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Fairy Tale Free-for-All

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"Go to the wood and bring me back:
One: the cow as white as milk
Two: the cape as red as blood
Three: the hair as yellow as corn
Four: the slipper as pure as gold..."
The Witch, Into the Woods

Fairy Tales, Fables, Nursery Rhymes, and folktales are a major part of literary canon in all parts of the world. Everyone knows them from their childhood, they're popular targets for adaptations, they're considered "timeless," and in the eyes of most people, will never get old. Add into that the fact that many of these stories exhibit similar character archetypes (eg. princes and princesses, fairies), settings, and story patterns, and you've got yourself ripe material for crossovers.

A Fairy Tale Free-for-All is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of many different fairy tales. Because many similar characters exist in many of these stories, expect different "incarnations" to in fact be the same person. (Popular targets include The Big Bad Wolf, the various Wicked Witches, the many Jacks of literature, and Prince Charming — often including the obvious infidelity this implies.) Very rarely are the fairy tales themselves played straight, though; expect Deconstruction at every turn. Fractured Fairy Tale is not necessarily in play, but it's far from uncommon.

The exact nature of the story can vary between incarnations. Sometimes the stories will be told as they are known, intersecting where appropriate. Other times, the characters from various tales will be transported into a different story. Sometimes, a mixed approach is used, transporting characters from one tale into another, or having them hop from story to story over the course of the plot. Any way it's done, the effect is the same: what would happen if our favorite characters met each other?

The fact that these stories are virtually all in Public Domain and therefore lawsuit-proof is another attractive factor about them to creators. On the other hand, it may be subject to Small Reference Pools, as there's only a limited number of myths and fairy tales that general audiences will recognize without prompting. Because of the inherently fantastic nature of fairy tales, this will frequently overlap with Fantasy Kitchen Sink and All Myths Are True.

Sub-trope of Massive Multiplayer Crossover. Compare Monster Mash for the horror-themed equivalent.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • There are plenty of fairytale references in Akazukin Chacha. For instance, Chacha herself is a Red Riding Hood Replica, and in Episode 4, Chacha summons three pigs, who attack with the traditional straw, wood, and bricks.
  • Ludwig Revolution tells the story of a young Prince named Ludwig who comes across various fairy tale characters as he travels across kingdoms in search for a bride. Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, the Red Riding Hood, etc.
  • Smile Pretty Cure has Candy's hometown, Märchenland, inhabited by fairy versions of famous fairytale characters.
    • The movie features a "Picture Book World" where, thanks to Nico, the cures become able to experience the lives of their favorite fairytale protagonists,Note  without knowing that she is going to mix them up. Heck, some of the tales' antagonists come to help the cures later on!
  • Moonlight Act follows the adventures of a pair of humans and a heroine from a Japanese folktale going around defeating characters from other fairy tales and folk stories (ranging from The Big Bad Wolf to Issun-Boshi to Cinderella) that have gone berserk.

    Comic Books 
  • Castle Waiting is a crossover of various (mainly secondary or obscure) fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters living in Sleeping Beauty's former castle, which was abandoned following her rescue and marriage.
  • The comic series Fables features numerous fairy tale and classic literature characters who, having been forced out of their stories (or "Homelands") live in a ghetto of New York City, if they aren't sent to a Farm upstate. By extension, its prequel video game The Wolf Among Us also fits.
  • Grimm Fairy Tales: The series unites characters from classic fairy tales and literature (e.g., Alice and Peter Pan), which coexist in different "worlds" of its universe.
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen takes place in a world of crossovers with Victorian literature (mostly). The New Traveller's Almanack, a series of in-universe documents that cover the timeline in the back of all 6 issues of volume 2, references the places where Beauty and the Beast, Bluebeard, Sleeping Beauty, and Puss in Boots took place. There are also brief references to Alice in Wonderland.


