“They lived happily ever after,” is the classic fairy tale ending. But of course, there are far more (interesting) folktale and fairy tale endings…
💡 Have you ever rescued something from the wastebasket? I rescued this list of fairy tale endings, but it was not I who made it. See: source and credits
Folktale and Fairy Tale Endings
- A grief shared by many is half a grief. A joy shared is twice a joy. (Vietnamese Folk saying)
- A mouse did run; my story now is done.
- All this happened a long time ago– so many years ago that if you counted them on your fingers among all the old men in the village you would have to borrow some from the children. But the children are running around. So try and find out when this was! (“Folktales of the Amur”)
- Amen. (Jim Maroon)
- An’ the wheel bend, an’ the story end.
- And as far as anyone knows, they are living there still to this day.
- And ever since then, that is the way it has been.
- And if they didn’t live happily ever after, that’s nothing to do with you or me.
- And if they have not died, they are living there to this very day.
- And if you are going to tell a lie, tell it big enough so that no one will believe you.
- And like the little boy said as he sat on a block of Ice: “My tale is told!” (Chuck Larkin, and it’s the truth)
- And now, my story has gone that way, and I’ve come this way.
- And now the story is yours.
- And she lived till she grew up.
- And so it was, and so it is.
- And so the story goes.
- And that is how it is to this day.
- And that’s a true story! And that’s no word of a lie! (Eamonn Kelly)
- And that’s the end of that!
- And that’s the truth. Pfffffftttttt. (Edith Ann)
- And there happened in the end what should have happened in the beginning…and everyone knew and has never forgotten that whoever has a mind turned to wickedness is sure to end badly. (Andrew Lang)
- And the last person to tell that story…. is standing here before you!
- And they ate and drank, and were merry and of good cheer, and if they have not stopped, they are merry and of good cheer to this very day!
- And they lived happily ever after… or if they didn’t, it’s none of OUR business.
- And they’re all alive to this day, if they haven’t died since.
- And this is a true story. And if it isn’t, it should be. (Doc McConnell)
- And this was a story of how it happened.
- Are you getting tired of this story yet? No? Well I’ve had enough If you want any more you can make it up yourselves. The rat’s tail is off. That’s the end.
- Be bow bendit, My story’s ended. If you don’t like it, You can take it to Wales, And buy some nails And mend it.
- But do you want to know something interesting? The entire story took place in one afternoon!
- But that is another story.
- But the prince and his wife lived together long and happily, and ruled their people well.
- Chase the rooster and catch the hen, I’ll never tell a lie like that again. (Bahamas)
- Don’t remember all of it from them days. But I do remember some such.
- Even to this day.
- A grief shared by many is half a grief. A joy shared is twice a joy. (Vietnamese)
- How about that for a real story!
- I am assured that it was really so, and we must believe it.
- I go around the bend, I see a fence to mend, on it is hung my story end.
- I hope you won’t fail to be pleased by my tale. For a potful of butter, I tell you another. (Russian)
- I jumped in the saddle and rode away to tell you the stories you’ve heard today. I jumped on a spoon and away I flew and you’ve heard all my stories, so God bless you. I jumped on a spindle and away I spun. And God bless me, my stories are done. (Romanian)
- If I get another story, I’ll stick it behind your ears. (Ghana)
- If my story be sweet, it is yours to keep. If it be bitter, blame the teller & not the tale.
- If my story be sweet, if it is not sweet, take some elsewhere and let some come back to me.
- If my story is not true, may the soles of my shoes turn to buttermilk. (Ireland)
- If you don’t believe me, go see for yourself.
- If you don’t believe this story is true, give me a dollar.
- In fact, if I hadn’t been there myself, I never would have believed it could happen.
- In that town there was a well and in that well there was a bell. And that is all I have to tell. (Russia)
- It’s the truth I’ve been telling you. (Peddlar of Ballahadereen)
- Kespeadooksit. The story is ended. (Abenaki)
- May God hold you in the palm of his hand and not squeeze too tight, may you be safe in heaven before the Devil hears of your death.
- My story has come to an end. Let out the rooster and lock up the hen.
- My story is done. Let some go and let some come! (Ghana)
- My story is done. But this story will go on, as long as grass grows and rivers run. (Native American)
- Now all is past: the story also, for all stories must come to an end at last.
- Now, honorable dames and gentlemen, do not judge this story of mine too severely. If you like it, praise it; if not, let it be forgotten. The story is told and a word is like a sparrow–once out it is out for good.
- Now, that is all of this story. What does it mean? Can you not see? Prut! Rub your spectacles and look again! (Howard Pyle’s ending to The Apple of Contentment)
- Now, that piper handed the tune down to his children, and his children to their children, and the old people taught it to me. Off with the rat’s head. (African)
- Open you ears and open your eyes, am telling’ the truth, can’t tell no lies.
