One of the two Brothers Grimm, Wilhelm, was born exactly 230 years ago on 24 February, 1786. One of the two authors of The Children’s and Household Tales, more commonly known to us as Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Although both brothers grew up sharing a bed, table, room, authorship, all property, and even lived in the same house once Wilhelm was married, the two were very, very different types of folks.
Wilhelm was chronically sick, more poetic, and more interested in helping the stories reach a broader audience with translation. He also envisioned a different audience for their most popular work.
“We really wished the “Fairy Tales” to be an educational book, since I know nothing that is more nourishing, more innocent and refreshing for childlike powers and nature,” he wrote.
Meanwhile his more bookish brother Jacob intended the collection for “adults and serious people.”
The stripped down, unembellished style of this classic work doesn’t necessarily mean it’s for kids; they intentionally wanted to let these stories speak for themselves, as they were mostly classic folktales shard through the generations by ordinary people.
Perhaps you read these stories as a child, or as an adult. Let us know and share your stories of the role of fairy tales in your childhood, or what what folktales have been shared with you when you were older.
Although their audience may change through the ages, the Brothers Grimm were some of the great storytellers of all time, devoting their lives to collecting priceless folktales from all over the world and ensuring their safety.
While we use digital tools to try to preserve memories, we look back and thank Wilhelm and Jacob for their commitment to saving stories, rescuing many from obscurity and exposing them to a much larger audience.