Traditional fairy tales aren’t exactly suitable for kids. Women vomit spiders. Children get eaten. There’s even murder! Every Wednesday, we take you through the twists and turns of the dark origins of your favorite pieces of folklore. To listen to the full Tales catalog for free, be sure to subscribe on Spotify!
Society & Culture
The Singing Bone
Collected by the Brothers Grimm, this story certainly is a grim tale about brotherhood.
38 min
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Pt. 2
Though it has become a classic children’s story, the original version reads more like a horrific fever dream: Alice finds herself lost in a mysterious land full of murderous Queens, and terrifying beasts.
34 min
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Pt. 1
This classic tale of Alice, the rabbit hole, and an extraordinary adventure has captivated millions of children across the world. But few remember just how strange Lewis Carrol's work really is—as well as the unsettling rumors that defined its author.
37 min
The Disobedient Daughter
In this Nigerian folktale, a woman refuses every suitor who seeks her hand in marriage.
40 min
NEW: The Loyal Mongoose
Is a wild animal ever safe to have around the house? This Indian morality tale tells the story of a couple that adopts a mongoose as a pet...only to fear that it may put their newborn at risk.
35 min
Crossover Week: Mythical Monsters (Mermaids)
They’re one of history's most pervasive mythological creatures, appearing in the folklore of cultures from around the world.
43 min
The Three Cows
In Celtic cultures, the feast of Samhain is one to be respected. A time when the mortal world and the realm of the fairies are at their closest.
40 min
Mistress Lucia
A prince who wants a bride, a woman with latent magical powers, and a scheming maid... This Mexican fairy tale tells the story of love gone wrong—and why we should maintain a healthy respect for nature.
44 min
Parcast Classic: Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves Pt. 1
A modest wood chopper finds a stolen fortune in a magical cave, but can't keep the secret from his greedy brother.
44 min
The Magic Cask
In this Chinese fairy tale, a poor family discovers a magical jar that will give them anything they want. But when tensions arise among the family, a blessing can easily turn into a curse.
42 min
The Sandman Pt. 2
An adult Nathanael attempts to overcome the traumatic experiences of his childhood. But he knows, deep down, that Coppelius will always return, ready to take his eyes.
47 min
The Sandman Pt. 1
Young Nathanael fears the one who comes in the night, who takes the eyes of children. His fear only grows when his father's co-worker, Coppelius, begins to show signs of being the boogeyman himself.
38 min
It is a dark, strange story that combines fantastical elements with an uncompromising, bleak worldview.
42 min
Tales Rewind: Bluebeard
A key. A forbidden locked door. And bloody secrets.
47 min
In this piece of Philippine folklore, Chongquita the monkey bride marries an ill-tempered man. When he becomes violent at a party, her astonishing secret is revealed.
46 min
The Little Mermaid
A story of a young mermaid who dreams of becoming human so that she can gain a soul.
47 min
Biancabella and the Serpent Pt. 2
In this framing narrative, the brash storyteller Lauretta continues the tale of Biancabella. Many of those listening begin to weep, feeling for the mutilated queen. But they continue to listen, eager to find out what happens next...
46 min
Tales Rewind: Rapunzel
In this early version of the Rapunzel fairy tale, young Persinette is locked away in a tall tower away from men and told by her mother to never cut her beautiful golden hair.
44 min
Biancabella and the Serpent Pt. 1
First published in the 16th century, Biancabella and the Serpent is an Italian fairytale on morality. It’s the third fable on the third night of revelry, told by a woman named Lauretta who presents a cautionary narrative of how women should treat each other—lest disaster and misfortune befall them.
42 min
Best of 2019: Puss in Boots
By 1697 the story of an incredible cat spread to Paris, where author Charles Perrault created his own version, entitling it “La Maître Chat,” ou “Le Chat Botté” which means “The Master Cat,” or “The Booted Cat.”
38 min
Father Frost
The Russian fairy tale “The Story of King Frost” features the ancient figure of Ded Moroz, a winter deity who can be just as dangerous as he is lovable.
41 min
Gryla and the Yule Lads
Every culture has its unique ways of celebrating the winter solstice, but none of them are quite as dark and strange as the Icelandic tale of Gryla and her children, the Yule Lads.
40 min
Sister Alionushka, Brother Ivanushka
As a witch's curse brought their father's kingdom to ruin, Princess Alionushka and Prince Ivanushka were forced to flee from the only home they had ever known.
41 min
Uncle Wolf
The “little glutton” who travels through the woods in Italo Calvino’s Italian Folktales carries a special delivery for Uncle Wolf.
38 min
Aladdin Pt. 2
Fame, glory, wealth and a beautiful bride—Aladdin truly did have everything he had ever wanted.
50 min
Aladdin Pt. 1
Growing up an impoverished young ne’er-do-well, Aladdin is recruited by a sorcerer from the Maghreb.
51 min
Cinderella: Ye Xian
Ye Xian had an ideal childhood - raised by the wife of the village chief, she wanted for nothing.
48 min
The Ant and the Grasshopper
Some insects work tirelessly throughout the year, preparing for the cold months of winter, when crops dry up and food is scarce.
40 min
The original 1883, Italian version of Pinocchio is far darker than the version modern audiences are acquainted with.
