500 New Fairy Tales Discovered in Germany

Family Matters on 03.14.12
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Photo: Jeroen Kransen/Creative Commons

I've argued before that it is good to scare your kids, so it's probably no surprise that I was excited to read in The Guardian that over 500 previously unpublished fairy tales have been discovered in Germany. Dating back to the 1800s, these stories were collected by historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth, a contemporary of the Grimm brothers, and were recently reintroduced to the world by Oberpfalz cultural curator Erika Eichenseer who published a book of selected tales from the collection.  

They are, by the sound of things, a suitably macabre set of stories:

There is the tale of a maiden who escapes a witch by transforming herself into a pond. The witch then lies on her stomach and drinks all the water, swallowing the young girl, who uses a knife to cut her way out of the witch.

Of course, much like the issue of cartoon violence, we do have to be careful about the ideas we expose our children to; to keep an eye on their reactions and make sure they are not being traumatized; and to discuss with them the meaning of the stories they hear. Mine are still a little too young to hear about someone freeing themselves single handedly from the innards of a witch. Maybe I'll keep these tales to myself...

Head over to The Guardian to read more about the revival of interest in Von Schönwerth's work.

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