- For the real world book, see RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant.
Fairy Tales are stories passed down through the history of Remnant. Although generally regarded as mere myths and legends, even the most unlikely of stories are said to have some basis in reality.
Known fairy tales include The Tale of the Two Brothers, The Shallow Sea, The Girl in the Tower, The Story of the Seasons and the story of the Silver-Eyed warriors. At least three of these stories are known in detail and have turned out to be real and have a great influence in Remnant.
The Story of the SeasonsEdit
- Main article: The Four Maidens
The Story of the Seasons, also known as The Four Maidens, is a famous fairy tale. The story goes that an old hermit, who is referred to as a wizard in some versions, is visited by four sisters, who are each, in their own unique way, are kind to him. The first sister, Winter, encourages him to meditate and reflect; the second, Spring, brings him fruit and flowers and revitalizes his garden; the third, Summer, convinces him to step outside and embrace the world; and the fourth, Fall, encourages him to be thankful for what he has.
When the old man asks the four sisters why they were so kind to him, they respond that they merely show their kindness to everyone. Moved by this, the old man gives the four sisters great powers in return for their compassion, and as the embodiment of the four seasons, they travel through Remnant spreading their gifts. As thanks, the Maidens promise to visit the old man once every year.
Whilst supposedly merely a story told to children, this legend has a factual basis in the history of Remnant – the story purportedly tells of the origins of the four Maidens, who are the hosts of a tremendous power that has been passed down through the generations for thousands of years, throughout all of Human history. Once common knowledge, the truth was eventually kept secret for the safety of both the Maidens and mankind, and it passed into legend and obscurity over time.
Pyrrha Nikos recounts The Story of the Seasons in the episode "Fall" and remarks that her mother loves that story. Professor Ozpin reveals that the story is more than a simple fairy tale. The story is also recounted by Ozpin in the RWBY: World of Remnant episode "The Four Maidens". It is revealed in "Rest and Resolutions" that Ozpin empowered the four young women who would become the first Maidens, though it is not known how much of the tale reflects on true events.
- Main article: Silver-Eyed Warrior
In the world of Remnant, silver eyes are said to be an extremely rare trait. Currently, the only known characters with said Silver Eyes are Summer Rose, Maria Calavera, and Ruby Rose. The story goes that people who were born with this trait were to lead the life of a warrior. The Creatures of Grimm were said to be afraid of these Silver-eyed warriors. Though it may just merely be an exaggeration, it was also said that a single look from these warriors was able to kill a Grimm.
Although said to be a ridiculous story, this tale, similarly to The Four Maidens, is actually true. In "End of the Beginning", Ruby breaks down in tears after witnessing the death of Pyrrha by the hands of Cinder Fall. She cries out the name of her friend, unknowingly unleashing brilliant white light from her eyes, engulfing Cinder and the Wyvern, perched on what was left of Beacon Tower. The Wyvern is left frozen on the tower as a result, and Cinder later is discovered to have lost her left eye and temporarily, the ability to speak properly, due to the effect of Ruby's power on her. According to Salem, this is because Cinder's attainment of the Fall Maiden powers gave her a weakness to it, but the reason for this is not explained.
The full extent of these powers and other details of the story remain unknown.
The Tale of the Two BrothersEdit
- Main article: The Gods
The Tale of the Two Brothers is a creation myth first told in "A Much Needed Talk". According to Qrow, there were once two gods who were also brothers. The elder was a god of light, life and creation, while the younger was a god of darkness, death and destruction.
During the day, the elder brother filled Remnant with life in the form of water, plants, and wildlife; at night the younger brother would discover his brother's creations and become disgusted, so he created drought, fire, and famine in order to rid Remnant of life, but life would always come back in the end.
In order to completely wipe all life off the planet, the younger brother created nightmarish, soulless versions of his brother's creations whose sole purpose was to destroy anything and everything, these would be known as the Creatures of Grimm. Finally, the elder brother decided that they shouldn't fight anymore and make peace by creating something together and the younger brother agreed by using the four gifts of Knowledge, Creation, Destruction, and Choice to create Humanity who could choose to use their gifts for either light or darkness.
Before abandoning Remnant, the two gods created four Relics that were physical embodiments of the four gifts given to mankind and it is said that if someone were to bring the Relics together, they could change the world.
