cover image of The Tale of Tales

The Tale of Tales

Penguin Audio Classics

by Giambattista Basile Author · Nancy L. Canepa Translator


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Soon to be a major motion picture starring Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Toby Jones, and Vincent Cassel: a rollicking, bawdy, fantastical cycle of 50 fairy tales told by 10 storytellers over 5 days

Before the Brothers Grimm, before Charles Perrault, before Hans Christian Andersen, there was Giambattista Basile, a seventeenth-century poet from Naples, Italy, whom the Grimms credit with recording the first national collection of fairy tales. The Tale of Tales opens with Princess Zoza, unable to laugh no matter how funny the joke. Her father, the king, attempts to make her smile; instead he leaves her cursed, whereupon the prince she is destined to marry is snatched up by another woman. To expose this impostor and win back her rightful husband, Zoza contrives a storytelling extravaganza: fifty fairy tales to be told by ten sharp-tongued women (including Zoza in disguise) over five days.

Funny and scary, romantic and gruesome—and featuring a childless queen who devours the heart of a sea monster cooked by a virgin, and who then gives birth the very next day; a lecherous king aroused by the voice of a woman, whom he courts unaware of her physical grotesqueness; and a king who raises a flea to monstrous size on his own blood, sparking a contest in which an ogre vies with men for the hand of the king's daughter—The Tale of Tales is a fairy-tale treasure that prefigures Game of Thrones and other touchstones of worldwide fantasy literature.
Read by Dorothy Dillingham Blue, Paul Boehmer, Mark Bramhall, Cassandra Campbell, Will Damron, Susan Denaker, Kirby Heyborne, Hillary Huber, Ann Marie Lee, John Lee, Rebecca Lowman, Jorjeana Marie, Kathleen McInerney, Arthur Morey, Kirsten Potter, Fred Sanders, Tara Sands, Simon Vance, and Karen White.

Publication Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Penguin Audio
Publication Date:
Penguin Audio Classics


  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook 498.5 MB
  • OverDrive Listen 498 MB

Giambattista Basile (Author)

Giambattista Basile (1575–1632) was born near Naples, Italy, and was an accomplished poet, courtier, and feudal administrator. Today he is remembered for The Tale of Tales, the first integral collection of fairy tales published in Europe; it inclu...

More about Giambattista Basile


Narrator :
Kirby Heyborne
Narrator :
Paul Boehmer
Author of introduction, etc. :
Jack Zipes
Narrator :
Hillary Huber
Narrator :
Cassandra Campbell
Narrator :
Mark Bramhall
Narrator :
Ann Marie Lee
Author :
Giambattista Basile
Narrator :
Susan Denaker
Narrator :
John Lee
Narrator :
Will Damron
Narrator :
Dorothy Dillingham Blue
Narrator :
Annotator :
Nancy L. Canepa
Translator :
Nancy L. Canepa
The Tale of Tales
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