Identifying Beginnings"There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys." (Page 1, The Princess and the Goblin). What type of...

Identifying Beginnings

"There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys." (Page 1, The Princess and the Goblin).

 What type of Folk Literature usually begins in this way? List examples from other stories.

Expert Answers
sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Is the topic here modern fairy tales?  A S Byatt plays with the idea in a delight collection Djinn and the Nightingale's Eye. "The Story of The Eldest Princess," the first in the collection, is (according to Byatt) the story of her own life because she has always worried about being the eldest sister. This is a self-reflexive story with a metanarrative where the narrator constantly demonstrates self-awareness both as author and character that she is in a fairytale with all its inherent expectations and adventures. Even the title of 'The Story of The Eldest Princess' draws attention to its status as a constructed story and Byatt inserts classic themes such as royalty, a quest, animal helpers, the old crone and a "Once upon a time" opening line. The story is of a kingdom where the blue sky has disappeared and been replaced by a green one, and there must be a quest undertaken by the three princesses to find a silver bird and her nest in order to effect a cure for the unwarranted greenness.  What about other contemporary fairy tales?  I think maybe of Jeannette Winterson?  20thC literature by women often depicted the female characters trying to negate the fairy tales with which they grew up.  How many contemporary stories resurrect this genre for "subversive purposes"?

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This type of story is a fairy tale. Fairy tales often begin with "once upon a time" (which is essentially what you have here) and carry a stern didactic (meant to teach) lesson as well as moral instruction. Frequently, the stories are about female characters and the hazards they pose to the male sex and often to themselves.

Most of the stories collected by the Brothers Grimm are like this. For example, "Rumplestiltskin" (" Once there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter) and "Rapunzel" ("There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for a child.")

shady | Student
Identifying Beginnings

"There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys." (Page 1, The Princess and the Goblin).

 What type of Folk Literature usually begins in this way? List examples from other stories.

The type of Folk Literature that begins with "There was once........" are Fairy tales and some popular examples of other Fairy Tales that begin the same way would be

  1. Snow White
  2. Cinderella
  3. Three Little Pigs
majorr | Student

the type of folk literature that usually begins in this way is fairytales.example,3 little pigs,cinderella and jason and the golden fleace

trixiepuff | Student

This specif type of story is a fairytale.

All fairytales being with:

"Once upon a time"

"There once was"

"A long time ago"

And so on.

In every fairytale there is royalty, a beautiful girl, a castle, and many other things.

Take Cinderella for example. A beautiful woman suffering neglect at the hands of her evil step-mother and two step-sisters. Her fairy godmother visits her on the night of the grand ball at the castle and grants her the wish of being able to go. The prince falls in love with her and when she disappears, leaving her lone glass slipper, the princes searches everywhere for her. He eventually finds her and they get married.

Classic fairytale of inoccent girls suffering, princes, castles, magic, and love.

-Trix

taylor-d | Student

yes all fairy tales start with "once apon a time" or "once there was" or things like that

(edit) some other stories that have a begining like post #1 are, the myth of jason i think and cinderella

taylor-d | Student

yes all fairy tales start with "once apon a time" or "once there was" or things like that

crcowtan | Student

This type of story is a fairy tale. Fairy tales often begin with "once upon a time" (which is essentially what you have here) and carry a stern didactic (meant to teach) lesson as well as moral instruction. Frequently, the stories are about female characters and the hazards they pose to the male sex and often to themselves.

Most of the stories collected by the Brothers Grimm are like this. For example, "Rumplestiltskin" (" Once there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter) and "Rapunzel" ("There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for a child.")

Hi Jamie,

The structure of your post sets a wonderful example that I hope my students will follow in their future postings.

 *HINT* :)

canadianhockeyfan | Student
Identifying Beginnings

"There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys." (Page 1, The Princess and the Goblin).

 What type of Folk Literature usually begins in this way? List examples from other stories.

well most stories that start like this are usually fairy tales. Right now the only one that eye can think of is the story of cinderella

pixiepop | Student

This is most definatly a fairy tale.

 The beginings of fairy tales are often 'once upon a time' or 'there was once-' just as in the story the princess and the goblin. The fact that the story takes place in a castle is also a sure sign of a fairy tale. Also one more peice of evidence is that the girl is royalty as many fairy tale main characters are.

 I hope this is suficiant enough information to answer your question.

 -pixiepop

trixiepuff | Student

Couldn't have said it better myself?

Read the study guide:
The Princess and the Goblin

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question