Difference Between Fairy Tale and Folktale

Main Difference – Fairy Tale vs Folktale

Folklore is traditional customs, beliefs, and stories of a community passed through the generations by word of mouth. Fairy tale and folktale are part of folklore. Fairy tales are stories about magical and fantastical events and characters. Folktales are anonymous, timeless, and placeless tale circulated orally among people. The main difference between fairy tale and folktale is that fairy tales are stories that involve magic and imaginary creatures whereas folktales tend to reflect the real life experiences of people.Difference Between Fairytale and Folktale - infographic

What is a Fairy Tale

Fairy tales are stories about magical and imaginary beings and lands. Fairy tales often include supernatural and fantastical creatures such as witches, fairies, elves, giants, gnomes, dragons, trolls, mermaids, goblins, dwarves, etc.

The term fairy tale usually refers to stories with European origins. Cinderella, Snow White, Vasilisa the Beautiful, Jack and the Beanstalk, Beauty and the Beast are some examples of this genre. Moreover, the term fairy tale usually refers to children’s stories in contemporary literature. This kind of stories also has happy endings and often deals with the main character’s magical transformation from one state to another. For example, a servant maid may become a princess or a farmer’s son may become a king. However, fairy tales, in the past, targeted a more adult audience and contained more violence and darker themes.

Fairy tales can be found in both oral tradition and literary tradition. It is possible for a one fairy tale to have different versions.

Difference Between Fairytale and Folktale

What is a Folktale

A folktale is a story passed on by word of mouth. Folktale includes a broad variety of different types of stories, including legends, fairy tales, myths, and historical stories.

Folktales have no exact author, and they are passed on by word of mouth. Folktales are also specific to regions. The same folktale may have different versions in different regions and countries. Folktales have ordinary human and animal characters; they also have supernatural characters. Folktales can teach a moral lesson to their listeners, but not all folktales have morals. They mostly deal with a character getting out of a difficult situation using his own resources. Folk tales do not contain as many supernatural elements as fairy tales.

Main Difference - Fairytale vs Folktale

Difference Between Fairy Tale and Folktale


Fairy tale is a story involving fantastic forces and beings. 

Folktale is a characteristically anonymous, timeless, and placeless tale circulated orally among people.


Fairy tales generally have happy endings.

Folktale may not have a happy ending.


Fairy tale deals with characters that have supernatural powers.

Folktale deals with ordinary human characters.


Fairy tales are not realistic; they have imaginary characters and settings.

Folktales may be realistic and reflect realistic settings and backgrounds.

Image Courtesy:

 By Virginia Frances Sterret – (Public Domain) via

“The amusing history of The old woman and her pig” Special Collections Toronto Public Library  via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

Related pages

difference between dove and white pigeondotson houndtemples of north and south indiabicarbonate of soda chemical formulawhat is the difference between bourbon and brandydawn and dusk meaningwhat is unicameral legislatureleopard jaguar panther differenceprogressive transverse wavedifference between stew and soupcanker sore vs cold sorelife cycle of angiosperms and gymnospermsdefine cytoplasm functioncharacteristics of comedy in literaturedifference between herbivore carnivore and omnivorepurines and pyrimidinesdifference between stroma and granaarea of a quadrilateral with unequal sidesschizophrenia and schizoaffectivedifference between cider vinegar and apple cider vinegarwhat is the difference between sashimi and nigiriexample internal rhymesymbolisms in literaturedefine diamagneticdiploid to haploidfunction microfilamentsbod and cod definitiondifference between alkali and alkaline earth metalsseries circuit and parallel circuit differenceenglish grammar finite and nonfinite verbsunicellular definition biologydifferent types of adverbwhat is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiberdifference between embryo and fetusdefine acculturationhow are starch and glycogen similardifference between plumule and radiclenutritionist dietitian differencemeningitis encephalitis symptomsdefinition of conductors and insulatorsis bicarbonate of soda and baking powder the same thingalkane solubility in waterwhat is the difference between chromosomes and chromatidsdifference between snri and ssridiastereoisomer definitioneuchromatin vs heterochromatindifference between fate and destinydifference between exons and intronschloroplasts and mitochondriasilver nitrate and chloride ionswhat is difference between volts and wattseukaryotic vs prokaryotic dnadifference between retin a and tretinoindifference between gastric flu and food poisoningdifference between plant and animal mitosisdifference dolphin and porpoisecompare polar and nonpolar moleculeswhat is the difference between butterscotch and carameldifferences between sexual and asexual reproductionsn2 mechanism stepsdifferentiate between phenotype and genotypedefinition recount textwhat is the difference between a zygote and a gameteextended metaphor definedefinition of spicesiodometric titrationsis shark a fish or mammalhdpe and ldpesuvat equationsdynamic equilibrium definition chemistryvernier caliper least count formula pdfamerican bully dog breed infodifference between statue and sculpturetypes of mineral lustersrso4 solubledifference between polar nonpolar moleculespositive and normative statement examplesdolphins versus sharksinverting non inverting amplifiercapacitor or condenserbarometric pressure vs atmospheric pressuresoil porosity definitionvernier caliper and micrometer screw gauge