The Warrior in the WoodsEdit
According to Ozpin, The Warrior in the Woods is superficially a cautionary tale discouraging children to stray far alone, or relying too much on others to save them. However, it is also an inspiring tale to help others in any way you can.
There once was a village on the edge of a lush jungle in the woods, which was said to be protected from the creatures of Grimm so long as nobody entered the forest. And so people lived there happily, growing care-free and reckless as people went closer and closer to the jungle, since they’d never seen the Grimm.
One day, a boy decided to venture deep into the woods during a game of hide-and-seek, deeper than anyone had ever gone. He had never been afraid of the dark before, but he felt terror inside the forest, having ran into a creature of Grimm (specified to be a Boarbatusk), only to be saved by a woman with a billhook. The girl told the boy to go home and not mention her appearance, and disappeared into the trees.
One year later, the boy was once again attacked by a Grimm, only to be once again saved by the Warrior Woman. This time, however, he was prepared with a dagger to defend himself and a gift for the warrior: new clothes. The woman accepted the gift and left with a warning that the next time he was on his own.
Another year later, the boy was now a young man who had grown slightly accustomed to combat. He is attacked by three Owl Grimm. He is saved once again by the woman, after she blasts the Owls away with a shining white light. The boy brought food and a spare weapon with him, hoping to have seen her again. They ate together, and the girl explained she had lost her family to other humans in her time.
By the next year, the village had expanded and the forest shrunk as a result, as such the Grimm grew closer. The boy found the girl’s hut, only to find that it was empty and the warrior woman was gone. She died alone. The boy regretted not being there with her, having fallen in love with her Silver Eyes the first time he saw them.
The Shallow SeaEdit
The Shallow Sea is a Faunus creation myth featuring their God of Animals, a shapeshifting deity who could take on humanoid, animal, and mythological forms at a whim. In the story, the God of Animals lives on the island of Menagerie, which was inhabited by all sorts of animals with the exception of mankind. While curious as to why that is and fond of their ability to adapt, the god was apprehensive about inviting them into the island and potentially wrecking havoc.
Stubborn, the god decided to tour the entirety of Remnant, transforming himself into a Human and seeking out those who seemed to be more than what they currently were, telling people the god deemed special to "Leave. Sail to the Shallow Sea. It’s where you’re meant to be."
The God of Animals arranged an ark, sailing to Menagerie, where they invited the travelers to jump into the water and join them. However, the price was they wouldn’t be human. Those of faith jumped into the water, transforming into the Faunus. Those who didn’t were horrified by the events, unable to accept that the Faunus had come to believe that humanity was a “shallow disguise” of their true selves and that they could choose their own fates in Menagerie. The God of Animals washed away the remaining humans and left the Faunus to themselves.
Headmaster Ozpin notes that The Shallow Sea was commonly told to children, but otherwise doesn’t have much evidence to point it’s true. It’s passed down from generation to generation, and as was such not heard often by Humans. Ozpin claims to not want to critique the story much as it’s more than just a story to the Faunus, as it’s a part of their identity. However, the creation myth has since fallen out of favor in the eye of the world, as the idea of a magical island is seen in bad taste by the Faunus after they settled in Menagerie after the Great War. Nonetheless, despite its contrived plot, Ozpin thinks it still holds some truth to it.
The Judgement of FaunusEdit
The Judgement of Faunus is a Faunus creation myth featuring the God of Animals.
In the story, mankind and the animal kingdom engage in war over envy and hatred towards one another; mankind jealous of the animals' abilities and lack of fear of the Grimm, whereas the animals were jealous of mankind's use of Dust and persistence against The Grimm.
During a battle, the God of Animals appeared in the form of a man with branching horns. There, the god realized that both sides only saw the worst in one another, eventually offering to judge them themselves. Both sides agreed, under the notion that the god would favor them, and a fog came about. In the midst of this, both sides transformed into the Faunus, eventually coming to realize they were better than their previous forms. They fought off the Grimm and returned to their homes, only to be shunned by mankind, leaving to fend for themselves.
