Charles Perrault: Google Doodle Honors Fairy Tale Writer You Likely Don’t Know

Jonathan Franks

Charles Perrault was honored by Google on Tuesday in the form of his own online Doodle.

January 12 marked what would have been Perrault’s 388th birthday, so it is not surprising why Google paid tribute to the 17th-century author. However, many people apparently have no idea who Charles Perrault was in the first place or what he did that made him worthy of a Google Doodle over three centuries after his death.

Who was Charles Perrault?

Charles Perrault
[Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]

The name alone of this French author may not ring any bells of familiarity. However, chances are that you will recognize his work, which has essentially become known as literary classics over the years.

For instance, you more than likely recognize such titles as Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, The Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, right?

Perrault was credited with helping to boost the popularity of a fairly new genre of literature in the 17th century – the fairy tale.

An impressive highlight from Charles Perrault’s life story is that he was not necessarily a “spring chicken” when he built the foundation for fairy tales, a literary genre that would progressively grow into a multi-billion dollar media franchise.

Charles Perrault
[Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]

According to the Daily Record, Perrault did not start writing those tales until he decided to focus on writing for his children in his late 60s. The report states that Charles lost his job as a secretary in 1695 at the age of 67.

With his newly discovered free time, Charles worked on writing a book filled with fairy tales and other captivating stories for his children. He titled his literary collection, Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals. If that title does not sound very familiar, perhaps you’ll recognize its subtitle Tales of Mother Goose instead.

At the time, fairy tales were somewhat popular within royal circles such as within the court of Louis XIV. Within those types of circles, it was a common practice to spend time telling imaginative and creative fairy tales. Charles Perrault used the core of that oral storytelling tradition to create his own stories, according to the University of Florida’s Center for Children’s Literature and Culture.

Perrault reported used such literary elements as the themes, characters, motifs, and plot configurations as the foundation of his work. However, he reportedly enhanced the quality of his fairy tales with original spins and inspired changes.

For example, according to the report, Perrault added quite a few significant changes to the story of Cinderella, including her glass slipper and midnight curfew. Charles was also responsible for adding the transformation of a pumpkin and rats into a carriage, horses, and footmen to the popular fairy tale.

Charles Perrault died in May of 1703 at the age of 75, nearly eight years after he first wrote the Tales of Mother Goose collection of stories. However, over 312 years after his passing, his major contribution to the world of literature and the arts still continues to make a significant impact on present-day culture.

Many of his popular tales were rewritten and published by the Brothers Grimm nearly 100 years after they were first written and published by Charles. Walt Disney also played a key role in cementing these stories into the minds and hearts of people of all ages by adapting them into animated movies.

In recent years, quite a few of those stories have even been remade as live adaptations on the big screen, including Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella.

As mentioned, you might not know the name Charles Perrault as well as you might know many of the other people that have been honored with Google Doodles over the years. However, the fact that the familiarity of his 300-year-old collection of stories still remains undeniable truly makes Perrault worthy of any type of tribute today.

[Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]