments.