Throughout recorded human history, fairy tales have served as ways of inculcating moral value, teaching the young about their culture, and entertaining in the oral and written fashions. Heidi Anne Heiner, a children's librarian at the Burbank Public Library, has created this fine site devoted to providing 30 annotated fairy tales, a number of essays on the art, and the history of fairy tales. The tales provided here include Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Bluebeard, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel. The annotations for each tale are particularly useful, as they contain hypertext links that explain the importance of various symbols and references (such as the color blue or other auspicious omens). Additionally, for each tale, Heiner provides illustrations from various versions of the tale and a listing of similar tales from other cultures. One of the highlights of the site is the inclusion of Il Pentamerone, which was first published between 1634 and 1636, and is essentially the first full collection of European literary fairy tales. The site is rounded out by an fairy tale discussion board where visitors can read comments and post questions about various fairy tales, their origins, and their symbolism.
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