“The frog answered, “I do not care for your clothes, your pearls and jewels, nor for your golden crown, but if you will love me and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of your little cup, and sleep in your little bed – if you will promise me this I will go down below, and bring Fiyou your golden ball up again.”
If you were looking for a Christmas gift on December 20, 1812, a good idea would be to head down to your local bookstore and ask for the newly published Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Well, to be honest you would be looking for the book “Children’s and Household Tales,” written by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm. There were eight-six stories in the first edition, but with persistence and determination, Jacob and Wilhelm collected, by the seventh edition published in 1857, over two hundred stories, each unique and thoroughly entertaining.
“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 horrified and became pale with rage, he, however, took Cinderella on his horse and rode away with her.”
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm did not write the fairy tales. What they did was even more remarkable. Their love for stories prompted them to use their prodigious scholarly talents to preserve the folklore that had been passed down through generations. They saw the future – industrialization was reshaping the world. The oral stories passed from one generation to another were at risk.
Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Frog King, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel – we continue to share these stories, in various forms, in books, movies, mini-series, all thanks to Jacob and Wilhelm.
As we enter a new year of reading challenges, may we remember our debt of gratitude to those who preserve our stories, create more stories and give us endless hours of delight.
Dave from Dave Astor on Literature reminds us so eloquently: Literature can send our minds to another time and place, allowing us to forget our lives and troubles for a few precious hours. It can educate us about history, open our minds, increase our empathy, make us think, give us things to converse about, and/or provide plenty of excitement along with the escapism.”