The Complete Illustrated Works of the Brothers Grimm (1812) by Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm is a collection of 196 fairy tales, folk tales, fables and legends originally published in German. The 852-page book contains references to Christianity, Judaism, ancient Chinese dualism regarding the Yin & Yang, and dyads.
The short stories (many of them coming from France, Germany, and Italy) also include recurring animals (“fox” or “goose” or “wolf”), numbers (“three” or “four” or “six”), objects (“gold” or “golden”), and titles (“godfather” or “brothers”).
Several specific characters also reappear throughout, such as Hans, Dummling, and Thumbling. Likewise, kings, giants, dwarves/elves, and “true brides” populate these fantastical stories.
Multiple stories also repeat with almost identical plots, storylines, and themes. The story and structure of “the Quest” also appear frequently throughout the Brothers Grimm’s collection.
Fairy tales often include stories focusing on royalty (e.g., kings, queens, princesses, princes) and usually include magical elements and conclude with happy endings.
Folk tales, often with sad endings, primarily include stories passed down orally by common folk from generation to generation, and focus on an average person’s sense of honor, dignity, money, and marriage.
Christianity & Judaism
Christian and Jewish references can be found throughout the collection of stories. Stories with Christian references include “Faithful John” ~ “The Twelve Brothers” ~ “The Three Languages” ~ “The Thief among Thorns” ~ “The Legend of St Joseph in the Forest” ~ and, “Humility and Poverty lead to Heaven.” Stories with Jewish references include “A Good Bargain” and “Allerleirauh (The Coat of all Colours).”
Yin & Yang / Dyads
Yin & Yang is a Chinse concept developed over many thousands of years and refers to how the universe and life are governed by a “cosmic duality” where two things either oppose or complement one another.
Likewise, a Dyad consists of an interaction between a pair, either two things or two people (e.g., brother/sister, father/son, mother/daughter, husband/wife). The word “dyad” originates from the Greek “dyas,” meaning “the number two” or “a group of two,” and stems from “duo,” meaning “two.”
Many stories in the Works of the Brothers Grimm which include the Yin & Yang and/or a Dyad are as follows: “Hansel and Grethel” ~ “The Three Snake-Leaves” ~ “Rapunzel” ~ “The Fisherman and his Wife” ~ “The Seven Crows” ~ “Little Red-Cap” ~ “The Robber-Bridegroom” ~ “The Six Swans” ~ “The Two Brothers” ~ “The Poor Man and the Rich Man” ~ “The Two Wanderers” ~ “The Two Kings’ Children” ~ and, “Ferdinand the Faithful and Ferdinand the Unfaithful.”
Fables are stories with animals as main characters relating to the reader a sort of moral complication and resolution. One might consider a fable as a children’s story using animals to teach life lessons.
Many of the fables in this collection follow narratives involving wolves, foxes, and birds:
“The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats” ~ “Little Red-Cap” ~ “The Wedding of Mrs Fox” ~ “The Wolf and the Fox” ~ “The Fox and the Cat” ~ “The Wolf and the Man” ~ “The Fox and the Geese” ~ “The Fox and the Horse” ~ “The Seven Crows” ~ “The Little Mouse, the Little Bird and the Sausage” ~ “The Golden Bird” ~ “The Feather Bird” ~ “The Six Swans” ~ “The Dog and the Sparrow” ~ “The Golden Goose” ~ “The Three Feathers” ~ “The Soaring Lark” ~ “The Death of the Cock” ~ “The Goose Girl” ~ “The Raven” ~ “The Three Birds” ~ “The Wren and the Bear” ~ “King Wren” ~ “The Owl” ~ “The Sparrow and his Four Children” ~ and, “The Goose-Girl at the Well.”
Significance of Numbers
Many stories throughout this particular collection have recurring numbers. The numbers three, four, six, and seven reappear frequently to add additional meaning to the narratives.
The number three often implies a perfect pattern that is complete and can represent divine wholeness. The Latin phrase “omne trium perfectum” means “everything that comes in threes is perfect.”
