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..."
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, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Castle Waiting is a crossover of various 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.
- The animated feature film Happily N'Ever After explores a world where the fairy tales exist side by side, and what would happen if the balance of power between good and evil were suddenly shifted.
- The Shrek series is a Fractured Fairy Tale featuring characters from all kinds of traditional stories coexisting together. Among the prominent characters are the Gingerbread Man, Pinocchio, the Three Little Pigs, The Big Bad Wolf (a combination of the wolf from Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood), and the Three Blind Mice. Its spin-off Puss in Boots also fits, as it features Jack and Jill and Humpty Dumpty.
- Hoodwinked! and its sequel mainly focuses on the characters of Little Red Riding Hood especially Red who is now far more badass, but a collection of other fairy tale characters show up too as supporting characters or antagonists such as the three little pigs, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Bean Stalk, and Little Boy Blue.
- Barbie in the Pink Shoes: Kristyn's new footwear transports her into a magical realm where all the stories of famous ballets play out, including Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and The Snow Queen.
- 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.
- Once Upon A Brothers Grimm has the Brothers Grimm encounter several characters from their fairy tales as they travel through an enchanted forest.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- The Stinky Cheese Man rewrites several fairy tales as Fractured Fairy Tales, with the characters often interacting with each other and the narrator, Jack.
- 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.
- The Chris Riddell picture book Once Upon a Wood 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.
- Neil Gaiman and Riddell's The Sleeper and the Spindle is about Snow White wandering into Sleeping Beauty's story.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tom Holt's Snow White and the Seven Samurai, set in a world of extremely Fractured Fairy Tales.
- 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 (AKA what Frozen is losely taken from)
Ninth Kingdom: The Dwarves (of Snow White fame)
- Whenever Sesame Street dipped its feet into Fairy Tales, it featured an assortment of fairy tale characters as Muppets. Notable examples include Baby Bear from Goldilocks and the Three Bears along with his parents (and later little sister), or The Big Bad Wolf and The Three Little Pigs. There have also been smaller appearances from various Fairy Godmothers, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and many others.
- in the final act of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, characters from several other fairy tales appear as wedding guests: Puss in Boots, the White Cat, Cinderella, Princess Florine and the Blue Bird, and Little Red Riding Hood.
- Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim weaves Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel together with an original story about a baker and his wife who cannot conceive a child. While of the "intersecting tales" type, most of the known parts of the stories happen offstage; what the audience sees is the interaction between the characters.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Emperors 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.
- RWBY has this as a theme — the setting and main characters all have strong fairy tale motifs.
- No Rest for the Wicked features Princess November, and the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits of fairy tale characters she gathers on her quest, such as the cat from Puss in Boots (who can take on a mostly-humanoid form) and Red Riding Hood (who rescued herself and remains a bit Ax-Crazy as a result). They're on a quest to find the missing moon.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.)