Fables & Tales

The Beam Bearskin The Blue Light The Brave Little Tailor The Bremen Town Musicians Brother and Sister Brother Lustig Cinderella Clever Grethel Clever Hans The Crystal Ball The Death of the Little Hen The Devil's Sooty Brother The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs The Dog and the Sparrow The Duration of Life The Ear of Corn The Elves Eve's Various Children Faithful John The Fisherman and His Wife The Fox and the Geese The Frog-King, or Iron Henry The Girl Without Hands The Glass Coffin The Godfather The Golden Goose The Good Bargain The Grave-Mound The Griffin Hansel and Grethel Hans in Luck Hans Married The Hare and the Hedgehog The Hare's Bride The Hut in the Forest Iron John The Iron Stove The Juniper-Tree King Thrushbeard The Lazy Spinner Little Briar-Rose Little Red-Cap [Little Red Riding Hood] Little Snow-white Maid Maleen The Moon The Nail Old Hildebrand Old Rinkrank Old Sultan Our Lady's Child The Peasant and the Devil The Poor Boy in the Grave The Poor Man and the Rich Man The Queen Bee Rapunzel The Raven The Riddle The Robber Bridegroom Rumpelstiltskin The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces The Singing Bone The Six Swans The Spindle, The Shuttle, and the Needle The Spirit in the Bottle St. Joseph in the Forest Sweetheart Roland Sweet Porridge The Thief and His Master The Three Brothers The Three Little Men in the Wood The Three Spinners Thumbling The Twelve Brothers The Twelve Huntsmen The Water of Life The White Snake The Wolf and the Man The Wonderful Musician The Young Giant

The Grimm Brothers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Brothers Grimm (Gebrüder Grimm) are Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, German professors best known for publishing collections of authentic folk tales and fairy tales.


Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm and Wilhem Karl Grimm were born in 1785 and 1786, respectively, in Hanau near Frankfurt. They were educated at the Friedrichs-Gymnasium in Kassel and later both read law at the University of Marburg. In 1830, they formed a household in Göttingen where they were to become professors.

In 1837, the Brothers Grimm joined five of their colleague professors at the University of Göttingen to protest against the abolition of the liberal constitution of the state of Hanover by King Ernest Augustus I of Hanover. This group came to be known in Germany as Die Göttinger Sieben (The Göttingen Seven). Invoking their right to resist on reasons of natural and constitutional justice, they protested against the King´s hubris to abrogate the constitution. For this, all professors were fired from their university posts and some even deported. Though politically divided by borders of duchies and kingdoms at that time, public opinion and academia in German realms almost unanimously supported the Grimms and their colleagues against the monarch.

Wilhelm died in 1858; his elder brother Jacob died in 1863. They are buried in the St Matthäus Kirchhof Cemetery in Schöneberg, compass of Berlin. The Grimms helped foment a nationwide democratic public opinion in Germany and are cherished as the progenitors of the German democratic movement, whose revolution of 1848/1849 was crushed brutally by the Kingdom of Prussia, where there was established a constitutional monarchy.

Collections of fairy tales

In 1812, the brothers published a collection of authentic German fairy tales they had gathered in a volume titled Kinder- und Hausmärchen ("Children's and Household Tales"). They published a second volume in 1814 ("1815" on the title page), as well as many further editions during their lifetimes.

Later editions

Along with the original German works, many originally French tales entered the Brothers Grimm collection through a Huguenot tale-teller that the Grimms used as one of their main sources. English translations of the 7th edition (1857) remain popular, and they exist now predominantly as highly expurgated and saccharine versions intended for children, even though the folk tales that the Grimms had collected had not been previously considered stories for children. Witches, goblins, trolls and wolves prowl the dark forests of the Grimms' ancient villages, as well as the deeper psyche of the city-life of this time. However the Grimms often rewrote the stories to suit what was considered appropriate for the time, especially when the folk tales often could be quite sexually explicit.

Modern analysis

Modern psychologists and cultural anthropologists theorize that the stories that are often read to children at bed-time in the West are actually representations of emotional angst, fear of abandonment, parental abuse, and/or sexual development. The child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim in his book The Uses of Enchantment believes the familiar Grimms' fairy tales to be Freudian myths. A modern editor of the Brothers Grimm and interpreter of the fairy tales tradition is Jack Zipes. The most prolific writer on Grimm's fairy tales in Germany today is Eugen Drewermann who has interpreted more than twenty of the tales psychologically as stories that speak about various struggles on our way to become and to be fully human.


In the very early 19th century, the time in which the Brothers Grimm lived, the Holy Roman Empire had just met its fate, and Germany as we know it today did not yet exist; it was basically an area of hundreds of principalities and small or mid-sized countries. The major unifying factor for the German people of the time was a common language. There was as yet no significant German literary history. So part of what motivated the brothers in their writings and in their lives was the desire to help create a German identity.

Less well known to the general public outside Germany is the Brothers Grimm's work on a German dictionary, the Deutsches Wörterbuch. Indeed, the Deutsches Wörterbuch was the first major step in creating a standardized "modern" German language since Martin Luther's translation of the Bible from Latin to German. Being very extensive (33 volumes, weighing 84 kg) it is still considered the standard reference for German etymology.

The brother Jacob is recognized for enunciating Grimm's law, Germanic Sound Shift, that was first observed by the Danish philologist Rasmus Christian Rask. Grimm's law was the first non-trivial systematic sound change ever to be discovered.

Wikipedia's Grimm Brothers Page