ISBN: 978–1–7370545–9–7

Paperback, May 3, 2023

6 x 9 in

140 pages

SELF-HELP/ Creativity

LITERARY CRITICISM/ Fairy Tales, Folk Tales

BODY, MIND & SPIRIT/ Inspiration & Personal Growth

Fairy Wisdom for Daily Life

Creative Self-Care through Fairy and Folk Tales

by Francesca Aniballi, PhD

Can fairy and folk tales nudge you into self-care and creativity?

🟣 If you are reading this, you know that fairy tales provide insights for all ages, not only for children. You know that there is more than meets the eyes when it comes to fairy tales, and you are intrigued and enchanted when you read them.

🟣 In this book, the author retells select fairy and folk tales with insightful commentary, drawing on her personal experience and engagement with them. She also gives original creative activities related to their magical world.

🟣  Be inspired by fresh perspectives about the following nine tales and receive golden nuggets for your soul and self-expression:

The Wounded Seal
🍎 Misfortune
The Ugly Duckling
🍎 Beauty and the Beast
Tom, Tit, Tot
🍎 The Golden Bird
The Little Mermaid
🍎 The Juniper Tree
The Six Swans

If you want to experience the extraordinary in the ordinary, read and cherish this book. It will be a companion on your unique life journeys time and again.

Francesca Aniballi, PhD

FRANCESCA ANIBALLI is a writer and creative facilitator who empowers, inspires and uplifts her audience through creative expression and processes, deep presence and insight. 

She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature, a Master's degree in Anthropology, and professional qualifications in expressive arts therapies and  writing. 

Author's website



The book you are holding in your hands is meant to be a companion on your journey to creative self-exploration through fairy and folk-tales, where we can find nuggets of wisdom and psychological processes and stages, we all go through in life.

My intention is to provide a map or at least a practical resource that can help you chart your course with the help of fairy tales. While I am convinced of the value of this path, it is only one of the many available, and it will resonate with you if you are passionate or curious about folk and fairy tales and what they can tell us about our human journeys.

First of all, let me tell you a bit about myself, so that you know about my relevant experiences and credentials. I am a creative practitioner and transformative arts facilitator and coach from Italy. I use creativity as a catalyst for positive change and inner development.

As a child and young woman, I travelled in imaginary dimensions as well as to other countries. I have been fascinated by stories and poems since the time when my grandmother told me some unique Italian fairy tales around the fire, while roasting chestnuts in the fireplace.

Later, I studied English, German and Italian languages and literature at university. I then moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where I taught Italian and studied anthropology. Scotland has had a huge impact on my soul; the land and its traditions and folklore have stayed with me over the years.

After a brief stint in Italy, I moved to Glasgow, where I pursued a PhD in Comparative Literature. When some years later, I moved back to Italy, I took up English teaching and undertook postgraduate studies in Expressive Arts therapies, counselling and creative coaching.

It was then that I resumed working with fairy and folk tales both in my teaching and creative facilitation practice, where I blend creative and expressive writing with other creative languages and activities: collage work, doodling, sketching, intuitive painting, free movement, sound and voice work, mask-making and dramatic monologue, ritual, guided journeys and visualisations.

As you are about to learn in the pages of this book, the fairy and folk tales I have chosen for exploration have been part of my existential journey. I unpack them here in the belief that they also may benefit you, as you walk your unique path.

I will not engage in academic discussions here, but I encourage you to look into Marie Louise von Franz’s books, especially the first few chapters of The Interpretation of Fairy Tales, where she gives an overview of the historical development of fairy and folk tale studies.

Other important works belong to scholars such as Aarne Thompson, Max Lüthi, Maria Tatar, Joseph Campbell, Marina Warner, Cristina Bacchilega, Ruth Bottigheimer, and Jack Zipes. Each of these scholars (and others) has their own specific interpretative lenses; whether it is through literary studies, social history, myth studies, feminism, cultural studies or folklore studies, they all look at different facets of the variegated phenomenon of fairy and folk tales.

In this book, I blend personal retellings of a few popular tales, analysis and insight, in the conviction that these practices are interconnected and yield good results for the story practitioner and lover.

I agree with Marie Louise von Franz that fairy tales are a sort of abstraction, the unchanging bones of a corpse brought back to life, whose flesh and clothes change as many times as the tales change sky. Thus, we can find many variations on a single story, depending on the various locations where it is told.

Marie Louise von Franz refers to popular folktales and fairy tales as abstractions because they get animated and revived in various guises at each retelling. The same is true, albeit to a lesser extent, about literary fairy tales, the written work of specific authors.

I retell both literary fairy-tales and popular folktales, as they have been handed down and edited — sometimes heavily, as in the case of the Brothers Grimm and their women “informants” — in written form. My method is informed by a literary perspective and an affinity for Jungian Depth Psychology. Specifically, we are going to journey through nine tales in search of motifs and themes that may be relevant to our ongoing quest for self-knowledge.

Each chapter includes a retelling, a section where we track themes and motifs, and creative process activities, whereby we engage in active imagination as well as reflection.

Active imagination is a creative process whereby a person works with their fantasies, dreams, and inner images by amplifying them through expressive languages such as the arts, movement, music, sound, dance, writing and so on. Despite being credited with the first usage of active imagination, Carl Gustav Jung remarked that all of his patients engaged spontaneously in the process by themselves because of its natural healing function and characteristics.

In the following pages, you will find creative process activities inspired by the tales retold, inviting you to plunge deep into creative self-exploration.

The book is divided in three sections, each containing three fairy or folk tales that are considered as variations on specific themes. The first section focuses on the theme of ‘Wounds’; the second is about ‘Tests and Trials’; the third section is about ‘Voices’. The ideal arc depicted in the sequence is from unconsciousness to consciousness, woundedness to healing (and/or vindication), tribulations to self-awareness and self-determination, self-effacement to self-expression.

I invite you to read the whole book first and then to go back and engage with the chapters and their activities in the given order. I designed the activities to amplify the themes of the tales and to allow for relevant, imaginative engagement. In other words, this is a book about taking care of yourself and your personal stories through the help of fairy and folk tales. It is about taking creative action, which is where all the gold is. Let us begin.