    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Avengers Grimm, an Avengers's Mockbuster, queen Snow White faces Rumplestiltskin and both traverse the Magic Mirror to our Earth, a land without magic. Other fairy tale princesses (Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Cinderella) join forces with Red Riding Hood to find Snow White in the real world.
  • Descendants takes place in a universe where all the Disney Animated Canon characters — many of which are fairytale characters — exist in the same world, with the main characters being the offspring of said characters. For example, Ben is the son of Beauty and the Beast, while Evie is the daughter of the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • The 1990 direct-to-video movie Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme is a contemporary take on nursery rhymes starring late 1980s stars, comedian, and musicians. The film takes place in a world known as "Rhyme Land" entirely inhabited by nursery rhyme characters who known as "Rhymies". The film stars Little Bo Peep (played by Shelley Duvall) and Gordon Goose (the son of Mother Goose) searching for Mother Goose after she suddenly disappeared. They encounter beloved nursery rhyme characters like Mary and her Little Lamb (named "Lou the Lamb" in the film), Old King Cole (played by Little Richard), The Three Blind Mice, and The Crooked Man. As the film progress', the citizens of Rhyme Land start vanishing the longer Mother Goose isn't present.
  • Once Upon a Brothers Grimm has the Brothers Grimm encounter several characters from their fairy tales as they travel through an enchanted forest.
  • Once Upon a Crime: A moderate case in this Japanese film. Little Red Riding Hood attends the royal ball with Cinderella, and helps her to investigate a murder that happened during the festivities.
  • Xuxa Abracadabra (2003): In this movie from Brazilian entertainer Xuxa, she plays the role of a librarian who agrees to babysit her crush's young children. When she takes the children to their grandfather's house, they are accidentally transported into a storybook, and meet Little Red Riding Hood and her Grandmother, Pinocchio, the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White and the Prince Charming, Puss in Boots, Hansel and Gretel, and Brazilian Saci-Pererê. The Big Bads of the movie are the Evil Queen from Snow White and Bluebeard.

