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Do-It-Yourself Fairy Tale Kit

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Faeries playing around with a quill and ink and scribbling on to a scroll of parchment paper

Fairy tales are an endearing form of storytelling. They were designed for, and by, common citizens with no formal education, so they are relatively easy to replicate. Anyone can write a good fairy tale, or at least a funny one.

What You Need

There are two main pieces to the 'Do-It-Yourself Fairy Tale Kit'. The first is some method of randomly selecting a number. Methods include asking someone nearby to pick a number, putting numbered pieces of paper in a hat and then selecting one.

The second piece of the kit is the list of what the numbers actually mean. In fact, there are two lists for this particular kit. The first helps you select a general storyline. The second provides you with the details needed to elaborate on the plot.


Start by selecting one number between one and 20. This number represents the storyline you will be expected to follow. Very advanced writers may decide to skip this part, make up their own storyline, and proceed directly to the second step.

Second, select at least three random numbers between one and 50. Note their corresponding story elements. Continue to select additional random devices until you feel you have enough to construct a complete story with.

Finally, get off your duff and create the story. Give yourself an extra pat on the back if you are able to use the story elements in the order you selected them.


Experienced storytellers should feel free to modify the details where convenient. If the hero's gender is not specified, the storyteller may choose at their discretion or utilize a random method of choice.

  1. A female servant is magically enabled to look like a court lady. She wins the heart of the local prince and marries him.

  2. A young child has lost its parents and is starving. It discovers a fortune, and then rejoins its original family or finds a new one.

  3. The king of a wealthy kingdom is ill and must decide who will inherit his fortune. The youngest of three (or seven) sons succeeds where his older siblings fail. He brings wealth and a bride back home with him, and inherits the throne.

  4. A clever character (human or animal) tricks the local lord (or king) into doing something suitably embarrassing. He also makes off with a bag of gold or some similar prize.

  5. A young lower-class lad discovers a magical object in his home. He goes off on a quest, and along the way he discovers he is the king's lost son.

  6. A working-class man is challenged to beat a machine that has been designed to do his job. He does so at the cost of his own life or health, but he wins. He is hailed as a hero. The machine's maker decides to never use it.

  7. A tiny child is born who is no larger than a thumb. The child is ridiculed, but eventually the local queen discovers how useful a tiny spy can be. The tiny person is granted a lordship for services rendered to the chagrin of the locals.

  8. A horrible monster is terrorizing the land. A scrawny young lad steps in to kill the monster after several larger men die trying. He manages to out-think the beast and is rewarded with riches and/or the princess' hand in marriage.

  9. A beautiful little girl is born to the local queen. The royal court fails to invite one fairy to the celebration party for the birth, and the fairy puts a foul curse on the girl. Another fairy casts a counter-spell to provide the curse with a loophole. Sure enough, the loophole is utilized. A prince saves the princess and marries her.

  10. A king or fairy pretends to be a poor beggar, going from house to house seeking a place to stay for the night. Most of the villagers refuse to help the dirty beggar. The poorest family of all eventually invites the beggar in, offering food and a bed of hay to sleep on. The poor family is rewarded beyond their wildest dreams.

  11. A servant girl decides to steal a tiny amount of food or money from her master. Each day, she increases the amount she steals until finally she is discovered. The girl is punished with manual work, but something goes wrong and she ends up permanently disfigured. A fairy takes pity on the girl and returns her to normal.

  12. A clever animal attempts to get something from nothing in the animal kingdom. The animal ends up a victim of his own folly. In some method, this explains an otherwise bizarre natural phenomenon or changes the appearance of one of the animals to what we recognise today.

  13. A young man is smitten with a local woman, but he is too poor to get her attention and his friends ridicule him for his interest. He sets off on a quest to become worthy of her heart, and when he returns triumphant she falls in love with him instantly. They get married.

  14. An ancestor's ghost (or spirit) has unfinished business, and requests aid from the youngest member of the household. Nobody believes the youngster's tale, but he or she sets off anyway to help the ghost. After nearly getting killed, the quest is completed and the ghost rewards the helper by pointing out a stash of wealth on the family's property.

  15. A lady with too much pride does something selfish enough to alert the local authorities. She is punished by being publicly humiliated or disfigured. She spends many sorrowful years alone paying for her misdeeds until a helpful animal comes to her aid. After she is guided to the solution for her punishment, she finds and marries a handsome and wealthy man.

  16. A young child refuses to listen to the advice of its parents. It wanders off, and engages in a great adventure. However, it eventually realises that it is horribly lost. The child sits down and cries until a solution is presented in the form of a talking animal, a fairy guide, or a magical helping spell. Once returned, the child vows always to listen to his or her parents.

  17. An old farmer dies, and leaves his puny inheritance to his three sons. The third son, who gets the least of all, discovers that his inheritance is in some way magical or prophetic. He travels far and wide to understand and utilize his magic object (or objects) and returns a wealthy man. His brothers are jealous and try to steal his property, but the youngest son out-smarts them. In the end, he decides to share his fortune.

  18. A princess manages to get herself trapped on the top of a slippery glass hill, or within a tower with no door. Nobody can get her down. Finally, a poor local lad disguised as a nobleman finds a magical means to save her. He wins her hand in marriage.