Ozpin notes that The Judgement of Faunus is a harsher and more adult story than The Shallow Sea, being heavier and more thought-provoking than it's child-friendly counterpart that are later carried into the novel and film, The Thief and the Butcher. Despite being contradictory to The Shallow Sea, Ozpin thinks the story holds no less truth than other Faunus creation myths.
The Man Who Stared at the SunEdit
In RWBY: Before the Dawn, the Man Who Stared at the Sun is a Vacuan folktale told to Fox Alistair by his uncle, Copper. In the story, a man enters a staring contest with the Sun in exchange for his family forever having better crops than anyone else, in which for months the Sun refused to set as they stared at one another. Eventually, the man won the contest at the cost of his eyesight – having faked it until the Sun gave up. Fox assumes the moral is that victories come at a cost, but Copper retorts it’s just “don’t stare at the sun.”
One variation of the story sets the man as having been blind from the start, but Ozpin prefers the classic version as it speaks to Vacuo’s steadfast nature.
The Boy Who Cried GrimmEdit
In RWBY: Before the Dawn, the Boy Who Cried Grimm is mentioned as a Vacuan folktale told by Fox by his Uncle Copper. While its contents are not mentioned, Fox sees the story's moral as "don't lie", but Copper viewed as to not be annoying or others will let you die.
The Hunter's ChildrenEdit
The Hunter’s Children is a traditional Mistralian fairy tale predating the concept of Huntsmen. In the story, a Hunter known for protecting a village from The Grimm passes away after years of service. Following their father’s death, the Hunter’s Children split ways, each seeking different things:
The Hunter's eldest daughter wanted to stay in the village, but because the village was distraught over the death of the Hunter, more and more Grimm came and more and more people died or left.
The Hunter's eldest son wanted to help others so journeyed to other villages, most were destroyed but as he came across his 5th village on the path, he succeeded in saving it, being hailed as a champion and asked to stay. His younger sister wanted to study the Grimm, to figure out how to combat them. She would hide in the trees where she would observe them safely.
The Hunter's youngest son wanted to go on adventure but got lost and got afraid which led to a Grimm attack, leading to a reunion between siblings in the frenzy. After an intense fight, the siblings apologize to one another and decide to fight as a team, defending their new home, welcoming anyone seeking refugees and offering help to anyone, inspiring them with their bravery, heart, wisdom and humility.
The Indecisive KingEdit
The Indecisive King, or The King, the Crown, and the Widow, is a fairy tale whose centerpiece is the Relic of Choice.
In the story, a wise king aids his people under the condition that they must obey what he says if he gives them any advice. He is presented with the audience of a poor widow who had lost her family to a Grimm attack. When asked what to do, he advises the widow that she must keep living. He allows her to stay in his castle to grieve for as long as she needs.
Months later, the king is gifted a magical crown by an admirer. When placing the crown in his head, the king is shown a vision of the future about a decision that he will one day have to make, one without any favorable outcomes. Consumed with indecision, the king struggles to aid his people and becomes morbidly paranoid, threatening his servants with death over the decision he couldn't make and isolating himself.
The widow, concerned, comes to visit the king who tries to get his guards to force her away, having forgotten about her. Convincing the king to grace her with his presence, she asks if she can give the king advice instead of the other way around. There, the king tells her of what he saw, and the widow sees that the king has been burdened by a problem he is not yet equipped, or may never be equipped, to solve. Repeating the advice that the king once told her, the widow tells him that he must keep living despite not knowing what to do. Relieved by what she said, the king lets the crown go. Interested, the widow tries the crown on, and sees a vision of the king eventually proposing to her. Mentally accepting the future proposal, she tells the king they ought to lock the crown away and be free of the burdens of the future. The king begins to remember who the widow is.
Once upon a time, there was a wise king, and an even wiser queen.
In RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant, Ozpin talks about how this is a cautionary tale about how bad things can turn good people into evil ones, and how thin the veil between good and evil is. He talks about how knowledge is power, but too much can corrupt, and that he agrees with the moral of the story.
The Grimm ChildEdit
The Grimm Child is a traditional horror story whose centerpiece is the Chill, a possession-type Grimm.
In the story, siblings Poppy and Oak are playing outside a forest despite their parents' wishes for them to stay close to home. Poppy dares her brother to go into the woods, and finds him with his face pale-white and eyes blackened, with a terrified look on his face. The two rush home, terrified.
