The ten most famous and loved fairy tales in the world

Our grandparents and our parents told them when we were younger, we grew up reading the first books and seeing animated films starring their stories, they will also be handed down to future generations because they resist memory over the years.

They are fables, that literary genre characterized by short compositions, which usually have animals, fictional characters, princes, fairies, imaginary creatures, always provided with a ‘moral’ as protagonists. The site “Shareranks”, which collects the views and preferences of Internet users in rankings, proposes the ranking of the ten most beautiful fairy tales according to cybernauts.

The Ugly Duckling

In first place we find “The Ugly Duckling”, the Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, published for the first time on 11 November 1843 (original title: Den grimme ælling). The protagonist of the fairy tale is a gray, large and clumsy duckling, who decides to flee because he is not accepted by the others. The fairy tale is often told to strengthen children’s self-esteem and make them accept any differences that divide them from their peers.

The tale of Peter Pan

In second place Peter Pan, the character created by the Scottish writer James Matthew Barrie in 1902. It is a child who flies and refuses to grow up, spending time on “Neverland” as the leader of a gang of Bimbi Sperduti, in the company of sirens, Indians, fairies and perpetually fighting against the pirates of Captain Hook.

The beauty and the Beast

In third place we find “Beauty and the Beast”, the most popular version of which is the one written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, starring Belle, the young daughter of a rich merchant who falls in love with the Beast, a prince transformed into a monster from a witch’s spell long ago. The spell dictates that only true love will be able to break the curse.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, the popular European fable whose currently known version is the one written by the brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, in a first edition in 1812. The story tells of a poor girl who finds herself living hidden in a hut in the forest together with seven cute little dwarves who welcome her with them to protect her from the clutches of the evil stepmother.

Rumple’s tale

Rumple is the protagonist of a fairy tale that originally appeared in Germany (where the character is called Rumpelstilzchen). The fable was collected by the Brothers Grimm, who published it for the first time in the 1812 edition. Rumple is a rascal elf who likes to make deals of any kind with people, to always have something in return. 

The tale of Rapunzel

The tale of Rapunzel was also written by the Grimm brothers, but most likely they too were inspired by some traditional tales of the time, including the myth of Danae. The story tells of a pregnant couple. Because of her cravings, the mother pushes her husband to pick those good radishes that are in a witch’s garden. The witch’s punishment will be terrible: having her own child in exchange for the theft. Her name will be Rapunzel and she will go to live in a high tower in the woods.


Cinderella is the story that tells the life of a girl forced to do the humblest jobs all day while her stepmother and stepsisters mistreat her. But one day she Cinderella participates in the ball where she meets the prince with whom she will dance for the whole evening. She is forced to return home due to the spell of the fairy godmother, she loses a slipper but it is thanks to it that her prince manages to find her.

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood is one of the most popular European fairy tales in the world, of which there are numerous variations. The best-known written versions are that of Perrault (with the title Le Petit Chaperon Rouge) of 1697 and that of the brothers Grimm (Rotkäppchen) of 1857. The fairy tale tells the story of a little girl who ventures into the woods alone to visit the sick grandmother, but when she arrives at the little house, in place of the grandmother she will find the big bad wolf.

The little Mermaid

The tale of the Little Mermaid was written by Hans Christian Andersen and tells of a half-girl, half-fish marine creature who lives in the bottom of the oceans with his father and sisters. She dreams of having legs to be able to walk the earth and to achieve her purpose she sells her beautiful voice to a sea witch. But everything will end well, with love triumphing.

Aladdin’s fable and the magic lamp

Closes the ranking “Aladdin and the magic lamp”, the fable that appeared for the first time in the French edition of Antoine Galland. Aladdin was a launderer who did not want to work and do anything. One day a man who claimed to be his uncle promised him a thousand riches. But he had to retrieve a lamp from a cave full of jewels. The man – who turned out to be an evil wizard – locked Aladdin inside the cave. The boy managed to get out thanks to a magic ring he had with him. This evoked a genius who brought him home. And here he discovered something else: the lamp also contained a spirit that made him very rich.