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The grim brothers Selected fairy tales by the brothers Grimm

The seven ravens The death´s messengers The poor boy in the grave The singing bone


The grim brothers


The grim brothers

The tales

The tales

The Grimm’s legacy contains legends, novellas and folk stories, the vast majority of which were not intended as children’s tales. Deeply concerned by the content of some of the tales—such as those that showed children being eaten—von Armin suggested they be removed. Instead the brothers added an introduction with cautionary advice that parents steer children toward age-appropriate stories. Despite von Armin’s unease, none of the tales were eliminated from the collection, in the brothers’ belief that all the tales were of value and reflected inherent cultural qualities. Furthermore, the stories were didactic in nature at a time when discipline relied on fear, according to scholar Linda Dégh, who explains that tales such as ”Little Red Riding Hood” and ”Hansel and Gretel” were written to be ”warning tales” for children. The stories in Kinder- und Hausmärchen include scenes of violence that have since been sanitized. For example the Grimms’ version of ”Snow White” ends with the stepmother dancing at Snow White’s wedding wearing a pair of red-hot iron shoes that kill her; another story has a servant being pushed into a barrel ”studded with sharp nails” and then rolled down the street. The Grimms’ version of ”The Frog Prince” describes the princess throwing the frog against a wall instead of kissing him. To some extent the cruelty and violence may have been a reflection of medieval culture from which the tales originated, such as scenes of witches burning, as described ”The Six Swans”.

Tales with a spinning motif are broadly represented in the collection. In her essay ”Tale Spinners: Submerged Voices in Grimms’ Fairy Tales”, children’s literature scholar Bottigheimer explains that these stories reflect the degree to which spinning was crucial in the life of women in the 19th century and earlier. Spinning, and particularly the spinning of flax, was commonly performed in the home by women. Although many stories begin by describing the occupation of a main character, as in ”There once was a miller”, as an occupation spinning is never mentioned, probably because the brothers did not consider it an occupation. Instead, spinning was a communal activity, frequently performed in a Spinnstube (spinning room), a place where women most likely kept the oral traditions alive by telling stories while engaged in tedious work. In the stories, a woman’s personality is often reflected by her attitude toward spinning: a wise woman might be a spinster, and Bottigheimer explains the spindle was the symbol of a ”diligent, wellordered womanhood.” In some stories, such as ”Rumpelstiltskin”, spinning is associated with a threat; in others spinning might be avoided by a character who is either too lazy or not accustomed to spinning because of her high social status. The tales were also criticized for being insufficiently German, which not only influenced the tales the brothers included, but their use of language; whereas scholars such as Heinz Rölleke say the stories are an accurate

depiction of German culture, showing ”rustic simplicity [and] sexual modesty”. German culture is deeply rooted in the forest (wald), a dark dangerous place to be avoided, most particularly the old forests with large oak trees, and yet a place to which Little Red Riding Hood’s mother sent her daughter to deliver food to grandmother’s house. Some critics such as Alistair Hauke, use Jungian analysis to say that the deaths of the brothers’ father and grandfather are the reason for the Grimms’ tendency to idealize and excuse fathers, as well as the predominance of female villains in the tales such as the wicked stepmothers, such as the evil stepmother and stepsisters in ”Cinderella”, but this disregards the fact that they were collectors, not authors of the tales. Another possible influence can be found in the selection of stories such as ”The Twelve Brothers”, which mirrors the brothers’ family structure of one girl and several brothers overcoming opposition. Zipes believes that a number of the stories show autobiographical elements and that the brothers may have used their work as a ”quest” to replace the family life they lost when their father died. The collection includes 41 tales about siblings, which Zipes believes are representative of Jacob and Wilhelm. Many of the sibling stories follow a simple plot in which the characters lose a home, work industriously at a specific task, and in the end find a new home


