The fairy in the tale


The fairy in the tale

When Ken Klopper set out to write a fantasy story about a lost people on a strange planet, the thought of a fairy tale never crossed his mind. After all fairy tales are olden days stories told to children at bedtime or to entertain them when they become bored.

The story was a classic tale about a world with a dilemma and a heroine who tries to save it. As the writing progressed the story acquired unique elements and the world and its characters started to exhibit peculiar traits that made the author think about fairy tales for the first time and what makes them just that?

Is it possible to pinpoint characteristics in a story that makes it a “fairy tale?”

Is it possible to formulate some sort of checklist that would place a story into that genre?

Those who have the know-how generally indicate that fairy tales have very distinctive

characteristics. Of course, not all fairy tales will have them all, but there should at least be a

very clear thread running through the story that enables one to define it.


I.           Fairy tales often occur in far-away lands and times gone by, defined with the opening lines, “Once upon a time.”


II.           The characters mostly include the good, the bad, and the vulnerable. Evil kings and

queens, dashing princes and princesses, and down trodden heroes and heroines who must

rise to the occasion.


III.           The main theme of a typical fairy tale is the adventures of a single hero or heroine.


IV.           There is generally and epic struggle between good and evil and typically “good

triumphs over evil.” The ending is characterized by “and they lived happily ever after.”


V.           Unhappiness, strife, hardship, and other frailties of humanity are turned around.


VI.           There is often a moral or lesson, like those found in fables.


VII.           The story often contains a unique blend of characters such as giants, elves, wizards,

witches, fairies, and talking animals.


VIII.           There is magic and magical events are the order of the day.


IX.           There is some form of royalty.


X.           Patterns often occur throughout the story. Numbers are repeated or sequences are



XI.           A human experience is usually what drives the story.


XII.           The origins of the characters are a feature.


XIII.           There are nasty creatures or monsters.


XIV.           Human strengths and weaknesses come to the fore.


XV.           Relationships between the characters are important. (Father—daughter, siblings etc.)


XVI.           The hero/heroine engages in quests or tasks with overwhelming odds.


XVII.           Magical keys are required to gain access to things and places.


XVIII.           The hero/heroine has helpers or benefactors.


XIX.           Reading between the lines, one will find psychological themes and aspects that plaque

the human mind. Aspects capable of psychoanalysis.


XX.           There is a general sense of history and the past.


Looking at the list the author concluded that his story was nothing other that a modern fairytale with most of the qualities described or indicated above appearing in the story. Without

even consciously striving to do so, the “fairy” had magically entered the tale.




The Agresian Enchantress



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