  • The main character in Sheri S. Tepper's novel Beauty begins as Sleeping Beauty, but through Time Travel and Fairies, ends up causing and taking part in several other fairy tales (e.g. becoming a Fairy Godmother to her own daughter.)
  • Discworld holds that such stories are archetypes, wanting to be repeated over and over again, so that there are dozens of Cinderellas, Sleeping Beauties, etc. Wyrd Sisters introduces the idea and provides Black Aliss as the Wicked Witch of several and Fairy Godmother of others, many years ago. Witches Abroad plays more fully with this trope, with Lilith de Tempscire intentionally playing out stories and playing merry havoc with people's lives.
  • In Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Albherg each page introduces a fairy tale character, who is then shown interacting with another fairy tale on the next page ("Tom Thumb in the cupboard/I spy Mother Hubbard"). At the end, they all have a picnic.
  • Enchanted: Multiple fairy tales are true, with the heroine Sunday and her sisters fulfilling the nursery rhyme about the days of the week, as well as other fairy tales — Monday is the titlular princess from The Princess and the Pea, Sunday meets up with The Frog Prince, and the whole family lives in what was once Rapunzel's tower.
  • A closer example is Brazilian book O Fantástico Mistério de Feiurinha, by children's book author Pedro Bandeira. After their Happily Ever Afters, Snow White, Rapunzel, Belle (from Beauty and the Beast), Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood get together and talk about their stories. The book also features Original Generation characters Feiurinha ("The Little Ugly One") and Rosaflor Della Moura Torta (Bandeira's creation, based on the fruit maiden from a Brazilian-Portuguese variant of The Love of Three Oranges).
  • Half Upon a Time and its sequels Twice Upon a Time and Once Upon The End feature several classic fairy tale characters in supporting roles.
  • The Lunar Chronicles is a futuristic fantasy retelling of several fairytales, with its main characters being counterparts to Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.
  • The Nursery Crime series are Police Procedurals set in a world where all the nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters live in Reading, England. The main character is DI Jack Sprat, who has a not entirely undeserved, but deeply resented, reputation as a giant-killer.
  • Once Upon a Wood, a picture book by author Chris Riddell, is about a girl called Little Green Rain Cape going to a party at Rapunzel's tower, on the way meeting the Seven Dwarfs, the Beast, the Three Bears and so on.
  • The Princess Series casts fairytale princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White) as spies, with other fairy tale heroines (such as Little Red Riding Hood and the Little Mermaid) popping up as well.
  • Tom Holt's Snow White and the Seven Samurai, set in a world of extremely Fractured Fairy Tales.
  • The Stinky Cheese Man rewrites several fairy tales as Fractured Fairy Tales, with the characters often interacting with each other and the narrator, Jack.
  • Brazilian author Monteiro Lobato explored the theme of a fairy-tale crossover in his series of books Sítio do Picapau Amarelo ("The Yellow Woodpecker Farm"). The series alternates between this trope and Fantasy Kitchen Sink. One great example is book 14, "The Yellow Woodpecker": Thumbling writes a letter to the farm's Cool Old Lady owner, inviting himself and every other character from the "World of Fables" to live near the farm, including Aladdin, Snow White with the seven dwarves, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Bluebeard, Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, etc.
  • Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms: The world is one where any story can, and does happen, so there are tons of Cinderellas, a few Rapunzels, Puss in Boots, etc.
  • A Tale Dark And Grimm: Each book has a pair from one set of fairytales also playing out the plot of others. For example, the first book has Hansel and Gretel as the children from the end of "Faithful Johannes," who wind up at the gingerbread house, then get adopted by the parents from "The Seven Ravens," and so on.
  • The theme was explored by author Howard Pyle in his 1894 book Twilight Land: a nameless narrator meets several fairy tale and storybook characters (like Cinderella, Sinbad the Sailor, Aladdin, Ali Baba, Fortunatis, Doctor Faustus, the Valiant Little Tailor, Boots, and Jack-The-Giant-Killer) in Mother Goose's Inn, where they tell each other stories.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One of the many rooms in Imagination Movers is a fairy tale themed room that appears in the episode "A Fairy Tale Ending".
  • Once Upon a Time is set in a world where all fairy tale characters exist — some were just transported to a modern town on Earth due to a curse by the Evil Queen. The protagonists include Snow White, Prince Charming, their daughter, the Evil Queen, Rumpelstiltskin, Captain Hook, Belle, etc. Several other fairy tale characters from famous stories pop up in supporting or one-shot roles all the time. Since it's on ABC, very many of the fairy tale characters are specifically based on their Disney Animated Canon versions, or deliberately twisted from them to subvert audience expectations. Some characters from non-fairy tales have also appeared, most significantly Dr. Frankenstein or Captain Nemo.
  • In the miniseries The 10th Kingdom the Nine Kingdoms (the titular "Tenth Kingdom" represents our world) were founded by the heroes and heroines of the classic Grimm fairy tales (who didn't so much write the stories as stumble upon said world and steal the stories). Only the Third, Fourth and Ninth Kingdoms were physically seen in the miniseries, but representatives from most of the others made cameos.
    First Kingdom: Cinderella
    Second Kingdom: Little Red Riding Hood/Hansel and Gretel
    Third Kingdom: Formerly held the giants of Jack and the Beanstalk, but now mostly occupied by Trolls.
    Fourth Kingdom: Snow White
    Fifth Kingdom: The Emperor's New Clothes
    Sixth Kingdom: Rapunsel/Sleeping Beauty
    Seventh Kingdom: The Elves (possibly of The Elves and the Shoemaker fame)
    Eighth Kingdom: The Ice Queen AKA The Snow Queen
    Ninth Kingdom: The Dwarves (of Snow White fame)

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Winter Tales is set in a fairy tale land made dark and twisted under the rule of the Winter Queen. Characters are drawn from traditional fairy tales such as Snow White as well as more recent literary fairy tales such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Pinocchio.


    Theme Parks 
  • Disney Theme Parks: Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom-style parks is home to characters and stories from Disney's fairytale movies.
  • Legoland Windsor has a ride called Fairy Tale Brook in which guests ride on lily pads through scenes from fairy tales including Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin and Goldilocks.

  • Ever After High is a toy franchise which features the offspring of the famous fairy tale characters attending the titular high school.

