Brothers Grimm

two german academics, philologists, cultural researchers, lexicographers, folklorists and authors

The Brothers Grimm, Jakob Ludwig Karl Grimm (January 4 1785September 20 1863) and Wilhelm Karl Grimm (February 24 1786December 16 1859), were both giants in the field of Germanic philology, though they are best remembered by the general reading public for their Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales). This title is often, rather inaccurately, translated as Grimm's Fairy Tales.

Once upon a time...

For the film of the same name see The Brothers Grimm (film).

Quotes edit

Kinder- und Hausmärchen (1812–1857) edit

English quotations and page-numbers are taken from Ralph Mannheim (trans.) The Penguin Complete Grimms' Tales for Young and Old ([1977] 1984).

  • Wenn die Zauberin hinein wollte, so stellte sie sich unten hin und rief:
    "Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
    Laß mir dein Haar herunter!"
    Rapunzel hatte lange, prächtige Haare, fein wie gesponnen Gold. Wenn sie nun die Stimme der Zauberin vernahm, so band sie ihre Zöpfe los, wickelte sie oben um einen Fensterhaken, und dann fielen die Haare zwanzig Ellen tief herunter, und die Zauberin stieg daran hinauf.
    • Translation: When the witch wanted to come in, she stood down below and called out:
      "Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
      Let down your hair for me."
      Rapunzel had beautiful long gorgeous hair, as fine as spun gold. When she heard the witch's voice, she undid her braids and fastened them to the window latch. They fell to the ground twenty ells down, and the witch climbed up on them.
    • "Rapunzel", p. 47: Sometimes this is quoted as "Rapunzel, let down your hair," and sometimes "Rapunzel, let your hair down".
  • Und als sie ganz nahe herankamen, so sahen sie, daß das Häuslein aus Brot gebaut war und mit Kuchen gedeckt; aber die Fenster waren von hellem Zucker.
    • Translation: When they came closer, they saw that the house was made of bread, and the roof was made of cake and the windows of sparkling sugar.
    • "Hänsel und Gretel" ("Hansel and Gretel"), p. 59.
  • "Ei, Großmutter, was hast du für große Ohren!"
    "Daß ich dich besser hören kann."
    "Ei, Großmutter, was hast du für große Augen!"
    "Daß ich dich besser sehen kann."
    "Ei, Großmutter, was hast du für große Hände"
    "Daß ich dich besser packen kann."
    "Aber, Großmutter, was hast du für ein entsetzlich großes Maul!"
    "Daß ich dich besser fressen kann."
    • Translation: "Oh, grandmother, what big ears you have!"
      "The better to hear you with".
      "Oh, grandmother, what big eyes you have!"
      "The better to see you with".
      "Oh, grandmother, what big hands you have!"
      "The better to grab you with".
      "But, grandmother, what a dreadful big mouth you have!"
      "The better to eat you with".
    • "Rotkäppchen" ("Little Red Cap"), p. 100.
  • Der erste sprach: "Wer hat auf meinem Stühlchen gesessen?"
    Der zweite: "Wer hat von meinem Tellerchen gegessen?"
    Der dritte: "Wer hat von meinem Brötchen genommen?"
    Der vierte: "Wer hat von meinem Gemüschen gegessen?"
    Der fünfte: "Wer hat mit meinem Gäbelchen gestochen?"
    Der sechste: "Wer hat mit meinem Messerchen geschnitten?"
    Der siebente: "Wer hat aus meinem Becherlein getrunken?"
    Dann sah sich der erste um und sah, dass auf seinem Bett eine kleine Delle war, da sprach er: "Wer hat in meinem Bettchen gelegen?"
    Die anderen kamen gelaufen und riefen: "In meinem hat auch jemand gelegen!"
    Der siebente aber, als er in sein Bett sah, erblickte Schneewittchen, das lag darin und schlief. Nun rief er die anderen, die kamen herbeigelaufen und schrien vor Verwunderung, holten ihre sieben Lichtlein und beleuchteten Schneewittchen.
    • Translation: The first said: "Who has been sitting in my chair?"
      The second: "Who has been eating off my plate?"
      The third: "Who has taken a bite of my bread?"
      The fourth: "Who has been eating some of my vegetables?"
      The fifth: "Who has been using my fork?"
      The sixth: "Who has been cutting with my knife?"
      And the seventh: "Who has been drinking out of my cup?"
      Then the first looked around, saw a little hollow in his bed and said: "Who has been lying in my bed?"
      The others came running, and cried out: "Somebody has been lying in my bed too".
      But when the seventh looked at his bed, he saw Snow White lying there asleep.
    • "Schneewittchen" ("Snow White"), p. 186.
  • Die Königin...trat vor ihren Spiegel und sprach:

    "Spieglein, Spieglein, an der Wand,
    Wer ist die Schönste im ganzen Land?"

