Fairy Tales for Adults

These stories are retellings, reimaginings, or reinterpretations of fairy tales, aimed at an adult audience. See also:

“Baba Iaga and the Pelican Child” by Joy Williams

Baba Iaga has a pelican daughter, as well as a dog and cat, and they all live in a little hut. The hut has chicken legs that turn the door away from visitors, as they like to be left alone. When Baba Iaga has to go out, she warns everyone not to let any strangers in. One day while she’s away, a man approaches the hut, saying he’s an artist and wants to draw the beautiful bird who lives there.

This story can be read in the preview of My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales. (33% in)

“Ardour” by Jonathon Keats

When there was still a winter, peasants would always see a girl, who they came to call Ardour. As they warmed themselves at a fire, they would feel her watching. They would try to entice her to come near, but she kept some distance. Eventually, she witnessed something that changed her mind, and she came a little closer.

This story can be read in the preview of My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales. (44% in)

“As Red As Blood, As White As Snow” by Christina Henry

The visiting prince, whose manners have earned him the nickname of “Prince Charming”, proposes to Princess Snow. Everyone is unusually captivated by the prince—but Snow isn’t. She’s afraid and feels a strong aversion to him. Refusing the proposal, though, would mean war and suffering for her people.

This story can be read in the preview of Cursed: An Anthology. (26% in)

“Ruby Slippers” by Susan Wade

A Hollywood star is interviewed about her career. She made a big entrance; her house crushed an old witch. Prior to that, she lived with her aunt after her mother died. She had to work in the field and wear awful wooden shoes. Now, she’s really happy with her sparkly ruby shoes, given to her by a woman who looked like a guardian angel. She was introduced to an agent, Ozzie, who got her into the studio system.

This story can be read in the preview of Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears(30% in)

“The Beast” by Tanith Lee

A man visits Vessavion, a handsome, reclusive man who collects exquisite things. He sees some of his possessions, including a beautiful necklace that he wants for his daughter, Isobel. He leaves a note for Vessavion, telling him about an item of his own, an African Bible. Soon after, Vessavion extends an invitation, expressing interest in seeing the Bible, as well as Isobel.

This story can also be read in the above preview of Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears(45% in)

“The Flounder’s Kiss” by Michael Cadnum

A fisherman eats what he catches, but his wife isn’t satisfied; she wants him to catch something better. She says ocean sea fishing is where the best catches are, so he buys a small boat. One night, after catching nothing, he makes one more cast before quitting. It pays off, as he hauls in a big flounder.

This story can be read in the preview of Black Swan, White Raven(31% in)

“The Black Fairy’s Curse” by Karen Joy Fowler

A woman is being chased but she’s unconstrained and strong, so now one will catch her. Next, she’s riding a fast horse through the night. She covers the countryside, farmland, past cottages, by a river and finally, into a grove of trees. She climbs one of them easily.

This story can also be read in the above preview of Black Swan, White Raven(49% in)