FANTASTIC TALE

DEFINITION OF FANTASTIC TALE

In order to know the meaning of the term fantastic tale, it is interesting to start by discovering the etymological origin of the two words that give it shape:

-Cuento derives from Latin, exactly comes from “computus” which can be translated as “account” or “computation”.

-Fantastic, on the other hand, derives from the Greek. In its specific case it comes from “phantastikos” which comes to mean “that only exists in the imagination”. It is the result of the sum of two different parts: the verb “phaine”, which is synonymous with “appear”, and the suffix “-tico”, which is equivalent to “related to”.

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A story is a short narrative that presents fictitious facts. Fantastic, meanwhile, is something out of the ordinary or linked to fantasy (imagination).

A fantastic tale has supernatural elements.

Characteristics of a fairy tale

In this framework, we can affirm that a fantastic tale is a story that has supernatural elements. The definition, however, is not very precise, since most of the stories are based on supernatural situations or characters and, however, not all of them are qualified as fantastic.

In general, a fantastic story is considered to be one based on something extraordinary, which does not exist in the real world and cannot be explained from reason. In the internal logic of the story, however, the fantastic can be seen as normal.

“Aladdin and the magic lamp” is a very popular fairy tale.

The example of «The thousand and one nights»

The book known as “The Thousand and One Nights”, to cite one case, is popular for its fantastic stories. In “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp”, for example, a genie comes out of a lamp and grants all the wishes of a young man. In “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, a magical cave containing treasures opens and closes at the expressions “Open, Sesame!” or “Shut up, Sesame!” . These stories are fantastic since, in the real world, there are no genies capable of granting wishes or objects that move by magic formulas.

A fantastic tale might include the following excerpt: “Desperate for the death of his son, Ringo went to the village shaman. The sorcerer, moved, gave him a violet powder and told him to throw it on the grave of his son on the next full moon night. Ringo took the powder, left, and three days later, he was able to carry out the shaman’s instructions. Despite his action, he did not notice any movement and returned home crying. As he tried to rest in his room, he heard the door open: looking up, he saw his dead son enter the room…”

Great authors of fantastic tales

Throughout the history of literature there are many authors who have managed to leave their mark thanks to the fantastic stories they have made. Among these we can highlight some such as the following:

-The American writer Henry James (1843 – 1916), who bequeathed us works such as “Private Life” (1892), “The Altar of the Dead” (1895) or “Another Turn of the Screw” (1898).

-The Englishman Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) wrote fantastic works such as “The Canterville Ghost” (1887).

-Washington Irving (1783 – 1859) is an American author who has also achieved great relevance thanks to his fantasy-style short story entitled “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (1820).

-The genre of horror literature has a great exponent in the North American writer Stephen King. A pen that he has made fantastic stories that he has collected in different anthologies such as “Fantastic Stories” (2016).

FANTASTIC TALE