Charles Perrault's Mother Goose Tales

compiled by

D. L. Ashliman

© 1998-2013

The Man

Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a member of the Académie Française and a leading intellectual of his time. Ironically, his dialogue Parallèles des anciens et des modernes (Parallels between the Ancients and the Moderns), 1688-1697, which compared the authors of antiquity unfavorably to modern writers, served as a forerunner for the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, an era that was not always receptive to tales of magic and fantasy.

The Stories

Perrault could have not predicted that his reputation for future generations would rest almost entirely on a slender book published in 1697 containing eight simple stories with the unassuming title: Stories or Tales from Times Past, with Morals, with the added title in the frontispiece, Tales of Mother Goose.

The original title, in French, was Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère l'Oye.

Charles Perrault, in a symbolically significant gesture, did not publish the book in question under his own name but rather under the name of his son Pierre.

Perrault chose his stories well, and he recorded them with wit and style. His narratives belong to a story-telling tradition that has been shared by countless generations. He did not invent these tales -- even in his day their plots were well known -- but he gave them literary legitimacy.

Stories or Tales from Times Past; or, Tales of Mother Goose (1697)

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English title French title Aarne-Thompson-Uther
type no.
The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood La belle au bois dormant Type 410
Little Red Riding Hood Le petit chaperon rouge Type 333
Blue Beard La Barbe bleüe Type 312
The Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots Le Maistre Chat, ou le Chat Botté Type 545B
The Fairies Les Fées Type 480
Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper Cendrillon, ou la petite pantoufle de verre Type 510A
Ricky of the Tuft Riquet à la Houppe Type 711
Little Thumb Le petit Pouçet Type 327B

Perrault's verse narratives

Perrault's fairy-tale legacy includes three additional titles -- verse narratives published separately, in 1691, 1693, and 1694 respectively.

English title French title Aarne-Thompson-Uther
type no.
Griselda Griselidis, Nouvelle Type 887
The Ridiculous Wishes Les Souhaits Ridicules, Conte Type 750A
Donkey Skin Peau d' Asne, Conte Type 510B


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Electronic texts

Scanned books in English

Scanned books in French

For more information about folktale types see:

Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.

Revised June 8, 2013.