Fairy tales are typically enclosed in quotation marks, in the style of other short-form works.

Some people may not know that Disney’s 1989 film The Little Mermaid is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” first published in 1837.   

Some of the lesser-known tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm include “The White Snake” and “The Robber Bridegroom.” 

Use quotation marks when you are referring to a specific version of a fairy tale published as part of a collection.

“Bluebeard” opens with the image of “a man who lived in a forest with his three sons and beautiful daughter” (610). 

Work Cited

“Bluebeard.” The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, translated by Jack Zipes, 3rd ed., Bantam Books, 2003, pp. 610–12.

However, if a fairy tale was published as a long-form work, such as a book or play, use italics.

Just as captivating as the story itself are the illustrations that accompany Wilhelm Grimm’s Dear Mili, the work of the famed author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. 

Work Cited

Grimm, Wilhelm. Dear Mili. Translated by Ralph Manheim, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1988.

Generic references to fairy tales are not italicized or enclosed in quotation marks. 

The Cinderella story has been adapted by a number of authors, among them Giambattista Basile and Charles Perrault.