Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Twenty Stories

Arthur Rackham’s marvelous illustrations are both black and white line drawings and full color plates in this collection. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Twenty Stories is packed with great vignettes, most of them lesser known gems from the 215 or so tales in existence. “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is charming but riven with deception, betrayal and beheadings. “The Goose Girl” features magic, perfidy, talking heads, wicked waiting-women (well, just one), a rather passive princess and a truly horrible retribution. Happily Ever After. “Jorinda and Joringel” presents a wicked witch with a twist. She traps maidens and transforms them into birds which she keeps in cages in her castle. As witches are not expected to explain themselves, we never find out why. “The Queen Bee” is a story with a moral: Be kind to animals–insects and birds actually. The classic arrogant elder brothers and youngest blockhead brother set out on an adventure and end up in a quest to break a spell and win a princess and a kingdom. Guess who wins?

I love fairy tales–they are so dark. When I finish this mad reading marathon, I’m going to re-read my entire collection of Andrew Lang’s Coloured Fairy Books. And Game of Thrones. I can’t get through George R. R. Martin’s doorstops in one day but I’m dying to spend a whole weekend with one of them.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales: Twenty Stories   | Viking   1973

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