This week I was a little ahead of the game having already read Rapunzel. We read it again, just because. My darling daughters are still more concerned with what happens to Rapunzel’s twin children than anything else. I’ll reiterate that Grimm’s Rapunzel is nothing like Disney’s Tangled. (This is the link if you want to read the original Rapunzel post.)
The other tales for week 3:
Without further ado, let’s get started…
Little Brother and Little Sister
The little sister and her deer brother grow up in the woods. One day a king is hunting and follows the deer brother home. The sister opens the door expecting her deer brother and finds the king who immediately decides he has to marry her. Of course she says yes. I mean who wouldn’t say yes to marriage to a king after years of scrapping by caring for a deer?
But that is not the end of the tale. Nope. The evil witch/step-mother hears that the girl has married a king. This is not acceptable. Off the evil witch goes with her one-eyed daughter (Grimm takes a lot of effort to describe how ugly she is) to kill the new queen and claim her happiness for that of her ugly daughter.
And they succeed! They kill the young queen just after she’s had a baby son.
All is not lost. The fake-queen does her best to pretend but the ghost or spirit or something of the real queen comes every night to nurse her son. The nanny tells the king about the nightly visits. He decides to check things out for himself, realizes the “visitor” is his real wife, and suddenly she’s back in the flesh.
True love concurs death!
I’m sure that’s what the kingdom’s newspapers all reported. The evil witch and her ugly daughter die. The deer turns back into the brother and they live happily together. I want to say “what a sweet ending,” but I just can’t. This is a rather gruesome tale about the lengths people will go to be mean. Good returning from death is quite biblical and a bit too farfetched.
Or maybe I’m simply projecting….
At any rate, mommy dearest can’t keep a secret and tells the youngest son. All of the boys escape into the woods and an enchanted house where they promise to kill any maiden they meet.
Dwell on that for a minute anyone who questions their father’s logic now! Murderous band of boys rampages through the woods — pretty sure that’s the headline in this kingdom.
Years pass and their beautiful sister grows up to have a kind heart and a star on her forehead. She eventually learns about her brothers and goes in search of them. She finds the youngest, who protects her by obtaining a promise from the other brothers “not to kill the first maiden they see.”
Strike that earlier headline. Obviously maidens had a ton of common sense and stayed way far away from these woods. You know, except for their sister…
Well, it's now a grand old family reunion. Sister and youngest brother keep house and all is good until she cuts the flowers in the yard. Then, poof, her dear brothers are turned into ravens.
Remember the enchanted house? That’s the reason given. Perfect explanation.
Sister has to spend 7 years to the exact second she cut the flowers in silence. Not even laughter is allowed. And, of course, a king discovers her living in the woods and marries her. Her mother-in-law is evil and poisons her loving husband’s vision to the point that the poor, silent sister is tied to a stake to burn.
The seven years ends right as the flames are licking themselves up her dress. Her brothers transform from ravens into themselves and save her. FYI: there’s literally no mention of these raven-form brothers hanging around during those seven years. They just magically appear and transform when the seven years are up.
Oh, and they all live happily together for the rest of their lives but the mother-in-law dies a miserable death. Personally, I want to know what happened to dear old mom and dad. Did sister and her 12 brothers ever go confront them? Or were they simply content to hang out in someone else’s kingdom while their’s rotted away? Maybe there’s a reason those male inheritance laws came into existence…
The Pack of Ragamuffins
Someone was tippling when they wrote this tale…
None of it makes sense. Animals talking to humans and inanimate objects. It’s extremely surreal. I can’t even begin to explain the looks on my kids’ faces. Even with their huge imaginations, this story did not make sense.
#GRIMMread2019 Week 4 Tales
Next week I’ll be reading Three Little Men in the Woods, Three Spinning Women, Hansel and Gretel, and The Three Snake-Leaves. I’m sensing a theme with three of those (palm to face).
If you’d like to read previous posts, the direct links are below:
#GRIMMread2019 Week 1
#GRIMMread2019 Week 2
Want to see what others thought of #GRIMMread2019 Week 3?
The premise behind Our Lady's Child is a woodcutter gives his only child to the Virgin Mary rather than have her starve to death.
Right at that point I was left wondering…Is this a coping method? I found myself caught and arrested wondering, did a woodcutter lose his daughter? Is this, quite possibly, the story that people told among themselves to explain what happened to themselves? Was there a famine and quite a few people lost children and this story helped them through it? The history of why a story begins is often as interesting as the story itself.
As she is tied to a stake to burn, she finally feels the “ice of pride crack” and confesses. Her children are immediately returned to her and they all live happily ever after.
