Writing an Original Folktale


The story should be simple and straightforward.

At the start of a typical folktale, something magical happens:

The character has a problem, but something magical appears to solve it:

Jack is starving, but gets the magic beans.

Cinderella canít go to the ball, but meets her fairy godmother.

Hansel and Gretel are starving, but find a house made out of food.

The tailorís daughter canít turn straw into gold, but Rumplestilskin (who can) appears.


The character was doing fine, but an evil magical something appears to cause problems:

The three goats find a troll under the bridge who blocks their way.

Little Red Riding Hood meets the wolf.

The three pigs build their houses, but the wolf appears.

In the Middle of a typical folktale, something happens three times:

A hero faces three challenges

Jack must steal three items from the giantís castle,

the tailorís daughter gets three attempts to guess Rumplestilskinís name, etc.


Three different characters (often siblings) each face the same challenge.

Three pigs face the wolf, Cinderella and her sisters try the shoe,

three billy goats must face the troll under the bridge, etc.

Often the youngest or smallest succeeds when the older, bigger, and stronger fail.

The End of a typical folktale: the evil one is killed & main character becomes rich.

The giant falls to his death; Jack becomes rich.

The witch is pushed into a fire; Hansel and Gretel have food.

Rumplestilskin dies in a fit of rage; the Tailorís daughter marries the king.

The wolf is killed by the woodsman, by falling into the pigís fire, or by falling into a well.

Cinderella marries the prince (and in some versions the sisters are killed)




Other elements often found in Folktales:

Magic sleep

Snow White, Sleeping Beauty,

Talking animals

Three Billy Goats Gruff, Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, Three Pigs