fairy tale prompt #25: the brothers Grimm were very grim

The Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm* were very grim.

No one knew if they could even grin.

Dressed all in black from head to toe.

Through the countryside they would go.

Looking for fairy tales, stories, songs about which to write.

Studied this part of the German heritage to gain insight.

But, when asked why such an interest in lore.

Like addicts they said, “We always need more.

Children ought to be taught to behave.

Or too early will they go to the grave.

So, we will scare them into being good.

And behaving properly, as they should.

Your assistance would be most welcome

But a few minutes, and we will be done

We do not do this to experience fun.

The battle against evil must be won.”

So then the  grim Brothers Grimm

Tales of correction they did spin.

Not pleasant sun-shiny, kindly Mother Goose.

Their darkest most fearful imagings let loose.

Ogres, trolls, wolves, witches, wicked people inhabit the Land of Grim.

Ovens, dungeons, castle tower prisons, banishment, await those who sin.

In the Land of Grim, mothers, not stepmothers, are evil and bad.

Descriptions of torture, body parts, and blood-letting to be had.

Along came Disney a century+ later to claim Cinderella as his own.

But she and her story were not to be just a Grimm Brothers’ clone.

All this eventually lead to the Disney Princess craze.

Cinderella, now Ella mean lots of money to be made.

The Brothers’ Grimm often struggled for cash.

Wonder if they knew how long their tales would last.

The Brothers Grimm were very grim.

No one knew if they could grin.

Dressed all in black from head to toe.

Through the countryside they would go.

* In all fairness to the Brothers Grim, I have painted a slightly darker portrait. The first addition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen, folk tales was not written with children in mind. There was violence, death, torture, mothers not stepmothers do the evil deed, and there are sexually charged stories.

They edited the volume, Kinder- und Hausmärchen many, many times. The former scarce into obedience stories became more like instructive or warning tales. As the popularity of the book grew, the Brothers Grim edited the folk tales to better suit their audiences tastes.

The sanitization of the stories was started by the Grimms and continues today. As Anja points out – The Grimm’s Cinderella was far removed from the Disneyfied version. 



11 thoughts on “fairy tale prompt #25: the brothers Grimm were very grim

  1. Pat September 13, 2014 / 4:24 pm

    Absolutely fascinating and delightful read – as well as being instructive and not so sugary!

    Damn, I’m tired of all the “everything has a happy ending blah blah blah let’s live in the wide world of …. “


    • phylor September 14, 2014 / 9:16 pm

      Setting up false expectations! For every happy ending there must be a million unhappy ones. I know exactly how you feel.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mindlovemisery September 13, 2014 / 2:12 am

    Swedish fairytales are quite dark and they wouldn’t just give Isadora nightmares they’d give me nightmares as well! so I admit with her bedtime reading I do err on the light side. Excellent poem!


    • phylor September 13, 2014 / 5:13 am

      The Grimms should have gone to Sweden! They did publish Danish and Irish folk tales and Norse Mythology, but nothing particularly Swedish!


      • mindlovemisery September 13, 2014 / 12:32 pm

        I think so too because their stories would fit right in


  3. phylor September 12, 2014 / 10:36 pm

    And those are the sanitized versions. Strangely, it made me want to read the originals; skipping the gory, scary parts, lol. My grandmother must have been a Grimm; when she told the cleaned up versions, they still sounded very creepy, and read as a lesson in behavior.


    • phylor September 12, 2014 / 10:37 pm

      This reply goes with J/J’s down below.


  4. summerstommy2 September 12, 2014 / 8:36 pm

    Great take on this prompt phylor. Yes the original Grim tales were very grim indeed. Shame they never made the $’s Disney did.


    • phylor September 12, 2014 / 10:41 pm

      True. Their real interest was in creating a German Dictionary which they worked on practically all their lives. I think the folk tales became a way to fund that project. And, they really were constantly editing their folk tale volumes.
      Still in Germany today, according to Wikipedia, the 2nd most bought book is the Grimm Brother’s folk tales.


  5. CuriositytotheMax September 12, 2014 / 7:46 pm

    love your pome! and the brothers WERE very GRRRRRRRRRIM. Some of their tales scare me today.


    • phylor September 13, 2014 / 12:36 pm

      I found my response had separated from your comment. Ah, the Brothers Grimm at work!


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