On Fairy-Stories is an essay written by J. R. R. Tolkien that was published as a book.

Tolkien originally wrote the essay in 1939 for his lecture on the subject of Fairly Tales in general to an audience at University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Afterwards, it was first published within Essays Presented to Charles Williams in 1947.[1] It was then subsequently published with Leaf by Niggle in Tree and Leaf as well as in The Tolkien Reader, around 1966. It has since been renewed as an Expanded edition (pictured right), edited by Tolkien scholars Verlyn Flieger and Douglas Anderson, in 2008.

The essay contains Tolkien's explanation of his philosophy on fantasy and on "faerie", and thoughts on the crafting of the mythos.


Tolkien named the genre Fairy Stories, which he carefully distinguishes from actual "Fairy Tales". This distinction seems to be twofold. First, he defines fairy stories as not stories about fairies or other supernatural beings, but stories about the interaction between humans and those beings. Second, he emphasizes that through the use of fantasy, which he equates with fancy and imagination, the author can bring the reader to experience a world which is consistent and rational, yet utterly strange as well. He calls this "a rare achievement of Art", and notes that it was important to him as a reader: "It was in fairy-stories that I first divined the potency of the words, and the wonder of things, such as stone, and wood, and iron; tree and grass; house and fire; bread and wine."

Having defined the genre, Tolkien goes on to defend its utility on three grounds. First, suggesting that fairy stories allow the reader to review his or her own world from the "perspective" of a different world. This concept, which shares much in common with cultural relativism, Tolkien calls "recovery", in the sense that one's unquestioned assumptions might be recovered and changed by an outside perspective. Second, he defends fairy stories as offering escapist pleasure to the reader. And third, Tolkien suggests that fairy stories (can) provide moral or emotional consolation, through their happy ending, which he terms a "eucatastrophe".

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Op Sprokies
Albanian Rreth Zanash-Tregime
Amharic የተረት ታሪኮች ላይ
Arabic على خرافية قصص
Armenian Օգտվողի հեքիաթային պատմություններ
Basque Maitagarrien-Ipuin Buruz
Bengali পরী গল্প উপর
Bosnian O Bajke
Bulgarian Cyrillic На фея-разкази
Cambodian នៅថ្ងៃទីទេពអប្សររឿង
Catalan Sobre els Contes de Fades
Chinese 关于童话故事
Croatian Na Bajke-Priča
Czech O pohádkách
Danish På fe-Historier
Dutch Over Sprookjesverhalen
Esperanto Sur Feino-Rakontoj
Estonian Kohta Haldjas-Lugusid
Filipino Tungkol sa kuwento ng diwata
Finnish Noin Keiju-Tarinoita
French Du conte de fées
Galician Sobre Contos de Fadas
Georgian მომხმარებლის ზღაპრებს
German Auf Märchen
Greek Σε Νεράιδα-Iστορίες
Gujarati ફેરી-કથાઓ પર
Hebrew ביום סיפורי-הפיות
Hindi बारे में परियों की कहानियों
Hungarian Mintegy Tündér-Történet
Indonesian Pada Cerita-Peri
Irish Gaelic Ar Sióg-Scéalta
Japanese 妖精物語について
Kannada ಫೇರಿ-ಸ್ಟೋರೀಸ್ ಮೇಲೆ
Kazakh Cyrillic әңгімелер фея туралы
Korean 동화 스토리 소개
Latin De Mediocris-Fabulas
Latvian Uz Pasaku-Stāsti
Lithuanian Apie Pasakas-Istorijas
Luxembourgish Op Fee-Geschichte
Macedonian Cyrillic На бајка приказни
Malay Tentang Dongeng-Cerita
Maltese Fuq il-Fatata-Stejjer
Marathi सुंदर कथा बद्दल ?
Mongolian Cyrillic Үлгэр түүхүүд нд
Nepalese परी कथाहरू बारेमा
Norwegian På Eventyr-Historier
Persian درباره داستان پری
Polish Na Czarodziejskich-Opowiadań
Portuguese Sobre Histórias de Fadas
Scottish Gaelic Mu Sìthiche-Sgeulachdan
Serbian На Фаири-Сториес (Cyrillic) O Bajke (Latin)
Slovak O Rozprávok
Somalian Ku saabsan sheekooyin cirfiid
Spanish Sobre los Cuentos de Hadas
Swedish På Fe-Berättelser
Tajik Cyrillic Дар бораи афсона-ҳикояҳо
Tamil தேவதை கதைகள் பற்றி
Telugu ఫెయిరీ కథలు గురించి ?
Thai เกี่ยวกับหนังสือนิทาน ?
Turkish Peri Masalları-Üzerine
Ukrainian Cyrillic Про чарівних історій
Urdu پریوں کی کہانیوں پر
Vietnamese Về câu chuyện cổ tích
Welsh Ar Tylwyth Teg-Straeon
Yiddish אויף פייע-מעשיות



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