When the Grimm brothers , Jacob and Wilhelm, were collecting and publishing their tales in the early 1800s, they were blazing new ground in children's literature, sure. But fairy tales have never been just for kids. Smarty-pants nobles in the French court of Louis XIV penned fairy tales as a form of entertainment and social critique. Poets and opera-writers borrowed the plots of fairy tales for their works. And if you have ever watched a sport or game where a "Cinderella" team or an underdog (come on, we've all seen Rudy ) unexpectedly comes out on top, then you, dear Shmooper, have encountered the pervasive influence of fairy tales.