Back to index of "words and books and such" pages by Donald Sauter.

Grimm Fairy Tales -

a look at the differences between the first and final versions

Much has been made of the changes that the Grimm Fairy Tales underwent from the first edition to the last. You may read that some of the tales became unrecognizable in the process, or at least that the folkloric purity of the original was lost as the tales were expurgated and prettified.

The English speaking Grimm fan is only now (writing in 2015; call it 200 years after the two volumes of the first edition appeared) getting a glimpse of the original versions. What I am trying to do here is show as clearly as possible the differences between the first and final versions, using what must surely be the most revered and familiar English translation of the complete Grimm Fairy Tales, that of Margaret Hunt (1884).

This is a slow-going work in progress. I will add stories to this index page as I complete them rather than wait till I'm finished, which will be who knows when...

Of course, there's a wide range in the degree of alteration that the tales underwent. I see 5 basic degrees of alteration. My understanding is that brother Wilhelm was largely responsible for the changes throughout the next six editions after the first, and that brother Jakob disapproved. For that reason, I measure the degree of alteration on the "Wilhelm scale".

Category 1 on the Wilhelm scale: only changes to spelling and punctuation. No words added, deleted, or changed. Mostly of interest to scholars of the German language, but you may have fun spinning through the "detailed comparison in the original German" to see the attention the Grimms gave these tales over the years.

Category 2 on the Wilhelm scale: changes on the word level; generally just the addition, deletion, or substitution of a single word, or perhaps a few words, here and there. Only a very small portion of the text is in the difference spots. Category 2 tales are very easy to read in these pages.

Category 3 on the Wilhelm scale: changes made on the sentence level; whole sentences stirred up, with words added, deleted, or substituted. A much greater portion of the text is in the difference spots. My format handles these bigger differences, but it is not so pleasant to read through; the bigger differences pull your attention away from the story itself. In spite of this heavier editing, you'll find the story itself is not altered.

Category 4 on the Wilhelm scale: major reworking and enlargement of the text, although, again, the story remains the same. Most of the text is in the differences; text which is common to both versions appears as relatively short strings. It would make much more sense to read the two versions side by side rather than to try to work them into a single flow.

Category 5 on the Wilhelm scale: the first version supplies the germ of the final version. Think of an acorn of a story growing into a mighty oak, introducing new characters and new scenes. I will try to highlight material making up the first version where it is found in the flow of the final version.

I give the Wilhelm number in brackets after the title. If you're just browsing, I recommend the tales rated [2]. Spin through it one time, and you've read both the first and final versions!

*** VOLUME 1 ***

KHM 001 - The Frog-King, or Iron Henry (Der Froschkönig oder der eiserne Heinrich) [4]
KHM 002 - Cat and Mouse in Partnership (Katze und Maus in Gesellschaft) [4]
KHM 003 - Our Lady's Child (Marienkind) [4]
KHM 004 - The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was (Mährchen von einem, der auszog das Fürchten zu lernen) [5]
KHM 005 Wolf and the seven little kids
KHM 006 Faithful john
KHM 007 Good bargain
KHM 008 Strange musician
KHM 009 Twelve brothers
KHM 010 - The Pack of Ragamuffins (Das Lumpengesindel) [2]
KHM 011 Brother and sister
KHM 012 Rapunzel
KHM 013 Three little men in the wood
KHM 014 Three spinners
KHM 015 Hansel and gretel
KHM 016 Three snake-leaves
KHM 017 White snake
KHM 018 Straw, the coal, and the bean
KHM 019 Fisherman and his wife
KHM 020 Valiant little tailor
KHM 021 Cinderella
KHM 022 Riddle
KHM 023 Mouse, the bird, and the sausage
KHM 024 Mother holle
KHM 025 Seven ravens
KHM 026 Little red-cap
KHM 027 Bremen town-musicians
KHM 028 Singing bone
KHM 029 Devil with the three golden hairs
KHM 030 Louse and the flea
KHM 031 Girl without hands
KHM 032 Clever hans
KHM 033 Three languages
KHM 034 Clever elsie
KHM 035 Tailor in heaven
KHM 036 Wishing-table, the gold-ass, and the cudgel in the sack
KHM 037 Thumbling
KHM 038 Wedding of mrs. fox
KHM 039 Elves (3 stories)
KHM 040 Robber bridegroom
KHM 041 - Herr Korbes (Herr Korbes) [2]
KHM 042 Godfather
KHM 043 Frau trude
KHM 044 Godfather death
KHM 045 Thumbling's travels
KHM 046 Fitcher's bird
KHM 047 Juniper tree
KHM 048 Old sultan
KHM 049 Six swans
KHM 050 Little briar-rose
KHM 051 Fundevogel
KHM 052 King thrushbeard
KHM 053 Little snow-white
KHM 054 Knapsack, the hat, and the horn
KHM 055 Rumpelstiltskin
KHM 057 Sweetheart roland
KHM 057 Golden bird
KHM 058 Dog and the sparrow
KHM 059 Frederick and catherine
KHM 060 Two brothers
KHM 061 Little peasant
KHM 062 Queen bee
KHM 063 Three feathers
KHM 064 Golden goose
KHM 065 Allerleirauh
KHM 066 Hare's bride
KHM 067 - The Twelve Huntsmen (Die zwölf Jäger) [4]
KHM 068 Thief and his master
KHM 069 - Jorinda and Joringel (Jorinde und Joringel) [2]
KHM 070 Three sons of fortune
KHM 071 How six men got on in the world
KHM 072 Wolf and the man
KHM 073 Wolf and the fox
KHM 074 Gossip
KHM 075 Fox and the cat
KHM 076 - The Pink (Die Nelke) [5]
KHM 077 Clever gretel
KHM 078 - The Old Man and his Grandson (Der alte Großvater und der Enkel) [2]
KHM 079 - The Water-Nixie (Die Wassernixe) [2]
KHM 080 - The Death of the Little Hen (Von dem Tode des Hühnchens) [2]
KHM 081 Brother lustig
KHM 082 Gambling hansel
KHM 083 Hans in luck
KHM 084 Hans married
KHM 085 Gold-children
KHM 086 - The Fox and the Geese (Der Fuchs und die Gänse) [2]

