Known as the keepers of modern-day fairy tales, The Brothers Grimm are as legendary as their stories. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in 1780s Germany and were inseparable throughout their childhood. While pursuing their law degrees, the two became fascinated with folktales and folk songs. Together, they researched and published centuries of folklore in their famous early nineteenth-century compilation, Children’s and Household Tales. Thanks to the Brothers Grimm, German folk tales like “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Little Red Ridinghood,” and “Hansel and Gretel" are enjoyed by children everywhere.
About the Author
Avery Reed is an assistant editor at Grosset & Dunlap. She lives with her husband in New York, New York.vc
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Who Were The Brothers Grimm?
“Once upon a time,” an old peasant woman began, “there was a queen whose husband had been dead for many years, and she had a beautiful daughter.”
A young man named Wilhelm Grimm listened attentively to the woman’s story. The woman had likely heard it when she was a young child from her own mother. It was a German fairy tale called “The Goose Girl.” The fairy tale is about a magical charm, a horse who can speak, an evil servant, and a princess who seems doomed to a life guarding geese for a king who believes she is a peasant.
Wilhelm had traveled out into the countryside of Germany to meet Dorothea Viehmann and listen to her stories. She told him thirty-five tales—and Wilhelm wrote them all down, word for word.
It was 1813, and Wilhelm and his older brother, Jacob, were in the middle of a big project. The brothers had just published their first book together, a collection of German fairy tales, and now they were working on a second volume.
Excerpted from "Who Were the Brothers Grimm?"
Copyright © 2015 Avery Reed.
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