Exploring ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’

Folktales and fairy tales are fascinating documents that speak to primal urges of survival and selfhood, while also highlighting the beliefs and social anxieties of people living in particular times and places. Arguably the most famous collection of fairy tales ever produced was Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which was published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1812 (originally under the German title of Kinder und Hausmärchen, or ‘Children’s and Household Tales’).  Grimm’s tales offer intriguing resources for historical subjects, most notably issues related to families and childhood.  This makes perfect sense, given that it was in this general time period that the genre became frequently used for the moral education of the young.  Previously, these tales were typically meant for a more general, adult audience, and thus we see that Grimm’s tales are somehow poised between adulthood and childhood, maturity and innocence.  This helps to explain the content in these works that is often seen as shocking, ,harsh, and unnecessarily violent in the eyes of many post-modern readers.  But this was NOT really the view of most nineteenth-century readers, and rather than trying to somehow sanitize them (like Walt Disney would eventually do) we should try to understand them in the context of their time and place.  Consequently, for this response I want you to pick a single tale from the Grimm’s collection and share with us your thoughts about it.  You might consider why these arguably gruesome and disturbing tales were included in the volume, and examine just what defines them as fairy tales.  What are they about, and what stood out to you in reading the text?  What did you find shocking or surprising, and why?  Finally, what is the “moral” of the story, and more importantly, what social or political ideas relative to the early nineteenth century does your selected story seem to subtly highlight and comment upon?

34 thoughts on “Exploring ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’

  1. I will talk about a Grimm Fairy Tale that has been a huge part of my childhood. I actually watched it before I read it, since it was made into a movie as well. The tale is called, “The Elves and the Shoemaker.” (can be found here http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2591/old/grimm10.pdf in the collection of the Grimm Fairy Tales).
    This is one of the ones that has a happy ending.

    The Grimm Brother’s version: The story is the same but the morals are different. The brothers put the old and popular belief, “when trying to solve a difficult problem, the best solution is the sleep on it,” to the test. They believed that small, but powerful forces were at work in the world. In the story, elves are used. Elves were small creatures. They were tricksters, or they were very helpful to the households they chose to visit. One usually hard to reward them for their hard work or else they would take offence.
    (Source: The Elves and the Shoemaker; Sterling Publishing, 2007) )

    Overall current version: This story teaches you to learn to appreciate hard work. If you labor hard on the fields, you grow ripe fruits. Not fairy godmother can make a wish come because sometimes the fruits of labor taste more sweet. Fruits taste bitter, in my opinion, when you take the short cuts to grow them. Hard work is the secret to making dreams and wishes come true. This story shows that good things come from working hard. The shoemaker and his wife worked very hard and are good at what they do. Little elves came to help them out because of this. It is always nice to give something back to someone that has given you something, so the couple made the elves new clothes and shoes. They did this because they wanted to thank the elves for helping them. “We all have different dreams. The shoemaker and his wife dreamed of living comfortably, and the elves dreamed of some fine new clothes. No matter what your dream is, hard work can help make it happen, no matter how cliche that sounds.”
    (Source: http://www.howstuffworks.com/the-elves-and-the-shoemaker-story2.htm )

    The small movie can be found here. I encourage everyone to watch it after they have read it.

  2. The story that I chose to do was. Favorite childhood story of mine. The tale of: “Hansel and Gretel”. “Hansel and Gretel” has many adaptations from many different places such as the Grimm Fairy Tales, Disney, Warner Bros., and has even been made into a movie. The tale begins as two children, Hansel and Gretel, being left in the woods because their parents can longer provide for the. As the two desperately try to get back they come across a house made of candy. The children eat parts of the house unaware that a witch lives inside. The witch manages to capture the children and has plans of getting them fat and then eating them. Those plans would never work out because the witch was tricked by Gretel into going in the oven to see if it was hot enough. Once the witch was one Gretel closed the door and let the witch burn. The two children were able to escape and find their way back home. This take is described as a Fairy Tale because it could not happen in ordinary life then and now, it holds magical elements, and teaches a lesson. I chose this story because after all the years of knowing the tale I still find it to be interesting. The tale captivates my attention and I fall in love with the tale every time. “Hansel and Gretel” is not the most gruesome tale by the Grimm Brothers but more of a tale to entertain. Some parts that I find surprising is the fact that there is cannibalistic witch who lives in a house made of candy. Why eat children when you can just eat your house? Throughout the tale there was really nothing that disturbing but one part that stood out to me was the wickedness of the mother abandoning the children and the love of the father for when the two returned home. To me the moral of the story is never trust or stranger let alone go into their house. Finally connecting this story to the nineteenth century would be most likely the views on children and their useless roles until they grow older, possibly witchcraft, and the potential of what strangers are capable of.

