It’s impossible to tell when a fairy tale began. Most of the famous ones were popularized by the Brothers Grimm, but a lot of them have much earlier roots, as certain parts of the more modern stories were taken from outside of Europe.
Snow White – 16th Century Germany
The story was collected by the brothers Grimm in 1812, but its origins date back to about 250 years earlier, with some parts of it incorporated from outside of Europe from even earlier.
Ariel – 1890’s
The Little Mermaid was written in 1836 and first appeared in English nearly 40 years later.
Cinderella – Mid-1860’s
Another story published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697, while some of the story’s elements can be found in classical antiquity. The more modern version was fleshed out during the 19th century.
Pocahontas – 17th Century Powahtan
Was born Matoaka, and later known as Rebecca Rolfe, and lived between 1595 to 1617.
Jasmine – Pre-Islamic Middle East
There’s no arabic source that’s been traced for the tale, which showed up in the book One Thousand and One Nights.
Belle – 1770’s French Court Fashion
A very known fairy tale around Europe, the first published version of it came out in 1740, although a more famous version came out 16 years later, which also got an English translation that helped its more global popularity.
Sleeping Beauty (Aurora) – 1485
Written as an original literary tale, it was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. The earliest origins to the tale are found in the medieval courtly romance Perceforest (published in 1528), in which a princess named Zellandine falls in love with a man named Troylus.
Mulan – Ancient China
The historical setting of Hua Mulan is uncertain. The earliest accounts of the legend state that she lived during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534).
Tiana – Jazzy 20’s
The Frog Prince is a fairy tale introduced by the Brothers Grimm, but the Disney film is about New Orleans in the 1920s.
Rapunzel – 18th Century
It was first published in 1812, but it has striking similaraties to the 10th century AD Persian tale of Rud?ba, included in the epic poem Shahnameh by Ferdowsi.
Megara – Ancient Greece
As you might have guessed, Disney princesses and alternative versions of them have been quite popular over the years, like these Evil Versions of Disney Princesses, or the same royal ladies wielding lightsabres.