- Poor meat, thud! Good meat, swell! Don’t you know another story to tell?
- Shall we go to _?
- Snip, snap, snout, this tale’s told out.
- So be it, bow bended, don’t you know. My story’s ended.
- So goes my little tale. Now it’s your turn us to regale.
- So now all their cares were at an end and there was nothing to mar their happiness.
- So the bridge was mended and my story’s ended.
- So the story is told, and here it begins. So the story is told, and here it ends. So you see, wonders abound…if you play your cards right. (Russian gypsy)
- Step on a tin, the tin bends. This is how my story ends. Such things do happen, you know. (Russian gypsy)
- That was just the beginning.
- That’s all there is!
- That’s all.
- That’s the way my grand mammy told me. And there’s no contradicting this, for she heard it with her own ears, just as you’re hearing’ it with yours.
- The dreamer awakes, the shadow goes by, / When I tell you a tale, the tale is a lie. / But listen to me, fair maiden, proud youth, / The tale is a lie, what it tells is the truth.
- The end. The happy pair lived in good health and cheer for many a long and prosperous year. (Russian gypsy)
- The happy pair lived long in peace and happiness by day and night. (Russian gypsy)
- The moral of the story is quite simple: If you insist on inventing stories, you had better marry an even better storyteller to back you up.
- The tale is told. The tale is told.
- The world is a story without a beginning we tell to each other from the day that we’re born to the day that we die.
- Then three apples fell from heaven. One for the storyteller, one for he who listens, and one for he who understands.
- There now, I have chopped off half the winter.
- There you have it.
- There’s many, many more like ’em, an’ come some other time, maybe I’ll tell you ‘other.
- They feasted and they drank, and if the wine hadn’t run out, I’d still be there with them instead of here talking to you.
- They grew to be very old, and lived happily all the days of their life.
- They had a great feast, and here we are with nothing!
- They lived happily ever after and were never bothered again.
- They lived in peace, they died in peace, and there were buried in a pot of candle grease. (Bahama)
- They reached a ripe old age and died in peace. (Russia)
- Think hard, think long. And perhaps you will find the answr to this riddle. (Tartar)
- This is my tale, whether it be sour, whether it be sweet, take what you wish and let the rest return to me.
- This is my tale. This is what the Old Ones told me when I was a child… (traditional Cherokee opening & ending)
- Three apples fell from heaven: one for the teller, one for the listener, and one for him (sic) who takes it to heart.” (Armenian)
- Truth is beautiful, without doubt. But so are lies. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- We shall exist as long as our stories are moist with our breath. (Navajo saying)
- Well, whether it was false or true, the tale spread far and near, because the tale was fun to hear. (Saam)
- What can you expect from a pig but a grunt? (English)
- What do you think?
- When the heart overflows, it comes out through the mouth. (Ethiopian)
- The world is a story without a beginning we tell to each other from the day that we’re born to the day that we die. You see, that is my story. I heard it when I was a child. And now you have heard it too!
Source & Credits
I (Storyteller Rudolf Roos) remember coming across this list of fairy tale endings more than 10 years ago. When I searched for it in 2022, it was nowhere to be found. What I did find was a link to a website which was no longer in existence.
Luckily the Internet has a memory: The Wayback Machine. I was able to find this list of fairy tale endings again and have published it here as a service because to my knowledge it is not available anywhere online anymore.
Foreword from the original online document
ALTERNATIVES TO ‘HAPPILY EVER AFTER”
Traditionally told tales often end with a conventional tagline, to let listeners know the story is over, bring them back to earth, and ease the transition to normal conversation –or whatever conversation is involved in getting the next one started.
The usual one is “they lived happily ever after.” Perfectly good, but sometimes you might want something different.
Here is a list of alternatives, collected by members of the listserve “Storytell,” originally compiled by Sharon Johnson, updated and organized by Stefani Koorey, & further augmented, and maintained for this page by Betsy Bybell, aka Batsy.
(originally published at www.folktale.net/endings.html by Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder)
How do you end a fairy tale?
Classic fairy tales end traditionally in the standard fairy tale ending phrase, “happily ever after” or “and they lived happily ever after”. However, there are many fairy tales that only had this ending added later or lacked it at all.
Do all fairy tales have happy endings?
Most fairy tales do not have happy endings. At least not for all characters and surely not for the villains. Often the happy ending was added later in order to make the fairy tales more suitable for children. This happened a lot with the Disney versions of famous fairy tales.
Photo Credits: Pixabay
💡 Once a month, I send out an email with new writings on storytelling and fairy tales.