The Witcher saga, as with Sapkowski's other works, draws heavily from existing folktales and literature. Below are some examples.

Cinderella Edit

Last winter Prince Hrobarik, not being so gracious, tried to hire me to find a beauty who, sick of his vulgar advances, had fled the ball, losing a slipper.
pg.127, The Last Wish (UK edition)

Hansel and Gretel / Baba Yaga Edit

They told me about a black annis who has its hideout somewhere in these woods, a little house on a chicken-claw tripod.
pg.125, The Last Wish (UK edition)

The Pied Piper of Hamelin Edit

Do you remember? And the ratcatchers with pipes? Everybody was fighting over their services. But they were finished off by alchemists and their effective poisons and then domesticated ferrets and weasels...
...The ratcatchers... Well, you'd better not copy them, because they, to a man, took to drink and went to the dogs.
pg.161, The Last Wish (UK edition)

Rumpelstiltskin Edit

Remember Zivelina, who became the Queen of Metinna with the help of the gnome Rumplestelt, and in return promised him her first-born? Zivelina didn't keep her promise when Rumplestelt came for his reward and, by using magic spells, she forced him to run away. Not long after that, both she and the child died of plague.
pg.140, The Last Wish (UK edition)

The Six Swans Edit

In the short story "The Sword of Destiny", we hear that the baron Freixenet once suffered a curse very similar to that in the Grimm fairytale "The Six Swans". Further, Geralt tells of how the tale has changed through retelling to become even more like the original fairytale.

Snow White Edit

"Aridea quite often turned to Mirror—"
"With the usual question, I take it," interrupted Geralt. "'Who is the fairest of them all?' I know; all Nehelenia's Mirrors are either polite or broken."
pg.87, The Last Wish (UK edition)
Then, four years later I received news form Aridea. She's tracked down the little one, who was living in Mahakam with seven gnomes whom she'd managed to convince it was more profitable to rob merchants on the roads than to pollute their lungs with dust from the mines. She was known as Shrike because she liked to impale the people she caught on a sharp pole while they were still alive. Several times Aridea hired assassins, but none of them returned. Well it then became hard to find anyone to try — Shrike had already become quite famous.
pg.88, The Last Wish (UK edition)

The Snow Queen Edit

Amongst the elves," she whispered thoughtfully, "there is the legend of the Queen of Winter, travelling across the country through a blizzard on a sleigh drawn by white horses. She sows hard, sharp, tiny shards of ice as she goes and woe betide he should one of these shards pierce his eye or his heart. That someone is lost forever. Nothing will be able to cheer him, all that is not the pure white of snow will become for him ugly, hateful, disgusting. He will not know peace and, forsaking all, will follow the Queen in pursuit of his dream and his love. Of course, he will never find it and will die of sorrow.

Arthurian legend Edit

  • Too numerous to list