*** VOLUME 2 ***

KHM 087 - The Poor Man and the Rich Man (Der Arme und der Reiche) [3]
KHM 088 Singing, soaring lark
KHM 089 - The Goose-Girl (Die Gänsemagd) [2 plus small reworked section]
KHM 090 - The Young Giant (Der junge Riese) [3]
KHM 091 - The Gnome (Dat Erdmänneken) [2]
KHM 092 - The King of the Golden Mountain (Der König vom goldenen Berge) [3]
KHM 093 - The Raven (Die Rabe) [3]
KHM 094 - The Peasant's Wise Daughter (Die kluge Bauerntochter) [2]
KHM 095 Old hildebrand
KHM 096 - The Three Little Birds (De drei Vügelkens) [1]
KHM 097 - The Water of Life (Das Wasser des Lebens) [3]
KHM 098 - Doctor Knowall (Doctor Allwissend) [2]
KHM 099 - The Spirit in the Bottle (Der Geist im Glas) [4]
KHM 100 - The Devil's Sooty Brother (Des Teufels rußiger Bruder) [2]
KHM 101 Bearskin
KHM 102 - The Willow-Wren and the Bear (Der Zaunkönig und der Bär) [2]
KHM 103 - Sweet Porridge (Der süße Brei) [2]
KHM 104 Wise folks
KHM 105 Tales of the paddock
KHM 106 - The Poor Miller's Boy and the Cat (Der arme Müllerbursch und das Kätzchen) [2 plus added scene]
KHM 107 Two travelers
KHM 108 - Hans the Hedgehog (Hans mein Igel) [2]
KHM 109 - The Shroud (Das Todtenhemdchen) [2]
KHM 110 Jew among thorns
KHM 111 - The Skillful Huntsman (Der gelernte Jäger) [2 plus scene shifted]
KHM 112 - The Flail From Heaven (Der Dreschflegel vom Himmel) [2]
KHM 113 - The Two Kings' Children (De beiden Künigeskinner) [2]
KHM 114 - The Cunning Little Tailor (Vom klugen Schneiderlein) [2]
KHM 115 - The Bright Sun Brings it to Light (Die klare Sonne bringts an den Tag) [2]
KHM 116 - The Blue Light (Das blaue Licht) [4]
KHM 117 - The Willful Child (Das eigensinnige Kind) [2]
KHM 118 - The Three Army-Surgeons (Die drei Feldscherer) [2]
KHM 119 Seven swabians
KHM 120 - The Three Apprentices (Die drei Handwerksburschen) [2]
KHM 121 King's son who feared nothing
KHM 122 Donkey cabbages
KHM 123 - The Old Woman in the Wood (Die Alte im Wald) [2]
KHM 124 - The Three Brothers (Die drei Brüder) [2]
KHM 125 - The Devil and His Grandmother (Der Teufel und seine Großmutter) [3]
KHM 126 - Ferdinand the Faithful and Ferdinand the Unfaithful (Ferenand getrü un Ferenand ungetrü) [2]
KHM 127 - The Iron Stove (Der Eisenofen) [2]
KHM 128 - The Lazy Spinner (Die faule Spinnerin) [2]
KHM 129 Four skillful brothers
KHM 130 One-eye, two-eyes, and three-eyes
KHM 131 - Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie (Die schöne Katrinelje und Pif Paf Poltrie) [2]
KHM 132 - Fox and the Horse (Der Fuchs und das Pferd) [2]
KHM 133 - The Shoes that were Danced to Pieces (Die zertanzten Schuhe) [2]
KHM 134 Six servants
KHM 135 - The White Bride and the Black Bride (Die weiße und die schwarze Braut) [2]
KHM 136 Iron hans
KHM 137 - The Three Black Princesses (De drei schwatten Princessinnen) [1]
KHM 138 - Knoist and His Three Sons (Knoist un sine dre Sühne) [1]