Stories using the number three include: “The Three Spinsters” ~ “The Three Little Men in the Wood” ~ “The Three Snake-Leaves” ~ “The Straw, the Coal and the Bean” ~ “The Little Mouse, the Little Bird and the Sausage” ~ “The Giant with the Three Golden Hairs” ~ “The Three Languages” ~ “The Table, the Ass and the Stick” ~ “The Knapsack, the Hat and the Horn” ~ “The Three Feathers” ~ “The Three Luck-Children” ~ “The Three Birds” ~ “The Three Army Surgeons” ~ “Three Little Tales about Toads” ~ “The Three Journeymen” ~ “The Three Brothers” ~ “One-Eye, Two-Eyes and Three-Eyes” ~ “The Three Black Princesses” ~ “Knoist and his Three Sons” ~ “The Three Sluggards” ~ “The Spindle, the Shuttle and the Needle” ~ and, “The Three Green Twigs.”
The number four often implies “focus” or the focus on long-term security by building a secure foundation. The number four can also refer to God’s creative ability because He completed the material universe in four days.
A few stories with the number four include: “The Four Accomplished Brothers” ~ and, “The Sparrow and his Four Children.”
The number six (an angel number) often implies service and responsibility which can be achieved through care and love while bringing to people harmony and peace. In Greek mythology, the number six is a symbol of Venus, the goddess of love. In the Bible (most often understood as being metaphorical and metamorphic, and not often historically exact), God created all things in only six days.
Stories which include the number six (and six multiplied by two) are: “The Twelve Brothers” ~ “The Six Swans” ~ “The Twelve Hunters” ~ “How Six Travelled through the World” ~ and, “The Six Servants.”
The number seven can signify spiritual perfection and can be a symbol of completeness and the perfect world, and often connects back to God’s creative ability where the word “created” is used exactly seven times as God constructs reality (Genesis 1:1, 21, 27 [x3]; 2:3; 2:4). The number seven is also the most sacred number to the Hebrews.
A few stories which include the number seven are: “The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats” ~ “The Seven Crows” ~ and, “The Seven Swabians.”
Several material objects reappear as well throughout the story collection. Many of the items include “gold” or “golden” objects, “iron” objects, and “glass” or “crystal” objects:
“The Giant with the Three Golden Hairs” ~ “The Golden Bird” ~ “The Golden Goose” ~ “The Gold Children” ~ “The King of the Golden Mountain” ~ “The Nix of the Mill-Pond” (golden comb, golden flute, golden spinning-wheel) ~ “The Golden Key” ~ “The Man of Iron” ~ “The Iron Stove” ~ “The Nail” (iron) ~ “The Two Kings’ Children” (glass ax, glass spade, glass pickaxe) ~ “The Iron Stove” (glass mountain) ~ “The Glass Coffin” ~ “Star Dollars” (silver dollars, star-money) ~ “The Drummer” (glass mountain) ~ “Old Rinkrank” (glass mountain) ~ and, “The Ball of Crystal.”
The “gold” or “golden” objects may signify courage, compassion, magic, and wisdom. “Iron” can often represent honor, fortitude, tenacity, and confidence. “Glass” or “crystal” objects might refer to fragility, transcendence, purity, and faith.
Titles & Occupations
Multiple titles and occupations which often appear in the collection of stories include “Godfather,” “brothers,” “doctor,” and “tailor”:
“The Godfather Death” ~ “The Godfather” ~ “The Twelve Brothers” ~ “The Little Brother and Sister” ~ “The Two Brothers” ~ “The Queen Bee” (three brothers who are Princes) ~ “Brother Lustig” ~ “The Three Brothers” ~ “The Four Accomplished Brothers” ~ “Doctor Know-All” ~ “The Three Army Surgeons” ~ “The Valiant Little Tailor” ~ “The Valiant Tailor” ~ and, “The Giant and the Tailor.”
“Godfathers” might signify a person of influence in a child’s life or someone promising to take a responsible role in a child’s religious education. “Brothers” can refer to a fellow Christian or the reference to being a “brother’s keeper,” found in the biblical story of Cain and Abel.
“Doctors” may represent the caduceus (two snakes [another example of a dyad] coiling up and around a winged staff) or transformation, information (deliverance of wisdom), and new beginnings. “Tailors” could relate to the adjustment of one’s behaviors to fit a particular situation or need.
Several specific characters (“Hans,” “Dummling,” “Thumbling”) make multiple appearances in the story collection, and make for interesting character developments:
Hans: “Hansel and Grethel” ~ “The Discreet Hans” ~ “Clever Alice” ~ “Hans in Luck” ~ “Hans Married” ~ “Hans the Hedgehog” ~ “Strong Hans” ~ “Wise Hans”
Dummling: “The Golden Goose” ~ “The Three Feathers” ~ “The Queen Bee”
Thumbling (sometimes mentioned in contemporary language as “Tom Thumb”): “Thumbling” ~ “The Travels of Thumbling” ~ “The Young Giant”
Characters in Fantasies
Fantasies and fairy tales often have similar character types which can include kings (the idea of the “wise old father”), witches (the idea of the “crazy, old hag”), giants (the idea of larger, older brotherly figures), dwarves or elves (the idea of being short but stout and strong), and the notion of the “true bride” or “true wife” (the idea of a “soul mate” or “twin flame”):
“Hansel and Grethel” ~ “Rapunzel” ~ “Old Mother Frost” ~ “The Giant with the Three Golden Hairs” ~ “The Little Elves” ~ “The Old Witch” ~ “Old Sultan” ~ “King Thrush-Beard” ~ “The Young Giant” ~ “The Dwarfs” ~ “The King of the Golden Mountain” ~ “The Two Kings’ Children” (dwarfs) ~ “The Old Woman in the Wood” ~ “The Iron Stove” (King, old Witch) ~ “The Old Beggar-Woman” ~ “King Wren” ~ “The Presents of the Little Folk” ~ “The Giant and the Tailor” ~ and, “The Old Widow.”
True Brides: “Cinderella” ~ “The Soaring Lark” ~ “The Two Kings’ Children” ~ “The Iron Stove” ~ “The True Bride” ~ “The Drummer” ~ “The Ball of Crystal” ~ and, “Jungfrau Maleen”
Joseph Campbell in his book The Masks of God, Vol. 3: Occidental Mythology (1964) discusses the “old woman” or the “old witch” in fairy tales and myths. As the cattle herders from the northern regions descended and the sheep herders of the southern regions ascended, Campbell argues that the ancient world had “prevailed in that world an essentially organic, vegetal, non-heroic view of the nature and necessities of life that was completely repugnant to those lion hearts for whom the patient toil of earth but the battle spear and its plunder were the source of both wealth and joy” and that “in the older mother myths and rites the light and darker aspects of the mixed thing that is life had been honored equally and together, whereas in the later, male-oriented, patriarchal myths, all that is good and noble was attributed to the new, heroic master gods, leaving to the native nature powers the character only of darkness” (p 21).
This is why in so many fairy tales and myths the evil antagonist to the handsome young male or female protagonist is quite often the ugly, old witch/sorceress living deep within a dark, scary forest. If there is a wizard, he’s usually presented in a more light-hearted and acceptable form, who is often the mentor or aide to the young prince/hero/princess/heroine.
“The Musicians of Bremen” & “Herr Korbes” have many attributes that mirror one another. Both stories have animals on a road-journey to a specific destination where they eventually take over a house and overrun the people of that house.
The story “The Musicians of Bremen” include the “Four companions” ~ a Donkey (an Ass), a Hound (a Dog), a Cat, and a Cock ~ on the road to Bremen to become musicians. The four animals meet one another on the road, and finally one night after a long journey reach the town of Bremen where they discover a house with “a table laid out with savoury meats and drinks, with robbers sitting around enjoying themselves” (p 133). The four animals create a plan to run the robbers out of the house and take over the delicious meal for themselves.
One on top of the other to create a terrible monster, the animals “commenced together to perform their music” which ended up making “such a tremendous noise, and so loud, that the panes of the window were shivered! Terrified at these unearthly sounds, the robbers got up with great precipitation [i.e., sweat], thinking nothing less than that some spirits had come, and fled off into the forest” (p 133).
With the robbers gone, the four animals take over the house, eat the meal and fall fast asleep. Later, one robber braves to see what exactly had happened to frighten everyone and ventures back to the house. The robber enters the house one night and gets attacked by the four animals; the robber flees to tell his comrades that there’s a “horrible witch in the house” (p 134).
The four players (the animals) inherit the house where they live ever after and become, as they had originally planned, the “four town musicians of Bremen” (p 134).
The story “Herr Korbes” includes a Cock, a Hen, four small Mice, a Cat, a Grindstone (a Stone), a Pin, an Egg, a Duck, and a Needle who meet one another on the road. Each player decides to join the Cock and the Hen, who are on a journey to a house which belongs specifically to Herr Korbes. Upon arrival, the companions find the house abandoned and settle down to eat and rest.
“Soon afterwards Herr Korbes returned” (p 211) and chaos ensues with the animals attacking the man. As Herr Korbes flees from the house in a panic “the Stone fell down on his head, and knocked him down on the spot” (p 211).
The two short stories “Clever Alice” & “Catherine and Frederick” both revolve around a young woman who is married and often found to be forgetful and foolish, and ends with the cracking-splitting-fracturing of the young wife’s identity.
The story “Clever Alice” begins with a father seeking to marry his daughter, nicknamed Clever Alice, to a young man named Hans. Clever Alice is not so “clever” and much to Hans’s dismay, she is at times forgetful and witless. Alice also has an overactive imagination which leads her to many unsteady emotions.
“After they had been married a little while” (p 161), Hans asks his wife to go into the field to gather some corn. Alice goes to the cornfield, eats and then falls fast asleep. Hans returns home at night to find Alice gone and soon goes in search for her. Hans finds his wife asleep in the cornfield, and he plans to trick Alice. He gets a net with bells attached and throws it over his sleeping wife.
When she awakes alone in the cornfield, she is uncertain as to what has happened and begins to walk home. With each step, the bells jingle from the net over her head. Frightened, Clever Alice questions who she really is: “Am I she, or am I not” (p 162).
Upon returning home, Alice taps at the window and asks Hans, her husband, “Is Alice within?” Hans falsely replies that his wife, Alice, is indeed home. Clever Alice becomes terrified and runs to the houses of her neighbors, but hearing the scary sounds of the jingling bells the neighbors refuse to open their doors.
“Then she ran straight away from the village, and no one has ever seen her since” (p 162).
The story “Catherine and Frederick” begins with a young married couple, Frederick and Catherine, who are also peasant farmers. Fred heads off into the fields one morning for work and leaves Catherine at home to tend to the house.
Forgetful and often easily distracted, Catherine experiences several misfortunes during her daily routines. When her husband returns home for lunch, Catherine explains, “I would have fried you a sausage, but while I drew the beer the dog stole it out of the pan, and while I hunted the dog the beer all ran out, and as I was about to dry up the beer with the malt, I overturned your can” (p 290).
Angered, Fred thinks to himself, “if one’s wife acts so, one must look after things one’s self” (p 291).
More misfortunes ensue for Catherine where she is fooled by her own ingenuity (i.e., “the quality of being clever”).
By the end, Fred asks his wife to “be very industrious and work hard,” and she replies, “I will go into the field to cut corn” (p 294). Catherine goes to the cornfield, eats and becomes so sleepy that she begins to “cut off half her clothes, gown, petticoat, and all” (p 294).
After Catherine has a “long sleep,” she awakes wearing shredded clothes and questions her identity: “Am I myself! or am I not? Ah! I am not myself” (p 294). Later that night, Catherine returns home, much like Clever Alice, and taps at the window.
Bewildered, Catherine says to Fred, her husband, “I want to know if Catherine is indoors.” Fred falsely replies that his wife, Catherine, is indeed home, that “she is certainly within, fast asleep” (p 295).
Catherine becomes terrified and runs away.
*For more information on the references to “corn” in the two short stories “Clever Alice” & “Catherine and Frederick” (among many other stories and myths), please see James G. Frazer’s incredible book The Golden Bough (1890).
The two stories “The White Snake” & “The Queen Bee” also share similarities: a young man who leaves his home winds up saving several kinds of animals which later help the young hero by story’s end to achieve three impossible tasks in order to marry a Princess.
The story “The White Snake” begins with a young servant (the Youth) bringing each day a covered dish to a King. One day, curiosity overcomes the young servant, who decides to discover what is the secret meal. The young servant raises the cover and “there lay before him a White Snake” (p 84).
The young servant then decides to eat the White Snake for himself, and soon finds that he is gifted with the ability to discern the speech of animals. That same day the King blames the young servant for stealing the Queen’s favorite ring. The young servant is able to use his new powers to locate the Queen’s ring inside the belly of a duck, and thereby saves his own neck.
The King rewards the Youth (the young servant), who only wants some money and a horse because “he had a desire to the see the world, and to travel about it for a while” (p 85). On his journey the Youth saves three Fishes by placing them back into the water. Later, he meets and befriends the Ant King. Farther down the road, the servant helps feed some young Crows.
“After he had gone a long way he came to a large town” where a Princess was seeking a husband, but only one who could perform impossible tasks or forfeit his life (pgs 85-86). The Youth accepts the challenge.
The new King (father to the Princess) challenges the Youth to three impossible tasks: (1) retrieve a gold ring at the bottom of the sea; (2) pick from the grass every single seed from ten bags of millet-seed; (3) bring an apple from the tree of life (pgs 86-87).
With each task, the Youth is aided by the animals he had helped along the road: the three Fishes, the Ant King, and the young Crows.
The story “The Queen Bee” begins with two Princes setting out on a journey and who later become lost in a “wild kind of life” (p 324). The youngest brother, Dummling, goes in search of his two older brothers. The three brothers finally reunite and head home. On the way, Dummling helps save ants, ducks, and bees.
Dummling and his two brothers travel on and chance upon a mysterious, empty castle with stone horses in the stable. Inside one of the rooms is a “fierce looking man sitting at the table” (p 325).
The next day the old man shows the eldest brother a “stone table on which were written three sentences” (p 325) and informs the eldest brother of an impossible task: to find one thousand lost pearls that had once belonged to a Princess; if he fails, he’ll be turned into stone.
The eldest brother finds only one hundred pearls in the forest and is changed into stone. The next day, the second brother accepts the same challenge and also fails, turning into stone at sunset.
On the third day, Dummling undertakes the challenge and is aided by the Ant-King “whose life he had formerly saved” (p 326).
The second sentence on the stone table requests that the hero fetch a key out of a lake. Dummling is yet again aided by animals he had saved, this time the Ducks.
The third sentence, the most difficult of the tasks, challenges Dummling to choose the “youngest and prettiest” of the three Princesses, who are all seemingly identical in appearance and lay fast asleep inside the castle. The Queen Bee comes to Dummling’s rescue.
“Then the spell was broken; everyone was delivered from the sleep, and those who had been changed into stone received their human form again” (p 326).
The four stories “The Soaring Lark” & “The Two Kings’ Children” & “The Iron Stove” & “The Drummer” involve the plot and characters of the “True Bride” (or the “True Wife”) saving her forgetful fiancé or husband, who is a young man or young Prince under an enchantment, from marrying another woman.
The story “The Soaring Lark” begins with a father, before taking a long journey, asking his three daughters what they each would like to receive upon his return home. The eldest daughter asks for pearls, the second daughter asks for diamonds, and the youngest daughter asks for a “singing, soaring lark” (p 375).
On his journey, the father discovers a soaring lark in a tree near a noble castle. When he attempts to take the bird, a Lion springs from the bushes and demands to know who’s stealing his lark. The father offers gold for the lark, but the Lion refuses. The Lion, instead, demands that the father give him the first person who meets him upon his return home in exchange for the soaring lark.
As can be expected, the youngest of the daughters is the first to meet her father as he arrives home. She is soon sent to the wild Lion. Upon her arrival to the enchanted castle, she weds the wild Lion, who she later discovers is a Prince under a spell: by day, the Prince is a lion, and by night, he returns to his natural human form.
Time goes by and the youngest daughter, now a Princess, later returns home to attend the wedding of the eldest daughter. Later, the youngest daughter, the Princess, asks her husband, the wild Lion-Prince, to join her at her second sister’s wedding. The Lion-Prince replies that if he does go with her and a single ray of sunlight touches him, he would be immediately changed into a pigeon and remain a bird for seven years.
Sure enough, he’s transformed into a Dove and flies away, only for the Princess to travel on a quest in search for her husband. On her journey, she meets the Sun, the Moon, the North Wind, the East and West Winds, and a flying Griffin at the Red Sea.
Finally, the Princess, the “True Wife,” finds her husband, now in human form, at another enchanted castle and he’s set to marry another strange princess, here called the false Bride. The “True Wife” opens the Sun’s gift, a little casket, and finds “a dress in it as glittering as the Sun himself” (p 381) in hopes of wooing her husband back to her from the strange princess, the false Bride.
Upon seeing the “True Wife” in the gold dress, the false Bride wants the gold dress for her wedding gown. The “True Wife” agrees to give the false Bride the gold dress, for a night with the enchanted Prince, her true husband.
The pattern repeats for a second night, with the Prince, given a deep sleeping-draught each night by his attended false Bride. The second night, the “True Wife” opens the Moon’s gift, an egg, and finds “a hen with twelve chickens, all of gold” (p 382). The “True Wife” once more exchanges the gift for a night with the enchanted Prince, her true husband, in hopes of breaking the magical spell controlling him.