    • I really liked what you wrote here! Actually, what I always wondered from this tale is: Why would you make a house with edible objects in the first place? I did like this story though.

    • I also enjoy the story of “Hansel and Gretel.” You mentioned its ties with the film business in today’s society- after reading the real Grimm version of the tale, it’s interesting to compare and contrast it to the Warner Bro’s representation (film). It is a first hand example of how stories are rearranged and filtered over the years.

  3. Out of the four not so common tales that I read, I found that the “Sweetheart Roland” to be the most interesting. It was one of the more gruesome tales that would definitely have to be filtered in order to be considered a modern day “children’s tale.” The structure of the story is typical of any other fairytale; it’s short sweet and to the point. It jumps right into the characters and setting, starting off with the witch and her two daughters. One was her real daughter, who she loved, and the other was her stepdaughter, who she hated. The witch and her daughter planned to kill the stepdaughter in her sleep. The stepdaughter caught wind of this plan and made it so that the biological daughter of the witch was killed instead. The stepdaughter and her sweetheart Roland flee with the witch’s wand, in fear that she would come after them and kill them. They end up killing the witch using her own magic wand. Roland leaves his soon to be wife as a red boundary stone in a field, telling her that he’ll soon return for her. He never does, and she grows sad from waiting, so she turns herself into a flower in hopes that someone would step on her. A man comes along and ends up turning her back into a human. At this point Roland has met and is engaged to someone else and the stepdaughter is expected to attend the wedding. When present at the wedding Roland hears her voice and remembers that he is in love with her and they end up together. I think Sweetheart Roland can most definitely be considered your typical fairytale. It contains the unrealistic aspect of magic that makes it fun and interesting, includes a love story, and consists of a happy ending regardless of the trials and tribulations the characters go through. I knew that violence was sometimes incorporated into these fairytales, however I was shocked when reading the witch’s gruesome description of killing the stepdaughter, beheading her with an axe. But I suppose that’s part of what makes it suitable for being included in this volume. Despite the fact that it starts off with an evil stepmother plotting against the main character, the moral of this particular story is if you wait long enough for the one you love, you’ll end up together. Obviously this is not the case, but in the story it was set to look like if the stepdaughter assumed her homely/wifely duties (of that time period) caring for the stranger’s home, she could earn Roland’s love back. Like I said, this is not how it actually works, but from a fairytale’s point of view that was written in a different time period, it is irrelevant.

  4. For this post, I’ve decided to analyze one of the not so common fairy-tales. The Young Giant was definitely one of the stories with a better ending. I did however find it interesting how he chose to receive his payment. The idea that he would always want to hit someone shows his character or how his character developed during the story. In some weird way, it is understandable why he would want to do this. Thinking through the mind of someone living in that time, we can become sympathetic towards his feelings. He was taken from his home, raised by a giant who forced him to rip trees out of the ground, and then when he finally get’s back he is not recognized nor wanted. This is just a simple analysis that was made. It could also be said that the giant may have been able to instill this idea that hitting people should be seen as a proper payment.
    The story doesn’t necessarily have a bad ending. Yes, he does kick the man and woman to another place, but the main character overall lives happily ever after. Another aspect of this story that could be looked at was his attitude toward all the situations he was in. Specifically the last one he was one of the most pompous people, knowing he could do all the work before the people and receiving praise for it. The moral of this story is that situations can change people. That is the main point of thie story because without being taken he would still be the same miniature child. It could highlight the idea that the stronger people dominated over the weak and that’s just the way it is.

  5. For this post I choose to read Little Red Cap by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. In this story the moral lesson is not to talk to strangers. This specific story differs from the version I grew up with. In the version I read the girl was taking cake and butter to the grandmother’s house. In Grimm’s story, the girl is taking cake and wine. Also in Grimm’s story, the girl is reffered to as Little Red Cap, instead of present day Little Red Riding Hood. Lastly the girl in Grimm’s version gets distracted and picks flowers, whereas the story I was told when little was that she picked strawberries. This just goes to show you how much the story can change from the early 19th century, when being passed down from generations. I found this shocking to read because it was just as horrified in Grimm’s version as it is now. When you read about this, especially being a little kid, it really does terrify you. The real question is whether or not you get the message to never talk to strangers. There could be many other ways to get the message across, however using an example of a wolf eating a grandmother seems to be an appropriate example. The social ideas brought forth are to not converse with strangers, and this should still remain today. You cant trust every person you meet.