The seven ravens

The grim brothers

The seven ravens

A man had seven sons, but however much he wished for a daughter, he did not have one yet. Finally his wife gave him hope for another child, and when it came into the world it was indeed a girl. Great was their joy, but the child was sickly and small, and because of her weakness, she was to be given an emergency baptism. The father sent one of the boys to run quickly to the well and get some water for the baptism. The other six ran along with him. Because each one of them wanted to be first one to dip out the water, the jug fell into the well. There they stood not knowing what to do, and not one of them dared to go home. When they did not return the father grew impatient, and said, “They have forgotten what they went after because they were playing, those godless boys.” Fearing that the girl would die

without being baptized, he cried out in anger, “I wish that those boys would all turn into ravens.” He had hardly spoken these words when he heard a whirring sound above his head, and looking up, he saw seven coal-black ravens flying up and away. The parents could not take back the curse, and however sad they were at the loss of their seven sons, they were still somewhat comforted because of their dear little daughter, who soon gained strength and became more beautiful every day. For a long time she did not know that she had had brothers, for her parents took care not to mention them to her. However, one day she accidentally overheard some people talking about her. They said that she was beautiful enough, but that in truth she was to blame for her seven brothers’ misfortune. This

troubled her greatly, and she went to her father and mother and asked them if she indeed had had brothers, and what had happened to them. Her parents could no longer keep the secret, but said that it had been heaven’s fate, and that her birth had been only the innocent cause. However, this ate at the girl’s conscience every day, and she came to believe that she would have to redeem her brothers. She had neither rest nor peace until she secretly set forth and went out into the wide world, hoping to find her brothers and to set them free, whatever it might cost. She took nothing with her but a little ring as a remembrance from her parents, a loaf of bread for hunger, a little jug of water for thirst, and a little chair for when she got tired. She walked on and on — far, far to the end


The grim brothers

of the world. She came to the sun, but it was too hot and terrible, and ate little children. She hurried away, and ran to the moon, but it was much too cold, and also frightening and wicked, and when it saw the child, it said, “I smell, smell human flesh.” Then she hurried away, and came to the stars, and they were friendly and good to her, each one sitting on its own little chair. When the morning star arose, it gave her a chicken bone, and said, “Without that chicken bone you cannot open the glass mountain, and your brothers are inside the glass mountain.” The girl took the bone, wrapped it up well in a cloth, and went on her way again until she came to the glass mountain. The door was locked, and she started to take out the chicken bone, but when she opened up the cloth, it was empty. She had

The seven ravens

lost the gift of the good stars. What could she do now? She wanted to rescue her brothers, but she had no key to the glass mountain. The good little sister took a knife, cut off one of her little fingers, put it into the door, and fortunately the door opened. After she had gone inside a little dwarf came up to her and said, “My child, what are you looking for?” “I am looking for my brothers, the seven ravens,” she replied. The dwarf said, “The lord ravens are not at home, but if you want to wait here until they return, step inside.” Then the dwarf carried in the ravens’ dinner on seven little plates, and in seven little cups. The sister ate a little bit from each plate and took a little sip from each cup. Into the last cup she dropped the ring that she had brought with her. Suddenly she heard a whirring and rushing

sound in the air, and the dwarf said, “The lord ravens are flying home now.” They came, wanted to eat and drink, and looked for their plates and cups. Then one after the other of them said, “Who has been eating from my plate? Who has been drinking from my cup? It was a human mouth.” When the seventh one came to the bottom of his cup, the ring rolled toward him. Looking at it, he saw that it was a ring from their father and mother, and said, “God grant that our sister might be here; then we would be set free.” The girl was listening from behind the door, and when she heard this wish she came forth. Then the ravens were restored to their human forms again. They hugged and kissed one another, and went home happily.


The grim brothers


The grim brothers

She wanted to rescue her brothers, but she had no key to the glass mountain.


The grim brothers

The Death´s messengers

The Death´s messengers


The grim brothers

In ancient times a giant was wandering along the highway when suddenly a stranger jumped toward him and shouted, “Stop! Not one step further!” “What?” said the giant. “You, a creature that I could crush between my fingers, you want to block my way? Who are you that you dare to speak so boldly?” “I am Death,” answered the other one. “No one resists me, and you too must obey my orders.” But the giant refused, and began to wrestle with Death. It was a long, violent battle, and finally the giant got the upper hand, and knocked Death down with his fist, causing him to collapse by a stone. The giant went on his way, and Death lay there conquered, so weak that he could not get up again. “What is to come of this?” he said. “If I stay lying here in a corner, no one will die in the world, and it will become so filled with people that they won’t have room to stand beside one another.” Meanwhile a young man came down the road. Vigorous and healthy, he was singing a song and looking this way and that. Seeing the half-conscious individual, he approached him with compassion, raised him up, gave him a refreshing drink from his flask, and waited until he regained his strength. “Do you know,” asked the stranger, as he stood up, “who I am, and whom you have helped onto his legs again?”

