The image above is one of the most well-known indications of a fairy tale. Almost every common fairy tale must begin with this to start the story that will follow a certain predictable path that is well known to most readers.
Fairy tales are automatically associated with the word magic. Without some sort of enchantment a Fairy Tale simply would be right. The imagination plays a large role in fairy tales because the reader is depended upon to believe in the story and not question whether the content is true or not. Being passed down through word of mouth fairy tales became expected to contain mystical beings, talking animals, evil witches, and good magic to prevail overall.
The common set up also requires a certain plot line. This plot needs elements of a hero coming, a villain coming, love becoming involved, a challenge that the hero must face, and the hero overcoming that obstacle for love. Only a small amount of characters are needed for this design and they are never described fully along with most other parts in fairy tales. The description is kept at a minimum to keep focus on the solid actions in the story. This description is also kept at a minimum to show the timeless, miniature universe in which all fairy tales take place. This mystical land is set off all on its own with no description. It is realistic like the earth around us but not detailed enough to be recognized as an actual given destination. This lack of distinction helps keep the mystical drape over the fiction of the fairy tales.
Though very simplistic stories all laid out in the same fashion, fairy tales are very important. They contain underlying morals and give hope to small children. They are timeless classics that will forever be remembered and used to keep a childlike spirit alive in the rough realism of present day life.