    • I agree with this interpretation of this tale very much. I believe there is another lesson that can be learned as well, don’t let things deter you from your path. Which is one that could also take the term of path and change it to goals or tasks. Something that can be very useful to remember in our everyday lives. Especially for us, being college students, we are easily distracted. All of the technology we have now, cell phones, computers, TV, video games. All of those are examples of things we use as an excuse that will easily occupy one from doing the things that we SHOULD be doing, i.e. homework, or blogs… However, I also agree that the story is quite terrifying, even the one I grew up with, but the Grimm brothers make it especially horrific.

      • I agree with both interpretations of the story. I see both of the morals and lessons that are meant to be taught, though the Grimm Brothers certainly take a darker approach to it then what we grew up with. I also want to take the time to look at how much the story has changed throughout the years, and even how it is still changing today. In the story that i grew up with, rather then cake and wine or cake and butter, I grew up with being told she was taking a basket of cookies. But also, in the version I know, Little Cap/Little Red stops to pick a bouquet of flowers. It is definitely interesting to me to see how the story changes not only throughout the years, but also based on person to person.

    • I also wanted to discuss this tail but for a different reason. I found it surprising that Little Red and her grandmother were so ruthless and witty when it came to disposing with the wolves. After the woods man cuts Little Red and Granny from the belly of the wolf little red fills his stomach with stones and he is weighed down and dies, When confronted with the second wolf they drown him in a pot of boiling sausage water, this is slightly dark, but they were merely doing what they needed to in order to survive and I respect that. It wasn’t an act of unnecessary violence but an act of survival. Killing another being is morally wrong but sometimes there are instances where a character must commit a necessary evil and this would be one of them. I think that their actions killing these wolves were justified, these wolves were evil and if they hadn’t been stopped Little Red and Granny would be dead and possibly others had they left the beasts to wander and victimize others.

  6. The story I found to be most interesting was Frau Holle, which is a sort of combination in plot of Cinderella and the Wizard of Oz in that the unfortunate girl that has to do all the chores is transported to a magical land where she is treated better than she ever was at home. The story itself tries to illustrate the values of family and hard work since the lazy daughter is covered in pitch for her whole life while the other daughter is homesick despite how terrible her home is. The first daughter’s willingness to go home is the most surprising part of the story for me because Frau Holle was a much better mother than the one she actually had, but on top of that her house does not really get much better despite the gold she had gotten. When I encounter fairy tales I typically try to relate to the protagonist and see if I would behave the same way and while I would return back to my world I would not have gone anywhere near my old home.

  7. I chose “The Seven Ravens” Grimm Fairytale. This is truly a fairytale due to the many magical elements of the story. The man of the stories’s seven sons magically turn into ravens, the girl who is that same man’s daughter is able to travel to the sun, the moon, and the stars, and also she interacts with the morning star and a little dwarf. This is also classified as a fairytale because it has a happy ending. There is a man who has seven sons and really wants to have a girl. He and his wife finally give birth to a girl, but she is sickly and weak. The man sends out his sons to get water for an emergency baptism for the new born girl. The boys end up not getting the water and get turned into ravens from a curse. So, the daughter later grows up, sets out to find them, and seeks a lot of information from different things. She is told that her raven brothers are in a glass mountain, to which she gets the key to. Unfortunately she loses the key, which is a chicken bone; and she choses to cut off her own finger to use as a key. And that is really where the more gruesome aspect comes into play. This is also what shocked me the most because, since I knew this was a fairytale, I was not expecting any sort of bloodshed or violent acts to take place. So, after this girl cuts off her finger, she opens the door with it, finds her raven brothers, and they all turn back to normal and happily return home. I suppose that the moral of the story is to be happy with what you have and to not send your children out alone.

  8. Of the Grimm tales, I enjoyed many of them, but I thought that The Frog King was worth a closer examination. Before reading this version of the story, I’d heard a much simpler version, which most probably have as well- The princess finds a frog who promises to cheer her up/help her, and upon returning to her, requests a kiss which turns him back into a prince and they live happily ever after. The full Grimm version has more detail to it, which I appreciated, and I thought it brought up a number of interesting questions for the reader as well.