The Death´s messengers

“No,” answered the youth, “I do not know you.” “I am Death,” he said. “I spare no one, nor can make an exception with you. However, so you may see that I am grateful, I promise you that I will not attack you without warning, but instead will send my messengers to you before I come and take you away.” “Good,” said the youth. “It is to my benefit that I shall know when you are coming, and that I will be safe from you until then.” Then he went on his way, and was cheerful and carefree, and lived one day at a time. However, youth and good health did not last long. Soon came sickness and pain, which tormented him by day and deprived him of his rest by night. “I shall not die,” he said to himself, “for Death will first send his messengers, but I do wish that these wicked days of sickness were over.” Regaining his health, he began once more to live cheerfully. Then one day someone tapped on his shoulder. He looked around, and death was standing behind him, who said, “Follow me. The hour of your departure from this world has come.” “What?” replied the man. “Are you breaking your word? Did you not promise me that you would send your messengers to me before you yourself would come? I have not seen a one of them.” “Be still!” answered Death. “Have I not sent you one messenger

after another? Did not fever come and strike you, and shake you, and throw you down? Has not dizziness numbed your head? Has not gout pinched your limbs? Did your ears not buzz? Did toothache not bite into your cheeks? Did your eyes not darken? And furthermore, has not my own brother Sleep reminded you every night of me? During the night did you not lie there as if you were already dead?” The man did not know how to answer, so he surrendered to his fate and went away with Death.


The grim brothers


The grim brothers

During the night did you not lie there as if you were already dead?


The poor boy in the grave

The grim brothers

The poor boy in the grave There was once a poor shepherd-boy whose father and mother were dead, and he was placed by the authorities in the house of a rich man, who was to feed him and bring him up. The man and his wife had, however, bad hearts, and were greedy and anxious about their riches, and vexed when ever any one put a morsel of their bread in his mouth. The poor young fellow might do what he liked, he got little to eat, but only so many blows the more. One day he had to watch a hen and her chickens, but she ran through a quickset hedge with them, and a hawk darted down instantly, and carried her off through the air. The boy called,“Thief! thief! rascal!” with all the strength of his body. But what good did that do? The hawk did not bring its prey back again. The man heard the noise, and ran to the spot, and as soon as he saw that his hen was gone, he fell in a rage, and gave the boy such a beating that he could not stir for two days. Then he had to take care of the chickens without the hen, but now his difficulty was greater, for one ran here and the other there. He thought he was doing a very wise thing when he tied them all together with a string, because then the hawk would not be able to steal any of them away from him. But he was very much mistaken. After two days, worn out with running about and hunger, he fell asleep. The bird of prey came, and seized one of the chickens, and as the others were tied fast to it, it carried them all off together, perched itself on a tree, and devoured them. The farmer was just coming home, and when he saw the misfortune, he got angry and beat the boy soun mercifully that he was forced to lie in bed for several days. When he was on his legs again, the farmer said to him, “You are too stupid for me, I can not make a herdsman of you, you must go as errand-boy.” Then he sent him to the judge, to whom he was to carry a basketful of grapes, and he gave him a letter as well. On the way, hunger and thirst tormented the unhappy boy so violently that he ate two of the bunches of grapes. He

took the basket to the judge, but when the judge had read the letter, and counted the bunches he said, “Two clusters are wanting.” The boy confessed quite honestly that, driven by hunger and thirst, he had devoured the two which were wanting. The judge wrote a letter to the farmer, and asked for the same number of grapes again. These also the boy had to take to him with a letter. As he again was so extremely hungry and thirsty, he could not help it, and again ate two bunches. But first he took the letter out of the basket, put it under a stone and seated himself thereon in order that the letter might not see and betray him. The judge, however, again made him give an explanation about the missing bunches. “Ah,” said the boy, “how have you learnt that? The letter could not know about it, for I put it under a stone before I did it.” The judge could not help laughing at the boy’s simplicity, and sent the man a letter wherein he cautioned him to keep the poor boy better, and not let him want for meat and drink, and also that he was to teach him what was right and what was wrong. “I will soon show you the difference,” said the hard man. “If you must eat, you must work, and if you do anything wrong, you shall be taught by blows.” The next day he set him a hard task. He was to chop two bundles of straw for food for the horses, and then the man threatened: “In five hours I shall be back again, and if the straw is not cut to chaff by that time, I will beat you until you cannot move a limb.” The farmer went with his wife, theman servant and the girl, to the yearly fair, and left nothing behind for the boy but a small bit of bread. The boy seated himself on the bench, and began to work with all his might. As he got warm over it he put his little coat off and threw it on the straw. In his terror lest he should not get done in time he kept constantly cutting, and in his haste, without noticing it, he chopped his little coat as well asthe straw. He became aware of the misfortune too late; there wa sno repairing it. “Ah,” cried he, “now all is over with me! The wicked man did not threaten me for nothing; if he comes back and sees what I have done, he will

