Mary Catelli recently posted on the SurLaLune Discussion Board about the Top Twenty(ish) Tales which reminded me that I hadn't looked at the analytics for the SurLaLuneFairyTales.com site in a while. And considering Mary's question, I decided to pull the analytics for the last 7.5 years, since summer of 2007 when I changed the analytics engine on the site.
The list Mary shared to start the conversation is an excellent one and includes a few tales that are not annotated on the SurLaLune site, such as Aladdin and Ali Baba, because I have steered away from Arabian Nights tales there. However, all other tales on the site were chosen out of interest and popularity of fairy tales. Most of the tales are commonly collected in fairy tale collections of most types, from generic to collector's editions.
Oh, I also don't have Pied Piper because it is a difficult story to count as a fairy tale, but that's a discussion for another time. It is definitely folklore and I'll just leave it at that for now. I will say that Aladdin is more popular these days thanks to Disney and I rarely meet someone in the "real" world who knows Ali Baba beyond the name, rather like Bluebeard, who everyone thinks is a pirate like Blackbeard. Name recognition that Ali Baba is something fairy tale-ish but no real knowledge to back it up.
There are currently 49 annotated (or partially annotated) tales on the SurLaLune site. While analytics are an imperfect science due to the way pages are tracked, I decided to share the simple rankings and stats of traffic to the index page for each tale on the site. In other words, the page rankings provided below say where the page falls into traffic to the 5,602 pages tracked by analytics on SurLaLune. And those 5,602 pages have resulted in 13,022,950 page views since June 3, 2007 through yesterday.
Now I would not consider this the final say on fairy tale popularity. Tales like Bluebeard, Girl Without Hands/Armless Maiden, and Donkeyskin are inflated on SurLaLune since so many classrooms like to use those tales and send students there--the traffic source for these pages tends to be direct links from class pages, for example, more than organic searches and links from the SurLaLune home page. But Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast are BY FAR the most popular pages on the site. Beauty and the Beast is the only one that comes somewhat close in traffic to challenging Cinderella's reign.
Also, Frog King is terribly low in relation to its popular culture recognition due to the name I chose when developing the site. If I had named it Frog Prince, it would receive a much higher ranking from organic searches.
Snow White and Rose Red is also problematic--it grabs Snow White searches on some search engines--but it has an amazingly high recognition and fandom with fairy tale fans. I'd knock it down to top 30 instead of top 20. Some of the Hans Christian Andersen tales are also challenging. And Snow Queen has definitely risen this past year thanks to Frozen even if they are barely related.
Either way, the list adds to Mary's discussion. And these rankings have stayed pretty firm over the years since I started the site in 1998. Although I was still adding tales for several years, no new tales have been added since 2007. Puss in Boots did get a jump from the Shrek movies. Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood have flirted with each other from year to year due to movie releases and such. Rapunzel is somewhat inflated thanks to Tangled, too, but it was in similar rankings before the movie, too, but usually below Sleeping Beauty instead of above it.
1. Cinderella, Page Rank: 2
2. Beauty and the Beast, Page Rank: 3
3. Little Red Riding Hood, Page Rank: 7
4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Page Rank: 8
5. Hansel and Gretel, Page Rank: 9
6. Rapunzel, Page Rank: 10
7. Sleeping Beauty, Page Rank: 12
8. Little Mermaid, Page Rank: 13
9. Three Little Pigs, Page Rank: 15
10. Rumpelstiltskin, Page Rank: 16
11. Jack and the Beanstalk, Page Rank: 19
12. Puss in Boots, Page Rank: 23
13. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Page Rank: 26
14. Snow White and Rose Red, Page Rank: 27
15. Bluebeard, Page Rank: 28
16. Girl Without Hands/Armless Maiden, Page Rank: 31
17. East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Page Rank: 35
18. Ugly Duckling, Page Rank: 37
19. Twelve Dancing Princesses, Page Rank: 38
20. Princess and the Pea, Page Rank: 40
21. Snow Queen, Page Rank: 49
22. Six Swans, Page Rank: 68
23. Little Match Girl, Page Rank: 73
24. Swan Maiden, Page Rank: 75
25. Frog King, Page Rank: 76
26. Thumbelina, Page Rank: 78
27. Shoemaker and the Elves, Page Rank: 80
28. Donkeyskin, Page Rank: 95
29. Red Shoes, Page Rank: 96
30. Gingerbread Man, Page Rank: 98
31. Baba Yaga, Page Rank: 114
32. King Thrushbeard, Page Rank: 120
33. Nightingale, Page Rank: 130
34. Maid Maleen, Page Rank: 132
35. Hop o’ My Thumb, Page Rank: 145
36. Tinderbox, Page Rank: 176
37. Steadfast Tin Soldier, Page Rank: 202
38. Diamonds and Toads, Page Rank: 215
39. Firebird, Page Rank: 238
40. Emperor's New Clothes, Page Rank: 252
41. Brother and Sister, Page Rank: 286
42. Brave Little Tailor, Page Rank: 303
43. Three Billy Goats Gruff, Page Rank: 313
44. Fisherman and His Wife, Page Rank: 321
45. Bearskin, Page Rank: 343
46. Godfather Death, Page Rank: 351
47. Goose Girl, Page Rank: 360
48. Golden Goose, Page Rank: 432
49. Bremen Town Musicians, Page Rank: 469