Thursday, January 04, 2007

Household Tales

Jacob Grimm
Janurary 4, 1785-September 20, 1863

Jacob Grimm was born in Hanau, Germany on January 4, 1785. His father, who was educated in law and served as a town clerk, died when Jacob was young. His mother Dorothea struggled to pay the education of the children. With financial help of Dorothea's sister, Jacob and Wilhelm were sent to Kasel to attend the Lyzeum. Jacob then studied law at Marburg. He worked from 1816 to 1829 as a librarian at Kasel, where his brother served as a secretary.

Between 1821 and 1822 the brothers raised extra money by collecting three volumes of folktales. With these publications they wanted to show, that Germans shared a similar culture and advocate the unification process of the small independent kingdoms and principalities.
Cinderella 1
By Gustave Dore

Altogether some 40 persons delivered tales to the Grimm's. Their the most important informants included Dorothea Viehmann, the daughter of an innkeeper, Johann Friedrich Krause, an old dragoon, and Marie Hassenpflug, a 20-year-old friend of their sister, Charlotte, from a well-bred, French-speaking family. Marie's stories blended motifs from the oral tradition and Perrault's Tales of My Mother Goose (1697).


Red Riding Hood 2
By Gustave Dore


The brothers moved in 1830 Göttingen, Wilhelm becoming assistant librarian and Jacob a librarian. In 1835 Wilhelm was appointed professor, but they were dismissed two years later for protesting against the abrogation of the Hannover constitution by King Ernest Augustus. In 1841 they became professors at the University of Berlin, and worked with Deutsches Worterbuch. Its first volume appeared in 1854.


Sleeping Beauty 1
By Gustave Dore


The Grimm's made major contributions in many fields, notably in the studies of heroic myth and the ancient religion and law. They worked very close, even after Wilhelm married in 1825. Jacob remained unmarried. Wilhelm died in Berlin on December 16, 1859 and Jacob four years later on September 20, 1863.

And now for your reading enjoyment;


The Twelve Apostles
By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm


Three hundred years before the birth of the Lord Christ, there lived a mother who had twelve sons, but was so poor and needy that she no longer knew how she was to keep them alive at all. She prayed to God daily that he would grant that all her sons might be on the earth with the Redeemer who was promised. When her necessity became still greater she sent one of them after the other out into the world to seek bread for her.

The eldest was called Peter, and he went out and had already walked a long way, a whole day's journey, when he came into a great forest. He sought for a way out, but could find none, and went farther and farther astray, and at the same time felt such great hunger that he could scarcely stand. At length he became so weak that he was forced to lie down, and he believed death to be at hand.

Suddenly there stood beside him a small boy who shone with brightness, and was as beautiful and kind as an angel. The child smote his little hands together, until Peter was forced to look up and saw him. Then the child said, "Why art thou sitting there in such trouble?" "Alas!" answered Peter, "I am going about the world seeking bread, that I may yet see the dear Saviour who is promised, that is my greatest desire." The child said, "Come with me, and thy wish shall be fulfilled." He took poor Peter by the hand, and led him between some cliffs to a great cavern.

When they entered it, everything was shining with gold, silver, and crystal, and in the midst of it twelve cradles were standing side by side. Then said the little angel, "Lie down in the first, and sleep a while, I will rock thee." Peter did so, and the angel sang to him and rocked him until he was alseep. And when he was asleep, the second brother came also, guided thither by his guardian angel, and he was rocked to sleep like the first, and thus came the others, one after the other, until all twelve lay there sleeping in the golden cradles.

They slept, however, three hundred years, until the night when the Saviour of the world was born. Then they awoke, and were with him on earth, and were called the twelve apostles.


From Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Household Tales, trans. Margaret Hunt (London: George Bell, 1884)

This week has been a zoo at work, and I am really looking forward to the weekend! How is your week been?

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N Posted by Rain at 1/04/2007 12:16:00 AM

1 Comments

  • Blogger jedimerc posted at 12:19 PM  
    Interesting bits on the Brothers Grimm... I like the art... very cool.

    Um, my week has been reasonable. Still looking forward to the weekend. (Playoffs, though I suspect the Cows will lose to Seattle).
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