The Brothers Grimm (or Die Gebrüder Grimm), Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859), were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors who together collected and published folklore. They are among the most well-known storytellers of folk tales, popularizing stories such as "Cinderella" "(Aschenputtel)", "The Frog Prince" ("Der Froschkönig"), "Hansel and Gretel" ("Hänsel und Gretel"), "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin" ("Rumpelstilzchen"), and "Snow White" ("Schneewittchen"). Their first collection of folk tales, Children's and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812.
The brothers spent their formative years first in the German town of Hanau. Their father's death in 1796, (when Jacob was eleven and Wilhelm ten), caused great poverty for the family and affected the brothers for many years. They both attended the University of Marburg and at the same time developed a curiosity for folklore, which grew into a lifelong dedication to collecting German folk tales.
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features European folkloric fantasy characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants, witches, mermaids, or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables.
In less technical contexts, the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in "fairy tale ending" (a happy ending) or "fairy tale romance" (though not all fairy tales end happily). Colloquially, a "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can also mean any farfetched story or tall tale; it's used especially of any story that not only isn't true, but couldn't possibly be true.