Definition of Fairy Tales: Types, Examples, Moral Values, and Benefits

Definition of Fairy Tales – Fairy tales are one of the old literature that has become an oral tradition passed down from generation to generation from our ancestors. This oral tradition has developed from time to time and is often used as a bedtime story for their children and grandchildren.

However, do you know what the meaning of a fairy tale is? Then, do you think that fairy tales can be used as a stimulus to shape the character of a child?

Let us refer further!

Definition of Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are an old form of literature which tells of an extraordinary and imaginary event, so that it is considered by the public that the story did not really happen.

According to KBBI, fairy tales are defined as stories that don’t really happen, especially about strange past events.

Fairy tales are told for entertainment, although in reality there are many stories in a fairy tale that depict the truth because they contain moral lessons, even satire.

Fairy tales usually have clichéd opening and closing sentences (often used). For example, fairy tales that use English often open with the sentence “ Once upon a time… ”

Then, in fairy tales that use Indonesian, it often begins with the sentence ” One day…. ”, “ In a remote village … ”, and others. Another story in Javanese language, often begins with the sentence ” Anuju sawijining dino… “

 Fairytale Form

A fairy tale not only tells about humans, but also about animals, plants and other creatures. Basically, everything around us can be made into a fairy tale that has its own story meaning.

1. Myth (Myth)

This form of fairy tale tells about belief in the supernatural or magical objects from a region. Each region usually has certain myths, although sometimes the story is still the same as myths from other regions.


  • Nawang Wulan and Jaka Tarub (Central Java)
  • The Crying Stone (Kalimantan Island)
  • Queen of the South Coast (Central Java)
  • Si Hulembe (Range)

2. Legend

This form of story is usually about the history or origins of an area.


  • Legend of Kemang Cave (Medan)
  • The Legend of Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup (North Sumatra)
  • Legend of Rawa Pening (Central Java)
  • Legend of Tangkuban Perahu (West Java)

3. Fables

In fables, it is usually told about stories that are mainly based on animals. This fable-shaped fairy tale is often used as a medium to educate children.


  • The deer and crocodile
  • The Mouse Deer and the Farmer
  • Turtles and Monkeys

4. Sage

In this sage-shaped fairy tale, it usually tells about stories of heroism, courage, and stories of someone’s supernatural powers.


  • Ciung Wanara (West Java)
  • Governor Gadjah Mada (East Java)
  • Calon Arang (East Java)

5. Witty or Foolish

This witty or silly tale tells of people who always have bad luck. This fairy tale is a fairy tale and entertains listeners or readers because of the cuteness that is done by the character.


  • The Fool’s Tale
  • Si Kabayan
  • Poor Malang

Then there is also the form of fairy tales according to Anti Aarne and Stith Thompson, fairy tales are divided into four types, namely:

1. Animal Tales

In animal tales (Animal Tales) this tells the story of the life of animals that are described as being able to speak like humans. In Indonesia, the most famous animal fable is “The Kancil”.

Do you still remember how the stories contained in the fairy tale entitled “The Kancil”?

In the fairy tale entitled “Sang Kancil” the main character is the Kancil animal which is described as a smart animal and can always beat its enemies who have even more strength than it, for example crocodiles, elephants, tigers, and others. However, there was one time when this mouse deer lost to a snail because he was too arrogant.

2. Ordinary Folktales

Ordinary fairy tales are fairy tales that contain characters in the form of humans and usually tell the story of someone’s ups and downs. According to Dadandjaja (1994), the spread of ordinary fairy tales in Indonesia has several types, namely,

a) “Cinderella” type fairy tale (a female character who has no hope in her life)

For example, fairy tales entitled “Shallots and Garlic”, “Ande-Ande Lumut”, “The Jasmine and the Amethyst”, and others.

In this type of fairy tale, the main character is not only female, but it turns out that there are also male ones, you know ~ for example the fairy tales entitled “Joko Kendhil” and “I Rare Sigaran” (Si Next).

b) Fairy tales of the “Oedipus” type

In this type of fairy tale, there are three important elements contained in it, namely the motives of divination, the killing of a father by his biological son, and the marriage between the mother and her biological son.

