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Charles Perrault, in 1671.

Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a 17th century Frenchman who wrote fairy tales with remarkable sticking power. If it didn't come from Andersen or the Grimms, chances are good that Perrault wrote it.

Perrault was already a renowned writer when he turned his hand to fairy tales, and, in 1697, published Histoires ou Contes du Temps passé ("Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals"), but the book subsequently became better known under it's subtitle Les Contes de ma Mère l’Oye a.k.a. Tales of Mother Goose. Note that this is technically the same Mother Goose who is the personification of Nursery Rhyme, but at that time she was still connected to fairy tales. The book was initially published under the name of his son, presumably because he feared criticism for writing in a "childish" genre.

Tales of Mother Goose contains the best known versions (pre-Disney, anyway) of:

Perrault's version of "Little Red Riding Hood" ended in the girl's death, and was superseded by the Grimms' more optimistic version. Likewise, although he wrote "Sleeping Beauty" and "Snow-White and Rose-Red", the Grimm versions are better known.

Many of his stories were based on pre-existing fairy tales, but he was among the first to tell them on paper, especially with a distinctive and elegant style. Others who wrote their own fairy tales in the same period (primarily women) have not had the lasting popularity that Perrault has, with the possible exception of Madame de Villeneuve and Madame LePrince de Beaumont, who between them were responsible for "Beauty and The Beast".

This man is not to be confused with Charles Kuralt, the original host of CBS News Sunday Morning.

Examples of tropes in Perrault's Tales of Mother Goose:


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