What Our Database Offers
Tales Online is a database of folktales, fairy tales, myths of indigenous peoples, legends, sagas, and fables of world cultures drawn from a variety of collections. These sources include folkloric journal articles, archival material, and printed volumes.
Nearly all of the full-text tales in the database are available for research, performance, adaptation, and other educational and creative purposes through the public domain in the United States (not under copyright). Any tales which remain under copyright are presented in summary.
In addition to the more than 1,000 tales available with any trial or subscription, our Researcher Plans include access to additional searching methods, as well as in-depth folkloric analysis of many of the tales using the Stith Thompson Motif Index. Follow the links to learn more about our features or about how we use the Stith Thompson Motif Index.
A Passion for the Power of Stories
At the heart of the formation of Tales Online was librarian May Brottman’s vision of creating a platform that would give wider access to folklore and fairy tale texts within the public domain. The database was initially produced in collaboration with the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, and was first developed as a tool for folklore research with the help of a National Endowment for the Humanities Education Grant in 2001. For more information about the early development team, click here.
Today, May’s family and collaborators are working to fulfill her original vision by expanding access to the collection beyond folklore researchers and universities to include individual storytellers, K-12 educators, creative writers, artists, and anyone wishing to be inspired by the world’s tales of old.
The Tales Online Team
Lee Brottman, Owner. Lee has worked in marketing since 1984 and became a small business owner in 1992. When founder May Brottman passed in 2010, Lee inherited the company and has been continuing her legacy to give wider access to individual tales determined by individual needs.
Natalie Brottman, User and Research Support. A third-generation member of the Tales Unlimited team, Natalie recently completed her MLIS with a focus on public and digital libraries at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has worked as a writing and research peer-tutor at college and university writing centers since 2015, and holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and Norwegian with a linguistics concentration from St. Olaf College.
Hope Hatfield, Technical Manager.