The Great StoryTellers -Series Part 2

What you may not know about the Brothers Grimm

Brothers Grimm painting

Today I’m taking you back to the future from Aesop’s time -First Post of series-  to the Brothers Grimm. Surely these two fit into the great storytellers all-time series.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. They have a dark past. Many of their stories had disturbing acts that were changed or removed over time. These two were on a hunt. A life quest.

The most popular of their stories= Cinderella-Rapunzel-Rumpelstiltskin

Cinderella book

The Golden Goose, Rapunzel, or Rumpelstiltskin are three stories that might be enough for young people of today to understand who these two brothers were as ‘authors.’ I want to tell you what they did that was so valuable to storytelling and why we remember them so well.

Although they didn’t come up with the original ideas for stories like Rapunzel and Cinderella they edited and put them into collections that were popularized. They were oral tales long before the Grimm Brothers added them to their collections. Oral tales that had already survived the test of time and popularity. They collected the stories people remembered. The good ones. That was the key. Some of the folktales were found in print in some form or other.Rumpelstiltskin book

  • Key lesson = So along with editing and adding them to their collections they knew a good story when they saw one.

But that isn’t what they were looking for. No, it was something deeper.

The Grimm brothers had a keen interest in their countries history leading to their discovery and addition of these folk tales or fairy tales as they have come to be known now. Not just their history though. They were looking for something more profound.

The Golden Goose bookOne of the stories the Grimm brothers found and edited for their collection was The storytelling of the fairy tale “The Golden Goose” is a great story by itself.

What makes it a great one boils down to a few things.

Some Elements of Great Storytelling:

  • Key lesson= We could relate to the characters.
  • Key lesson= Fear can cause a normally charitable person to be stingy, can’t it? The fear of going hungry is the key here. But remember the grey man was starving, he wasn’t just hungry and the brother could go home and get more. That changes it, doesn’t it?
  • I remember clearly at the age of 8 wanting the largest potato chip in the bowl my grandmother had just poured out of the bag. It was very large and beautiful to a hungry kid. I went for it right away but so did my older sister Kathy. Our two hands bumped into each other from opposite sides of the bowl and the youngest and smallest of us- my little sister Bethie, got the largest chip coming in under us from the middle. She didn’t even want the largest chip. She just wanted a chip. It was on top.
  • Key lesson= Charity’s value- So in the Golden Goose story we have the youngest son who is thought of as both ugly and not too bright so he is ignored and shunned but he comes out on top. Eventually becoming King because he had a kind sharing heart. He shared his cake and wine with a little grey-haired old man. He got the beautiful top chip.
  • Key lesson= We can relate to the characters. Important to the ‘hook’ part of storytelling. How can you expect readers/listeners to emotionally connect to people they don’t relate to?
  • Key lesson= Think long and hard before you change the content or fundamental intent of the artist (even if not known) if you are making a collection of historical creativity.
  • Key lesson= Facilitating great storytelling is very valuable. Write great stories so others will want to tell your story.

We have all thought we were not worthy of something at one time orgrimms fairy tales book cover another in life so we can relate to the youngest son who was called “Dummling” and the lack of compassion the older brothers showed the little grey man in the woods is easy to relate to as well for most of us.

Have you ever been complimented and felt unworthy of it?

A Few Facts About the Stories

  1. Fact= Did you know that in the original fairy tale Cinderella, her real mother wanted her dead, not her wicked stepmother as we have come to know it. It was decided taking mothers off the hook for this kind of abuse was more important than artistic purity. Do you agree with what the Grimm brothers did?
  2. Fact= The original writing of Rapunzel had her being impregnated by a prince during a short love affair living in “joy and pleasure.”
  3. Fact= Later versions of the fairy tales had sex removed from many of the stories. Such as in The Frog King they changed it to the princess kissing the frog from throwing the frog against the wall and a handsome prince appears then they have sex all night.
  4. Fact= Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm didn’t make a book of fairy tales for kids. They were simply collecting folklore from Germany’s cultural history. They were looking for the soul of the German people in the old culture.
  5. Fact= It was Edgar Taylor from England who translated and got the stories published and that is where kids first loved them. The brothers Grimm had nothing to do with it beyond collecting and editing them. Mr. Taylor did this in 1823. By searching for their countries soul or spirit the Brothers Grimm found 200 folktales not designed specifically for kids that have all now come to be loved the world over as children’s fairy tales. So Edgar made the Grimm collection popular with children while the Grimm brothers themselves made the stories widely read and loved in Germany as family stories. Not children’s fairy tales. Now you know the rest of the story.

Encouraged by Arnim, they published their collected tales as the Kinder- und Hausmärchen, implying in the title that the stories were meant for adults and children alike.”

So can we keep the brothers Grimm in the great storytellers category?

They did come around years later and rewrote the collection and then promoted it to kids. The stories as written by the brothers initially were already hugely popular in Germany as I said earlier but not to just children. They did edit them in their original collections and that is enough for me to include them as facilitators of great storytelling. Sometimes great stories are simply found and someone that is maybe on a different journey finds them facilitating great storytelling.

Let’s Recap the Lessons in This Story:

  • Key lesson= Knowing a good story when you hear or read it is a valuable skill for storytellers.
  • Key lesson= We can relate to the characters. Important to the ‘hook’ part of storytelling. How can you expect readers/listeners to emotionally connect to people they don’t relate to?
  • Key lesson= Think long and hard before you change the content or fundamental intent of the artist (even if not known) if you are making a collection of historical creativity.
  • Key lesson= Facilitating great storytelling is very valuable. Write great stories so others will want to tell your story.


Next Week We Step Into Roald Dahl’s world








8 thoughts on “The Great StoryTellers -Series Part 2”

  1. those facts about the stories, i know in sleeping beauty, aurora was impregnated and gave birth to some kids while asleep, but these facts are new to me! though i’m not surprised, the brothers grimm had a pretty grim streak lol
    great article!

  2. I must give credit to you for after the reading of your first storytelling post, my eyes were opened to how people told their story and how it was affecting me. It was quite inspiring. I wasn’t only listening with my ears but with my heart.
    I am slowly understanding how effective storytelling is!
    Todays post is very educational. I’m kind of glad they did change the stories to more lighter, friendly tone. Although it is good to still know the original beginnings.
    A great presentation of storytelling you are sharing with us all.
    Very grateful for your atricles.
    Thank you 🙂

    Di 🙂

    1. Thank you, Di. I’m happy that you liked it. I love to put a little bit of teaching into an interesting story or bio like this. Yes, you are right about the changes to Grimms collection. It may not have gotten as popular if they didn’t make those changes.

  3. I love reading about things I never knew about. This is a great post. I know about all these fairy tales and about the Brothers Grimm of course, but not these details. I had no idea they were the ones who changed them. It makes me want to go through and read the originals lol.

    Thank you for the great information 🙂

    1. You’re welcome. I’m glad you liked it. I never like to hear about a writer’s words being altered from the original work. It’s conflicting in this case only because the brothers Grimm has become so loved. Cool name – Sabrina. I think I’ll use your name in my next story.

  4. Wow! Impressive article! Your facts were very interesting. I`ve heard about this before.. so it`s true!
    So, it wasn`t really a “kiss”!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for the nice comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. No, I suppose it wasn’t a kiss. I’ve always been interested in what the original artist was trying to say before the business people get their hands on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.