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Fairy Tales

A Missouri Southern State University subject guide on fairy tales.

Elements of the Story


As explained in the 'Conventions of fairy tales' section, a fairy story always includes a number of important elements.

When reading through this section, keep in mind the Joseph Jacobs story as included here in the SurLaLune website -


In the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, these include: 


In the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, the good character is Jack.  Jack is not always good, he climbs the beanstalk and steals from the Giant but he is the character we like, so he takes the role of the 'good' character  

Jack and the beanstalk

"Jack and the beanstalk" by Toronto Public Library Special Collections is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


The bad character in this story is the ogre (giant).

Lantern Slide - Jack & the Beanstalk, No. 10, 1900-1920

"Lantern Slide - Jack & the Beanstalk, No. 10, 1900-1920" is marked with CC PDM 1.0


Can you think of any supporting characters in this story?


There are lots of magical elements in this story, can you think what they are?

A. L. Bowley - 'Jack and the Beanstalk'

"A. L. Bowley - 'Jack and the Beanstalk'" by sofi01 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0



A fairy tale usually includes an obstacle or task which the characters must tackle with to reach their happy ending.  Can you think of the obstacle or task in this story?



By gaining the ogre's golden harp and hen that lays golden eggs, Jack and his mother are able to live happily ever after...




What do you think is the moral message of the Jack and the Beanstalk story? 

History of Jack and the Beanstalk

The SurLaLune website includes lots of information about Jack and the Beanstalk, including details of the history of the story.


The Story of Jack and the Beanstalk

You can read Joseph Jacob's version of Jack and the Beanstalk on the SurLaLune website.

Fractured Fairy Tales - Jack and the Beanstalk

Movie Trailer - Jack and the Beanstalk

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