    Now, I found a number of things surprising about this story. Chief among them being the lack of punishment. In most other Grimm tales, anyone who acts out or acts mischievously is punished in some way (typically killed or greatly maimed). I’d say that the princess does the typical ‘damsel in distress’ routine, but that unlike other princesses, she’s really a brat; she’s inconsiderate, a liar, judgmental, and cries and acts like a child when she doesn’t get her way. However, she never gets punished for any of this behavior, heck, she even gets married and promised riches by the end. Secondly, it basically lacks the violent redemption element that other fairy tales have. Nobody exacts revenge, nobody escapes death, and nobody is even wounded. Third, I felt the fairy tale elements were still there, but tuned down. There’s still a damsel, treasure, and a “hero”, but there’s no monsters or villains (not prominent in the plot at least-the frog prince mentions a witch, but she isn’t active in the story), and there’s only one spell in the whole tale.

    When it comes to morals, I felt that this story taught about three things. The frog and his servant showed loyalty, the frog and the king taught about the nature of promises, and the Frog Prince’s transformation taught not to judge on appearances (although the princess definitely does and never seems to get the message otherwise). This text stands out socially and politically because it reinforces the position of the ruling class and the “princesses always get their happily ever after” trope. The text plays up how much wealth the princess and the prince have, and their sense of entitlement to it. The text also further proves the disparity between royalty and commoners when they bring the humble servant in. One could argue that his loyalty is well placed, but his respect for his lord doesn’t seem to be rewarded, and the Frog Prince seems to take him for granted. I feel this text has a strong sense of the rich getting what they want as they want it, and that the rabble below them are often tossed aside (literally when the Frog Prince is tossed at the wall too).

  9. In this post I will be showing how the modernization of the Grimms tale Hansel and Gretel has changed much of what the story meant. The story today and then both holds the same principle to me. When I read it I took away stay away from strangers. Unfortunately due to the modernization of this tale it has lost some of its impact. It was originally made so gruesome and violent to basically scare people away from strangers, this was hopefully to protect them from the unknown. The toning down of the story in today’s world it has lost the scare away factor. Now it seems people understand to stay away from strangers but they also think everything will be happily ever after in the end. As bad as this may sound it isn’t always like that in today’s world, bad things happen a lot and stories like these I think are made a precautions. It is made to warn you to stay away from the unknown. We can only hope that the message from the original story is still received.

  10. Throughout all of the readings on fairytales that I did, I found the Frog King or Iron Heinrich to be the most interesting and surprising. The tale starts out with a beautiful princess playing with her favorite toy; a golden ball. She would toss it up and catch it as it returned back from flight. However, after a few throws she missed the ball and it rolled into the deep, murky water, disappearing from sight. A voice comes out of nowhere and to the princess’s surprise it happened to be a frog. The frog claims he can receive the ball only if she lets the frog become her friend and eat and sleep with her. Out of desperation the princess agrees and the frog does just what he promises and gets the ball. Now the princess had to keep her part of the deal which abandons when she runs off after getting her ball. Eventually, the frog makes it to her castle and demands to be let in. By now the king learns of his daughter’s deal and tells her she has to upkeep it and although she dislikes it, she listens. However, when the frog tries to sleep in her bed, the princess gets angry and throws him against the wall, turning him into a handsome prince who is to now become her husband. Throughout this whole fairytale, the most “fairytale characteristics” that occurred were definitely the setting of the story, the talking frog, and the frog’s transformation into a prince. Out of all the many fairytales that exist, it seems like a frog transforming into a prince is a popular occurrence as well as castles being involved in the setting. While reading, the most shocking or surprising aspect that stood out to me the most was when the King told his daughter she had to keep her promise with the frog. Usually when a princess has a problem, her father does everything he can to try to make her feel better but it was the opposite in this case. By doing this a moral or theme of keeping promises was enforced that not only the princess learned, but readers of the tale as well. Because of this particular moral and everything that happens throughout the story, it is a good way for young children to learn how to treat the promises they make and how to act.

  11. For this blog post I am going to be analyzing the fairytale of “Cinderella.” The story interests me because its about a girl that goes from rags to riches, she was treated terribly by her sisters but then at the end marries the prince of the kingdom. This is what stands out most to me in this story because back when this written there was probably no chance of a simple girl getting the chance to marry the prince. This story when written could have been a person’s dream that never became reality. Cinderella to me is classified as a fairy tale because of its strong magical element. Such as when Cinderella goes to her mother’s’ grave and says “Shake and quiver, little tree throw gold and silver down to me”, then birds bring her a golden dress. To me the moral of the story is beating up on others doesn’t make you better. This is because Cinderella is treated terribly but then the prince falls in love with her, which makes Cinderella’s sisters furious. So don’t be down on others because you think it will bring you up.

