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December 20 1812: Grimm's Fairy Tales Published



On December 20, 1812, "Kinder-und Hausmärchen" or "Children's and Household Tales"  is first published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The collection would later be known in English as Grimm's Fairy Tales. There were 86 stories in the first volume of the 1812 edition. Eventually, the seventh edition would have 211 stories. The Grimm Brothers would introduce into world literature such characters as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, the Frog King and many others.



The Grimm Brothers viewed their first collection as a scholarly attempt to preserve the stories of oral traditions that were disappearing. Over the years, this essentially scholarly undertaking gave way to reshaping the stories as they became more and more popular. They sometimes embellished the stories and added more palatable details. In the end, they could only disguise, but not eliminate, the violence that gives many of the stories their power.  

What follows are excerpts from some of the stories included in that first edition.


Little Red Riding Hood
by Brothers Grimm
From Grimm's Fairy Tales
“But, grandmother, what a terrible large mouth you have!” “The better to devour you!” And no sooner had the wolf said it than he made one bound from the bed, and swallowed up poor Little Red Riding Hood.
Then the wolf, having satisfied his hunger, lay down again in the bed, went to sleep, and began to snore loudly. The huntsman heard him as he was passing by the house, and thought, “How the old woman snores- I had better see if there is anything the matter with her.” Then he went into the room, and walked up to the bed, and saw the wolf lying there. “At last I find you, you old sinner!” said he; “I have been looking for you a long time.” And he made up his mind that the wolf had swallowed the grandmother whole, and that she might yet be saved. So he did not fire, but took a pair of shears and began to slit up the wolfs body. When he made a few snips Little Red Riding Hood appeared, and after a few more snips she jumped out and cried, “Oh dear, how frightened I have been! It is so dark inside the wolf.” And then out came the old grandmother, still living and breathing. But Little Red Riding Hood went and quickly fetched some large stones, with which she filled the wolf’s body, so that when he waked up, and was going to rush away, the stones were so heavy that he sank down and fell dead.
Cinderella
by Brothers Grimm
From Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Next morning, he went with it to the father, and said to him, "No one shall be my wife but she whose foot this golden slipper fits." Then were the two sisters glad, for they had pretty feet. The eldest went with the shoe into her room and wanted to try it on, and her mother stood by. But she could not get her big toe into it, and the shoe was too small for her. Then her mother gave her a knife and said, "Cut the toe off; when thou art Queen thou wilt have no more need to go on foot." The maiden cut the toe off, forced the foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the King's son. Then he took her on his his horse as his bride and rode away with her. They were, however, obliged to pass the grave, and there, on the hazel-tree, sat the two pigeons and cried,
"Turn and peep, turn and peep,There's blood within the shoe,The shoe it is too small for her,The true bride waits for you."
Then he looked at her foot and saw how the blood was streaming from it. He turned his horse round and took the false bride home again, and said she was not the true one, and that the other sister was to put the shoe on. Then this one went into her chamber and got her toes safely into the shoe, but her heel was too large. So her mother gave her a knife and said, "Cut a bit off thy heel; when thou art Queen thou wilt have no more need to go on foot." The maiden cut a bit off her heel, forced her foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the King's son. He took her on his horse as his bride, and rode away with her, but when they passed by the hazel-tree, two little pigeons sat on it and cried,
"Turn and peep, turn and peep,There's blood within the shoeThe shoe it is too small for her,The true bride waits for you."
He looked down at her foot and saw how the blood was running out of her shoe, and how it had stained her white stocking. Then he turned his horse and took the false bride home again. "This also is not the right one," said he, "have you no other daughter?" "No," said the man, "There is still a little stunted kitchen-wench which my late wife left behind her, but she cannot possibly be the bride." The King's son said he was to send her up to him; but the mother answered, "Oh, no, she is much too dirty, she cannot show herself!" He absolutely insisted on it, and Cinderella had to be called. She first washed her hands and face clean, and then went and bowed down before the King's son, who gave her the golden shoe. Then she seated herself on a stool, drew her foot out of the heavy wooden shoe, and put it into the slipper, which fitted like a glove. And when she rose up and the King's son looked at her face he recognized the beautiful maiden who had danced with him and cried, "That is the true bride!" The step-mother and the two sisters were terrified and became pale with rage; he, however, took Cinderella on his horse and rode away with her. As they passed by the hazel-tree, the two white doves cried --
"Turn and peep, turn and peep,No blood is in the shoe,The shoe is not too small for her,The true bride rides with you," and when they had cried that, the two came flying down and placed themselves on Cinderella's shoulders, one on the right, the other on the left, and remained sitting there.
When the wedding with the King's son had to be celebrated, the two false sisters came and wanted to get into favour with Cinderella and share her good fortune. When the betrothed couple went to church, the elder was at the right side and the younger at the left, and the pigeons pecked out one eye of each of them. Afterwards as they came back, the elder was at the left, and the younger at the right, and then the pigeons pecked out the other eye of each. And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness as long as they lived.
