In terms of the history and development of children’s literature, tales about fairies and fairy tales postdate the earliest writing for children – instructional manuals, grammars, school texts, and books of courtesy. The magic of modern fantasy fiction is an offspring of the joint parentage of tales about fairies and fairy tales. The French had ascribed fairy tales to women’s authorship, despite the manifest participation by men such as Charles Perrault. The maternality that had been imputed to fairy tales by both French and German theoreticians, if one may dignify the rank sexism that passed for reasonable fact with that word, lived on in the titles of fairy tales for children. The term ‘folk tale’ normally embraces a multitude of minor genres, like nonsense tales, aetiologies, jests, burlesques, animal tales and neverending tales, but there is good reason to incorporate a discussion of chapbook romances within a consideration of folk tales in children’s literature.