Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Thursday, 1 December 2016

In Olden Times, When Wishing Still Helped...

©Brigitta Huegel


This morning I woke up (early as usual) and thought about fairy tales.

- Those I liked - the funny ones as "The Town Musicians of Bremen" (and that not only because I come from Bremen - no, even as I child I thought that their motto "You can always find something better than death!" might come useful some day :-)
- Those I disliked - the sad ones as "Little Brother and Little Sister" (even the beginning is heartbreaking!)
- those I had mixed feelings about - as "The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich" - I remember that I utterly detested that blackmailing frog ("..but if you will love me and accept me as a companion and playmate, and let me ... sleep in your bed" - hahaha), but was very much impressed by the fidelity of the Iron Heinrich ("Heinerich, the carriage is breaking apart!" "No, my Lord, the carriage it's not/ But one of the bands surrounding my heart...") and that I thought it just, but very strict of the King to say "What you have promised, you must keep".
I internalised that, (if necessary I forgo of my golden ball, if the price is a disgusting frog in my bed - till today I am unwilling to listen to their croaking that they are beautiful Princes under a spell) - and do only promise what I can keep.
And expect others to do the same.
Which shows that I am still very naively believing in fairy-tales :-) - but, on the other hand, have a streak of pragmatic realism too.

What really interests me: which were your favourite (or disliked) fairy tales? 


If you want to read them again:
- "The Town Musicians of Bremen" http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm027.html (great for old age optimism - after a little shock in the beginning)
- "Little Brother and Little Sister" http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm011.html
- The Frog King, or the Iron Heinrich" http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm001.html



10 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of your fairy tales. My favourite one when growing up was Rapunzel - the one I hated was Strewelpeter, the images were very scary.

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    1. Rapunzel is interesting - the tower, the long hair - though in the middle quite sad. I remember that I always had the urge to eat a "lamb's lettuce" - we call that in Northern Germany "Rapunzel-Salat" (In the shops: Feldsalat).

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  2. I met a Scherenschnitte artist at an art show, and wandered among her pieces, entranced. Eventually I purchased her rendition of the delightful tale I knew as The Brementown Musicians. That story always meant to me, family is those who support and respect you.
    I'll put a picture of my musicians in a post soon. Thank you for reminding me, though my musicians hang at eye level by my desk.

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    1. Scherenschnitte are such a wonderful thing! And yes: it is the same fairy tale. And yes again: friends are often a wonderful (and self chosen) family. I'm looking forward to your post, Joanne!

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  3. When I saw the picture with the tiny statue I was going to tell you it reminded me of the Musicians of Bremen. Then I read the article and realized you already knew that. I really like the little statue though. It is unusual.

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    1. The "original" statue stands in Bremen at the side of the beautiful townhall. My tiny statue is made of silver (I should polish it...) and I looked long through several silver smith shops to find it - I wanted it as a reminder, Emma.

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  4. My mum used to tell us Aesop Fables, and I used to tell them to my son. I particularly liked: the boy who cried wolf, the dog and his reflection, sour grapes, and there were others that I liked but can't remember now.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I love those fables, Maria - they taught me not to cry 'wolf' and to be honest about sour grapes :-) - the one about the dog I will look up (never too old to learn something new).
      Greetings, Britta xx

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  5. I used to like the pictures in the books but not the stories. Like Maria, I was familiar with Aesops Fables and liked them and understood their meaning. I always thought Grimms Fairy Tales were cruel and hated them.

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    1. I am even in two minds about the pictures, Rachel - depends on the edition.
      The fairies of the Brother Grimm were quite - grim, yes, and my son flatly refused to listen to another fairy tale after just one example.
      Though the Bremer Musicians are quite good, they refuse to crack under pressure, and act - instead of becoming a victim. And they do not think too long about ingratitude but how one can make the best of life - "You can always find something better than death!" True.

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