It took me quite some time to finally finish this collection. I’m generally really bad at reading short stories and not all of them were that interesting. I definitely enjoyed it overall though; it was intriguing to read the original versions, especially of the ones I grew up with. It was also fun to come across tales I had completely forgotten about (even if it was a different version) and to learn new ones, even though some of them were quite boring.
Anyway, fairytales are supposed to teach kids important lessons, here are the lessons I learned
Eldest siblings beware
If you have siblings and you’re not the youngest – sucks to be you, you’re most likely going to fail at your task and probably going to die trying it (and it’s likely going to be brutal, because these stories are brutal)
Sexism. Sexism everywhere
If you’re a girl it also sucks to be you (surprise surprise), because whether it makes sense or not, at the end of the story you’ll be the male protagonist’s prize. Speaking of sexism…
A sexist tale is not complete without some slut-shaming, right?
Listen to the ravens
Always listen to ravens’ gossip. I read at least two stories (maybe there were more? It took me months to read this book so I’ve forgotten some stories) in which the ravens’ gossiping was really useful for the protagonist (like ‘you can find the solution to that problem at that place over there’)
Don’t trust anyone
I mean, obviously this was a lesson a lot of these fairytales were meant to tell to children. I definitely learned it. Jesus Christ a lot of the protagonists of these stories are horrible people?? I thought they were supposed to be heroes?? Or at least I did as a kid. There goes my childhood – not that there was much left of it while reading these but still
Disney’s Cinderella > Grimm’s Cinderella
I prefer Disney’s Cinderella – bless you for just killing the father off instead of keeping this guy who doesn’t do a thing about his daughter being abused. It’s even implied that he approves??
Ending stories is hard
Whoever the brothers Grimm heard these stories from… Well, they really didn’t know how to wrap up a story. A lot of them are really abrupt and I was just sitting there like
Speaking of which, not all of these tales end with a ‘and they lived happily ever after’. In fact, a lot of them die. Or they’re like ‘and they were happy, and then they died’, which is technically like ‘they lived happily ever after’, but the afterthought of ‘then they died’ kind of ruins the ending
Hansel did not marry his sister
There’s a small and a big difference between the tales Hansel and Grettel and Hans and Grettel. The small one is the two letters at the end of the first names. The big one is that Hans and Grettel are married and Hansel and Grettel are siblings (who knows Hans and Grettel might have been too, but it wasn’t mentioned). Keep this in mind so that you won’t be disturbed at the non-existent incest in Hans and His Wife Grettel like me. Though expecting incest wasn’t too big of a stretch because…
Yeah that happened. And no it did not end with the princess running away from home and living happily ever after. This was definitely my least favourite story, even though there were stories that were more boring.
So these are some of the lessons I learned! It was definitely an interesting read and if you’re interested in some original fairytales I’d definitely recommend it (plus this edition is super pretty), but if you want to keep your childhood intact – skip it
Have you read this collection or another fairytale collection that consists of original versions? What did you think? Do you remember what your favourite and least favourite stories were? I can’t blame you if you don’t, there are so many! Anyway, let me know in the comments!