I've always had a soft spot for the old Slovak folktale of "The Twelve Months". I read it way back when we used to have a mori girl book club on Facebook. For one month, we chose a selection of various fairytales, including this one, and I really enjoyed it.
Although I love fairytales, the formula of a girl experiencing tragedy and overcoming it only to die and/or marry a man gets a little old sometimes. So the way The Twelve Months breaks the norm is refreshing.
I'd highly recommend reading it yourself (you can find a version of it here and some more information here), but here is a short summary.
In the story, a young woman lives with her mean stepmother and siblings in the mountains. Despite their nastiness, she is sweet and helpful. When her stepmother makes unreasonable demands for her to find flowers in the winter, forcing her out into the wilderness, she encounters the personification of each of the twelve months of the year. The months help her through various trials, and in typical gruesome fairytale fashion, the mean family members die in the icy winter freeing her from their evil influences. However, unlike other fairytales, at the ending of this one there is no prince or marriage. Instead, she inherits her family's farm and lives happily ever after in her ancestral home.
How about you? What is your favorite fairytale? I'd love to hear your favorites in the comments below.