200 Years (and a day) of Grimm’s Fairytales

I rather sillily forgot to write about the Brothers Grimm yesterday, which was actually the anniversary of their wonderful Fairytales. But what’s a day in terms of a few centuries? This does however seem a little more remiss of me when you put it into the context that I am actually currently devouring Philip Pullman’s ‘Grimm Tales’, which is not his re-workings of the tales that the brothers brought to us, only updated into current English and returning as much as possible to the tales original states. Anyway I thought I would talk about that a little and also the legacy and effect that I think the Brothers Grimm have had on literature, as isn’t every story really at its heart a fairy tale, even if it doesn’t have magic in it – the magic is the storytelling itself.

Grimm Tales

One of the joys of reading the Pullman stories, which I will review in more detail before Christmas, is reading the ones that I love (like ‘Rapunzel’, we all know the story of how I named my pet duck after her when I was four don’t we?) and also discovering the ones that I really hadn’t heard of before, and indeed where they come from. Gems like ‘The Cat and the Mouse Set Up House’, ‘The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage’, ‘The Robber Bridegroom’ and ‘The Donkey Cabbage’, which have all made me want to get my hands on the originals. I do have them somewhere in the house (though we are in chaos getting new carpets, pre-Christmas was bad timing) so I will have to dig them out.

The other thing that this anniversary has also done is made me want to go back to the, edited and diluted (and not quite as dark as the grown up ones are), ones that I read when I was a child. I have dusted them all off in the hope that The Beard might read them to me over the next few nights.

Ladybird Collection

So what are your thoughts on the Grimms tales? Do you have any favourites? Do you think that deep down, even without the magic, that every story is really a fairy tale in its own way?



Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

17 responses to “200 Years (and a day) of Grimm’s Fairytales

  1. I have had my eye on Pullman’s edition for a while now. It was on my Sinterklaas (sort-of Dutch Christmas gift celebration early in December) list, but unfortunately I didn’t receive it. Oh well, I guess I will do some shopping later this December 😉

    It’s interesting to see the older versions of fairytales. I had quite a few bound ones that came with casette tapes on which the stories were told and listened to them in the car when going on holiday to France as a child. Strangely, I mostly remember how the more scary parts made me dislike listening to the tapes because they made me feel uncomfortable.

    • I love the sound of a Sinterklaas, that’s such a beautiful sounding word, well in my head it is.

      I would wait till the sales, I don’t know if it is the same for you but here hardbacks suddenly drop in price massively!

  2. Oh my goodness, Simon!!! You brought me back to first grade and the library! And that was in 1973 or so! I don’t remember reading them, but I loved the covers. “The Beauty and the Beast” was my favorite. Thanks for the blast from the past! 🙂

    • A pleasure, I love these editions so much. I inherited them from my mother and aunties when I was born in the early 80s and so they are the covers and stories I read, if only I still had Rapunzel 😦

  3. Those original ladybird books go for a fortune now, I was looking for some because I really hate the ones with the modern cartoon style pictures. I used to have a whole set that I read to my children for years.

    • I wouldn’t part with these ones for a fortune, that said they are really battered so probably aren’t worth anything to anyone else – the world to me though. The new ones are vile. No holding back there.

  4. Those ladybird books – memories

  5. Col

    I remember starting as a primary teacher and inheriting loads of those ladybird versions in my class library! As for favourite Grimm tale it would be the Frog Prince. Years later Peter Gabriel turned it into a song – it had a line in the chorus “Kiss this frog – you will get your prince!” I tried it on girls as a chat up line for a few weeks – it didn’t work!!!!!!

    • Those are the best editions. I need to start collecting the ones I don’t have. I have no idea what happened to my Snow White and the Seven Dwarves or Rapunzel. I bet they cost a fortune now 😦

      I had forgotten about the Frog Prince until, as it was the opening tale, I read it in Pullmans book, its a nice story that one.

  6. I really want to read this book, can’t wait to get hold of it. Apparently there’s a Grimm thing on Radio 4 at some point, will have to check that out too.

  7. Laura Caldwell

    I bought this book for my 21 year-old daughter for Christmas. She has always loved fairy tales. I may buy her “Some Kind of Fairy Tale” for her birthday in April. I think she would like it, I know that I did.

  8. I think most story telling is from an oral tradition and yes lots great books based on that style of story telling Sjon is a favourite of mine that has that feel ,all the best stu

  9. Pingback: Grimm Tales : For Young and Old by Philip Pullman « JoV's Book Pyramid

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