Fairy tales could be 4,000 years older than we'd thought

  • 20 January 2016
Beauty and the Beast

Big news about some of your favourite fairy tales as new research suggests they might date back thousands of years earlier than it was originally thought.

Using techniques normally used by biologists, the researchers investigated common links between stories from around the world.

The study found that stories like Beauty and the Beast and Rumpelstiltskin can be traced back around 4,000 years, with one tale originating from the Bronze Age (around 6,000 years ago).

Until now it was thought they they only dated back around 500 years.

We asked you which ones you love and why? Thanks to everyone who sent is their favourite.

Your comments

My favourite fairy tales are Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

Lilly, Surrey, England

My favourite story is Cinderella because we are doing a pantomime in school of Cinderella.

Simran, Birmingham, England

My favourite fairy tale is probably Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by The Brothers Grimm because the story is so different from the more commonly known Disney version.

Caitlin, Bristol, England

I like Frozen.

Amelia, Ledbury, England

My favourite fairy tales are Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast because I like the songs.

Jessica, London, England

My favourite story is Princess and the Pea because in the book I count the layers of mattresses.

Fay, Leeds, England

My favourite story would have to be Frozen.

Sophie, Paisley, Scotland

We are learning about fairy tales and as a class, we all really enjoy Rumpelstiltskin.

Class 3E, Sutton, England

In class we are looking at alternative fairy tales. We've been reading Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl. Our favourite one is Little Red Riding Hood. It's just like the original but with a different ending. It's really funny.

Year 3, St Mary's RC Primary School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England

We really enjoyed Little Red Riding Hood. We had good fun making wanted posters and a new basket for Little Red Riding Hood.

P3H, Sion Mills Primary School, Northern Ireland

Thanks to the pupils of Holly Class at Parkfield Primary School, Hendon, England who sent us these comments.

My favourite fairy tale is Frozen because Elsa sings beautiful songs.


My favourite fairy tale is Jack and the Beanstalk because Jack is brave and isn't scared of the giant.


My favourite fairy tale is the Three Little Pigs because they stand up to the pig.


My favourite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast because I love Belle's yellow dress.


My favourite is Little Red Riding Hood because the wolf eats grandma!


My favourite is the Three Little Pigs because the big pig made his house out of bricks and that means it's strong.


My favourite is the Gingerbread man because the Gingerbread man is fast.


My favourite is the Little Mermaid because I like her tail.


My favourite is the Gingerbread man because the wolf eats him. No one else can catch him.


My favourite is Beauty and the Beast because the beast turns into a prince!


My favourite is Into the Woods because I like that all the fairy tales are in there!


My favourite is Cinderella because the fairy Godmother has magic.


My favourite is Sleeping Beauty because she sleeps for a long time!


My favourite is Cinderella because I like her dress.


I like Rapunzel because the Witch cut her hair off!


I like Aurora because her dress is pink and shiny.


My favourite is Peter Pan because he can fly and he lives in a tree.


My favourite is Frozen because Elsa sings Let it go.


Thanks to the pupils at Becket Keys Church of England School, Brentwood, England who sent us these comments.

I don't have a favourite because I prefer stories like Star Wars!


Cinderella because I like the mice and it teaches you not to give up when you think all hope is lost.


Grimm's The Little Mermaid because it is more gruesome.


The 2015 Cinderella because it is more interesting than the old version.


The Little Mermaid because Ariel never gives up on what she loves.


Beauty and the Beast


Frozen because it's catchy and magical and it teaches you to be who you want to be.


Pinocchio because he gets eaten by a whale.


Star Wars The Force Awakens because it is better than the other films.


Shrek because he is green and amazing.


Humpty Dumpty because he is an egg and I crave eggs.


Shrek because his character develops through the story.


Here are some comments from Primary 5 from ST Columba's RC Primary School Cupar, Fife, Scotland

I really like Jack and the Beanstalk because of his brave spirit and courage.

Adam J and Tom

We really like Cinderella because it is very creative and the ugly stepsisters are funny.

Catriona Owen A and Zain

I like sleeping beauty because she cuts her finger on a wheel.


We aren't into many fairy tales, but quite like seeing fairy tales at pantomimes.

Ben T and Mairi

My favourite fairytale is goldilocks and the three bears because I really like the colours, the pictures and I really like the nice bear family.


My favourite fairy-tale is Snow White because she is kind and caring and nice. I also like Cinderella because she is nice, caring, very brave, and pretty.

Athina and Daisy

I really like the Little Mermaid because it's kind of funny and I watch it on my laptop sometimes.


And the pupils at Mount Pleasant Primary School in Rogerstone, South Wales have answered our questions in an unusual way. Have a look at these.

Image caption May loves the Ugly Duckling
Image caption Evie's favourite is Jack and the Beanstalk.
Image caption Little Red Riding Hood is Emilie's favourite.
Image caption Grace love Goldilocks
Image caption Reuben's first choice is The Three Little Pigs.
Image caption Matthew thinks Little Red Riding Hood is good because it's scary.

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