KHM 139 - The Maid of Brakel (Dat Mäken von Brakel) [1]
KHM 140 - My Household (Das Hausgesinde) [1]
KHM 141 - The Lambkin and the Little Fish (Das Lämmchen und Fischchen) [2]
KHM 142 - Simeli Mountain (Simeliberg) [2]
KHM 143 Going a traveling
KHM 144 - The Donkey (Das Eselein) [2]
KHM 145 - The Ungrateful Son (Der undankbare Sohn) [2]
KHM 146 - The Turnip (Die Rübe) [2]
KHM 147 - The Old Man Made Young Again (Das junggeglühte Männlein) [2]
KHM 148 - The Lord's Animals and the Devil's (Des Herrn und des Teufels Gethier) [2]
KHM 149 - The Beam (Der Hahnenbalken) [2]
KHM 150 - The Old Beggar-Woman (Die alte Bettelfrau) [2]
KHM 151 - The Three Sluggards (Die drei Faulen) [2]
KHM 151 Twelve idle servants
KHM 152 Shepherd boy
KHM 153 - The Star Money (Die Sternthaler) [2]
KHM 154 - The Stolen Farthings (Der gestohlene Heller) [2]
KHM 155 Looking for a bride
KHM 156 Hurds
KHM 157 - The Sparrow and His Four Children (Der Sperling und seine vier Kinder) [2]
KHM 158 - The Story of Schlauraffen Land (Das Märchen vom Schlauraffenland) [1]
KHM 159 - The Ditmars Tale of Wonders (Das Dietmarsische Lügenmärchen) [2]
KHM 160 - A Riddling Tale (Räthselmärchen) [1]
KHM 161 Snow-white and rose-red
KHM 162 Wise servant
KHM 163 Glass coffin
KHM 164 Lazy harry
KHM 165 Griffin
KHM 166 Strong hans
KHM 167 Peasant in heaven
KHM 168 Lean lisa
KHM 169 Hut in the forest
KHM 170 Sharing joy and sorrow
KHM 171 Willow-wren
KHM 172 Sole
KHM 173 Bittern and the hoopoe
KHM 174 Owl
KHM 175 Moon
KHM 176 Duration of life
KHM 177 Death's messengers
KHM 178 Master pfriem
KHM 179 Goose-girl at the well
KHM 180 Eve's various children
KHM 181 Nixie of the mill-pond
KHM 182 Little folks' presents
KHM 183 Giant and the tailor
KHM 184 Nail
KHM 185 Poor boy in the grave
KHM 186 True bride
KHM 187 Hare and the hedgehog
KHM 188 Spindle, the shuttle, and the needle
KHM 189 Peasant and the devil
KHM 190 Crumbs on the table
KHM 191 Sea-hare
KHM 192 Master-thief
KHM 193 Drummer
KHM 194 Ear of corn
KHM 195 Grave-mound
KHM 196 Old rinkrank
KHM 197 Crystal ball
KHM 198 Maid maleen
KHM 199 Boots of buffalo leather
KHM 200 - The Golden Key (Der goldene Schlüssel) [2]


KHM 201 St. joseph in the forest
KHM 202 Twelve apostles
KHM 203 Rose
KHM 204 Poverty and humility lead to heaven
KHM 205 God's food
KHM 206 Three green twigs
KHM 207 Our lady's little glass
KHM 208 Aged mother
KHM 209 - The Heavenly Wedding (Die himmlische Hochzeit) [2]
KHM 210 Hazel-branch


Contact Donald Sauter: send an email; view guestbook; sign guestbook.
Back to Donald Sauter's main page.
Rather shop than think? Please visit My Little Shop of Rare and Precious Commodities.
Back to the top of this page.

Parents, if you're considering tutoring or supplemental education for your child, you may be interested in my observations on Kumon.