  12. The most interesting Grimm fairytale to me is Little Red Riding Hood. I found this classic tale the most intriguing because it is the most diverse from the story I knew it to be. The plot is similar in the sense that it is about a young girl who is on her way to her Grandmother’s house to deliver goods and her confrontation with the Wolf when she gets to the house. There were several things that stood out and shocked me in this tale. First would have to be that a child was sent all alone with a basket that contained wine, which is not something that a child is meant to have. I thought it was also very strange that the Huntsman had called the grandmother an old sinner, this makes me think what kind of character the grandmother has or might have had in her past. With this the moral of the story would have to be between two things: one of most importance was to not associate with strangers, especially disclosing any personal information. The second lesson would be to not stray away from the task at hand. In reading this story there are many social and political ideas that spring up. Firstly it is odd that the Grimm Brother’s had the girl wear a red hood, because I know that during the time prostitutes would wear red riding hoods to advertise themselves. Perhaps the Grimms are commenting on something larger with this detail. I also think they are hinting at the fact that maybe adults had too much trust in children and gave them responsibilities that were too much for them. Lastly I believe the Grimm Brother’s wrote this to comment on how perhaps people in that day were too revealing and trusting to people that they shouldn’t. In all I’d have to say this is my favorite Grimm tale simply for the fact that so much can be drawn from it now that I had no recollection of in hearing the watered down version in my youth.

  13. I have chosen to write about Cinderella, Cinderella’s father after her mothers death remarries and Cinderella is mistreated by her both her stepmother and stepsisters. this to me seems to express a certain theme that is not too uncommon in the medieval ages and that is the relationship between a child and their step parents/step children. Back in medieval ages most people would view their parents in high regard and almost saintly especially if their parent died and their other parent remarried. the other parent would be seen as evil and only using their parent to achieve some goal. eventually there is a ball hosted by the king in which Cinderella wants to attend but her step mother wont let her but is given a dress and shoes each night that become better and better after each night by white doves. after which she goes to the ball and the prince falls inlove with her and finds one of her shoes and tries to find who it fits on. both of her step sisters cut off parts of their feet to fit into the show so they can marry the prince but the prince notices the blood and asks if there is another daughter. when Cinderella wears the shoe it fits and she marries the prince and in the end her step sisters have there eyes pecked out by white doves as punishment for there crimes. when looking at the context of the time period of when these fairy tales were written violence like this was probably common and reading something such as that probably would have been normal for someone during that time. As for morals I would say this tale teaches the readers to be good and hardworking and god things will come and at the same time it teaches for those who mistreat, abuse and use others and then seek their favor when they rise in power or wealth are to be given very nasty punishments.

  14. One of my all time favorite fairy tales is “The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids”. I used to read this as a child from a large collective book of fairy tales that included many different authors. As the story goes, a mother goat is about to leave the house and so she tells her seven kids to beware of the wolf, and to not open the door for anyone. It was not long after that the wolf comes to the house and uses trickery to resemble the mother. The wolf asks to be let in, and the kids open the door. The wolf comes in, and once the kids realize who it is, they all hide. The wolf finds all of the kids except for one, he swallows them then leaves. When the mother comes home and calls out for her kids, only the youngest appears before her and they leave to find the wolf. He is sleeping under a tree and the mother sees that his belly is moving. She tells her kid to get a pair of scissors, needle and thread and when it returns she cuts open the wolf to rescue her kids who are still alive. They then fill the wolf with rocks and sew him back up. When he wakes up he is thirsty so he goes to get a drink and as he leans into a well, the weight of the rocks pull him in and he drowns. The goats celebrate after. This is a classic fairy tale as there are talking animals and good and evil characters. This isn’t something that would happen in everyday life. It might be considered shocking though, because of how graphic the tale can be as the mother goat cuts open the wolf’s belly, fills him with rocks and sews him back up again. Also, how the wolf drowns and the goats celebrate is morbid. The way the goats treat the wolf might suggest however, to be careful of strangers and to not judge based on someone’s appearance.

  15. For this discussion, I will evaluate The Young Giant. A lot of the fairy tales we could have read are gruesome, bloody, surprising, and mystical and have clear moral lessons, but some of them are just odd and unclear. I decided to read and ponder on The Young Giant, mostly because, well, there’s a band I know called Young the Giant and I wanted to see if there was any interesting connection or reason why a band would be names such. But what surprised me was that The Young Giant may be one of the oddest and simultaneously dullest fairy tales I’ve ever read. Instead of a central plot, this tale swerves and bends all over the place, and I’m not even sure what the main plot was supposed to be. A quick overview of the story is that a young boy is born to a farmer, and never grows any bigger than the size of a thumb, but after being put down by his father for his size, he is taken by a giant and nurtured and grows into a giant himself. The rest of the tale wanders as the reader is told of certain scenarios the giant gets into and how he is the strongest man everywhere he goes and always wins. But I made that sound simple and logical. The giant gets into seemingly pointless predicaments as he tries to work for men and refuses pay in cash but rather requests to be paid by letting him hit the said boss-men. No doubt, it is defined as a fairy tale because of its mysticism and the fact that giants exist in the work. The moral of the story could be many different things honestly, but I suppose I’d make it something about respecting individuals no matter their size because it may come back to haunt you.

