Fairy Tales From The Brothers Grimm – Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm
This is a beautiful treasury of some of the most famous stories of the Brothers Grimm, reproduced in their original form. Among many others, the stories include: “The Travelling Musicians,” “The Golden Bird,” “Tom Thumb,” “Snow-Drop,” “The Frog-Prince,” and “Ashputtel.”
Review: I was familiar with the modern adaptations of these classic fairytales, but I’d never read the originals in all their gory glory. I loved the majority of these stories. They’re weird and morally ambiguous. A lot of them end with “They all lived happily ever after, until they died.” The Brothers Grimm are like the 1800s version of Internet trolls. “You like these characters? Well, they’re all dead or miserable now. LOL. U mad?”
Fairytales are interesting because you get to see the values of the societies that created them. Many of the tales in this collection have similar themes. The stories teach kindness, hard work, patience, charity, and quick thinking. They do their teaching in disturbing ways, though. Bad guys tend to suffer horrific deaths.
I assume that most people are familiar with the fairytales in this collection (such as “The Frog-Prince,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Snow White,” and “Ashputtel”/Cinderella), so I won’t bother summarizing them. Disney already did that for me. Instead, I’ll tell you what I learned from The Brothers Grimm.
- Selling your children is almost always a bad idea. Murdering your children also tends to create more problems than it solves.
- Being a beautiful princess sucks. Your parents devise a bunch of crazy tests for your suiters and then force you to marry whichever suiter doesn’t die. You get no say in this murder/marriage process.
- Be nice to frogs.
- Don’t trust crows, but be sure to eavesdrop on their conversations. Ditto ravens.
- It’s great to be the youngest child. Your older siblings are selfish and stupid, so you just have to wait for them to get themselves killed. Then you’ll get all the inheritance. And maybe one of those beautiful princesses.
- Avoid ugly old women. They’re all witches. Or cannibalistic witches.
- Men can’t always tell the difference between beautiful princesses and cannibalistic witches.
- For the love of God, remember to invite all the fairies to your birthday party. If you don’t, there will be hell to pay.
“He who helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterwards be despised by you.” - Fairy Tales From The Brothers Grimm
“He who is too well off is always longing for something new.” - Fairy Tales From The Brothers Grimm
My favorite stories are “The Fisherman and His Wife” and “The Mouse, The Bird and The Sausage.” In “The Fisherman and His Wife,” a man finds a magic fish, and his wife takes advantage of the fish’s kindness. In “The Mouse, The Bird and The Sausage,” one of the main characters is a sausage. A sausage who likes to cook. What’s not to love about that?
If you haven’t read these stories, I’d recommend them. They’re short and entertaining. They may also deepen your understanding of modern literature. It’s amazing how often authors allude to fairytales.