Saturday, September 14, 2013

500 Lost Fairy Tales Found!

500 Lost Fairy Tales Found!

Early last month it was reported that 500 fairy tales collected in the around 1840-1860 by Franz Xaver von Schönwerthand, a contemporary of the Bother’s Grimm. He, like the Grimm Brothers traveled around Germany collecting stories that village grannies told the children. In fact there is some evidence he knew the Grimm Brothers.

The stories were published in 3 volumes in 1857, 1858 and 1859. It seems that these books did not gather much more than dust and were locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany where they remained forgotten until found about 150 years later in 2010 or 2011.

So why would this tickle the heart of your Pranking Pixie? I think Fairy Tales hold an important part in all human culture. Fairy Tales are the perfect tool to teach children lessons both moral and cautionary. Little Red don’t be fooled by the Big Bad Wolf! Lion don’t eat the little mouse, he may help you! Mouse you should help the lion he may save you. (Aesop’s Fable) Don’t be like the lazy barnyard animals that refused to help the industrious Little Red Hen, instead help her so you can share in the bounty! Now, I could go on but I’ll stop. You get the idea.

I am hoping Disney will get ahold of a few of these stories and work their magic upon them. From what little I’ve heard some of them are, well to put it bluntly Grimm and need the Disney Treatment.

Do you know where our current usage of the term “Grimm” came from? It was from the “children’s” stories the Brothers Grimm gathered. I know of some adults that complain about how Disney “sanitized” the tales but I honestly don’t know any current day sane parent that would tell the stories to their young child as they were originally written.

In the original Red Riding Hood Grandma was eaten by the wolf and the hunter cut her out of his belly with an axe. Cinderella’s step sisters cut off their toes and heals in a vain attempt to make their feel fit into Cinderella’s glass slipper. In yet another tale there was a peasant girl that lied and tricked the prince into believing she was a princess. Once they married she was wicked and had those around her punished for the slightest misdoing. Eventually her lies came to light and the prince asked her what should be done to someone that lied to royalty. She said they should be put into a giant metal ball with spikes pointing in and that ball should be dragged behind two running horses. So the prince had it done to her.

I’ll be honest I like the Disney versions of the famous fairy tales instead of the cruel ones. I believe a child can learn the lessons of wisdom in choice of friends, the danger and futility of jealousy and the rewards of kindness and humility, along with the disastrous results of lying without the cruelty and violence of the original tales. Adults are reminded of the lessons as well when we read the tales. Who can’t read Aesop’s The Grasshopper and the Ants and not realize hard work pays off laziness leads to ruin?

I believe the world needs more fairy tales and I’m glad these have been found and I look forward to when they are more widely available in English. For now I’ve read one of the tales and found it interesting.

Here is a link to the Turnip Princess and the first article I read about these stories being found.

Here is a link to another newspaper article I found on this find.

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