    Da antwortete der Spiegel:

    "Frau Königin, Ihr seid die Schönste hier,
    Aber Schneewittchen über den Bergen
    Bei den sieben Zwergen
    Ist noch tausendmal schöner als Ihr."
    • Translation: The queen...went to her mirror and said:

      "Mirror, mirror, here I stand.
      Who is the fairest in the land?"

      And the mirror replied:

      You, O Queen, are the fairest here,
      But Snow White, who has gone to stay
      With the seven dwarfs far, far away,
      Is a thousand times more fair".
    • "Schneewittchen" ("Snow White"), pp. 186-7.
  • Und wie sie hineintrat, erkannte sie Schneewittchen, und vor Angst und Schrecken stand sie da und konnte sich nicht regen. Aber es waren schon eiserne Pantoffel über Kohlenfeuer gestellt und wurden mit Zangen hereingetragen und vor sie hingestellt. Da mußte sie in die rotglühenden Schuhe treten und so lange tanzen, bis sie tot zur Erde fiel.
    • Translation: The moment she [i.e. the queen] entered the hall she recognized Snow White, and she was so terrified that she just stood there and couldn't move. But two iron slippers had already been put into glowing coals. Someone took them out with a pair of tongs and set them down in front of her. She was forced to step into the red-hot shoes and dance till she fell to the floor dead.
    • "Schneewittchen" ("Snow White"), p. 191.
    • This happy ending of the Grimms' "Snow White" was not used by Disney.
  • "Nun, Frau Königin, wie heiß' ich?"
    Fragte sie erst: "Heißest du Kunz?"
    "Heißest du Heinz?"
    "Heißt du etwa Rumpelstilzchen?"
    "Das hat dir der Teufel gesagt, das hat dir der Teufel gesagt," schrie das Männlein.
    • Translation: "Well, Your Majesty, what's my name?"
      She started by asking: "Is it Tom?"
      "Is it Dick?"
      "Could it be Rumpelstiltskin?"
      "The Devil told you that! The Devil told you that!" the little man screamed.
    • "Rumpelstilzchen" ("Rumpelstiltskin"), p. 198.
  • "Was hast du gelernt? Wieviel Künste verstehst du?"
    "Ich verstehe nur eine einzige," antwortete bescheidentlich die Katze.
    "Was ist das für eine Kunst?" fragte der Fuchs.
    "Wenn die Hunde hinter mir her sind, so kann ich auf einen Baum springen und mich retten."
    "Ist das alles?" sagte der Fuchs, "Ich bin Herr über Hundert Künste und habe überdies noch einen Sack voll Liste".
    • Translation: "What have you ever learned? What arts have you mastered?"
      "Only one", said the cat modestly.
      "And what is that, pray?" asked the fox.
      "When dogs are after me, I can save myself by climbing a tree".
      "Is that all?" said the fox. "I am the master of a hundred arts, and furthermore I have a whole bag of tricks".
    • "Der Fuchs und die Katze" ("The Fox and the Cat"), pp. 267-8.
    • Cf. Archilochus: "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing".
  • Zur Zeit, wo das Wünschen noch geholfen hat, ward ein Königssohn von einer alten Hexe verwünscht, dass er im Walde in einem großen Eisenofen sitzen sollte.
    • Translation: In the days when wishing still helped, an old witch with her magic imprisoned a prince in a cast-iron stove deep in the forest.
    • "Der Eisenofen" ("The Cast-iron Stove"), p. 432.

Quotes about Grimms edit

  • Entertainment written for children was no less grisly. In 1815 Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published a compendium of old folktales that had gradually been adapted for children. Commonly known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the collection ranks with the Bible and Shakespeare as one of the bestselling and most respected works in the Western canon. Though it isn’t obvious from the bowdlerized versions in Walt Disney films, the tales are filled with murder, infanticide, cannibalism, mutilation, and sexual abuse—grim fairy tales indeed. Take just the three famous stepmother stories: During a famine, the father and stepmother of Hansel and Gretel abandon them in a forest so that they will starve to death. The children stumble upon an edible house inhabited by a witch, who imprisons Hansel and fattens him up in preparation for eating him. Fortunately Gretel shoves the witch into a fiery oven, and “the godless witch burned to death in a horrible way.” Cinderella’s stepsisters, when trying to squeeze into her slippers, take their mother’s advice and cut off a toe or heel to make them fit. Doves notice the blood, and after Cinderella marries the prince, they peck out the stepsisters’ eyes, punishing them “for their wickedness and malice with blindness for the rest of their lives.” Snow White arouses the jealousy of her stepmother, the queen, so the queen orders a hunter to take her into the forest, kill her, and bring back her lungs and liver for the queen to eat. When the queen realizes that Snow White has escaped, she makes three more attempts on her life, two by poison, one by asphyxiation. After the prince has revived her, the queen crashes their wedding, but “iron slippers had already been heated up for her over a fire of coals.... She had to put on the red-hot iron shoes and dance in them until she dropped to the ground dead.” As we shall see, purveyors of entertainment for young children today have become so intolerant of violence that even episodes of the early Muppets have been deemed too dangerous for them.

External links edit