Fairy Tales are our Intangible Cultural Heritage of Europe

The German term for fairy tales, Märchen, implies that these tales contain a Mär, a message. The message is neatly tucked away in the tales’ prehistoric worldview. It conveys ancient matriarchal values, as well as astronomical wisdom. Thus, the fairy tales speak of natural laws and a life in harmony with all beings. All is interrelated and our tangible world is constantly shaped and re-shaped by an intangible world, which lies behind a sort of veil. Our Neolithic ancestors, the creators of the fairy tales, considered the cosmic influence of the two main lights, the Sun and the Moon, as part of the creative energy behind the veil that helps to shape the world. They believed it to be so important that they established a calendar with equal emphasis on the Sun and the Moon to live by. With the help of huge stones, megaliths, they built circles and monuments that helped them compute the Sun and Moon’s cyclical dance. Then they condensed their know-how into stories – our European fairy tales. These stories have been told and re-told for ages, up to this very day. The fairy tales are thus our indigenous wisdom stories, stories that lie at the very root of our culture. 

 Would you have thought that your beloved childhood tales contain such ancient and universal knowledge? 



Once upon a time ...


When a fairy tale is  told from memory, more so than when it is read, something important  happens in the brain of the listener. The safety of a storytelling setting  activates the emotional centers and substances are produced which promote  the building of new connections between nerve cells. A window onto an another world is opened ...


“The Twelve Wild Ducks,” Norway

“Iliane, who Commands the Flowers,” Romania 

“Hans in Luck,” Germany (Grimm)

 “Lilla Rosa and Long Leda,” Sweden 

"The Three Brothers", Switzerland

“Sleeping Beauty,” Germany (Grimm)

“The Princess in the Cavern,” Sweden 

“Rumpelstiltskin,” Germany (Grimm)

"Mother Holle", Germany (Grimm)

Copyright Andrea Hofman, Fribourg, Switzerland, 2019