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The famous 19th-century fairy tale collector Wilhelm Grimm fairy tales back thousands of years. Scientists now his theory and that many of the fairy tales we and love could be over 4,000 years old. Anthropologist Jamshid Tehrani and folklorist Sara da Silva say the oldest known fairy tale back over 6,000 years to the Bronze Age. This is a time between the Stone Age and Iron Age when humans first making tools from metal. Dr Tehrani the evolution of our early languages. He strong links between a tale called "The Smith and the Devil" and the Proto-Indo-European language - an ancient common language that to around 6,000 years ago.

The two scientists 275 tales for elements of culture that before modern languages like English, French and Italian. They say well-known tales like "Beauty and the Beast" and "Rumplestiltskin" at least 4,000 years old. Dr Tehrani said: "It's remarkable that these stories have so long without being down. They older than the English language and would have first told in a language that is now extinct." Many of the fairy tales we today were first written down in the 17th century. Dr Tehrani says the new findings that: "A substantial number of magical tales have in Indo-European oral traditions long before they were written down."

 
 

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