Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Let's Get Grimm-The Brothers

Where would children's stories be without the fairy-tales that passed down from generation to generation?  The Grimm brothers didn't write the stories so much as collect them.  Their collection was important because of the wide birth of people that they took the stories from.  Most similar projects stayed along class lines.  You can imagine that the tales a princess was told at night in the castle was different from the ones that her servants would tell their children.  The brothers tried to collect from many different areas which created a very unique and obviously lasting set of folk tales.

But the tales were often richer and darker than the ones that most of our parents told us.  To me, the Grimm's original stories remind me of things my brother would have told me before turning out the lights and warning about bed bugs.  Women getting their eyes gouged out by birds, witches being forced to dance in red-hot slippers until their death and evil mother's who had their children killed.  The original Grimm's stories were not for the faint of heart.  Even at the time that they were published, they were considered too gruesome.  The brother's had to edit many of the stories, including the switch of Snow White's mother to a 'step-mother' so that it wouldn't seem so shocking when she tried to have her daughter killed.

Children's stories haven't always been about trying to get your kid to fall asleep or eat their vegetables.  Many stories and ideas marketed at children were meant to teach them lessons, not all of which were pleasant.

I plan to occasionally take a look at the darker side of children's stories and consider why I like that the genre has remained just a bit Grimm.


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