New Fairy Tales Discovered!

Title page of old Grimms Fairy Stories bookThis is very exciting news, to me: Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany. Even just reading the headline, I thought, “Ooooh, like the Grimm brothers!” And then, reading farther along, I discovered that Franz Xaver von Schonwerth had made his collection at around the same time as the Grimms did.

Which means that, whatever that article says about the Grimms’ fairy tales “charming children,” these tales are likely quite dark. Most of the Grimms’ tales were pretty dark too, before they were sanitized and often turned into sentimental pap in more recent generations. (There was not¬†always a happy ending, I can tell you that.)

Here’s one of the early translations of the tales that were found: The Turnip Princess. It’s a bit confusing, but that’s the thing about the real thing: fairy tales, the real original ones, are indeed a little dark and confusing. They’re like dreams, a society working out the great subconscious matters. They are not neat and tidy. But they can be and are very profound, nonetheless.

I hope these are published in English translations at some point! I am also very amused that there’s a version of Cinderella¬†in this collection. What does that make now — 366 separate versions?

[And looking for the image of the Grimms book, I discovered this wonderful site and a discourse on the Grimm brothers’ work: Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Looks like a great read!]

    4 comments

    1. Shakespeare says:

      How wonderful! I certainly hope it isn’t a hoax. I love the darkness of the tales… it makes sense, given the darkness in the world, which the tales need to capture, too.

      Perfect for me right now, too, given my addiction to the series “GRIMM.” I haven’t missed an episode.

      • Phyl says:

        I like “Grimm,” though I haven’t gotten a chance to watch it in recent weeks. But I love “Once Upon a Time” even more. Have you seen it? If I had to choose between the two, I’d have to pick OUaT. Though I’m thrilled that there seems to be a trend of trying to put fairy tales seriously into modern plots lately.

    2. Why is it we can’t write more NOW? I mean, I did, but I don’t understand why more people aren’t writing them.

      Fairy tales ROCK!

      • Phyl says:

        Totally agree! I love them. (I love the whole spectrum of fairy tales, legends, myths, and general folklore.)

        My view is that fairy tales and myths don’t actually get “written,” in the sense of, “I’m going to sit down and write a fairy tale now.” (Though I imagine there are always exceptions to that.) I see them as accumulations of ideas through history, that gradually become common knowledge and begin to maintain some structure, until finally someone writes down a local version. So you get the “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” which I suspect were a series of existing legends finally put into concrete form by Homer. Or you have 365 different versions of the Cinderella story, with many common elements but also with differences that occur in different local tellings.

        So — all that longwindedness means that I think fairy tales are being written now. We’ve got memes and little tales floating through society, and maybe 100-200 years from now, someone will write them down, and they’ll become the versions of those stories.

        My question would be what we’re writing down now that is the “final form” of proto-fairy tales that have been growing over the last 200 years.

        Does that make sense to you?

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