There was once upon a time two brothers named Jacob and Wilhelm. When Jacob was only eleven years old, and his brother Wilhelm was ten, their father died and the family was left with no money. Jacob and Wilhelm had to take care of their mother and their little sister and brothers. The two brothers asked their grandfather and their aunt for help. The aunt sent them to a famous school, the Friedrichsgymnasium in Kassel, and their grandfather told them to be “industrious.”
But the two brothers were still very poor and all the “high-born” students at the school looked down on them. Poor Jacob and Wilhelm were very unhappy but they were industrious and studied very hard.
After they graduated, the two brothers wanted to go to the University of Marburg to study law. Now the University did not allow such poor people to attend, but Jacob and Wilhelm were very industrious and got a special dispensation and so were able to attend the University. They were still very poor but they were industrious and studied very hard.
Now there was a law professor at the University named Friedrich von Savigny. The Professor very much wanted to see all the 200 principalities of Germany united into a single nation. The Professor took an interest in the two poor brothers and he took Jacob to Paris with him as a research assistant.
But when Jacob returned to Marburg, he discovered that his family was become even poorer and had very little food to eat. Jacob and Wilhelm had to leave the University and find jobs to support their family. But then their mother died and Jacob had to look after all his siblings. Eventually the two brothers became librarians in Kassel.
Now the Professor had not forgotten the two poor brothers. The Professor and a friend asked the brothers to collect German fairy tales. Jacob and Wilhelm agreed because they agreed with the Professor and his friends that the world around them was changing so much that all the old tales might one day be lost.
|Original illustrator Philipp Grot Johann
And so the two brothers began to collect German fairy tales. They would invite storytellers to come to their house and then the brothers would write down the old stories. The brothers were very industrious and worked very hard on their collection of fairy tales. Jacob and Wilhelm wanted to preserve and shape the old stories to show their unique German spirit. So the brothers would edit and rewrite the tales and add details and psychological motifs. The brothers changed words that were foreign (like “Prinz” which was French for “Prince”) to words that were more German (like “Königssohn” which was German for “King’s son”).
Eventually, in 1812, the two brothers published the first edition of their fairy tale book Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales). They had 86 fairy tales in the first volume and an additional 70 tales in the second volume (published 1814).
|Illustrator after 1892 Robert Leinweber
The two brothers wrote other books, too, but they never stopped working on Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales). They would rewrite some tales (especially after some people complained that the tales were too scary and too sexy to read to their children). The brothers also added new tales and took out some tales. Wilhelm got married (in 1825) and had four children. Jacob never got married and always lived with his brother and his family. And still the two brothers worked on their collection of fairy tales. They published new editions of Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales). By the seventh edition (published in 1857), the book had 211 fairy tales.
All the rest of their lives, the two brothers worked on their collection of fairy tales. They became professors and librarians at Universities but still they worked on their tales. Wilhelm died of an infection in 1859. Jacob was very upset when his brother died and became increasingly reclusive. Then Jacob died in 1863.
Many, many years passed but still people read and loved the fairy tale collection of the two brothers. Many people began to call the book Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Grimms Elfenmärchen).
One fine evening, some people read the collection of fairy tales and decided to write new stories, based on many of the old tales. These people made a television show called Grimm that many other people watched and loved. The new show took some stories and ideas from Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Grimms Elfenmärchen) but also took ideas from many other sources (mythology, other famous authors, and more).
The first episode of the new show, Grimm, featured a story that was loosely based on “Rotkäppchen” (“Little Red Cap” or “Little Red Riding Hood”) from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The first episode, and all following episodes, opens with a quote from a fairy tale or some other source. This quote is directly from “Rotkäppchen” (“Little Red Cap”) and the episode features a girl in a red sweatshirt running in the forest and then being attacked by a wolf-like creature.
Grimm features many different creatures (known as Wesen). Many of the Wesen have names derived from German, although the German is often grammatically incorrect (or just plain made up). There are wolf-like creatures called “Blutbad” (“blood bath”), “Hexenbiest” (“hexen” means “witches”), “Bauerschwein” (a made up German word meaning “peasant pig”), and “Spinnetod” (another made up German word meaning “spider death”). There are also creatures based on sources other than Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Grimms Elfenmärchen) like the Anubis, the Aswang, Manticore, Coyotl, and Wendigo.
Grimm is action packed, often scary, has a very interesting mythology, ongoing story arcs, and a very likeable cast. Among my favorite quotes from the show:
- Monroe (a “Blutbad”) says to Nick (the Grimm), “How long have you been at this? You seem kinda new.” (Season 1 Episode 01 “Pilot”)
- Monroe complains to Nick, “What am I? Your personal Grimm-apedia?” (S1 E02 “Bears will be Bears”)
- Monroe is scared of Nick’s Aunt Marie, “Yeah, I couldn’t sleep the last two nights thinking old Aunt Marie was gonna cut off my head and stick it on a lamppost…. That’s how my great grandma ended up you know.” (S1 E02 “Bears will be Bears”)
- Monroe cautions Nick, “Don’t you dare say heel!” (S1 E03 “Beeware”)
- Monroe is aghast, “He ate a baby! That’s rude!” (S1 E13 “Three Coins in a Fuchsbau”)
- Nick complains, “I told you to meet me, not eat me!” (S1 E19 “Leave it to Beavers”)
- Monroe describes his first meeting with Nick, “It seems like it was just yesterday I was crashing through my window to introduce myself to him.” (S2 E02 “The Kiss”)
- A Wesen named Bud praises Nick, “But, you know, Nick is a sensitive Grimm.” (S2 E18 “Ring of Fire”)
- Sergeant Wu complains, “It’s getting too weird even for Portland.” (S2 E21 “The Walking Dead”)
- Rosalee, a Wesen Fuchsbau, talks to Nick’s girlfriend Juliette, “You don’t realize how different you and Nick and Hank (Nick’s partner) are. That you don’t judge or, more importantly, cut off our heads.” (S3 E10 “Eyes of the Beholder”)
- Nick’s Mom complains. “You know, just for the record, I did not actually kill her. She impaled herself.” (S3 E17 “Synchronicity“)
Overall, NBC television’s Grimm is a fantastic show. Grimm is scary, often funny, and filled with all kinds of imaginative creatures and storylines and has a strong and determined hero.
Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales) collected and rewritten by The Brothers Grimm has a huge variety of tales. Characters, both royal born and peasant born, go adventuring, fall into troubles, fight all kinds of monsters, overcome danger, and generally get their just deserts.
Where can fans find NBC television’s Grimm and Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales) by The Brothers Grimm?
Grimm is currently in it’s third season on NBC and has been signed for a fourth season. Earlier episodes can be purchased and viewed, individually and in season sets, on a variety of internet sites.
Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales) by The Brothers Grimm is FREE in the Public Domain and can be easily found all over the internet:
Go to Project Gutenberg
and look under both “Grimm, Jacob” and “Grimm, Wilhelm” to find links to FREE
Project Gutenberg ebooks and audio books. There are some individual stories as well as the complete collection in a variety of languages including English, German, French, Hungarian, Finnish, Icelandic, Portuguese, and Dutch.
has a FREE
Public Domain version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Go to LibriVox
for links to many FREE
short stories as well as the complete collection by the Brothers Grimm. Some of the individual stories are in collections that include other authors. LibriVox includes stories in a variety of languages including English, German, French, and “Multilingual.”
Go to the Internet Archive
for links to many Free
ebooks, online books, and audio books (as well as a few other Grimm – related items). There are individual stories as well as collections.