kill me. Rather than that I will take my own life.” The boy had once heard the farmer’s wife say, “ Ihave a pot with poison in it under my bed.” She, however, had only said that to keep away greedy people, for there was honey in it. The boy crept under the bed, brought out the pot, and ate all that was in it. “I do not know,” said he, “folks say death is bitter ,but it tastes very sweet to me. It is no wonder that the farmer’s wife has so often longed for death.” He seated himself in a little chair, and was prepared to die. But instead of becoming weaker he felt himself strengthened by the nourishing food. “It cannot have been poison,” thought he, “but the farmer once said there was a small bottle of poison for flies in the box in which he keeps his clothes; that, no doubt, will be the true poison, and bring death to me.” It was, however, no poison for flies, but Hungarian wine. The boy got out the bottle, and emptied it. “This death tastes sweet too,” said he, but shortly after when the wine began to mount into his brain and stupefy him, he thought his end was drawing near. “Ifeel that I must die,” said he, “I will go away to the church-yard, and seek a grave.” He staggered out, reached the church-yard, and laid himself in a newly-dug grave. He lost his senses more and more. In the neighborhood was an inn where a wedding was being kept. When he heard the music, he fancied he was already in Paradise, until at length he lost all consciousness. The poor boy never awoke again; the heat of the strong wine and the cold nightdew deprived him of life, and he remained in the grave in which he had laid himself. When the farmer heard the news of the boy’s death he was terrified, and afraid of being brought to justice - indeed, his distress took such a powerful hold of him that he fell fainting to the ground. His wife, who was standing on the hearth with a pan of hot fat, ran to him to help him. But the flames darted against the pan and the whole house caught fire. In a few hours it lay in ashes,and the rest of the years they had to live they passed in poverty and misery, tormented by the pangs of conscience.


The grim brothers

The poor boy in the grave


The man and his wife had, however, bad hearts, and were greedy and anxious about their riches.


The singing bone

The grim brothers

The singing bone

In a certain country there was once great lamentation over a wild boar that laid waste the farmer’s fields, killed the cattle, and ripped up people’s bodies with his tusks. The King promised a large reward to anyone who would free the land from this plague; but the beast was so big and strong that no one dared to go near the forest in which it lived. At last the King gave notice that whosoever should capture or kill the wild boar should have his only daughter to wife. Now there lived in the country two brothers, sons of a poor man, who declared themselves willing to undertake the hazardous enterprise; the elder, who was crafty and shrewd, out of pride; the younger, who was innocent and simple, from a kind heart. The King said, ”In order that you may be the more sure of finding the beast, you must go into the forest from opposite sides.” So the elder went in on the west side, and the younger on the east. When the younger had gone a short way, a little man stepped up to him. He held in his hand a black spear and said, ”I give you this spear because your heart is pure and good; with this you can boldly attack the wild boar, and it will do you no harm.” He thanked the little man, shouldered the spear, and went on fearlessly. Before long he saw the beast, which rushed

at him; but he held the spear towards it, and in its blind fury it ran so swiftly against it that its heart was cloven in twain. Then he took the monster on his back and went homewards with it to the King. As he came out at the other side of the wood, there stood at the entrance a house where people were making merry with wine and dancing. His elder brother had gone in here, and, thinking that after all the boar would not run away from him, was going to drink until he felt brave. But when he saw his young brother coming out of the wood laden with his booty, his envious, evil heart gave him no peace. He called out to him, ”Come in, dear brother, rest and refresh yourself with a cup of wine.” The youth, who suspected no evil, went in and told him about the good little man who had given him the spear wherewith he had slain the boar. The elder brother kept him there until the evening, and then they went away together, and when in the darkness they came to a bridge over a brook, the elder brother let the other go first; and when he was half-way across he gave him such a blow from behind that he fell down dead. He buried him beneath the bridge, took the boar, and carried it to the King, pretending that he had killed it; whereupon he obtained the King’s daughter in marriage. And when his

