Fairytales vs. Folktales
"It is difficult to define a
fairytale. When created by a single author, it is called a literary
fairytale. Hans Christian Anderson, Oscar Wilde and John
Ruskin all borrowed from traditional folktales to write original
fairytales. Often the literary fairytale uses the same patterns as
Folktales grow out of the oral
tradition of storytelling. They are not the work of a single
author but rather the work of many cumulative authors. Each
teller makes personal changes to suit his personality and audience.
Just to complicate matters, a
folktale containing fairies, elves, trolls, dwarfs, giants, and
other imaginary creatures is usually called a fairytale. A
fairytale is often a story about royalty, rather than common folk.
Thus fairytales can be considered a sub-category of folktales, but
the name is often used interchangeably."
These other sites also discuss
the differences between fairy tales and folktales: