The German term "Mrchen" means, literally, "tale" rather than any specific type.
The genre itself was first marked out by writers of the Many 18th century folklorists attempted to recover the "pure" folktale, uncontaminated by literary versions.
Fairy tales with very similar plots, characters, and motifs are found spread across many different cultures.
Many researchers hold this to be caused by the spread of such tales, as people repeat tales they have heard in foreign lands, although the oral nature makes it impossible to trace the route except by inference.
Mac Donald incorporated fairytale motifs both in new literary fairy tales, such as Two theories of origins have attempted to explain the common elements in fairy tales found spread over continents.
One is that a single point of origin generated any given tale, which then spread over the centuries; the other is that such fairy tales stem from common human experience and therefore can appear separately in many different origins.Thus the oral fairy tale may have existed for at least that long, although not perhaps recognized as a Fairy tales of the past were disturbing by todays standards and were in effect a way of teaching children and adults alike things to watch out for in the way in which the world works.For example, little red riding hood, in which the young girl strays from the path to grandma's house and ends up in bed with the wolf who 'eats her up' referring to a sexual act rather than just the act of physically eating her.The Brothers Grimm rejected several tales for their collection, though told orally to them by Germans, because the tales derived from Perrault, and they concluded they were thereby This consideration of whether to keep Sleeping Beauty reflected a belief common among folklorists of the 19th century: that the folk tradition preserved fairy tales in forms from pre-history except when "contaminated" by such literary forms, leading people to tell inauthentic tales.The rural, illiterate, and uneducated peasants, if suitably isolated, were the folk and would tell pure folk tales.Today's version has been turned into a children's story, where the original was quite gruesome.(See 'The Classic Fairy Tales' by Maria Tatar)Originally, stories we would now call fairy tales were merely a kind of tale, not marked out as a separate genre.Yet while oral fairy tales likely existed for thousands of years prior to the literary forms, there is no pure folktale.And each literary fairy tale draws on folk traditions, if only in parody.As a kid I would often experience this type of effect when I was told a fairytale.The meaning behind saying that a little bit of nothing meant a whole lot of something to us simply says that we valued the content rather than the meaning of the tale.