younger brother did not come back he said, ”The boar must have killed him,” and every one believed it. But as nothing remains hidden from God, so this black deed also was to come to light. Years afterwards a shepherd was driving his herd across the bridge, and saw lying in the sand beneath, a snow-white little bone. He thought that it would make a good mouthpiece, so he clambered down, picked it up, and cut out of it a mouth-piece for his horn. But when he blew through it for the first time, to his great astonishment, the bone began of its own accord to sing: ”Ah, friend, thou blowest upon my bone! Long have I lain beside the water; My brother slew me for the boar, And took for his wife the King’s young daughter.” ”What a wonderful horn!” said the shepherd; ”it sings by itself; I must take it to my lord the King.” And when he came with it to the King the horn again began to sing its little song. The King understood it all, and caused the ground below the bridge to be dug up, and then the whole skeleton of the murdered man came to light. The wicked brother could not deny the deed, and was sewn up in a sack and drowned. But the bones of the murdered man were laid to rest in a beautiful tomb in the churchyard.


The grim brothers

The singing bone


The grim brothers

The singing bone

The wicked brother could not deny the deed, and was sewn up in a sack and drowned.


The grim brothers


Jacob Grimm

Wilhelm Grimm

Josef Müller-Brockmann

Jacob Grimm was born in Hanau, in HesseKassel (or Hesse-Cassel). His father, who was a lawyer, died while he was a child, and his mother was left with very small means; but her sister, who was lady of the chamber to the Landgravine of Hesse, helped to support and educate her numerous family. Jacob, with his younger brother Wilhelm, was sent in 1798 to the public school at Kassel.

Wilhelm Grimm was born in Hanau, HesseKassel and in 1803 he started studying law at the University of Marburg, one year after his brother Jacob started there. The whole of the lives of the two brothers was passed together. In their school days, they had one bed and one table in common. As students, they had two beds and two tables in the same room. They always lived under one roof, and had their books and property in common.

Josef Müller-Brockmann, born May 9, 1914, in Rapperswil, was a Swiss graphic designer and teacher. He studied architecture, design and history of art at both the University and Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich. In 1936 he opened his Zurich studio specialising in graphic design, exhibition design and photography.

In 1802 he proceeded to the University of Marburg, where he studied law, a profession for which he had been destined by his father. His brother joined him at Marburg a year later, having just recovered from a long and severe illness, and likewise began the study of law. He was never seriously ill, and worked all day without haste and without pause. He was not at all impatient of interruption, but seemed rather to be refreshed by it, returning to his work without effort. He wrote for the press with great rapidity, and hardly ever made corrections. He never revised what he had written, remarking with a certain wonder on his brother, Wilhelm, who read his own manuscripts over again before sending them to press. His temperament was uniformly cheerful and he was easily amused. Outside his own special work he had a marked taste for botany. Grimm died in Berlin at the age of 78, working even at the end.

In 1825 Wilhelm married a pharmacist’s daughter; Henriette Dorothea Wild, also known as Dortchen, at age 39. Wilhelm’s marriage in no way disturbed the harmony of the brothers. As Richard Cleasby said, “they both live in the same house, and in such harmony and community that one might almost imagine the children were common property.”[Together, Wilhelm and Henriette had four children. Wilhelm took great delight in music, for which his brother had but a moderate liking, and had a remarkable gift of story-telling. From 1837-1841, the Grimm Brothers joined five of their colleague professors at the University of Göttingen to form a group known as the Göttinger Sieben (The Göttingen Seven). They protested against Ernst August, King of Hanover, whom they accused of violating the constitution. All seven were fired by the king. Wilhelm Grimm died in Berlin of an infection at the age of 73.

From 1951 he produced concert posters for the Tonhalle in Zurich. In 1958 he became a founding editor of New Graphic Design along with R.P. Lohse, C. Vivarelli, and H. Neuburg. In 1966 he was appointed European design consultant to IBM. Müller-Brockman was author of the 1961 publications The Graphic Artist and his Design Problems, Grid Systems in Graphic Design where he advocates use of the grid for page structure, and the 1971 publications History of the Poster and A History of Visual Communication. He is recognised for his simple designs and his clean use of typography, notably Akzidenz-Grotesk, shapes and colours which inspires many graphic designers in the 21st century. Müller-Brockmann died at the age of 82.


Framtagen av Lisa Frulla 2013. All faktatext är hämtad från Wikipedia. Jag saknar rättigheter till bilderna som används.


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