We all remember reading our favorite fairy tales as children. However, we often forget about the two brothers responsible for recording and publishing these surprisingly dark tales. On this day, over 200 years ago, Wilhelm Grimm was born. Wilhelm Grimm was the younger brother of Jacob Grimm and the other half of the famous Brothers Grimm duo. In honor of his birthday, let’s take a look at seven classic Brothers Grimm tales.
1. Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel is a classic Brothers Grimm tale and tells the story of young Hansel and Gretel who are kidnapped by a cannibalistic witch after being abandoned in the woods by their rotten stepmother. Hansel and Gretel is a well-known German fairy tale and was recorded by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. It remains popular to this day and has been adapted into an opera and several films.
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Rumpelstiltskin is another German fairy tale collected by the Grimm Brothers and published in 1812. It tells the tale of a poor miller’s daughter, locked in a room until she is able to spin straw into gold. When a tricky goblin-like creature comes to her rescue and offers her a deal she cannot resist, she happily obliges without considering the consequences. When push comes to shove, the goblin makes another deal and the miller’s daughter is able to outsmart him in the end. This tale has been adapted into films, television shows, and comics.
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3. death’s Messengers
A lesser known tale of the Brothers Grimm is Death’s Messengers. In this tale, after Death is badly beaten by a giant, a young man comes and helps him back up. In a gesture of gratitude, Death tells the young man that he will send messengers before Death comes for him one day. Years later, the man is surprised when Death comes for him as he did not see his messengers. However, Death tells him the messengers were, in fact, illness, aging, and sleep. Death’s Messengers is tale 177 by the Grimm Brothers.
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4. The Frog Prince
A classic Grimm Brothers’ tale is The Frog Prince, which is traditionally the first story of their collection published in 1812. In this classic story, a mere frog turns into a handsome prince upon receiving a kiss from the princess. This tale has been adapted into several modern day films, most notably Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.
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5. Snow White
Snow White (and the Seven Dwarfs) is a classic tale originally published in 1812 and later revised and published in 1854. This tale features a beautiful maiden, seven rugged dwarfs, a magic mirror, and a jealous, evil queen. This classic tale has most notably been made into a Disney film among many other films, television shows, and plays.
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Rapunzel (and her long hair) is another German fairy tale collected by the brothers and published in 1812. After her father was caught stealing from a sorceress’ garden, Rapunzel is promised to the sorceress at birth in reparation for her father’s theft. When the time comes, the sorceress takes Rapunzel and raises her as her own. When she turns twelve, the sorceress locks her up in a tower until one day she is rescued by a prince after he hears her singing from the tower. This classic tale has been made into many films, most notably the Disney adaptation, Tangled.
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7. The Elves and The Shoemaker
The Elves and the Shoemaker was originally the first of three stories published under entry thirty-nine by the Brothers Grimm. It tells the story of a poor shoemaker, struggling to make ends meet, who receives help from magical elves who mysteriously work in the night by making shoes from the extra leather he leaves out. The tale has since been adapted into a musical and has provided inspiration for numerous television shows and films.
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