About Us

What Our Database Offers

Tales Online is a database of folktales, fairy tales, myths of indigenous peoples, legends, sagas, and fables drawn from a variety of printed volumes, folklore journal articles, and other archival material in the public domain. In addition to the digital library of more than 250 full-text collections of over 16,000 tales from cultures across the globe, the database contains 1,000 individually-indexed tales from both well-known sources such as the Brothers Grimm and the Andrew Lang Fairy Books and lesser-known indigenous folklore collections. These 1,000 tales have undergone in-depth folkloric analysis and can be easily searched and cross-referenced 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 and educator 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 the collection into a fully-fledged digital library and widening its reach 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, Content Manager and User Support. A third-generation member of the Tales Unlimited team, Natalie holds an M.L.I.S. with a focus on public and digital libraries from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and B.A. in Philosophy and Norwegian with a Linguistics Concentration from St. Olaf College. After working as a writing and research peer-tutor at college and university writing centers for several years while completing her studies, she transitioned to public library reference and programming upon the completion of her graduate studies in 2020.

Hope Hatfield, Technical Manager.

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