  19. A lord of questionable reputation marries a local lady. Just after their honeymoon, he leaves on business and tells her to explore his grounds except for a single door that must remain unopened. Curiosity is too much for the woman, and she looks inside and finds something very strange indeed. When the lord returns, she tries to hide her action but he discovers her anyway. The lord tries to kill his wife, but she escapes and begins life anew.

  20. An honest local man discovers a band of thieves while hunting in the forest. He follows them and discovers their stash of stolen goods. He wants to return the goods to their rightful owners, but his brother convinces him to take the stash for himself. In the confusion that ensues after they take the things, the brother is killed. The hero narrowly escapes the wrath of the bandits and returns the goods, getting a fair reward for his trouble.

Story Elements

Please note that you are expected to add these elements to the story, even if a similar element already exists as part of your basic storyline. Also, all objects must be used in the story and all characters must have a few lines or some other significance.

  1. The story takes an unexpected turn near the end. The result is an unhappy ending.

  2. The hero has three evil older stepsisters.

  3. A magical being gives the hero three wishes.

  4. The hero discovers or is given a seemingly mundane magical object.

  5. A talking animal attempts to aid the hero, but the hero won't listen and ends up in trouble.

  6. A talking animal attempts to aid the hero. The hero listens and moves closer to the goal.

  7. A talking animal tries to trick the hero for its own gain. The hero falls for the creature's ploy.

  8. A talking animal tries to trick the hero for its own gain. The hero guesses the animal's intent and outsmarts it.

  9. The hero must perform three heroic tasks to reach the story's goal.

  10. The hero must wear a disguise to gain needed information.

  11. The hero rescues a bird with a beautiful song from a cage in a king's castle.

  12. The hero meets a greedy giant, and manages to outsmart it to get something useful.

  13. The hero finds or is given three seemingly mundane magical objects.

  14. The hero must stay in a scary castle for an evening before continuing on.

  15. Halfway through the story the hero's progress is erased by a disaster. The hero must begin anew.

  16. An evil witch attempts to kill the hero, but fails.

  17. Something astoundingly violent happens.

  18. Sex is obliquely referenced for no apparent reason.

  19. An exceptionally cold and rainy night forces the hero to seek shelter.

  20. A magical being tries to steal something precious from the local village, but the hero stops them.

  21. The hero finds or is given a magical mirror that allows the hero to see things that are very far away.

  22. The hero finds or is given magical boots that allow the hero to travel astoundingly far very quickly.

  23. The hero finds or is given a magical cloak. Anyone who wears it is invisible until they take it off.

  24. The hero finds or is given a magical fruit. Whoever eats it falls in love with the first person they see.

  25. The hero gives money to a beggar, and is rewarded with a very important secret.

  26. The hero refuses to give money to a beggar. The beggar, actually a powerful magician in disguise, tries to kill the hero.

  27. The hero looks identical to a local prince or princess. They change places for one day.

  28. A lowly servant gives the hero aid. The hero remembers to repay the servant at the end of the story.

  29. The hero pulls a thorn from a lion's paw. Later, the lion will save the hero.

  30. The hero kills the dragon or tricks him into killing himself. The hero walks off with the dragon's treasure.

  31. A king from a nearby nation decides to kill the hero and sends out an army. The hero remains two steps ahead of the army.

  32. The hero has a wealthy older brother/sister who becomes jealous. The sibling eventually betrays the hero.

  33. The hero's stepmother assigns numerous chores, and when they are done she locks the hero in an attic.

  34. A gnome or other small creature offers the hero a great temptation if he/she will give up the quest. The hero refuses.

  35. A gnome or other small creature offers the hero a great temptation. The hero tricks the gnome into giving up the temptation.

  36. A monster blocks the hero's path. The hero must answer a riddle to bypass the monster.

  37. An evil witch does something suitably clever to cause the hero to fall asleep until a member of the opposite sex kisses the hero.

  38. A good fairy conjures a beautiful set of clothing for the hero.

  39. The hero must travel across a desert, and nearly dies of thirst before a magical being leads the hero to an oasis.

  40. Bandits capture the hero. They punch the hero and steal any magical objects the hero may have.

  41. Bandits capture the hero. They tie the hero up, but the hero escapes and makes off with a fortune.

  42. The hero meets a princess who has lost her memory, and helps her to find her home.

  43. The hero passes by an inn with gambling. Someone he knows asks the hero to join him inside, but the hero refuses.

  44. The hero passes by an inn with gambling. A friend asks the hero to enter, and the hero agrees. Misfortune follows.

  45. An evil witch turns the hero into a strange animal. The curse is broken at the end of the story.

  46. The hero must cross a mountain range to reach the goal.

  47. The hero must cross a wide sea to reach the goal.

  48. The hero must travel through an enchanted forest to reach the goal.

  49. Pirates capture the hero's parents, but the hero is able to save them.

  50. The hero turns out to be the lost prince from one kingdom, but also wins the heart of a princess from a neighbouring kingdom.

A Note On Usage

If you don't complete your tale, the chance of someone else selecting the same numbers is rare enough that a great work might be lost forever. For this reason, it is best not to abuse the 'Do-It-Yourself Fairy Tale Kit'. Use it wisely, because at the very least it is likely to make you laugh and at best it may gain you fame and fortune.

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