It is not always easy to distinguish between a fairy tale and a fable. They both look suitable to children, they are both amusing, both have talking animals (in most cases) and an explicit moral
at the end of the story. From time to time there is really difficult to tell if a certain story belongs in the one or the other group.
Can we forget the similarities and focus on the distinctions for a moment? Presumably, there actually are differences?
To help to find an answer to this question we compiled some of the most characteristic differences between both genres. So here are the main points to remember:
- Fables are on average much shorter than fairy tales. This fact can be easily explained with less complex characters and clearer messages which can be condensed into simple sentences like: “Stronger is always right.”, “Persistence is better than haste.” “Prepare for the days of necessity.” etc.
The most well-known fables are Aesop’s - all very short, very clear and very educational.
The most well-known fairy tales were signed by Perrault and Grimms. Most of them are talking about the changes in social positions.