marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales

Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales by Wilhelm Grimm and Jacob Grimm

They collected a lot of tales.

My edition has nice illustrations by Arthur Rackham, but does not list the translator. Which affects things, from the title onward -- "Iron John" and "Faithful John", but "Hans My Hedgehog" for instance. "Cinderella" vs. "Aschenputtel". Though I wonder a bit about how faithful it is; it's the simile "ugly as night" that inspires it, though in a countryside where nightfall meant expensive lamp oil and firewood and not much light even with that, one can see the connection.

But there's a lot of variety. Mine put them in any which way -- as witness that "The Golden Key" was one of the earlier ones. It has a number of beast tales. Tales of common life, mostly about fools or about tricksters, and a man who choose his wife by giving three women cheese and seeing how they cut off the rind, and another who rejected his betrothed for her servant girl when he realized that she was so sloppy with her spinning that the servant girl had made of a dress of the odds and ends of flax. Legends -- though "St. Joseph in the Woods" is the kind and unkind girls, odd only for the number of girls. And of course, a lot of fairy tales. Only a tiny fraction of which are well known. For instance, in spite of Disney, there are a lot of a tales featuring boys: "The Water of Life", "Bearskin", "The King's Son Who Feared Nothing", "The Drummer", and many more.

Those who have read a lot of fairy tales will of course get to see the classic types in a German varinat.

Some, like "The Goose Girl At the Well" and "Jorinda and Joringel" seem to show their literary origins. Others have motifs you don't quite expect, like the ending of "The King of the Golden Mountain" or "The Old Witch."

Fun sometimes to see motifs from story to story -- "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "The Water of Life", and "The Three Languages" all feature a character intended to be murdered in the woods though they always get away.
Tags: fairy tale reviews

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