Outside of my strange reactions to the story, this is one of the more fully developed tales. Interestingly though, despite how developed it is, we are never told anyone’s name other than the Virgin Mary. How bizarre is that? An entire story where only one character has an actual name!
The Youth Who Could Not Shiver and Shake
This one is a perfect scary story just waiting to give you nightmares. Bones coming out of coffins in a haunted—literally haunted—castle. I want to rewrite this one so badly!
But…I totally hated the main guy. How could anyone be so bumbling and clueless? I’m glad he made it through. I was totally rooting for him. I just didn’t see him grow at all through the experiences, which was rather annoying.
The Wolf and the Seven Kids
First, when telling this story to a child, be prepared to explain what a “kid” is because mine were initially a bit freaked out.
Overall, they loved the story though. The wolf comes to eat the “kids” three times—quite typical of tales and fables. He is finally successful and all but one of the “kids” is eaten. Mama goat comes home and saves the eaten “kids” from the wolf, filling his stomach with stones.
Ok. My children did not believe that at all. They wanted to know how the wolf slept through mama goat cutting him open, putting stones in him, and then stitching him closed. That’s a seriously good question. I’m pretty sure that anyone getting their stomach cut open would feel it enough to wake up.
The Strange Musician
I hated the message of The Strange Musician. Never mind that the message is quite accurate, I still hate it. The message is...
...people who do mean things and hurt people/animals are not always punished. Sometimes they are protected and even rewarded.
I sincerely really hated, to the very depths of my soul, telling my children that such things truly do happen. It was physically painful. I didn’t lie about it though. I told them that I thought it was wrong. I can only hope they realize that just because something happens doesn’t mean that we have to like or accept it.
The Good Bargain
The Good Bargain is a stupid person making a fool of themselves until they figure out how to fix the mess they created. Throwing money at frogs for croaking and then getting upset about it when the frogs don’t return the money! Literally! See with the exclamations, it’s like I’m behaving in the same way as that stupid person.
Let’s move on. Please. Because I kind of saved the worst for last. Kind of...
Faithful John, the last story of the week. A young, naive king tricks and kidnaps a princess because he’s in love with her. He is aided in his endeavors by Faithful John. Talk about the extreme version of a wing man!
John does all kinds of things to ensure the king gets to marry and live with the princess, who is totally cool with being kidnapped for love. John ends up turned to stone. Not turned into a stone. More like he becomes made of stone. A Faithful John statue. That's where the tale should end; and yet it does not...
Since this is a fairytale, of course it works and all is well. Faithful John is back and so are the kids. They all live happily ever after.
If you want to read a completely unique take on the kids’ view of having been killed by their father, check out this book by Adam Gidwitz. Honestly, if you want to read a truly uniqued way of linking Faithful John to Hansel and Gretel, try out Adam's book, A Tale Dark & Grimm. It is lots of fun. Just don't plan to read it to young kids (even if it is in the Middle Grade or Young Adult section).
- The Twelve Brothers
- The Pack of Ragamuffins
- Little Brother and Little Sister
And remember to check out everyone else who's participating in the #GRIMMread2019 Challenge by clicking a link below.
What is it about Grimm Fairytales that people love?
I found them fairly unpleasant with sad and often harrowing messages. I’m remembering why I don’t read these fairytales.
This week we read The Frog Prince, Rapunzel (EG’s pick), Poverty and Humility Lead to Heaven, and Cat and Mouse in Partnership. Here’s our take aways:
Poverty and Humility Lead to Heaven…
…not sure that’s an accurate tale. They definitely led to a spot under the stairs where the king’s son died of virtual starvation. EG’s face was horrified. I think the only message she took from that is that people get treated badly and then they die.
The Frog Prince...
What was the message of The Frog Prince? It was not love conquers all. It came across as lie to get what you want. That’s not a message I want my kids internalizing.
Ah, yes, Rapunzel. It wasn’t on the list for the week, but EG picked it out herself. I’m sure she was expecting something like Tangled.
Be aware, the original Rapunzel story is nothing like the Disney version.
Let that sink in.
Message: the cost of quickly made promises can be steep.
The story continues with Rapunzel stuck in a tower alone and bored. Of course a handsome prince finds her and sneaks in. Immediate love. The sneaking continues and then Rapunzel lets slip that she’s been seeing someone behind Gothel’s back.
Punishment ensues. Magic tears fix everything. All EG cared about were Rapunzel’s twins.
Wait. You didn’t know that part, did you?
Yes, in the Grimm version, Rapunzel has a teen pregnancy that results in twins.
Message: sneaking around will get you pregnant, but don’t worry because he’ll definitely stay with you and give you a kingdom.
Hold your breath and wait for that to happen in real life.
Cat and Mouse in Partnership
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