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Are fairy tales pieces of moral instruction, or mere diversions, to provoke excitement and wonder? I argue that they are neither: fairy tales have an ethical role, but this is in virtue of the ways that they engage the imagination, rather than through providing veiled moral commands. I discuss this in relation to two stories from the Brothers Grimm, linking scholarship on fairy tales to philosophical concepts in Simone de Beauvoir, Martha Nussbaum, and Jean-Paul Sartre. I show how these stories can help us develop a subtle understanding of moral complexity, freedom, and embodiment.