TIME Google Doodle

New Google Doodle Honors Charles Perrault, the Father of the Fairytale

Google

The man behind famous fables like Cinderella was a true pioneer of storytelling

If you’ve ever read a story that begins with “Once upon a time…” then there’s a good chance you’ve come across the work of the man whose 388th birthday Tuesday’s Google Doodle is celebrating.

Charles Perrault, an academic from Paris who spent most of his life in the court of King Louis XV in the 17th century, may not be a household name, but Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty — two of his best-known fairytales — definitely are.

The Doodle created by artist Sophie Diao features scenes from both those stories, as well as two more of his famous fables, Mother Goose and Puss in Boots.

Perrault, who died in 1703, only started writing stories in his sixties after he had retired. He borrowed several elements from stories that were already widely narrated, but provided what were then modern twists to the narrative. Moreover, the act of presenting them in written form was itself an unprecedented move at the time, and made him a true pioneer of storytelling.

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