Brothers Grimm
The Brothers Grimm (or Die Brüder Grimm), Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859), were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors who together specialized in collecting and publishing folklore during the 19th century. They were among the best-known storytellers of folk tales, and popularized stories such as "Cinderella" ("Aschenputtel"), "The Frog Prince" ("Der Froschkönig"), "Hansel and Gretel" ("Hänsel und Gretel"), "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin" ("Rumpelstilzchen"), and "Snow White" ("Schneewittchen"). Their first collection of folk tales, Children's and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812.


Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm was born on 4 January 1785, 13 months earlier than his brother Wilhelm Carl Grimm, who was born on 24 February 1786. Both boys were born in Hanau, Germany, to Philipp Wilhelm Grimm, a jurist, and Dorothea Grimm, née Zimmer, daughter of a Kassel city councilman. They were the second- and third-eldest surviving siblings in a family of nine children, three of whom died in infancy. In 1791, the family moved to the countryside town of Steinau, when Philipp was employed there as district magistrate (Amtmann). The family became prominent members of the community, residing in a large home surrounded by fields. Biographer Jack Zipes writes that the brothers were happy in Steinau and "clearly fond of country life". The children were educated at home by private tutors, receiving strict instruction as Reformed Christians (Calvinists) that instilled in both a lifelong religious faith. Later, they attended local schools.

In 1796, Philipp Grimm died of pneumonia, which caused sudden and severe financial hardship for the large family. Forced to relinquish their servants and large house, Dorothea depended on financial support from her father and sister – first lady-in-waiting at the court of Prince William I, Elector of Hesse. As eldest living son, at age 11, Jacob was forced to quickly assume adult responsibilities (shared with Wilhelm) for the next two years; the two boys adhered to the advice of their grandfather who continually exhorted them to be industrious.

The brothers left Steinau, and their family, in 1798, to attend the prestigious Friedrichsgymnasium in Kassel, which had been arranged and paid for by their aunt. By then they were without a male provider (their grandfather died that year), forcing them

After graduation from the Friedrichsgymnasium, the brothers attended the University of Marburg. The university was small with about 200 students and there they became painfully aware that students of lower social status were not treated equally. They were disqualified from admission because of their social standing and had to request dispensation to study law. Wealthier students received stipends, but the brothers were excluded even from tuition aid. Although their poverty kept them from student activities or university social life, their outsider status worked in their favor and they pursued their studies with extra vigor.

Inspired by their law professor, Friedrich von Savigny, who awakened in them an interest in history and philology, the brothers turned to studying medieval German literature. They shared Savigny's desire to see unification of the 200 German principalities into a single state. Through Savigny and his circle of friends—German romantics such as Clemens Brentano and Ludwig Achim von Arnim—the Grimms were introduced to the ideas of Johann Gottfried Herder, who thought that German literature should revert to simpler forms, which he defined as Volkspoesie (natural poetry) as opposed to Kunstpoesie (artistic poetry). The brothers dedicated themselves with great enthusiasm to their studies.

In 1805, still financially responsible for his mother, brother and younger siblings, Jacob accepted a post in Paris as research assistant to von Savigny. On his return to Marburg he was forced to abandon his studies to support the family, whose poverty was so extreme that food was often scarce. He took a job with the Hessian War Commission. In a letter written to his aunt at this time, Wilhelm wrote of their circumstances, "We five people eat only three portions and only once a day".

Jacob found full-time employment in 1808 when he was appointed court librarian to the King of Westphalia and went on to become librarian in Kassel. After their mother's death that year, he became fully responsible for his younger siblings. He arranged and paid for his brother Ludwig's studies at art school and for Wilhelm's extended visit to Halle to seek treatment for heart and respiratory ailments, following which Wilhelm joined Jacob as librarian in Kassel. At about this time, on Brentano's request, the brothers began collecting folk tales in a cursory manner. According to Jack Zipes, at this point "the Grimms were unable to devote all their energies to their research and did not have a clear idea about the significance of collecting folk tales in this initial phase."

During their employment as librarians—which paid little but afforded them ample time for research—the brothers experienced a productive period of scholarship, publishing a number of books between 1812 and 1830. In 1812, they published their first volume of 86 folk tales, Kinder- und Hausmärchen, followed quickly by two volumes of German legends and a volume of early literary history. They went on to publish works about Danish and Irish folk tales and Norse mythology, while continuing to edit the German folk tale collection. These works became so widely recognized that the brothers received honorary doctorates from universities in Marburg, Berlin and Breslau (now Wrocław).

In 1825, Wilhelm married Henriette Dorothea (Dortchen) Wild, a long-time family friend and one of a group who supplied them with stories. Jacob, who never married, would continue to live in the household with Wilhelm and Dortchen. In 1830 both brothers were overlooked when the post of chief librarian came available, which disappointed them greatly. They moved the household to Göttingen, in the Kingdom of Hanover where they took employment at the University of Göttingen—Jacob as a professor and head librarian and Wilhelm as professor.