43 min
The Blue Belt II
Mads is alone on a desert island. He was blinded, maimed, and left for dead without his magical belt to save him.
46 min
The Blue Belt
In this Norwegian Folktale, a beggar woman and her son happen upon a mysterious magical belt lying on a dirt path.
48 min
The Dog and the Sparrow
This dog has known nothing but abuse and neglect his entire life.
38 min
The Brave Little Tailor
Many of us wish we could be a dashing hero living a life of adventure.
44 min
Despised by her father after her mother died in childbirth, Eloise schemes to run away from home.
44 min
Sweetheart Roland
Henriette wants nothing more than to live with her love, but her evil stepmother would never allow it.
44 min
The Haunted Ship
Nassos never wanted to be a sailor, but he inherited his father's ship nonetheless.
39 min
The Gingerbread Man
Though many can repeat this famous cookie's classic rhyme, few know of his origins.
34 min
Sleeping Beauty
Princess Talia's parents were warned that she must never touch a spindle, or she would face certain death.
36 min
The Goose Girl
In a wicked twist on the old trading places trope, a princess's devious maid takes her clothes and poses as the princess.
40 min
The Juniper Tree
In one of the Grimm Brothers’ darkest tales, a young boy named Jakob faces off against an evil stepmother.
35 min
Snow White & Rose Red
This story follows a young Snow White and her sister as their mother forces them to spend time together.
41 min
Verde Prato
After secretly marrying a commoner, Prince Francesco uses a magical glass tunnel to spend nights with his true love.
32 min
Little Red Riding Hood
A story that has been told for generations all over the world.
28 min
Puss in Boots
Unlike his modern Dreamworks counterpart, Puss in Boots was originally female, overshadowed by her male counterpart.
38 min
The Enchanted Quill
A crow enlists the help of a woman, instructing her to pluck a feather to make magical wishes.
38 min
The Snow Queen
Disney’s Frozen has nothing on this dark and devastating Danish fairy tale.
42 min
Br’er Rabbit
Br’er Rabbit represents not only enlightenment and rebellion against authority, but also deceit, greed, spite and even homicidal rage.
35 min
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Do you know the dangerous outcome of weaving tall tales?
36 min
Sinbad the Sailor II
Sinbad is back on his ship and setting sail for Persia, hopefully one of his most lucrative trips yet.
41 min
Sinbad the Sailor
Will he complete his journey after being shipwrecked in Basra?
37 min
Peter Pan III
Hurt and unable to fly, it seems like Peter Pan is out of luck.
35 min
Peter Pan II
Not only does a jealous Tinkerbell attempt to murder Wendy, but we find out about a much darker side to Peter Pan.
40 min
Peter Pan
In this version, young Peter flies to an island and introduces himself as Peter the Bird.
43 min
Hercules II
Once he completed the twelve labors and paid his debt to society, Hercules married Deianira.
37 min
After strangling his music teacher Linos in a fit of rage, Hercules was confronted by two beautiful women, Vice and Virtue.
34 min
The Fountain of Youth
One day, Toshiro the wood cutter wandered into a remote part of the forest to cut wood and drank from a nearby pond.
25 min
In this early version of the Rapunzel fairy tale, young Persinette is locked away in a tall tower away from men and told by her mother to never cut her beautiful golden hair.
44 min
Thumbelina is a girl no bigger than a human thumb.
41 min
The Nightingale
The Emperor requests that his kitchen maid, Mei, bring to him the nightingale whose melody is so sweet that she can make your heart dance.
38 min
Momotaro is a brave Japanese boy adopted by a childless couple, after they find him inside of a peach.
40 min
The Tinderbox
A soldier returning from battle steals a magical Tinderbox from a witch.
36 min
Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves III
After having his first revenge plot foiled, Massood, captain of the thieves, swore revenge against Ali Baba, the man who killed 37 of his men.
33 min
Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves II
Massood, captain of the thieves, concocts a plan to get even with Ali Baba for stealing riches from his cave.
32 min
Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves
Ali Baba, a modest wood chopper, finds a stolen fortune in a magical cave, but can't keep the secret from his greedy brother.
44 min
The Pied Piper Of Hamelin
A town in Germany had a serious rat infestation, and turned to a mysterious visitor to fix their problem.
33 min
The tale of Hua Mulan seems simple: she was a devoted daughter who risked her life to become a warrior in place of her father.
35 min
The Ugly Duckling
In this classic story of metamorphosis, a young duckling struggles to fit in with everyone around him.
33 min
A key. A forbidden locked door. And bloody secrets.
47 min
Beauty and the Beast III
The Beast grants Beauty a trip home, and she gladly accepts the time with her family.
25 min
Beauty and the Beast II
Trapped within the Beast’s beautiful castle, Beauty grows anxious of her imminent death.
30 min
Beauty and the Beast
The merchant Marc lost everything — his wife, his job, his home — leaving his children unsatisfied with their new, poor lifestyle.
35 min
Birth of a Beauty
Despite different social standings, King Ernest marries a commoner, Alice.
28 min
Birth of a Beast
Lies. Lust. Tragedy. The original story of Beauty and the Beast is quite different than the story you know today.
33 min
Welcome Trailer!
The Frog Prince. Sleeping Beauty. Beauty and the Beast.You think you know these stories, but do you really?
0 min