Feb 7, 2009

[The 'Original' Fairy Tales]

BBC's 'In Our Time' podcast has recently done a show talking about The Brothers Grimm and how fairy tales originally were told, before Disney and modern culture sterilized the 'grim' out of them:

"Cinderella does not have a Fairy Godmother, Sleeping Beauty does not have an evil stepmother, Rapunzel is pregnant and Frog Princes do not get kissed but thrown against walls.

This is the world of the Brothers Grimm – two German siblings who in 1812 published a collection of fairy tales including Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin and Rapunzel. They may not be the fairy tales as we know them, but without the Brothers Grimm we might not know them at all.

But why did two respectable German linguists go chasing after fairy stories, what do the stories tell us about German culture and nationalism at the time and why do these ever-evolving tales of horror, wonder and fantasy continue to hold us in thrall?"

Check it out. =)


Anonymous said...

What these shows tends to gloss over is the fact the the Grimm brothers themselves sterilized the traditional folk tales they recorded, adding happy endings and destroying much of the original instructional intent of the folklore.

Purple Butterflies said...

So the Grimm Brothers already spruced up the fairy tales, huh. That's news to me. But Pai is right, most of these stories were passed on from one generation to the next by mouth. Thanks to the Grimms we still have them as an example of the time. I always wonder where the stories really started. So many times legends and tales have a kernel of truth around which they grew.

DW Golden
Soar with Fairies in a new young adult novel: Purple Butterflies