National Tell a Fairy Tale Day

1. Book with story coming out of it

Today, February 26th, is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day! I was delighted to learn that fairy tales had their own holiday, and for once, Murphy’s Law didn’t trip me up. Normally, I’d find out about this sort of thing only after it passed, but I actually came across this info a week ago. I’m still enjoying that. 🙂

As a child I loved fairy tales, and I never quite outgrew them. In fact, filling in the plot holes and expanding the characterization became the basis for the first seven novels I wrote, although I put quite a bit of my own stuff in there as well. I ended up penning an entire trilogy to tell my version of Hansel and Gretel.

But I still enjoy rereading the originals, especially the work of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. And with all the stuff out there about #OurOwnVoices, fairy tales are something I can truly claim. Since I’m of mixed European descent (Irish, French, English, German, Swedish), these stories are my cultural heritage.

The point of the day is to tell someone a fairy tale, but I don’t dare here. I started writing one for you, and it took off and started having a life of its own. If you’re interested, it’s based off Grimm’s “The Golden Key,” which wasn’t even an entire tale (really, it was more like a story prompt–it was just begging to be finished).  Once I set the story in a remote valley just after WWI in Germany, named the main characters Dieter and Gerda, and filled in the plot holes, it had grown well beyond flash fiction. It might even end up being a novelette.

And forget actually telling you my favorite fairy tale here because I’ve already tried that–and the draft ended up being a duology that clocked in at about 230,000 words. I even took a road trip to write it, since I set my story on the California Trail. I live at the very end of it, in gold country, but I’d never traveled the entire route before, and I couldn’t truly picture it just from images on the internet. I had to walk the ground. We even burned cow chips in our campfire, buffalo chips being in short supply these days. Hey, when I research something, I don’t hold back.

2. Vintage page from SW and Rose RedBut if you’re interested to know what my favorite fairy tale is, then it’s “Snow White and Rose Red,” also by Grimm, which has nothing at all to do with the more famous “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” However, I do have a link for you, for a site that has more restraint than me and will just stick to the canonical version:

If I were to describe the original, I’d lift a line from Tolkien and use Treebeard’s description of an Elvish song, “…lighthearted, quick worded, and soon over.”

As an aside to all the bloggers reading this, if you’re looking for a blog post and you’re stumped (it happens to the best of us), I highly recommend popping into the site where I learned about Tell a Fairy Tale Day in the first place, National Day Calendar ( It lists American holidays, but they have an international version, too, and really, some of these holidays are so much fun I don’t think anyone will care.

This is a very small sample of the quirky days from just this month:

  • National Carrot Cake Day
  • Create a Vacuum Day
  • World Nutella Day
  • National Kite Flying Day
  • National Umbrella Day
  • Do a Grouch a Favor Day
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • National Margarita Day, and
  • Public Sleeping Day

You need never run short of ideas again, especially if you like to cook, although in my case Carrot Cake Day would be more likely to include a funny story about a cake misadventure we had while camping. That holiday was earlier this month, but I hope I’ll remember to check it in time next year.

But since today is all about fairy tales, I’d like to hear from all of you on the subject. What’s been your favorite fairy tale, fable, myth, or legend? 🙂


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43 comments on “National Tell a Fairy Tale Day
  1. […] Continue reading and find more quirky days HERE […]

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jennie says:

    I will definitely read aloud a fairy tale at school today! Like you, Snow White and Rose Red is one of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, Jennie–I knew I could count on you for something like this. I never taught preschool, but kindergarten and first grade students love Snow White and Rose Red, and it’s fun reading it to them. I loved the way their eyebrows went up and their eyes got wide over all the rude things the dwarf says to the two girls.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bernadette says:

    Brilliant calendar suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely. I hate when I find out about a special day just after it passes… I think, now I have to wait a whole year! lol. Margarita Day looks like fun 😉
    Happy Fairy Tale day to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] Cathleen Townsend wrote a post about it being National Tell a Fairytale Day in America today. Well I couldn’t […]

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] lighter alternative fairytale for America’s National Tell a Fairytale Day. I was allerted by Cathleen Townsend to this delightful prompt. This is one I made up myself. Formed of course by stories I have read as […]

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s for the reminder, Cathleen. I love fairy tales and have a collection of books from around the world, many with beautiful illustrations that now belong to my grandson. I was always a fan of Sleeping Beauty 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I loved them all, but here are a few of my favorites: The Ugly Duckling, Princess and the Pea and Rapunzel. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Who knew there was a National Fairytale Day?! How delightful!