Examples of fairy tales of the Oedipus type are “Sangkuriang”, “Prabu Watu Gunung”, and “Bujang Munang”.

c) A fairy tale of the type “Swan Maiden” (Undan Bird Girl)

In fairy tales of this type it usually tells of a princess who comes from an animal or an angel who is forced to become a human for some reason. Be it because of a curse or his mistakes while living.

An example of this type of fairy tale is “Joko Tarub” where the female character is an angel who is bathing but her clothes are hidden by Joko Tarub so he cannot return to heaven.

3. Jokes and Anecdotes

This joke or anecdote is a type of fairy tale that usually contains a funny story that makes someone who listens or reads it laugh.

Meanwhile, there is a difference between joke tales and anecdotal tales. An anecdote is usually a personal humorous fictional story from a real person. An anecdote is usually used to satirize someone’s behavior.

While jokes are fictional stories whose characters are ethnic groups, groups, nations, and races. According to Danandjaja (1994), the target of jokes in jokes is further divided into jokes and humor. The target of this joke is someone else, then the target of humor is usually yourself or the storyteller himself.

4. Formula Tales

According to Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson a fable of this formula is one whose structure consists of repetition.

According to Danandjaja, those belonging to a fairy tale with this formula are:

  1. A series of fairy tales, namely fairy tales that are formed by adding more detailed information to each repetition of the core of the story
  2. Fables to play tricks on people, namely fictitious stories told specifically to trick people into causing listeners to issue stupid opinions
  3. Fairy tales that have no end, namely fairy tales that if continued will not reach the end.

Moral Values ​​in Fairy Tales

In a fairy tale not only contains a story but also has moral values ​​in it. Moral values ​​in a fairy tale usually include the values ​​of obedience, trust, courage, self-sacrifice, honesty, fairness, wisdom, respect for others, hard work, compassion, harmony, caring, and so on.

In general, a fairy tale carries the mission of its author to educate readers, especially children. Through fairy tales, it is hoped that children’s emotions can be controlled and they can imitate the positive values ​​contained in these fairy tales.

The Benefits of Storytelling for the Formation of Children’s Character

Storytelling is an activity of telling something that tells about the actions of an incident and is conveyed orally with the aim of sharing experiences and knowledge with others.

From this understanding it can be concluded that storytelling is an oral activity that retells a fairy tale to listeners in an interesting way, which subconsciously, the listeners get knowledge from the fairy tale.

According to Priyono, storytelling activities also have several purposes that are useful for building children’s character, namely

  1. Stimulate and grow the imagination and fantasy power of children
  2. Develop reasoning power from a critical and creative attitude of children
  3. Invite to be concerned about the noble values ​​of the nation’s culture
  4. Invite children to distinguish between good and bad deeds
  5. Teaches children to have respect and confidence

So that these goals can be achieved, in storytelling activities you should choose fairy tales that are appropriate for the child’s age. Then, according to Priyono, there are several things that must be considered in storytelling, namely:

  1. Storytellers must be expressive and energetic in order to attract children’s attention. With changes in intonation, facial expressions, and body movements, it can certainly attract children’s attention to pay more attention to fairy tales.
  2. The storyteller has to read a lot so he can improvise
  3. Choose the right fairy tale so that the moral values ​​and messages can be imitated by children

A fairy tale can be an effective way to develop children’s cognitive (knowledge), affective (feeling), social, conative (understanding) aspects. Storytelling activities clearly have many benefits that can be received by children, namely:

  1. Foster a proactive attitude
  2. Strengthen the relationship between children and parents
  3. Increase children’s knowledge
  4. Train children’s concentration power
  5. Increase the child’s vocabulary
  6. Grow children’s interest in reading
  7. Triggering children’s critical thinking power
  8. Stimulates children’s imagination, fantasy and creativity
  9. Give lessons to children without seeming to patronize them