Every story has a beginning.

March 19, 2011

In 1812, brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their first edition of Children’s and Household Tales, more commonly known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which contained many stories of discovering magic, overcoming hardships and learning lessons. Some of the most famous of these tales are ones we still know and cherish today. For example, Cinderella, Snow White, Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood all were written in this book.

The brothers worked for years in the city of Kassel, Germany while they were professors, lirbrarians and overall scholars. They not only perfected and wrote down many of the rules of German grammar that children in the country still learn today, they also spent their time collected and keeping record of hundreds of folktales from all over the world. Wilhelm Grimm spoke 17 different languages! He and his brother Jacob copied down these tales, many told to them by locals and Huguenot refugees, the most famous of which is Dorothea Viehmann. Many of these stories have evolved from the original tellings, to the Grimms’ version, to other adaptations and eventually some of the Disney stories we all know today.

On Tuesday, Alden, Brandee and I got the opportunity to visit the home of the Brothers Grimm (they were not born in Kassel but resided there for many years) and to see the buildings where they worked, studied and lived. It was incredible to see how diverse the architecture was in this city, for one thing. During the World War II the city was severely damaged from bombings, leaving few original buildings and prompting the city to be rebuilt in the style of the 50s and 60s. It is amazing to see centuries-old structures right alongside these retro ones, with more modern buildings right next door.

But the main reason for our visit was to check out the heart of Germany’s Fairy Tale Route, which traces the steps of the Brothers Grimm and shows many castles, forests and towns claiming to have inspired their tales. More blogs to come on our visits to Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White castles!

We visited an exhibit of Brothers Grimm memorabilia, including copies of their original manuscripts, book covers, portraits done by their brother Emil and depictions of various fairy tales from over the years. We also spotted a bakery with Brothers Grimmcakes and chocolate figures, and just had to pop inside to take some pictures!

Depiction of Sleeping Beauty as seen in the Bros. Grimm exhibit in Kassel, photo by Alden Jones

Below the city in a huge park lies the Wilhelmshöhe Palace, now a museum of Graeco-Roman antiques and the second-largest Rembrandt collection in the world. We did not visit the palace-museum, but marveled at it from above. We also ventured into the natural history museum, which is definitely worth a visit, and had a delicious dinner at Avanti Restaurant in the city’s Galleria.

2 Responses to Every story has a beginning.

  1. Tonya Meyer
    March 20, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Sounds like a perfect day!!

  2. Linda Eckl
    March 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    This experience will be apart of your life that you will treasure forever. I am so proud of you .