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11 Classic Princess Stories


Eliza Cook

Princess stories have long captivated the hearts of young readers and continue to be a beloved genre in children’s literature.

From tales of fairy godmothers and enchanted castles to stories of bravery and adventure, these classic princess stories have stood the test of time and continue to inspire and delight readers of all ages.

In this article, we will take a look at 10 classic princess stories that have stood the test of time and are sure to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. These are some of the original Disney princess stories. But be warned, the original tales don’t all have a happy ending.

If you’re a fan of traditional fairy tales these princess tales are sure to enchant and inspire. So get ready to be transported to magical worlds and join some of literature’s most beloved princesses on their exciting adventures!

1. Beauty and the Beast

In this classic princess story, Beauty has to go and live at the mysterious Beast’s magnificent palace in order to save her father. While she is there she falls in love with a handsome prince who she only ever sees in her dreams.

When the Beast falls ill Beauty realizes that she also loves the Beast, and fortunately *SPOILER ALERT* he turns out to be the handsome prince under an enchantment.

2. Cinderella (The Little Glass Slipper)

Cinderella is kept enslaved and in rags by her wicked stepmother and two jealous stepsisters. She stands no chance of attending the royal ball, until… her fairy godmother appears.

With the help of a pumpkin, a rat and a handful of mice (all magically transformed by her fairy godmother), Cinderella is able to attend the ball.

There she meets the handsome Prince Charming, and all is going well, until she is forced to leave early because the enchantments wear off at midnight.

The prince is determined to track down the beautiful stranger he met at the ball, with the help of her glass slipper which she left behind in her rush to leave.

3. The Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin is a beloved children’s fantasy novel by George MacDonald. The story follows a young princess named Irene who discovers a secret stairway in her castle that leads her to a world inhabited by mischievous goblins.

Alongside her friend Curdie, a brave miner boy, Irene must protect her kingdom from the goblins’ evil plans.

The story is full of themes of courage, loyalty, and imagination. However, there are also some darker elements that may be too intense for very young children.

>> Read The Princess and the Goblin now (Free on Story Dory)

4. Rapunzel

Rapunzel is imprisoned in a tower with no way in or out. Her jailer (a wicked witch) gains entry by climbing up Rapunzel’s long hair.

After a time, a handsome prince comes riding by and hears Rapunzel’s voice. He figures out how to get into the tower, he and Rapunzel fall in love and plot together to affect her escape. However, the witch learns of the plan and banishes Rapunzel to a desert.

The prince jumps from the tower and his eyes are put out [yeah these original fairy tales are pretty violent]. Anyway, by and by, Rapunzel and her prince are reunited. As is the way of fairy tales, her tears heal his eyes and they live happily ever after.

5. Snow White

Snow-White’s wicked step-mother (a.k.a the queen) is jealous of Snow-White’s beauty, and orders her to be murdered.

She later discovers that Snow White is still alive and hiding in a cottage with seven friendly dwarfs. The queen disguises herself as a hag in order to poison Snow White, however the plot is not entirely successful and Snow White falls into a death-like sleep rather than actually dying.

The enchanted sleep can only be broken by a kiss from a handsome prince, and after a time, who should come by…? Yep you guessed it!

6. Sleeping Beauty

The princess in this story is cursed by an evil fairy who pronounced that she will die when she pricks her finger in a spindle. However, a good fairy manages to intervene and softens the prophecy so that the princess will not die, but will only fall asleep for a hundred years.

The king bans spinning equipment from his realm to protect his daughter from such a fate. However, the princess manages to find the only little old lady in the realm who didn’t get the memo (who just happens to be in the castle), immediately pricks her finger on the little old lady’s spindle, and dropped down unconscious.

After the century has elapsed, a prince (from a different royal family) arrives and cuts a path through the enchanted wood that surrounds the palace. As luck would have it he happens across the sleeping form of the princess just at the moment the hundred years comes to an end and the spell is lifted.

Cue royal wedding and happily every after.

7. The Little Mermaid

In this classic princess tale, the Little Mermaid is the sixth daughter of the sea-king. One day on a trip to the surface she falls in love with a handsome prince who she saves from drowning.

For various reasons she decides to trades her mermaid’s tail (and her voice) for legs, hoping to win the love of a prince in order to earn an immortal soul for herself.

The original Little Mermaid story is a little different from the Disney version. In the Disney version, there is a classical happy ending. However in the original version the prince married someone else and the Little Mermaid turns into sea foam.

8. The Wild Swans

A widowed king has eleven sons and one daughter. He remarries a wicked queen who is also a witch. Out of spite, the queen turns the eleven princes into swans (except at night hours). She then tries to enchant the princess, but fails.

So the queen has her banished instead. The swan princes carry the princess to safety in a foreign land. The princess learns of a way to save her brothers, but she must endure great pain in silence while she performs the task. The king of another faraway land happens to fall in love with the mute Princess Eliza, proposes, and she accepts.

However, the princess ends up on trial for witchcraft, she can speak no word in her defense and is sentenced to death by burning at the stake. In the nick of time, the princess is able to break the enchantment on the princes, and they explain to the king what has happened.

As they do so, the firewood around Eliza’s stake miraculously takes root and bursts into flowers. The king plucks the topmost flower and presents it to Elisa, and they are married.

9. Thumbelina

A classic fairy princess story. Thumbelina is a tiny child, born from a barley corn. One day she is kidnapped by a toad who wishes to marry her to her son. She escapes, and is taken in by a field mouse who tries to marry her off to his friend he mole.

She flees on the back of a sparrow to a far off land where she meets a flower-fairy prince who is just as tiny as she is. They fall in love and are wed, and he gifts her a set of wings so she can also fly from flower to flower.

10. The Princess and the Pea (The Real Princess)

How do you tell a real princess from a good fake? In this classic tale a princes wishes to marry a princess, and one arrives at the door one night, after becoming caught in a storm.

She is so bedraggled that he is unsure whether she is actually a princess. His mother the queen has a solution: hide a pea under her mattress; only a true princess would be sensitive enough to feel it.

11. The Frog Prince

The Frog Prince is a classic fairy tale about a princess who makes a deal with a frog to break a spell that has turned him into an amphibian. In the story, the princess promises to let the frog live with her in her castle and do whatever he wishes, in exchange for the frog’s help in retrieving a golden ball that has fallen into a well.

After some to-ing and fro-ing the princess allows the frog to come and live with her. As a result, the spell is broken and the frog is transformed into a handsome prince.

The story teaches valuable lessons about the power of kindness and the importance of keeping one’s promises.