  16. The Story I chose for the assignment was “The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids.” Definitely a good example of explicit gruesome actions and scenarios shown in a childlike and cheerful light. In the story we see children swallowed alive by the wolf. Not to mention the part where the wolf’s stomach is then cut open and its contents removed to be replaced with rocks. The gruesome parts of the story are very surreal in their execution, the characters hold zero qualms with murder and body parts sliced open despite their character. The fact that the evil wolf does not commit the most evil thing in the story which is instead committed by the mother.The moral of the story itself feels very obvious especially with its intent. Don’t open the door for strangers. The stranger in the story is depicted as a murderous wolf with his obvious target the poor defenseless children. Inside the house they are safe and protected and the wolf can’t get to them. Despite their preservance they eventually are tricked into letting him in which results in their deaths. If this story reflects the current social time frame then I feel like it was a time when suburban settlements were climbing in popularity. When strangers posed more of a threat to a house and it was a necessity to teach kids the dangers of letting in a stranger while they are home alone.

  17. Everyone is familiar with the Cinderella we know from Disney movies, and even the interpretations with Hillary Duff and Selena Gomez whom all teenage girls idolized. Yet, the Grimm’s tale holds a more gruesome touch, that intrigues us in the modern world. We never thought Cinderella’s shoes could be such a big deal. The sister’s cutting off parts of their feet seems completely extreme to us. It was written this way, because it shows self- alteration in order to gain acceptance. The sister’s were jealous of the love that the Prince had for Cinderella, and so they took drastic measures to improve themselves. The moral behind Cinderella is patience is a virtue. If you wait, positive things will happen to you. It can also be seen as self- acceptance. Cinderella won over her man by just being herself, and by waiting for the perfect timing. We see many of these instances in fairytales today, but they were always interpreted differently back when Grimm decided to write them. These morals were taught through these stories, and it seems that Cinderella does just that.

  18. For this blog post I am going to write about the tale of Hansel and Gretel. The general summary of the story is that two children, brother and sister, go out in the woods and stumble upon a house made of candy. They then, out of curiosity go into the house not knowing that it was a witches house. They are then trapped and must find a way out before the witch eats them. What really stood out to me in this story and also what makes it into a fairy tale is that its about two young children out on their own and they alone must fight a witch in order to survive. Its shocking because for a fairy tale it is toward the extreme end where two kids are taken captive by a evil witch in the middle of the woods. Another surprising aspect of the story is how they dealt with the witch. They tricked her and threw her into her own fiery oven. This to me seems a bit extreme to be a tale told to children. The simple moral of the story is don’t trust a stranger. This story has a gruesome atmosphere to it. Two children having to fight against a evil witch in the woods because their parents are gone is darker than most fairy tales. This is why the story of Hansel and Gretel sticks with me more than the others.

  19. The short story I choose was Rumplestilskin, a story that I always heard of, but never actually read it. The story revolves around the daughter of millers’ attempt to avoid death by spinning straw into gold in order to appease the king. She did not lie about her ability to make straw into gold, her father did and threatened her to spin all of the straw in a room into gold in one night or he would kill her. With the assistance of a small man she accomplished this several times until the she became the queen of the kingdom. However each time the small man did this, the girl had to pay a price, from a necklace, to a ring, and finally, her first-born son. The queen manages to avoid this by guessing the small man’s name, Rumplestilskin, after which he gruesomely rips himself to pieces. This story oddly shows that deception is fine as long as you use your knowledge to circumvent the cost of your deception. Most stories have a moral that goes against lying and deception but this one is the opposite, which is what caused it to catch my eye.

  20. The Grimm tale that I enjoyed the most was the story of Little Red Cap (Red Riding Hood). This story stood out to me because I was familiar with the tale since I was a young child. Reading the Grimm Brother’s version of the story was eye opening, and gave me a more mature perspective on the tale of the young girl that is deceived by a wolf. It is this deception that is the moral of the tale, do not trust anyone that you just met. The wolf uses the ignorance of a gullible child in order to eat Little Red Cap and her grandmother. The wolf ultimately meets a gruesome end, and Little Red Cap and her grandmother are saved by a heroic huntsman. The story captivates an emotional fear with the threat of the wolf on the young Little Red Cap. This fear was used in order to cement the moral of the story into the readers. That there are people that are “wolves” and will appear to be harmless, but we must be able spot these people in order to protect ourselves from them. The story also fits into a fairy tale archetype with the element of the supernatural in the personification of the wolf. As well as Little Red Cap and her grandmother being saved after being eaten by the wolf.

