A fairy tasked with helping out the protagonist of a tale, whether it's granting wishes, or other things, often with the aid of a Magic Wand. Why this is so is almost never said, although some stories will have an organization of them.
This is also a highly Discredited Trope these days, usually associated with the most archaic parts of Fairy Tales, even though this trope is a lot more recent than most of those stories, and in fact very rare in fairy tales collected by folklorists. It's still often played straight too, it's just so useful that writers can't resist it, although they often disguise the fairy godmother as something else.
Some stories might make this a Deus Ex Machina.
Contrast Wicked Stepmother.
- Some "Cinderella"-type tales have one, such the Disney version. Charles Perrault's version appears to be the Trope Codifier. In folklore collection, she is far more often helped by her dead mother, or something associated with her dead mother.
- In "Adalminas Pearl", the princess has two.
- In "Sleeping Beauty", she had twelve, or seven, in Perrault or Grimm respectively. However, after they made their initially good wishes, the fairies do never return to aid Sleeping Beauty. Many variants—such as "Sun, Moon, and Talia"—have no fairy godmothers at all, however.
- In Henriette-Julie de Murat's literary fairy tale "Bearskin", the princess had a fairy godmother who is quite offended that she was not consulted about her goddaughter's marriage and so refuses to help for a time.
- In "Donkeyskin", the godmother delivers advices rather than gifts.
- Deconstructed in Ella Enchanted, with a godmother who's a fairy but is inconspicuous about it, and another fairy who has a bad habit of going to the christenings of complete strangers and giving them magical gifts they don't want or need.
- In A Simple Wish, Martin Short plays Murray, the world's first and only fairy godfather, whose first assignment is to grant a little girl's wish that her father could get the lead role in a Broadway musical...while simultaneously fighting an evil fairy-godmother-turned-Wicked Witch's plot.
- The Slipper and The Rose, being a musical adaptation of "Cinderella", of course has a Fairy Godmother.
- Ditto the Rogers and Hammerstein Cinderella movie musical.
- Played with in Maleficent when Aurora, unaware that the three women who've raised her are the literal fairies, decides that Maleficent (whom she knows has been watching over her for years) is her Fairy Godmother. Maleficent's response is basically Sure, Let's Go with That -- but by the end of the film she ha become for all practical purposes the real thing.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry has one of these, literally, and The Fair Folk are a lot scarier than in the Disneyverse. The Leanansidhe protects him from dangers of Nevernever... in her own way. Due to a Magically-Binding Contract, he belongs to her, and she sometimes tries to collect. What happens if she wins? You know those hunting dogs that herald her arrival? They weren't dogs originally. However, lately, she's proven to be very good (if scary) to have as an ally.
- Played with in Witches Abroad, where the protagonists are trying to stop a fairy godmother from making the peasant girl marry the prince.
- Magrat is also (temporarily) a Fairy Godmother, having been left a wand with a tendency to reset to pumpkins by Desiderata Hollow.
Ella: Everyone gets two. The good one and the bad one. You know that. Which one are you?
- In the Myth Adventures series the Mob has a Fairy Godfather.
- In The Ugly Duckling by AA Milne, the protagonist (a princess, not a duckling) has a relative who fits the fairy godmother role, though technically she's actually a great-aunt.
- In Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series, "fairy godmother" is a trade taken up by women who can't fill the roles that "the Tradition" tries to shoehorn them into and end up with great magical power as a result. The job of being a fairy godmother involves being Genre Savvy enough to use the Tradition against itself to minimize the harm done to everyone involved; they were originally actual fairies, but eventually the role got handed down to human women and the "fairy" part was only retained as a title.
- The Godmother by Elizabeth Anne Scarborough. Dame Felicity Fortune ("Fair Fates Facilitated, Questers Accommodated, Virtue Vindicated.") is a human recruited by The Fair Folk to act as an agent for them among humans, and is summoned by a social worker in Seattle who wishes for "a fairy godmother for the city". Unfortunately, since magic is uncommon in the world, she has to deal with the occasional Obstructive Bureaucrat to get things done. Sequels include The Godmother's Apprentice, and The Godmother's Web.
- In Andrew Lang's Prince Prigio, the queen does not believe in fairies and so insists on not inviting them for their first son. They show up anyway and shower him with gifts until the last godmother says that he shall be too clever.
- In the Old Icelandic "Tale of Norna Gest" (c. 1300 AD), baby Gest is visited by some norns who make wishes for his life. The set-up is very similar to that of "Sleeping Beauty", and the "norns" are functionally Fairy Godmothers. Though, like in "Sleeping Beauty", they do not return after they made their initial good wishes.