    I do have a favorite folktale/legend, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet as I have plans to expound on it in a novel of my own, just as you’ve done, Cathleen. I’m looking forward to the experience of playing in a legendary sandbox, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just not Star Wars or Star Trek–those boxes need to be thoroughly cleaned (and perhaps our eyeballs washed out with bleach). I’m REALLY over all the superheroes, too, except Wonder Woman, which was a surprisingly good story. I only saw it to be social (with my aunt and cousin), and I didn’t have to keep my temper or smile and nod to their comments afterward at all.

      Looking forward to reading your book someday. I think coming from the discipline of screenwriting, you might find writing a novel well worth the effort. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Writing a novel has been joyous — like being let off the leash! Screenwriting teaches discipline and economy, but it is a restrictively compressed form of storytelling.

        I, too, only saw Wonder Woman out of social obligation, and was pleasantly surprised at how damn good it is! What a difference a female filmmaker taking on that material made: no gratuitous objectification of Diana, just a really complex portrayal. Even the Amazons were expertly handled: strong without being sexualized.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I did like that part about Wonder Woman, too. The women were attractive, certainly, but not like something off the cover of an old Conan novel.

          I ended up buying the film, and in the bonus material there was a lot about how the women bonded together while working out for four months to get in that kind of shape. By the time they made the movie, several of them stated variations on the theme of feeling like they were an actual band of Amazons at that point.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. An interesting post, Cathleen. I also like fairy tales and my favourites are The Elf Mound by HC Anderson and The Snow Queen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read The Elf Mound, but you’re certainly in good company when it comes to The Snow Queen. It’s one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most popular tales.

      I love Andersen’s work, too, so I’m right with you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ann Coleman says:

    I’ve always wondered who gets to make up those special days. But I’m glad you found out about Fairy Tail Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a wonderful list of special events to celebrate! I’ve always loved Once Upon a Mattress, the musical version of The Princess and the Pea. The original Anderson story was so predictable with the princess so prissy, but the updated version made me laugh. Princess Winnifred played by Carol Burnett was down to earth and smart, and the subplots were hilarious.

    Years ago I wrote a fairy tale about a princess who used her brains to get what she deserved, but I never attempted to publish it. You’re right about being able to mine the old stories for new takes and current audiences. It proves how much substance there is to the original stories. Look how much traction Gregory Maguire has managed with all his retellings of classic tales.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Wicked was a hoot,and I liked Into the Woods, too. I never saw Once Upon a Mattress, although I’m regretting missing Carol Burnett. We used to watch her TV show when I was a kid. This has nothing to do with fairy tales, but if you want a real belly laugh, go watch the YouTube video of one of the skits from her show. It has Carol Burnett and Robin Williams together at a funeral.

      *insert short passage of time here*

      Well, this is frustrating. WordPress won’t let me post the YouTube link. However, you can just go to YouTube and enter Carol Burnett and Robin Williams in the search box if you like. That’s how I found the link to begin with.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. yhosby says:

    Awesomesauce–I never knew there was a National Tell a Fairy Tale Day. Good luck with your new story based off “The Golden Key.” One of my favorite tales is Hansel and Gretel. I’ll have to read your books to see your unique spin on it.

    Keep smiling,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, girlfriend–great to see you here! I’m afraid you’ll have to wait on Hans and Greta–I’m mired in the doubtful slough of revision. But you’ll be able to read Stolen Legacy very soon, although for some reason MailChimp makes you wait a day, which I can’t figure out–it’s not as though electrons get tired. Anyway, that one’s a retelling of the Grimm’s The Goose Girl.

      But I loved Hansel and Gretel, perhaps because the ending is so realistic. Yeah, the kids are reunited with their dad, but they lived only as happily as was possible under the circumstances. Some things can never truly be put right–and agreeing to abandon your children is one of them.

      I also loved the way Gretel held it together. Faced with circumstances that could easily convince her to give up, she still had the guts to rescue her brother. That’s what was really at the heart of my retelling. I hope that was the heart of the original. So much of this stuff is a matter of interpretation. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. frenchc1955 says:

    Thank you for another wonderful post! Have you removed the “like” button?

    Liked by 1 person

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