  21. The fairy tale that I chose to read was Hansel and Gretel. This story is about to children who were abandoned in the woods by their parents. After being abandoned, they discover a house made of sweets which leads them to believe that god has answered all of their prayers. The story takes a dark turn, though, as it ends up being a witches house. The witch wanted to eat the children, but Hansel and Gretel were able to outsmart the witch and kill her. After killing the wicked witch, the two children find riches and bring them back to their father so they can live happily ever after. From reading this text, I was very surprised at how evil and dark this tale is. You have two children who are left in the woods by their own parents, and a child-eating witch all in the same tale, which isn’t seen at all in the modernized versions of any fairy tale. I would say the moral of this story is to stay away from strangers, as you never know what they are capable of, or what their true identity is. Although the tale may be very dark and evil, it still fits the idea of a fairy tale, as they protagonists live happily ever after.

    • I think the story of Hansel and Gretel is pretty interesting. You mentioned the moral of the story falling along the lines of not trusting strangers, but I would also like to prove another familiar life lesson. As the kids found the house, they decided it was okay to eat the treats. I believe another moral of the story is to not be greedy. These kids thought just because there was no one around, that it was alright to eat all of the food. Maybe if the kids realized that they shouldn’t of touched the food, they would never have been in harms way. Since the witch caught them in the act, their punishment was to endure their fate, luckily for them they got away.

  22. The fairytale I found to be the most interesting is the Rat-catcher or the Pied Piper. The story goes that a man in colorful clothes arrived in the town of Hameln, which was plagued with rats, and told the townspeople that he could rid Hameln of the rats for a certain fee. The townspeople agreed and with that the Rat-Catcher brought out his fife and began to play which drew out the rats, he then led the rats into a river where they all drowned. The people of Hameln refused to pay the full fee which infuriated the Rat-Catcher and he vowed to take his revenge. He then returned dressed as a huntsmen and played his fife to lure out the children of Hameln, he then led them away from town never to be seen again. Some translations say they drowned in the same river as the rats, others say he brought them to a cave, either way it was a horrible tragedy that ended in the loss of all the children in the town. This is probably the main reason why this fairy tale wasn’t as popular as for example Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, it couldn’t be a good children’s story if all the children are killed over a money feud. Many believe that in this story the Pied Piper represents a real plague that killed many people at the time. Before modern medicine diseases spread easily and brutally hundreds of years ago which could’ve lead to the creation of a story book character to lighten up the dismal outlook of disease.

  23. The Grimm Brothers’ Tales had always caught my interest for being bold and graphic in their writing style. However, the story I read, The Story of a Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear (http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm004.html), had a bit of a different feel to it. The story is of a child who is not at all smart and seems to lack all fear. After harming the town sexton, his father sends him away from town. On his travels, he learns of a haunted castle that will surely teach him fear. It also comes as a bonus that if he can manage to stay in the castle for three nights, the king will promise him the hand of his daughter in marriage. The boy manages to survive the three nights, with all different forms of ghosts and other horrors, something that no other man could accomplish. After surviving, he marries the kings daughter, but is still upset that he cannot shudder. So, his chambermaid comes up with the idea to throw water and minnows on him while he sleeps. This makes him shudder, speaking to a rather comical sense of irony. He faces some of the most terrifying creatures ever known to man, yet cannot fear them. Meanwhile, all it takes is a bucket of fish to make him scared. This will surely go down as one of my favorite Grimm Tales, as it’s a textbook example of irony in a story.