    Video Games 
  • Alice in the Mirrors of Albion is primarily based on Alice in Wonderland, but also features characters from other fairy tales such as Red Ridinghood, Snow White and many others.
  • Dark Parables features a different fairy tale in every game. The main character is the mystery-solving Fairy Tale Detective, but there is an ever-expanding cast of characters from a variety of classic tales, all of whom interact with one another in some way or another. Thus you see things like Snow White's twin brother being engaged to Rapunzel, and Jack confronting Goldilocks, and Pinocchio's father being married to Cinderella's Fairy Godmother - among many other connections.
  • Grimms Notes was a mobile action RPG (now a free visual novel) where your party members could transform into characters from popular fairy tales (like Alice in Wonderland) to even lesser known stories (like The Magic Mirror).
  • The King's Quest series, especially the earlier ones, feature this as their bread and butter. In the first two games you can find Rumplestiltskin, the troll from The Three Billy Goats Gruff, the beanstalk and giant from Jack and the Beanstalk, a couple of wicked witches, Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf, Aladdin's genie, and, uh, Dracula, among others. Later games tone this down a bit as the setting itself gets more defined, but you still have the occasional fairy tale character crop up, such as Goldilocks's Three Bears in the third game, the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White in the fourth, or Beauty and the Beast in the sixth.
  • The Mixed-Up Mother Goose spinoff Mixed-Up Fairy Tales gives fairy tale characters the same treatment as the first game gave nursery rhymes. Several different fairy tales are going wrong, and the player has to fix them.
  • In Nevertales (especially the first three: The Beauty Within, Shattered Image and Smoke and Mirrors), Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) marries a man named Pierre (who later in life is cursed into a beast). Their marriage produces a daughter, Alice, whose powers allow her to travel between worlds using mirrors. In the third game, when Alice is older, she meets the Queen of Hearts. During these three first games, references also abound to several other fairy tales.
    • In Nevertales: Shattered Image, next to the final part of the main game, Belle has to summon the Fairy Godmother in order to replicate Cinderella's transformation (dress, carriage and glass slippers), so she can attend the prince's ball.
  • This is a common theme in Revolve 8 Episodic Dueling, especially in the main storyline. The setting of the game, Imago, is the place where all fictional stories take place. This usually leads to scenarios like Little Red Riding Hood having a conversation with Cinderella and the Emperor from the Emperor’s New Clothes, to Momotaro giving advice to Clara from Heidi.
  • The Blood and Wine expansion pack for The Witcher 3 has the Land of a Thousand Fables, a magical illusory world featuring all the characters and places of classical fairy tales that was made to entertain the Toussaint ruling family's daughters when they were children. However, over time, magical entropy has caused the land to deteriorate and start taking a few dark turns. The Big Bad Wolf has grown so sick of acting out the story of "Little Red Riding Hood" that he's eaten her, her grandmother, and the hunter, and now spends his days getting drunk with Thumbelina. The Three Bears have in turned killed Goldilocks. Prince Charming broke his neck climbing Rapunzel's tower, and she in turn killed herself by using her own hair as a noose. The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a pathologic liar who never tells the truth, and The Little Flint Girl has started selling drugs in place of flints.
  • In SINoALICE, all the playable characters are based on characters from fairy tales, often with a dark or tragic twist - Cinderella is a violent sadist, Little Red Riding Hood is a Psychopathic Manchild, Princess Kaguya is a hopeless masochist, and so on.
  • Soul Sacrifice's Updated Re Release, Soul Sacrifice Delta, introduces new Archfiends based off of characters from various fairy tales, such as Red Riding Hood (a lupine Monster Knight wielding a massive spear), Snow White (a monstrous lady with Extra Eyes), The Frog Prince (a frog monster with a human torso on its tongue), The Pied Piper of Hamelin (a Monster Clown rat), Alice (a monster trapped in an Eldritch Location), Hansel and Gretel (a pair of humongous candy-coated locusts that pop out of gingerbread houses), and much more.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The Red Riding Hood Saga focuses on a Little Red Fighting Hood, and the stories see her crossing paths with other fairy tale characters such as Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk) and Snow White.

