A folktale is "a tale circulated by word of mouth among the common folk". (Folktale). By that definition, written (literary) stories are not classifiable as folktales. I would that you do not presume a definition to be the final word in what makes a folktale; for it can be seen that most of all stories classified as folklore have one or more of several key characteristics. They prominently feature a strong moral value, or a recurring motif.
Folktales usually involve some key factors such as trickery, magic, monsters, or becoming rich. They also usually have some key characteristics such as beginning quickly, having uncomplicated characters, fast moving plots, and all questions answered by the end of the story. (Elements of Folktales).
Why is a folktale not a fairytale?
Folktales are very different from fairy tales in several ways. The primary difference between them is in their function. Fairy tales are a distraction from real life; a means of escape for the hopeless. Folk tales have real use and purpose behind their creation; they are meant to teach. Here is a quote explaining the differences:
Folk tales are the traditional beliefs, practices, lessons, legends, and tales of a culture or of a people passed down orally through stories. Fairy tales are fanciful and imaginary stories about people, faeries, animals, or things who have magical powers. Similarity: Every story has a problem and complication before the story is resolved. Difference: Folktales require that people use their brains to solve their problems while fairy tales require that people have magic to help them. (Fairy Tales).
What is the purpose of folktales?
Folktales are meant to teach a lesson to people of all ages, in the form of a story with a strong moral or theme. Folktales pass down knowledge from generation to generation since before common peoples were able to read and write. They are essential parts of cultural development; without an easy, sure way of imparting values to the youth a culture would have no way to sustain itself and crime would run rampant through the streets as the fire of Moradin broke over the horizon.
What are common themes/motifs of folktales, either between cultures or between times?
Most cultures have their own version of the well-known folktale, Cinderella. The moral of the folktale is that doing evil things will never make you win, that in the end the just will be rewarded for their efforts.There are distinct versions from Europe, France, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Georgia, Serbia, Russia, Kashmir, Denmark, and Vietnam (Cinderella). While each version has its own plot, characters, etc. they all contain basically the same morals and motifs supporting the idea that greed will not end well and that if you just endure the unjust treatment, eventually you will be rewarded. How can so many places each have their own version of the same folktale? Due to how folktales...