In the end, the “True Wife” saves her husband, the Prince, from the strange false Bride and her father, “who was an enchanter,” and they fly home on the back of the Griffin (p 383).
The story “The Two Kings’ Children” begins with a young Prince chasing a stag. The stag transforms into an Enchanted King, who captures the young Prince, taking him to an enchanted castle. The Enchanted King challenges the Prince to sit at night with his three daughters, the three Princesses, and if the boy fails to answer when called upon during each of the three nights, the Prince would be executed.
Later on, the Enchanted King challenges the Prince to three impossible tasks: (1) remove a huge forest using only a glass ax; (2) clear a deep ditch using a glass spade and fill it with clear water and a variety of fish; (3) demolish rocks using a glass pickaxe and build a fine castle (pgs 531-533).
The Prince falls in love with the youngest Princess, who has aided the Prince in completing the “three impossible tasks” (much like the “three impossible tasks” the reader can find in the two stories “The White Snake” & “The Queen Bee”).
Even after passing all the tests, the Enchanted King refuses the Prince to marry his youngest daughter. The Princess and Prince then run away together to marry. During the escape, the Queen gives her daughter, the Princess, three magical walnuts to help her youngest daughter in case she ever needs assistance.
“The young people journeyed on again, and in about an hour’s time they came in sight of the castle where the Prince formerly dwelt,” but the Prince leaves the Princess in a village near the castle and plans to make preparations for the King and Queen, his father and mother, to receive his hopeful bride (pgs 534-535). Upon his arrival home, the Queen kisses her son, and the Prince suddenly and unexpectedly forgets all that has happened to him and he forgets his true bride waiting in the nearby village.
After a time, while the Princess, the “True Bride,” works for a miller and waits for the Prince to return, the Queen finds “a bride from a far distant country for her son” (p 535). On the wedding day, the “True Bride” acts by opening the first magical walnut which has a beautiful dress inside. This dress catches the eye of the false Bride, who refuses to marry the Prince unless she is wearing this specific dress.
The “True Bride” makes a deal with the false Bride: “There was one condition on which she would part with it. This was, that she should be allowed to sleep one night before the door of the Prince’s chamber. This was granted” (p 535). That night, the forgetful Prince is given a sleeping-draught to keep him fast asleep and to stop him from noticing his “True Bride.”
On the second day, the “True Bride” must stop the wedding again by breaking the second magical walnut, which has a second dress inside. “Then the same events took place as the day before, and the maiden had leave to sleep again in return for her dress. This time the Prince does not take his draught” (p 536), and the forgetful Prince finally remembers his “True Bride.”
“The next morning he went to the maiden and begged her forgiveness for all his forgetfulness. The true bride then drew out and cracked her third nut, and the dress which laid in it was so beautiful, that all the boys and girls ran after, and strewed flowers in the path of the bride. So the Prince and Princess were happily married; but the Old Queen and the envious bride were forced to run away” (p 536).
The story “The Iron Stove” begins when a King’s Son is enchanted by an old Witch and forced to sit inside an iron stove, where he passed many years. One day a Princess becomes lost in a forest and stumbles upon the iron stove. Still imprisoned inside the iron stove, the Prince offers to help the Princess find her way back home if she would marry him. She consents to the proposal and returns home.
Instead of returning as promised, the Princess sends the Miller’s daughter in her place to free the Prince. The Miller’s daughter fails and returns to the King and Princess. Next, the Princess sends the Swine-herd’s daughter to free the Prince. The Swine-herd’s daughter also fails and returns to the King and Princess. Finally, the Princess goes and within a few hours frees the Prince and “immediately fell in love with him” (p 645).
The Princess and Prince then become separated, and the Princess must search the world for him. During her journey, she meets a Toad, who gives her “three needles, a ploughwheel and three nuts,” and later she comes to a glass mountain (p 646). After passing a great lake, she discovers a large castle. Pretending to be a poor girl she becomes a kitchen-maid within the castle, where she soon finds that her Prince intends to marry another woman.
One night the Princess, the “True Bride,” cracks open the first magical nut and finds a royal dress. Hearing of this new dress, the false Bride agrees to give the “True Bride” a night with the forgetful Prince in exchange for the royal dress. That night, the false Bride gives the Prince a glass of wine with a sleeping-draught.
“In consequence, he slept so soundly, that the poor Princess could not awake him, although she cried the whole night, and kept repeating, ‘I saved you in the wild forest, and rescued you out of the iron stove; I have sought you, and travelled over a mountain of glass, and over three sharp swords, and across a wide lake, before I found you’” (p 647).