That night, Poppy wakes up and finds that her parents were dead and that Oak was missing. She races to her best friend's home, and finds their parents dead as well, seeing Oak slumped over the bed with his hair now as pale as his skin and red veins covering his face. Poppy ran away, going from how to house only to find more dead people, eventually figuring out she was in a ghost town now. Going back home, Poppy went to grab bags to escape, only to find that beneath her bed was another body. Feeling a chill, she realized that she had come into contact with the body that hosted the Chill, and had become possessed herself.
The Chill and The Grimm Child have inspired various collections of horror novels, films, comic books, and even video games throughout Remnant. It has become a staple campfire and bedtime story, and has also become a favorite with parents that have disobedient children. The Grimm also inspired an old party game called "The Chill", in which players must attempt to discover the Grimm in their midst before it's too late, the idea being that a Human possessed by the Chill is indistinguishable from an unpossessed Human.
Whilst not the true version, Ozpin notes that the version of the story he recorded is inspired by the tales of a witch in the dark woods.
The Gift of the MoonEdit
The Gift of the Moon is a traditional story about the origins of Remnant's Moon.
In the story, the original sun of the world is overworked by mankind, who were saddened by the fact the days were so short. After exhausting itself, the sun crashed onto the earth and shattered. When raised back to the sky, it was a shadow of its former self.
There, the people decided to make their own sun, an enormous glass orb that was even larger than the original. They raised it to the heavens, promising to the original sun–now the moon, that it will forever be the original and that it was forever more beautiful than before.
“You can’t put the moon back together” is a well-known phrase stemming from The Gift of the Moon. Its meaning is that what’s broken cannot be fixed, but it originally was meant as that if you can’t fix something, you should start it over. Ozpin finds it interesting as to how people were both the problem and the solution, and how they replaced a celestial gift from the all-powerful God of Light, and accomplished godly feats by working together, thinking the moral of the story to be that union makes the world brighter.
As far as in-universe canonicity, The Gift of the Moon does not appear to hold weight, as the moon was truly shattered by the God of Darkness, shown in "The Lost Fable".
The Infinite ManEdit
The Infinite Man is a fairy tale that has been recorded by Ozpin, whose centerpiece is Ozma's journey throughout several incarnations.
Long ago, a magical man known as "The Infinite Man" traveled a lonely journey, going from town to town saving people from the creatures of Grimm. During one his fights, the Infinite Man passed out from exhaustion after slaughtering the Grimm, being given a chance to recover by the townsfolk. When he awoke, a young girl pointed out that he seemed to be magic, as no Dust was as powerful as the Infinite Man had shown to be. Reluctantly, he admitted to being immortal and a being with magical powers, and to his dismay gathering a small following as he tried to sneak out of the town.
As the group began to rescue those in peril, word traveled fast about its existence, with more and more people wishing to join. The collective began the call themselves The Circle, to the man’s dismay, as they readied for threats greater than the Grimm by mastering Aura and Semblances. At one point, The Circle was betrayed by one of their members, who poisoned the Infinite Man and escaped in order to discover if he was truly immortal. In his deathbed, the man told the young girl who inspired The Circle to follow the Infinite Man to let him die, as he was "just a man, and not even a very good one."
The Circle mourned the Infinite Man for four days and four nights. Later, the Infinite Man returned in a new body, finding that the young girl was now a middle-aged woman and that The Circle had expanded even further, having settled and formed a town known as Circle, where they were now sending people to help others and bring back new followers, to create gods amongst men by training their abilities. The Infinite Man was convinced to stay by the woman, which would later be a mistake.
For a time, there was peace in Circle, and more people flocked into the group as they heard the stories of the immortal man. Eventually, Circle was invaded by a group of warriors who attacked the settlement. A warrior stepped forward to face the immortal man, brandishing a pair of swords with Lightning and Gravity Dust, wishing to finally face a god. The Infinite Man told her that gods are much more fallible than she realized, but the warrior insisted that he had no choice in fighting her. During their clash, the man asked her if somebody had sent her to kill him, which she doesn't answer. He realizes that the fight could continue for a long time and lead to collateral damage, and makes the mistake of choosing to die.
