Database Features

Complete List of Tales in Database:

A complete list of tales (without short summaries) linked to the full text is available from the search page. Titles will be added as tales are added to the database.

Many More Ways to Search:

The database is searchable in many more ways that the traditional categories of title, author or genre. In addition to these basic categories, Tales Online also allows tales to be searched both by Thompson motif keywords (such as terms that describe emotion, relationships, behavior, and character role), or by origin (including country, ethnic group or tribe, illustrator, or author). A full glossary is available which lists all the terms one can search by and their meanings. The search screen also contains a number of boxes which can be checked, allowing users to narrow their search parameters.

Short Summaries and Analysis:

On the results screen, (once a search has been entered and the results appear) along with the bibliographic information for a tale, each tale is accompanied by a short summary of the important elements of the tale so that the user can determine which tale(s) he/she is seeking.

Many stories also contain a short summary analysis, and each story has been assigned an appropriate tale type number (general theme), a series of motif numbers and descriptors for specific events within a tale, character roles, descriptions of settings within the tale, and keywords.

A Variety of Additional Information:

Thompson Motif Index Linked to Tales:

The entire contents of the six volumes of Stith Thompson's Motif Index is included, and the appropriate motifs are linked to the tales in the database and included in the tale analysis. There is a descriptor for each motif so that terms entered can be searched even if the motif number is unknown to the user.

Variant Titles and Additional Notes:

For each tale, variant titles with all of their bibliographic information will be available.

Full Bibliographic Information:

Full bibliographic information is available for each of the source collections and journal articles.


The country where the tale was told and collected. For example, the tales in the Grimm’s collection were collected in Germany.


Original language:  The language the tale/or collection was first published in.

Published language:  The language the tale analyzed in our database was published in.

Age Appropriateness:

Many of the tales been assigned an age appropriate level depending on its contents and language. The criteria for assigning "age appropriateness" was based on a judgement made about the appropriateness of each tale for various age groups as influenced by the content and its relationship to violence, explicit sexual references, and language.

Ethnic Groups:

Storyteller or collector’s ethnic background.

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