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How to Learn English Through Fairy Tale Stories

Top 6 Fairy Tale Stories and Characters in English

Hi Listeners,

Do you know what the top 6 fairy tales in the United States are?

Reading short stories in English is a fun way to learn the English language and culture. Check out the 6 fairy tale stories below and learn must-know folk story words and phrases in English!

1. Top 6 Fairy Tales in the United States

Top 6 Fairy Tales in the United States

1. Sleeping Beauty

A beautiful princess is cursed. She touches a spindle and falls asleep. A prince sees her body and awakens her with a kiss.

2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

The queen is jealous of Snow White so Snow White must run away to live with seven dwarfs. She’s poisoned by an apple but is cured by a prince.

3. Jack and the Bean Stalk

Jack trades his cow for magic beans. The beans sprout a beanstalk which leads to a giant’s castle and a goose that lays golden eggs. But the giant returns.

4. Cinderella

Cinderella sneaks into the Prince’s ball with the help of her fairy godmother. She must leave before the magic wears off, but the Prince finds her, thanks to her glass slipper.

5. Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby

Brer Fox ensnares Brer Rabbit with a doll made of tar. The more he struggles, the more entangled he gets. He tricks Fox into throwing him into a briar patch.

6. Beauty and the Beast

A beautiful girl must live in a beast’s castle to save her father. The beast is cursed and through Beauty’s love, he turns back into a prince.

2. Fairy Tale Characters and Words in English

Here are some common fairy tale characters and words in English you may come across while reading American folktale stories.

English Meaning
fairy an imaginary creature with magical powers
unicorn a single-horned mythical horse which is usually white
castle large building for royalty
magic art of producing illusions for entertainment
witch a woman who practices magic
spell a word, phrase, or form of words supposed to have magic power
dragon a giant reptile-like creature which can fly and breathe fire
Ogre a monster in fairy tales and popular legend, usually represented as a hideous giant who feeds on human flesh
king a man who is the most important member of the royal family of his country, and who is considered to be the Head of State of that country
prince a male member of a royal family, especially the son of the king or queen of a country
princess a female member of a royal family, usually the daughter of a king or queen or the wife of a prince
once upon a time used, especially at the beginning of children’s stories, to mean ‘a long time in the past’
wizard a man who practices magic
mermaid a woman with a fish’s tail instead of legs, who lives in the sea
giant an imaginary person who is very big and strong, especially one mentioned in old stories
dwarf A small creature appearing in fairytales which resembles a human being but which is often ugly
stepmother the woman who has married their father after the death or divorce of their mother

Check out even more fairy tale words in the video below!


You might not understand every single word in English stories at first but try to guess what they mean in context. Illustrations will also help you understand the story. After reading it, make sure to look up the words in the dictionary and read the story a few more times. If you do that, you’ll surely get better at reading English.

So what tale would you like to read first? Do you know any other fairy tale stories popular in the United States? Did we miss any English fairy tale words? Let us know in the comments!