The next night the “True Bride” opens the second magical nut and finds an ever more beautiful dress than the first one. The false Bride demands to have the second dress and agrees to the same conditions as the first night. The false Bride, once again, gives the Prince another sleeping-draught. Again, in a deep sleep, the Prince fails to hear the cries of his “True Bride.”
The third night the “True Bride” opens the third magical nut and finds “a dress starred with gold” (p 648). The false Bride demands to have the third dress and grants the “True Bride” a third night with the Prince in exchange for the golden dress.
On this night, having been warned by his servants, the Prince does not drink the sleeping-draught. He is able to remain awake and hear the cries of his “True Bride.” They then run away from the false Bride and escape back over the lake and over the glass mountain.
“So the wedding was performed… and joined the government of the two kingdoms in one; and so for many years they reigned in happiness and prosperity” (p 648).
The story “The Drummer” begins with a Drummer falling asleep on a beach; he later awakes to meet the “Daughter of a mighty King” who has “fallen into the power of a Witch,” who has confined her on a glass mountain (p 808). The Drummer pledges to free the imprisoned Princess.
On his journey, the Drummer encounters a Giant, a magical saddle, and an old woman who is an Old Witch. Atop the glass mountain, the Old Witch challenges the Drummer to three impossible tasks: (1) remove water from a pond using a thimble, and arrange the fish “according to their species upon the bank” (p 812); (2) cut down a forest and split the wood into bundles of sticks using a lead axe, a tin mallet, and two tin wedges; (3) lay all the wood in a pile and burn it. Through each of the three tasks, the Princess, disguised as a Maiden, assists the Drummer by using her wishing-ring.
After killing the Old Witch, the Princess and Drummer escape the glass mountain. The Drummer asks the Princess to wait for him as he goes to talk to his Parents. She says to him, “Take care not to kiss your parents when you arrive on the right cheek, else will you forget everything, and I shall be left here all alone in the field” (p 815).
The Drummer returns home, but no one recognizes him because the three days on the glass mountain were actually three long years. He forgets the warning and kisses his Parents on the cheek and soon forgets all that has happened to him, and he also forgets the Princess waiting in the fields for him. The Drummer’s mother then says that she has found a woman for him and he will be married in three days.
After resolving to regain the Drummer’s love, the Princess, the “True Bride,” uses her wishing-ring for “a dress as shining as the sun” (p 815). The false Bride sees the dress and agrees for the “True Bride” to spend a night next to the chamber of the bridegroom. Later that night, the false Bride gives the young Drummer a strong potion inside his sleeping-draught. Unable to wake, the Drummer fails to hear the “True Bride” crying at his door.
On the second evening, the “True Bride” uses her wishing-ring for “a dress as silvery as the moon” (p 816). The false Bride sees the dress and agrees for the “True Bride” to spend a second night next to the chamber of the Drummer. Later that night, the false Bride once again gives the Drummer a strong potion and he is unable to wake to hear the cries of his “True Bride.”
On the third evening, the “True Bride” uses her wishing-ring for “a dress as glittering as the stars” (p 816). “As soon as she appeared in the ballroom thus arrayed, the Bride elect was enchanted with its beauty, and declared rapturously, ‘I must and will have it’” (p 816). For a third time, the false Bride makes a deal with the “True Bride.”
Later that night, having been warned by his servants, the Drummer avoids drinking his nightly sleeping-draught with the strong potion. When his “True Bride” cries at his door, “all at once his memory returned” (p 817).
“He jumped up, and, taking the Princess by the hand led her to the bedside of his Parents. ‘This is my true Bride,’ said he… The true wedding was celebrated with great pomp and happiness” (p 817).
Legends are also passed down over the generations, but although these stories cannot be verified as being true, they are considered to be historical in nature. Many legends take the shape of an adventure which involves a young person on a quest.
Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) and the section “The Adventure of the Hero” divides the Quest and the Hero’s / Heroine’s Journey into three primary parts: (1) Departure; (2) Initiation; and, (3) Return.