During the next seven years the brothers continued to research, write and publish. In 1835 Jacob published the well-regarded German Mythology (Deutsche Mythologie); Wilhelm continued to edit and prepare the third edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen for publication. The two brothers taught German studies at the university, becoming well-respected in the newly established discipline.

In 1837 they lost their university posts after joining in protest with the Göttingen Seven. The 1830s were a period of political upheaval and peasant revolt in Germany, leading to the movement for democratic reform known as Young Germany. Although not directly aligned with the Young Germans, the Grimm brothers and five of their colleagues reacted against the demands of King Ernest Augustus I, who in 1837 dissolved the parliament of Hanover and demanded oaths of allegiance from civil servants—including professors at the University of Göttingen. For refusing to sign the oath, the seven professors were dismissed and three were deported from Hanover, including Jacob who went to Kassel. He was later joined there by Wilhelm, Dortchen and their four children.

Without income and again in extreme financial difficulty, in 1838 the brothers began what would become a lifelong project: the writing of a definitive dictionary. The first volume of their German Dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch) would not be published until 1854. The brothers again depended on friends and supporters for financial assistance and influence in finding employment.

Berlin and later years

The graves of the Brothers Grimm in Schöneberg, Berlin (St. Matthäus Kirchhof Cemetery)

In 1840, von Savigny and Bettina von Arnim appealed successfully to Frederick William IV of Prussia on behalf of the brothers who were offered posts at the University of Berlin. In addition to teaching posts, the Academy of Sciences offered them stipends to continue their research. Once they had established the household in Berlin, they directed their efforts towards the work on the German dictionary and continued to publish their research. Jacob turned his attention to researching German legal traditions and the history of the German language, which was published in the late 1840s and early 1850s; meanwhile Wilhelm began researching medieval literature while at the same time editing new editions of Hausmärchen.

After the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, the brothers were elected to the civil parliament. Jacob became a prominent member of the National Assembly at Mainz. Their political activities were short-lived as their hope for a unified Germany dwindled and their disenchantment grew. In the late 1840s, Jacob resigned his university position and saw the publication of The History of the German Language (Geschichte der deutschen Sprache). Wilhelm continued at his university post until 1852. After retiring from teaching, the brothers devoted themselves to the German Dictionary for the rest of their lives. Wilhelm died of an infection in Berlin in 1859, and Jacob, deeply upset at his brother's death, became increasingly reclusive. He continued work on the dictionary until his own death in 1863. Zipes writes of the Grimm brothers' dictionary and of their very large body of work: "Symbolically the last word was Frucht (fruit)."

Fairy tales

The ones with * have SimsalaGrimm version.

Volume I

Volume 2

  • The Poor Man and the Rich Man
  • The Singing, Springing Lark
  • The Goose Girl*
  • The Young Giant
  • The Gnome
  • The King of the Gold Mountain
  • The Raven
  • The Peasant's Wise Daughter
  • Old Hildebrand
  • The Three Little Birds
  • The Water of Life
  • Doctor Know-all
  • The Spirit in the Bottle
  • The Devil's Sooty Brother
  • Bearskin
  • The Willow Wren and the Bear
  • Sweet Porridge
  • Wise Folks
  • Tales of the Paddock
  • The Poor Miller's Boy and the Cat
  • The Two Travelers
  • Hans My Hedgehog
  • The Shroud
  • The Jew Among Thorns
  • The Skillful Huntsman
  • The Flail from Heaven
  • The Two Kings' Children
  • The Clever Little Tailor
  • The Bright Sun Brings it to Light
  • The Blue Light
  • The Willful Child
  • The Three Army Surgeons
  • The Seven Swabians
  • The Three Apprentices
  • The King's Son Who Feared Nothing
  • Donkey Cabbages
  • The Old Woman in the Wood
  • The Three Brothers
  • The Devil and His Grandmother
  • Ferdinand the Faithful and Ferdinand the Unfaithful
  • The Iron Stove
  • The Lazy Spinner
  • The Four Skillful Brothers
  • One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes
  • Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie
  • The Fox and the Horse
  • The Shoes that were Danced to Pieces
  • The Six Servants*
  • The White and the Black Bride
  • Iron John*
  • The Three Black Princesses
  • Knoist and his Three Sons
  • The Maid of Brakel
  • My Household
  • The Lambkin and the Little Fish
  • Simeli Mountain
  • Going a Traveling, appeared in the 1819 edition
  • The Starving Children
  • The Donkey
  • The Ungrateful Son
  • The Turnip
  • The Old Man Made Young Again
  • The Lord's Animals and the Devil's

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