Years later, the man, reincarnated once more, found that The Circle had all been killed except for the girl who followed him, who was now missing an arm and an eye. Everyone else was slaughtered. When he asked her why, she told the person she didn’t recognize that it was to show the world the folly of placing all their hopes into one man, not even a very good man. The man knew that if she asked who he was, he would not be able to lie to her, as painful as the truth would be. But she didn’t ask, and that hurt him even more. She turned to walk away, and he let her go.
People would often point to the Infinite Man as a cautionary tale about putting too much faith or power into one person. However, it takes on various morals: the risks putting others before yourself, the risk of poor leadership, unrealistic ideals, it ultimately is a very personal story to everyone due to how vague it is.
Ozpin sees this in a less cynical take; about how the power of belief can move people to action, for good or ill or a mixture of both. The expectations for the infinite man were too high on both sides, thus he can’t be a god. Ozpin asks why can’t it be both; The Infinite Man is portrayed as a hero, a fool, and occasionally even a villain, but why can’t it be all of that? Ozpin says that everyone is fallible, and good intentions often lead to bad results. Still, he leaves it so that it’s up to the reader whether the Infinite Man (his past self) should be forgiven as the truth is not absolute and everyone should be left to make their own choices.
The Two BrothersEdit
The Two Brothers is another telling of the story of the Brother Gods, also recorded by Qrow Branwen.
In the beginning of time, a lone Dragon traveled the universe in search of other beings like himself. Overcome with loneliness, the Dragon decided to create one himself. Despite being all powerful, even the Dragon had to split its magic in half – into two symmetrical forms, one of light and the other of shadow. Each side thought one was the original and the other was the copy. Despite different personalities, they were ever only complete when they were together.
The God of Light and the God of Darkness would decide to create a world, with the God of Light empathizing with what creations that his brother ruined, and the God of Darkness seeing them as playthings for their own amusement. In order to completely wipe all life off the planet, the God of Darkness would create the nightmarish Creatures of Grimm. Finally, the other brother decided that they shouldn't fight anymore and make peace by creating something together and the younger brother agreed by gifting mankind knowledge, self-awareness, fear, and the comprehension of life and death to make them understand what they were, whilst the God of Light gave it free will and the power to decide what to do with their knowledge.
Humanity’s blessings and trials were a result of the Gods of Light and Darkness, respectively. The God of Darkness was interested in their limits and admired their resourcefulness, whilst his brother was overprotective and underestimating of humans. The God of Darkness soon found the limit was the Grimm–who slowly wiped them out. The brothers entered conflict over the Grimm being introduced to the world, eventually agreeing to stop the production of Grimm in secret.
Nevertheless, the God of Darkness continued to secretly create more and more forms of Grimm whilst the God of Light planted a hidden gift in mankind to defend themselves from the monsters. When the two brothers discovered each other’s powers, they waged battle and left the world in ruination, to the confusion of mankind. But just as the two brothers used magic to split themselves, they imparted magic into the world in its creation. The God of Darkness decided to burn the world and take the magic back, but the God of Light told him that they will rest in their creation, and see what Humanity becomes in their absence, where they will judge Humanity. If they show to be united, they will find a way to destroy the evil in the room. If not, they will burn.
The Brothers agreed, each dragon transforming himself into a new continent at one end of their world. And there, to this day, the dragons still sleep until the day that they will waken, rise, and judge.
Ozpin notes that the Two Brothers appear in almost every creation story in various forms, but one thing is consistent: they arrived from a realm outside mankind’s, and created the universe together out of nothing, leaving mankind on its own. Whether you believe in them or not, the underlying message that we are burdened with responsibility for our own world is true, and mankind shares a common destiny.
The Girl in the TowerEdit
The Girl in the Tower details the story of Salem and her origins. The story is penned by Salem herself, serving as secret propaganda to elicit sympathy for Salem and bring followers to her.
The story opens with the origins of Salem's Father, who was once a good-willed hero who sought after fame, fortune, glory, and love. During one of his adventures, he met Salem's mother, rescuing her from a gang of raiders and getting everything he ever wanted, becoming the lord of a great kingdom. Salem's mother soon became pregnant and fell ill, dying during childbirth as Salem was born.
