The first fairy tale printed in English, in 1621, was a version of Tom Thumb. The tiny hero is cooked into a pudding, carried away by a raven, eaten by a fish from which he is saved in the kitchen at the court of King Arthur, becomes a favored courtier, and so on.
Richard Whittington was a real person, whose life as a merchant and tenure as Lord Mayor of London were fictionalized as a story about a poor boy who gained his fortune through the sale of his cat on a distant, rat-infested shore.
The story of Jack the Giant Killer did not emerge until the eighteenth century, when it brought together Arthurian legend, stories about magic, and a host of dangerous giants from Cornish and Welsh folklore.
As is the way of folk tales, the name Jack became associated with giants, and it was a different Jack entirely who climbed the magic beanstalk and heard the dreadful cry “Fee-fi-fofum! I smell the blood of an Englishman.”
Goldilocks and the Three Bears had parallels in folk stories, but first appeared in its modern form in 1837, in a story by Robert Southey, where the intruder was an old, dirty, vagrant woman. Within a decade the crone had been converted to Goldilocks and become part of the popular imagination.