Using Campbell’s “Quest Structure” from The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition (2007) also defines and divides into specific parts the journey of the hero/heroine:
1. The Ordinary World
2. Call to Adventure
3. Refusal of the Call
4. Meeting with the Mentor
5. Crossing the Threshold
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
7. Approach (to the Inmost Cave)
8. Central Ordeal (Midpoint of Story, Death, and Rebirth)
9. Reward (Seizing the Sword)
10. The Road Back
11. Resurrection (Climax)
12. Return with the Elixir (Denouement)
In The Complete Illustrated Works of the Brothers Grimm (1812) by Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm, multiple stories incorporate Campbell’s and Vogler’s “Quest Structure,” including “The Giant with the Three Golden Hairs,” “The Old Griffin,” and “Strong Hans.”
Several stories in the collection deserve an honorable mention for standing above the rest.
The insightful and engaging stories that are going to make a strong impression on readers include:
“Cinderella” ~ “The Golden Bird” ~ “The Almond-Tree” ~ “Bearskin” ~ “The Shoes which were Danced to Pieces” ~ “The Prince who was Afraid of Nothing” ~ “The Donkey Cabbages” ~ “The Six Servants” ~ “The Man of Iron” ~ “The Iron Stove” ~ “Snow-White and Rose-Red” ~ “The Glass Coffin” ~ “The Old Griffin” ~ “The Stolen Farthings” ~ “King Wren” ~ “The Duration of Life” ~ “The Nail” ~ “Strong Hans” ~ “The Sparrow and his Four Children” ~ “The Tale of Schlauraffenland” ~ “The Nix of the Mill-Pond” ~ “The Goose-Girl at the Well” ~ “The True Bride” ~ “The Master-Thief” ~ “The Robber and his Sons” ~ “The Drummer” ~ “The Ears of Wheat” ~ “The Grave-Mound” ~ “The Ball of Crystal” ~ “Jungfrau Maleen” ~ and, “The Boots Made of Buffalo-Leather.”
The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s a been member of the Hemingway Society, Americans for the Arts, PEN America, Club Med, & the Royal Society of Literature. He’s also a been Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London.
He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father’s Son (2005), The New America: A Collection (2007), The Mystic’s Smile ~ A Play in 3 Acts (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), Little Hometown, America (2020); and A Time to Forget in East Berlin (2022).
Forthcoming: Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being; and, The Endless Endeavor of Excellence.
He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.
You can follow the author on Facebook @ cg.fewston – where he has 470,000+ followers
“Readers of The Catcher in the Rye and similar stories will relish the astute, critical inspection of life that makes Little Hometown, America a compelling snapshot of contemporary American life and culture.”
“Fewston employs a literary device called a ‘frame narrative’ which may be less familiar to some, but allows for a picture-in-picture result (to use a photographic term). Snapshots of stories appear as parts of other stories, with the introductory story serving as a backdrop for a series of shorter stories that lead readers into each, dovetailing and connecting in intricate ways.”
“The American novelist CG FEWSTON tells a satisfying tale, bolstered by psychology and far-ranging philosophy, calling upon Joseph Campbell, J. D. Salinger, the King James Bible, and Othello.”
“In this way, the author lends intellectual heft to a family story, exploring the ‘purity’ of art, the ‘corrupting’ influences of publishing, the solitary artist, and the messy interconnectedness of human relationships.”
GOLD Winner in the 2020 Human Relations Indie Book Awards for Contemporary Realistic Fiction
FINALIST in the SOUTHWEST REGIONAL FICTION category of the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence 2020 Awards (NIEA)
“Fewston’s lyrical, nostalgia-steeped story is told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man gazing back on events from his 1980s Texas childhood…. the narrator movingly conveys and interprets the greater meanings behind childhood memories.”
“The novel’s focus on formative childhood moments is familiar… the narrator’s lived experiences come across as wholly personal, deeply felt, and visceral.”
American Novelist CG FEWSTON
This is my good friend, Nicolasa (Nico) Murillo, CRC, who is a professional chef & a wellness mentor. I’ve known her since childhood & I’m honored to share her story with you. In life, we all have ups & downs, some far more extreme than others. Much like in Canada, in America, the legalization of marijuana has become a national movement, which includes safe & legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use & research for all.
“This is a wellness movement,” Nico explains. The wellness movement is focused on three specific areas: information, encouragement, & accountability.
In these stressful & unprecedented times, it makes good sense to promote & encourage the state or condition of being in good physical & mental health.
The mission of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research.
TEXANS FOR SAFE ACCESS ~ share the mission of their national organization, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research, for all Texans.
Stay safe & stay happy. God bless.
Nico Murillo Bio ~ Americans & Texans for Safe Access ~ Medical Cannabis