English fairy tales

What makes English fairy tales so special? It’s all about historic heritage and unique traditions which are always reflected through wonderful stories. Each and every tale from England is filled with mystery of legends, spirit of the knights, and wisdom of the kings. But where do those fairy tales come from? They can trace their roots back to the Roman times, but British folklore inherited many stories from Celtic, German and Christian traditions. English folk tales are also spiced up with ethnic elements representing the true essence of British regions.

Have you noticed the British stories are most fascinating and inspiring? That’s just because Great Britain is a country rich in folklore, adventurous myths, and beautiful legends. Being a kingdom, the country cherishes its history of knights, tournaments, heroic deeds of legendary outlaws and heartful monarchs. All the English tales are notable for their mesmerizing depictions of witchcraft, monsters, ghouls, bogles, and goblins. The cornerstone of many brilliant pieces of literature written in English, including Rudyard Kipling’s stories and Walter Scott’s novels, is English folklore.

The Full List of English Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Legends

Sophisticated inspirational stories provide a wealth of possibilities for teaching children to be good, kind, and cautious. Each story has its own scenery and set of characters helping readers look at some situations differently, see themselves in those fictional characters, distinguish good from evil, and learn more about other people. We’ve collected a great deal of old English fairy tales, such as:

• “Jack and the Beanstalk”;
 • “The Wise Men of Gotham”;
 • “Lazy Jack”;
 • “Little Maia”;
 • “Princess of Canterbury”, etc.

Many tales are based on legends or traditions, and some stories originated by eminent collectors and authors, including Andrew Lang and Joseph Jacobs. Our English fairy tales list represents a selection of traditional stories from British Isles and is perfect for little kids as well as for schoolchildren in search of excellent materials for studying traditional literature. Though lots of stories have to do with death, robbery, and deceit, they’re still educational and enlightening. We hope this list of English folk tales will help you spend a pleasant time with your kids and family!

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

A Son of Adam

A man was one day working. It was very hot, and he was digging. By-and-by he stopped to rest and wipe his face; and he was very angry to think he had to work so hard only because of Adam’s sin. So he complained bitterly, and said some very hard…

Andrew Lang’s Fairy BooksEnglish fairy tales

A Voyage to Lilliput

CHAPTER I My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire, and I was the third of four sons. He sent me to Cambridge at fourteen years old, and after studying there three years I was bound apprentice to Mr. Bates, a famous surgeon in London. There, as my father now…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs


Once upon a time there were two king’s daughters lived in a bower near the bonny mill-dams of Binnorie. And Sir William came wooing the eldest and won her love and plighted troth with glove and with ring. But after a time he looked upon the youngest, with her cherry…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs


Well, there was once a very rich gentleman, and he’d three daughters, and he thought he’d see how fond they were of him. So he says to the first, “How much do you love me, my dear?”

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs


Once upon a time, a long, long while ago, when all the world was young and all sorts of strange things happened, there lived a very rich gentleman whose wife had died leaving him three lovely daughters. They were as the apple of his eye, and he loved them exceedingly.…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs


Well, there was once a gentleman who had fine lands and houses, and he very much wanted to have a son to be heir to them. So when his wife brought him a daughter, bonny as bonny could be, he cared nought for her, and said, “Let me never see…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

Childe Rowand

Childe Rowland and his brothers twain Were playing at the ball, And there was their sister Burd Ellen In the midst, among them all. Childe Rowland kicked it with his foot And caught it with his knee; At last as he plunged among them all O’er the church he made…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

Coat O’Clay

Once on a time, in the parts of Lindsey, there lived a wise woman. Some said she was a witch, but they said it in a whisper, lest she should overhear and do them a mischief, and truly it was not a thing one could be sure of, for she…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

Earl Mar’s Daughter

One fine summer’s day Earl Mar’s daughter went into the castle garden, dancing and tripping along. And as she played and sported she would stop from time to time to listen to the music of the birds. After a while as she sat under the shade of a green oak…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

Fairy Ointment

Dame Goody was a nurse that looked after sick people, and minded babies. One night she was woke up at midnight, and when she went downstairs, she saw a strange squinny-eyed, little ugly old fellow, who asked her to come to his wife who was too ill to mind her…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

Gobborn Seer

Once there was a man called Gobborn Seer, and he had a son called Jack. One day he sent him out to sell a sheep skin, and Gobborn said, “You must bring me back the skin and the value of it as well.” So Jack started, but he could not…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs


One day Henny-penny was picking up corn in the cornyard when—whack!— something hit her upon the head. “Goodness gracious me!” said Henny- penny; “the sky’s a-going to fall; I must go and tell the king.”

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs


Once upon a time there was a farmer called Jan, and he lived all alone by himself in a little farmhouse. By-and-by he thought that he would like to have a wife to keep it all vitty for him. So he went a-courting a fine maid, and he said to…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

Jack and the Beanstalk

There was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son named Jack, and a cow named Milky-white. And all they had to live on was the milk the cow gave every morning which they carried to the market and sold. But one morning Milky-white gave no…

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