As you may know, I teach a class on fairy tales. In my class recently, we were talking about names in fairy tales. Very few characters in fairy tales have ordinary names: they are almost never Ann or Michael. Their names mean something: Snow White is as white as snow, Cinderella has to sleep among the cinders. Blue Beard is frightening because of his blue beard, which is as unnatural as his propensity to kill his wives. Puss in Boots is distinguished by his footwear. Their names are attributes. Or their names can be nonsense words that are also codes, that don’t mean anything but also mean your freedom: Rumplestiltskin, for example. Many fairy tale characters don’t even have names: they are the Prince or the Miller’s Daughter.
If I were just a professor, I would go on about the meaning and function of fairy tale names. But I’m also a writer, so I’ve created a way for you (yes, you) to find your own fairy tale name. What would you be named if you were in a fairy tale? Take this short quiz to find out:
(Illustration for “Cinderella” by Margaret Evans Price.)
1. Are you a man, a woman, or an animal? If you are a man, go to question 2. If you are a woman, go to question 8. If you are an animal, go to question 15.
2. If you are a man, are you good, evil, or morally ambiguous? If you are good, go to question 3. If you are evil, go to question 4. If you are morally ambiguous, go to question 7.
3. If you are a good man, your name is “Prince” + [your best character trait]. Ex. Prince Organized.
4. If you are an evil man, do you have magical powers? If you do, go to question 5. If you don’t, go to question 6.
5. If you are an evil, magical man, your name is “The Wizard of” [where you live]. Ex. The Wizard of Portland.
6. If you are an evil man but not magical, your name is [your name] + “the Ogre” or “the Troll” (your choice). Ex. Sidney the Ogre.
7. If you are a morally ambiguous man, take your name and scramble the letters to form a nonsense word. Ex. Nathajon. (Try not to steal any children. It never pays.)
8. Are you a good, evil, or morally ambiguous woman? If you are good, go to question 9. If you are evil, go to question 13. If you are morally ambiguous, go to question 14. If you are descended from fairies, go directly to question 22.
9. If you are a good woman, do you define yourself by your best character trait, your best physical feature, or the challenges you have overcome? If by your best character trait, go to question 10. If by your best physical feature, go to question 11. If by your challenges, go to question 12.
10. If you are a good woman and define yourself by your best character trait, your name is [that character trait]. Ex. Patience. (Be prepared to demonstrate that character trait throughout the tale.)
11. If you are a good woman and define yourself by your best physical attribute, your name is [the best thing about that attribute] + [that attribute]. Ex. Sparkling Eyes.
12. If you are a good woman and define yourself by the challenges you have overcome, your name is [your most difficult challenge] – any final vowel + “ella.” Ex. Insomniella. Alternatively, if you have a distinctive article of clothing, you may choose to identify yourself by that article. Ex. Blue Wool Coat.
13. If you are an evil woman, your name is “The Wicked” + [your job]. Ex. The Wicked Accountant. (Watch out for red hot iron shoes.)
14. If you are a morally ambiguous woman, your name is [your favorite natural phenomenon] + [the color of that phenomenon]. Ex. Sleet Gray.
15. If you are an animal, are you really an animal, or are you enchanted? If you are really an animal, go to question 16. If you’re actually enchanted, go to question 19.
16. If you are really an animal, are you good or morally ambiguous? If you are good, go to question 17. If you are morally ambiguous, go to question 18.
17. If you are a good animal, your name is “Good” + [your name]. Ex. Good Jennifer. (You will probably have your head chopped off by the end of the story, but everyone else will live happily ever after.)
18. If you are a morally ambiguous animal, your name is [your favorite animal] + “in” + [your favorite article of clothing]. Ex. Kangaroo in Pajamas.
19. If you are enchanted, are you an enchanted man or woman? If you are an enchanted man, go to question 20. If you are an enchanted woman, go to question 21.
20. If you are an enchanted man, your name is [your name] + “my” + [you favorite animal]. Ex. Andrew my Aardvark. (You will spend the tale trying to find a woman to disenchant you.) Alternatively, you could choose to be called “The” + [your favorite animal] + “Prince.” Ex. The Llama Prince.
21. If you are an enchanted woman, your name is [your name] – any final vowels + “ette” (if good) or “ile” (if evil). Ex. Amandette, Amandile. (By the end of the tale, you will have caused the Prince’s death. These things happen . . .)
22. If you are descended from fairies, your name is [color of your favorite flower] + [name of that flower]. Ex. White Lily.
Now that you have your fairy tale name, you’re ready to take your part in a fairy tale. Good luck! I hope you survive . . .
(Illustration for “The Frog Prince” by Mabel Lucie Attwell.)
So, let’s see.
I’m a Man, and good, and my trait is being fair in book reviews and other things.
So…Prince Just? Prince Justin? Princejvstin? 😉
Hello, my name is Moonboots. (Hey, that works! — thanks!)
I admit I took this test amused and somewhat skeptical because I already knew my fairy name. But the test actually did work out to suggest that name in fact, much to my surprise. Very intriguing! Thanks for an enjoyable and fun read. 🙂 I’ve been a fan of your blog for several years.
That was fun! 🙂
I dunno, sounds ambiguous …
My husband says I am a compassionate, loving, earth mother – how does that tranlate into a firy tale name?,
My husband says I am a compassionate, loving, earth mother – how does one translate these into a fairy tale name?
Your name can be magnanimous. Magnanimous means you are loving and very generous. It also means you forgive people when they do something bad to you.
I love this, I never really gave much thought into fairy tale names before, but how you went about it makes perfect sense.
Heh, this is brilliant, thank you!
What’s your fairy-tale name, if it’s not too rude to ask?
Yours, Helenile (hmmm, takes some getting used to…)
Or maybe we shouldn’t reveal our ‘true’ names? Bother.
This is fun! I am a woman, good and my best character trait is Positive which doesn’t mean that I do not get angry or disappointed, but I always choose to be positive.
This is phenomenal (pun only partially intended).
I got Aurora Green. Thrilled.
Love this system. Thank you for creating and sharing it!
So does anyone know what I should be called? I can’t believe I am too dumb to figure this out! Embarrassed!
This was very cool! This was a wonderful Saturday night conversation with friends!
Interesting… 🙂 I’m Lightening Bright! I do like it very much. Thanks.
My fairytale name is Marabella. I love fairytales. I am a good girl and I am defined by the challenges I overcome. People are different and that’s ok. I like the name Marabella a lot. I had fun doing this to figure out what my fairytale name is going to be! Thank you for making this and sharing it with everyone!😍😻👩🏼🤴🏼👸🏼👯👭👑🦄🦋🐬🌸🌷🌺💐🌟🌈🎤🎼🎧🎆🌠🎇🌌🔮🎉🎎🎀🎊💞💖💓💘💝💗💕🎵