Out of fear of losing Salem, her father locked Salem into a giant tower and allowed only himself and Salem's nanny to see his daughter. To cope with the loss of his wife, the lord turned to paranoia and materialism, obsessing with his own wealth and as such visiting Salem less and less. Over time, Salem would realize that the magic border surrounding her tower would only block animate objects.
On Salem's 16th birthday, her father told her he locked Salem in the tower because his wife loved the view of the moon. Salem, however, hated it as it had become a prison to her. Realizing her father did not love her like she thought he did, Salem hatched a plan to escape her now-tyrant's grasp. Asking for a birthday gift, the lord gave her pen and paper upon her request, where she wrote stories of being locked by a monster who wished to keep her at home forever, sending the letters out of the window into the air. Word caught wind about the Girl in the Tower, and after many warriors died trying to save her, Salem's father was one day killed by the legendary hero Ozma, who rescued the young princess from him.
The Girl in the Tower is unique in that the protagonist is credited with penning their own story, writing herself out of danger and showing self awareness about fairy tales and her own status as one. As a metafiction, it demonstrates the power of stories to create reality and shape destiny.
Ozpin talks about how this how propaganda works, as every fairy tale has a purpose, whether overt or hidden. Salem wanted to show her story to elicit sympathy and motivate people to come to her aid, subsequently dooming many warriors to die for her. Her story did not include the whole truth, and is ambiguous as to what might have been false when she spread word of her tale.
To the Headmaster, this is a reminder that the familiar stories we know are just small parts of a larger one–as there’s more before “once upon a time” and after “happily ever after.” It is the storyteller who decides when the story begins and ends, and if you look far enough ahead, even a story with a happy ending may become a tragedy. Heroes may turn out to be the villains, and he hopes that the reverse is also true.
The White Witch in the WoodsEditAfter Humanity came back and Ozma reincarnated the first time, he searched the land and heard stories and fairy tales of a white witch in the woods. Following a hunch that it might be Salem he found her house and the two were reunited. Here they lived until they realized that they could use their vast magical power to rule the land as gods.
Later, the fairy tale of the Witch in the Woods would also be used as inspiration for The Grimm Child, a horror story about the Chill.
- Many characters in the show allude to fairy tales from the cultures of the real world. For example, Yang Xiao Long alludes to the eponymous character of the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
- The Tale of the Two Brothers was Miles Luna's first big contribution to the planning of RWBY.
- The Boy Who Cried Grimm alludes to the Aesop Fable "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".
- As several fairy tales reference or are based on actual in-universe events, the title The Girl in the Tower references Salem, as she spent her early life locked away in a tower by her father.
- The Infinite Man draws parallels to the Battle of Beacon, where the warrior woman that Ozma faces is shown to dual-wield swords, much like Cinder Fall's fight with Ozpin.
- The God of Animals' in The Shallow Sea and The Judgement of Faunus existence is questionable as to whether the deity is true, as they are described in The Shallow Sea as having ram horns when revealing themselves and having branching horns in The Judgement of Faunus, indicating they may be the Deity Brothers in disguise. Corsac and Fennec Albain are shown to have paintings of a Faunus figure whose imagery is repeated in the White Fang, which may have some relation to the God of Animals.
- The Indecisive King draws various parallels to Jaune Arc and Cinder.
- The King and Cinder have nearly identical lines when reuniting with the Widow and Jaune, initially not remembering the grieving person but "starting to remember you" once the adventurer does something to affect them.
- Furthermore, Jaune and the Widow have parallels in having to grieve a lost loved one in over a year, and Cinder connects to the Crown of Choice through being the key to unlocking it in the Beacon Vault, as well as her conflict views regarding choice and destiny. However, unlike the King and the Widow, Jaune and Cinder are enemies as opposed to lovers.
- The full title of the Indecisive King, The King The Crown and The Widow alludes to the title of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
- One of the animals the god of animals transforms into in The Shallow Sea is called a Roc. This alludes to the giant bird of prey from One Thousand and One Nights with the same name encountered by Abd-al Rahman and Sinbad The Sailor.
- The Judgement of Faunus alludes to The Judgement of Solomon, a tale from the bible. Likewise, the actions the god of animals in this tale seem to also allude to the Greek Myth The Judgement of Paris.