  24. My favorite Grimm Brother’s fairy tale was not on either of the lists we were sent but I still want to discuss it for this blog post. I find The Pink to be a fascinating tale not only because it is a good story, but also because it is very different but still similar to other Grimm Brother stories. A full version is available at

    What stood out to me the most during the story were the religious elements that are mixed in with the supernatural parts. In the story the woman prays to God for a child and is visited by angels who take the form of doves. The angels grant her wish and bestow upon the child the ability to grant any wish he wants. As we discussed in class, the biggest difference between fairy tales and myths was the presence of a deity. Most other fairy tales do not involve a god or gods or even angels. There is rarely divine intervention, and when there is any guidance given to a character is is usually done by an old witch or warlock. In the many other Grimm stories I have read, I have never seen another mention of religion.
    There aren’t many gruesome parts in this particular story, I think some of the worst are when the king locks his wife in a tower for seven years to starve to death. Then, when the prince wishes the cook to become a black poodle that is forced to eat hot coals until he breaths fire. And finally, when they return to the kingdom, the queen is released from her tower to die three days later, so the king orders the cook to be ripped into four pieces and is then so overcome by grief over his wife that he dies soon after that. None of these instances are spoken of in any great amount of detail and though they certainly are morbid, I would not call them gruesome.
    As for the moral of the story, I suppose you could learn from the queen to be careful what you wish for. Another value that could be learned from the cook of this story is to not be greedy.
    One bit that stood out to me after I read the story is that the king locked his wife in a tower to die because the cook told him that his wife had let the child be taken by wild animals. It made me think about why the king would believe a cook over his own wife, queen, and the mother of his only child. It made me think about the role of women in this time period.

  25. I did mine on Hansel and Gretel. Hansel and Gretel is a story about a family that did not have enough food to feed the entire family. So the mother was constantly trying to get rid of them by sending them out to the forest. What interest me the most were the parts of the tale, where the children would call out to god for help. In these cases the children were relying on something other than themselves. At the same time I was given a bit of humor considering one would think the witch would be able to outsmart the children, rather than the other way around. There is a hint of self absorption when it comes to this tale, with the mother. The mother rather then doing the “normal” thing and giving the food to the kids, she could care less about them. There is also “karma” involved with this tale. The mother tried to get the kids killed for her own benefit, but in the end the kids lived and she died. The father who gave the normal suggestion lived because he offered the idea of giving the kids food. Lastly the witch tried to eat the children, and tried to put the kids in a oven, where she ended up being tricked into getting in.

  26. The story that I chose to write about is “The Duration of Life” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. I chose this story because I think that over all it is one of the more true and believable stories that the brothers wrote. This story rings true because the easiest part of many peoples life is when they are living with their parents and just getting out of their house. this part of their life is easy because they do not have to worry about bills or putting food on the table. During the donkey stage we are hard at work and are not only being overworked but sometimes even verbally abused and pushed to the breaking point by our children.Then comes the dog stage. During the dog stage we are going through physical changes such as losing our teeth and we become more introverted. During the monkey stage we see that even back then they understood what Alzheimerz and dementia were. We are ridiculed by our friends and family for the things that we do not remember and no longer have the capacity to. I believe that the moral to this story is to appreciate the time that you have been blessed with and take advantage of it to the fullest.

  27. After reading some of the posts because I could not pick the one fairy tale I enjoy the most, I’m going to have to go with Cinderella. Cinderella was a huge part of my childhood, but only because of the magical attributes and the fact that she was a princess. Now that I can actually analyze this fairy tale I see how important the moral was and how interesting it is that it was made back. It is classified as a fairy tale to me because of the magic and mythical creatures and also the fact that there is a moral to the story. Cinderella has taught me that you don’t need to look better, or even be richer or more luxurious, we can all be better just by being ourselves, because that’s what people enjoy more, anyway.

  28. I am a huge Disney fan and love all princess tales, including: Rapunzel, Snow White, and Cinderella. However, the Grimm Brothers depict these characters that I and many others have come to know and love as much more dark and mysterious. Disney really cut out tons of interesting and entertaining parts of these fairy tales in order to make them appealing to children. The original fairy tales were made for adults and children during a time period where things like cutting off fingers and having your eyes poked out where commonly used to put a fear into people so that they followed good morals and learned life lessons through the tales. I chose to discuss the fairy tale Cinderella. Disney portrays Cinderella as a poor girl who is taunted by her “evil” stepmother and stepsisters. This is a common theme in most fairy tales. Cinderella has a fairy god mother and high morals which lead her to attending a ball and falling in love with the Prince. Her stepsisters desperately want this for themselves and in Disney’s portrayal that is shown simply through their mediocrity and deceitfulness. However, the Grimm brothers tale shows the same storyline but with the use of self-mutilation on the stepsisters part. When Cinderella’s Prince tries to find his princess by her lost shoe, the stepsisters cut their feet just so they will fit the in the shoe and steal the Prince away. In the end, the stepsisters get their eyes pecked out by Doves (which are normally seen as a good symbol) for being the terrible people they are. Cinderella does get the prince in both versions of the story,however, the Grimm’s tale is more gruesome. The tale of Cinderella teaches the morals of patience and truthfulness.

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