Predating christian philosophy

The sixth century (BCE) Greek writer Aesop is most credited as an author of fables, but Phaedrus and Babrius in the first century (CE) expanded on his works to produce the tales we know today.A famous collection of Indian fables was the Sanskrit Bidpai (circa 300 CE), and in the medieval period, Marie de France (c. After the 1600s, fables increasingly became common as a form of children's literature. Click here for a PDF handout discussing the difference between fables and parables.The interaction of these animals or objects reveals general truths about human nature, i.e., a person can learn practical lessons from the fictional antics in a fable.

The tales frequently revolve around trickery, practical jokes, sexual mishaps, scatology, mistaken identity, and bodily humor.

Modern writers such as Thackeray, Oscar Wilde, Ruskin, Anne Rice, Ursula Leguin, and Jean Ingelow have tried their hand at writing fairy tales.

Some critics have suggested that the Wife of Bath's narrative in The Canterbury Tales and the lais of Marie de France also have qualities of the fairy tale--especially wish fulfillment.

In scholarly literature, fairy tales are also referred to by the German term märchen.

In spite of the stories' surface simplicity, many critics note that fairy tales often contain psychological depth, especially in terms of childhood anxiety and wish fulfillment.

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