    Western Animation 
  • In some episodes of Cyberchase, the three main kids have to save a cybersite named "Happily Ever After", on which fairy tale characters live.
  • Dora the Explorer:
    • The episode "Dora Had A Little Lamb" involves Dora and Boots the Monkey traveling inside a giant book filled of Nursery Rhymes after Mary's Lamb (known as "Little Lamb") from "Mary Had A Little Lamb" leaves the book to ask Dora to help her find Mary after getting lost. As Dora and Boots are traveling inside the book, they encounter various characters of Nursery Rhymes (such as Humpty Dumpty, Peter Picker, and three men in a tub from "Rub-a-dub-dub") which Little Lamb introduces to Dora and Boots in the episode.
    • In some specials and episodes, Dora and Boots visit "Fairy Tale Land", which is inhabited by characters such as The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man, Snow White, Cinderella and such.
  • Fairy Tale Police Department features a pair of cops who work in Fairy Tale Land and help to solve fairy tale crimes from various characters from different fairy tales.
  • In the Krypto the Superdog episode "Storybook Holiday", Kevin and Krypto get trapped in a magic storybook on which all the characters they meet (the Gingerbread Man, the Witch from Hansel and Gretel, the Old Woman in the Shoe...) resemble Kevin's relatives, who are visiting him for Christmas.
  • The Johnny Bravo episode "Home Alone" has Johnny turn down a man offering to insure his home against damages caused by fairy tale characters. Johnny then ends up letting Little Red Riding Hood in his house because she's an attractive woman, afterwards she lets in other fairy tale characters (such as Humpty Dumpty, Rapunzel and Goldilocks and the Three Bears) to throw a party that makes a mess of the house. After Johnny finally caves in and begs Little Suzy to help him fix the house before his mother comes home, Little Suzy summons the aid of the Three Little Pigs, who proceed to undo the damages done to the house with the rest of the fairy tale characters pitching in.
  • Little Princess School: A Mockbuster by Vídeo Brinquedo featuring Captain Ersatz of Disney Princesses attending a school: Bianca (who is Snow White), Cindy (who is Cinderella), Zade (design-wise, a blatant version of Jasmine from Aladdin), Iriá (who is from their mockbuster of The Princess and the Frog, which features an African princess, instead of an African-American one), and Hime (the East Asian one). Some of the supporting cast are also based on fairy tale characters, or "inspired" by Disney, like two of the teachers, Stern Teacher Madam Drastic and Bela (who look suspiciously like the Evil Queen and Belle, respectively).
  • Regal Academy features the descendants of several fairy tale characters attending a Wizarding School.
  • Sandra The Fairytale Detective is about a detective who solves mysteries in Fairytale Land. She's met Cinderella, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty and more!
  • Brazilian animated series S.O.S. Fada Manu is both a fairy tale crossover and a Fractured Fairy Tale: Manu is a novice fairy godmother, and, along with her friend João (a generic name for a male character in Portuguese-language fairy tales), helps famous fairy tale characters in the kingdom, like Cinderella, Rapunzel, the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White, the Seven Dwarves.
  • Super Why! takes place in "Storybook Village, where all our fairy tale friends live!" And the place is populated with characters from pretty much every popular fairy tale ever, including Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Sleeping Beauty. The main characters are related to or adapted from these fairy tales (namely, Princess and the Pea, The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk). Even characters from well-known nursery rhymes are included, such as Peter Piper (and his peck of pickled peppers) and Little Boy Blue.
  • An animated adaptation of Marlo Thomas' That Girl by Rankin/Bass had Ann Marie attempt to pen a children's book, but often succumbing to daydreams about herself wandering through various established fairy tales. Ultimately, she pens the work around her imaginary adventures, just in time to make deadline.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) episode "The Turtles and the Hare", the Turtles look for a Cyranium Crystal on a Fairy Tale Dimension inhabited by characters like Chicken Little, the Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Giant, the Three Men in a Tub and, of course, the Tortoise and the Hare (the latter of which is called Hokum Hare by the way).
  • Wolves, Witches and Giants casts the wolf, the witch, and the giant as recurring villains in various fairy tale stories, and similar heroic characters will often use the same character as well (eg. The Brave Little Tailor and Sleeping Beauty share a princess.)


Video Example(s):


What A Wonderful World

Turns out 1023 (pronounced "ten-two-three") was the year in which all fairy tales really happened.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / FairyTaleFreeForAll

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