Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Brothers Grimm

I can't believe how many tales the Grimm Brothers collected in their native Germany. Did you know that there are a total of 211 tales in the complete collection? They collected stories in a section of Germany now known as Fairy Tale Road. It goes from Hanau in south central Germany all the way to Bremen in northern Germany. There is a good website that shows the road and stops along the way, complete with pictures of the split timber houses popular in that area, and pictures of Sleeping Beauty's castle and Rapunzel's tower.

I've been reading quite a few of the tales in their original form in the collection. Some of them are a little darker than their Disney counterparts, but I've been amazed at the truth hidden within them. In Snow White, the evil queen finds out from her mirror that Snow White is fairer than she and this is how she is described;

This gave the queen a great shock, and she became yellow and green with envy, and from that hour her heart turned against Snow White, and she hated her. And envy and pride like ill weeds grew in her heart higher every day, until she had no peace day or night...

I was struck as I read that with how hatred grew in her heart. The truth that our actions reflect the condition of our heart is big as life in this story.

Last week I read Mother Hulda, a lesser know tale to 3 precious little girls. It has the classic step mother who loves her child but mistreats her step child. In the story, the hard working and kind step child is rewarded by another character (Mother Hulda) and the lazy child ends up being covered in sticky tar. As the story closed, one of the girls said to me, rather emphatically, "What that girl needs is a bath and some lovin'!" and her sister added, "Yeah, and mommy's should love all their kids the same!"

Wow! Out of the mouths of babes! I wasn't expecting so much truth out of these old tales. I can hardly wait to read another and see what other nuggets of truth I can find.

Thanks for sharing your kids with me. They are truly amazing people!

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