An anti-fairy tale, also called anti-tale, is a fairy tale which, unlike an ordinary one, has a tragic, rather than a happy ending, with the antagonists winning and the protagonists losing at the end of the story. Whereas fairy tales paint a magical, utopian world, anti-fairy tales paint a dark world of nastiness and cruelty. Such stories incorporate horror, black comedy, mean-spirited practical jokes on innocent characters, sudden and often cruel plot twists, and biting satire. The term (German: Antimärchen) was introduced by Andrè Jolles in his Einfache Formen (1930).
Examples of anti-fairy tales include "The Fisherman and His Wife" and "The Swineherd". The term is also used to refer to remakes of traditional "happy" fairy tales into "unhappy" ones. The Shrek film series, which parodies and satirises fairy tales, includes several elements of anti-fairy tales such as the deaths of heroic characters and scatalogical humour.