by Brothers Grimm
From Grimm's Fairy Tales.
[Briar Rose] pricked her finger with the spindle and immediately fell into a deep sleep. The king and his retinue had just returned and they too, along with the flies on the wall and everything else in the castle, fell asleep. All around the castle grew a hedge of thorns, concealing everything from sight...
Princes, who had heard about the beautiful Brier-Rose, came and tried to free her, but they could not penetrate the hedge. It was as if the thorns were firmly attached to hands. The princes became stuck in them, and they died miserably. And thus it continued for many long years.
Then one day a prince was traveling through the land. An old man told him about the belief that there was a castle behind the thorn hedge, with a wonderfully beautiful princess asleep inside with all of her attendants. His grandfather had told him that many princes had tried to penetrate the hedge, but that they had gotten stuck in the thorns and had been pricked to death.
"I'm not afraid of that," said the prince. "I shall penetrate the hedge and free the beautiful Brier-Rose."
He went forth, but when he came to the thorn hedge, it turned into flowers. They separated, and he walked through, but after he passed, they turned back into thorns. He went into the castle. Horses and colorful hunting dogs were asleep in the courtyard. Pigeons, with their little heads stuck under they wings, were sitting on the roof. As he walked inside, the flies on the wall, the fire in the kitchen, the cook and the maid were all asleep. He walked further. All the attendants were asleep; and still further, the king and the queen. It was so quiet that he could hear his own breath.
Finally he came to the old tower where Brier-Rose was lying asleep. The prince was so amazed at her beauty that he bent over and kissed her. At that moment she awoke, and with her the king and the queen, and all the attendants, and the horses and the dogs, and the pigeons on the roof, and the flies on the walls. The fire stood up and flickered, and then finished cooking the food. The roast sizzled away. The cook boxed the kitchen boy's ears. And the maid finished plucking the chicken. Then the prince and Brier-Rose got married, and they lived long and happily until they died. 
Rapunzel 
by Brothers Grimm
From Grimm's Fairy Tales.
At first Rapunzel was frightened, but soon she came to like the young king so well that she arranged for him to come every day and be pulled up. Thus they lived in joy and pleasure for a long time.
The fairy did not discover what was happening until one day Rapunzel said to her, "Frau Gothel, tell me why it is that my clothes are all too tight. They no longer fit me." "You godless child," said the fairy. "What am I hearing from you?" She immediately saw how she had been deceived and was terribly angry. She took Rapunzel's beautiful hair, wrapped it a few times around her left hand, grasped a pair of scissors with her right hand, and snip snip, cut it off. Then she sent Rapunzel into a wilderness where she suffered greatly and where, after a time, she gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl.
Juniper Tree
by Brothers Grimm
From Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Well, give him a slap, the mother says. Marlene does so, and the boy’s head falls off. “What a dreadful thing you’ve done. But don’t breathe a word,” the stepmother says. “We’ll cook him up in a stew.” Then the husband comes home and she serves him the stew. He loves it. “No one else can have any of it,” he says. “Somehow I feel as if it’s all for me.” 
The Fox and the Cat
by Brothers Grimm
From Grimm's Fairy Tales.
It happened that the cat met the fox in a forest, and as she thought to herself: 'He is clever and full of experience, and much esteemed in the world,' she spoke to him in a friendly way. 'Good day, dear Mr Fox, how are you? How is all with you? How are you getting on in these hard times?' The fox, full of all kinds of arrogance, looked at the cat from head to foot, and for a long time did not know whether he would give any answer or not. At last he said: 'Oh, you wretched beard-cleaner, you piebald fool, you hungry mouse-hunter, what can you be thinking of? Have you the cheek to ask how I am getting on? What have you learnt? How many arts do you understand?' 'I understand but one,' replied the cat, modestly. 'What art is that?' asked the fox. 'When the hounds are following me, I can spring into a tree and save myself.' 'Is that all?' said the fox. 'I am master of a hundred arts, and have into the bargain a sackful of cunning. You make me sorry for you; come with me, I will teach you how people get away from the hounds.' Just then came a hunter with four dogs. The cat sprang nimbly up a tree, and sat down at the top of it, where the branches and foliage quite concealed her. 'Open your sack, Mr Fox, open your sack,' cried the cat to him, but the dogs had already seized him, and were holding him fast. 'Ah, Mr Fox,' cried the cat. 'You with your hundred arts are left in the lurch! Had you been able to climb like me, you would not have lost your life.'
The Stubborn Child 
by Brothers Grimm
From Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Once upon a time there was a stubborn child who never did what his mother told him to do. The dear Lord, therefore, did not look kindly upon him, and let him become sick. No doctor could cure him and in a short time he lay on his deathbed. After he was lowered into his grave and covered over with earth, one of his little arms suddenly emerged and reached up into the air. They pushed it back down and covered the earth with fresh earth, but that did not help. The little arm kept popping out. So the child’s mother had to go to the grave herself and smack the little arm with a switch. After she had done that, the arm withdrew, and then, for the first time, the child had peace beneath the earth.









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