Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales - Written by The Brothers Grimm, Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859), are  best known for their collection of fairy tales. Born in Hanau, Germany, the brothers grew up with a strong interest in folklore and linguistics, which would later shape their careers and lives.


The Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm, were German scholars, linguists, and authors, primarily known for their collection of fairy tales. They were born in Hanau, Germany, and grew up in a close-knit family. Their father, a lawyer, died when they were young, leaving the family in financial difficulties.

Despite their hardships, both brothers received a good education and went on to study law at the University of Marburg. It was here that they became interested in German folklore and linguistics, influenced by their professor Friedrich Carl von Savigny and the burgeoning Romantic movement in literature.

They began collecting folktales, initially as a hobby, and eventually published their first volume of "Kinder- und Hausmärchen" (Children's and Household Tales) in 1812. This compilation of over 200 stories gathered from oral tradition, friends, acquaintances, and other sources would later become known as "Grimm's Fairy Tales". This book and the stories in it, would make them famous world-wide.

Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

Brothers Grimm 2

Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales tales are known for their themes of morality, hardship, and the eventual triumph of good over evil. The brothers continued to revise and expand the collection throughout their lives. They gathered these stories through oral tradition, interviewing friends and acquaintances, and conducting extensive research. The collection, which is now commonly known as "Grimm's Fairy Tales," includes well-known stories such as "Cinderella," "Snow White," "Rapunzel," "Hansel and Gretel," "Rumpelstiltskin," and "Little Red Riding Hood."

Here are some of the most well-known Brothers Grimm fairy tales:

  1. Cinderella: Cinderella is mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters. With the help of her fairy godmother, she attends a royal ball but must leave at midnight, losing her glass slipper. The prince finds and marries her after determining that she is the only one whose foot fits the slipper.
  2. Snow White: Snow White's evil stepmother, the queen, orders her death out of jealousy. The huntsman spares her life, and she finds refuge with seven dwarfs. The queen tries to kill her three times but fails. Eventually, a prince revives Snow White with a kiss and marries her, while the evil queen faces her demise.
  3. Rapunzel: A couple promises their unborn child to a sorceress in exchange for a rapunzel plant. The sorceress raises the child, Rapunzel, in a tower accessible only by climbing her long hair. A prince discovers and falls in love with her, but the sorceress discovers them and separates them. They are ultimately reunited, and the spell is broken.
  4. Hansel and Gretel: A brother and sister are abandoned in the forest by their parents. They find a house made of candy and gingerbread, inhabited by a witch who wants to eat them. They outwit the witch, push her into her oven, and return home with her treasures.
  5. Rumpelstiltskin: A miller lies to the king, claiming his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king demands she do so, and Rumpelstiltskin, a magical imp, helps her in exchange for her firstborn child. When the imp returns to collect, the queen can keep her child if she guesses his name. She learns his name, Rumpelstiltskin, and he becomes so furious that he tears himself apart.
  6. Little Red Riding Hood: A young girl, Little Red Riding Hood, visits her grandmother, but a wolf reaches the grandmother's house first, eats her, and then disguises himself as her. When Little Red Riding Hood arrives, the wolf tries to eat her too, but a huntsman intervenes, killing the wolf and rescuing both the girl and her grandmother.
  7. The Frog Prince: A princess drops her golden ball into a pond, and a frog offers to retrieve it if she promises to let him live with her. She agrees, and the frog retrieves the ball. When he follows her home, she initially refuses to keep her promise but eventually relents. By kissing the frog, she breaks the spell that had turned him into a frog, and he becomes a prince.
  8. The Twelve Dancing Princesses: Twelve princesses sneak out each night to dance at an underground ball with twelve princes. Their father, the king, offers a reward for anyone who can solve the mystery of their worn-out shoes. A soldier uncovers their secret and marries the eldest princess.
  9. Sleeping Beauty (Briar Rose): A princess is cursed to prick her finger on a spindle and sleep for 100 years. When she turns 15, the curse comes true. A prince eventually finds and kisses her, awakening her and everyone in the castle. They marry and live happily ever after.
  10. The Goose Girl: A princess, sent to marry a distant prince, is betrayed by her maid who takes her place. The real princess becomes a goose girl, but eventually, her true identity is revealed. The false bride is punished, and the princess marries the prince.

More About The Brothers Grimm Fairytales

The Grimm Brothers' work was instrumental in preserving and documenting the rich heritage of German folklore. Their tales have since been translated into numerous languages and adapted into various forms of media, including plays, films, and television shows. 

Apart from their work on fairy tales, the Brothers Grimm were also prolific scholars, contributing to the fields of linguistics, philology, and folklore. They played a significant role in developing the German Dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch), which aimed to document the entire German language.

Throughout their careers, the Brothers Grimm held various academic positions. They worked at the University of Göttingen and later at the University of Berlin. Their work in folklore, linguistics, and literature would eventually influence many fields, including anthropology, comparative literature, and cultural history.

The Brothers Grimm's fairy tales have become an integral part of Western culture, capturing the imagination of generations of readers and inspiring countless adaptations in various media. Their dedication to preserving and documenting German folklore and language has left a lasting impact on the world.

More about Brothers Grimm Fairytales