The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales Series
with illustrations, commentary and analysis, using the translations of the late Gary V Hartman (1947-2017)
Gary Hartman began his formal study of Fairy Tales while at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland and dedicated his first self-published book of Fairy Tales to his professor:
“A. Richard Pope—Teacher, analyst, translator…and lover of fairy tales”
Gary entrusted his fairy tale translations to me, along with his research documents, including numerous correspondence from other Grimm’s translators. In so honoring this gift, I have committed to this project, recognizing his determination to illuminate the psychological meanings found in these fairy tales. It is my hope to bring to a boarder audience these rich translations, along with some of his scholarship, my own commentary, and analysis on this webpage.
In addition, I have brought together a small group of illustrators most of whom knew Gary and studied with him in his Fairy Tale and Jung Studies classes which, for almost 30 years, I hosted for him. For each illustration, the illustrator will provide a brief commentary on how the image for the illustration occurred.
Although Gary’s goal was to translate all 200 of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, in fact he could not as explained in his Forward.
I am delighted to present here the Forward to his book, first published in 2000.
The Loose-Leaf Fairy Tale Book I:
Original (1812/1815) Stories Collected by the
Brothers Grimm in Parallel Translation
For some time, I have had a recurring and relentless fantasy. That fantasy has been to re-translate or, simply, to produce a new translation of the two hundred fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Every time I have considered working through that many tales, however, both spirit and flesh have quailed at the prospect of what seemed completely daunting demands on time and energy. By the same token, though, every time I have needed a fairy tale for seminar or teaching purposes, I have found myself frustrated with existing translations and have to translate the tales myself.
There are three major, authoritative translations available at the present. (By authoritative I mean a complete collection of all two hundred tales numbered according to the Grimms’ own numbering. Since translations of titles vary, the numbering is crucial for cross-referencing.) The oldest and probably the most familiar is James Stern’s reworking of Margaret Hunt’s translation. It is usually identified by the two names, Padraic Column—who wrote the introduction—and Joseph Campbell—who wrote a commentary. I recommend this translation, because it is the closest to a literal one. It does, unfortunately, add some superfluous frills not in the German text—to make the tales seem more “fairy-tale-like,” I have to suppose.
The second translation is more recent, 1977, done by Ralph Mannheim, a known and reputable translators of works such as the letters of Sigmund Freud and Jolande Jacobi’s Psychology of C. G. Jung. To my thinking, this version suffers by deviating too markedly from the literal text in an apparent attempt to be modern. My pet peeve with Mannheim is that he translates the title of Number 191 as “The Mongoose” as opposed to “The Sea Hare” in the Stern book or—as I would prefer—“The Sea Bunny.” Perhaps the Grimms intended a mongoose, but that certainly is not the German title!
Most recently, Jack Zipes, a professor of German literature, produced yet a third translation in 1987. While a definite improvement over the Mannheim version and, in places, even over Stern’s translation, I have to rank it as only my second preference.
My chief criticism of these works is that none of them take the psychology of the tales into account in creating the translations. Fairy tales are “collective representations,” to use Jung’s term. They are refined archetypal motifs, polished to a luster by the collective’s repetition—as are religious traditions. While the Grimms have been much criticized for taking liberties with their stories, their genius lies in having produced quintessential tales. The work that required generations of telling and retelling to accomplish, they managed single-handedly within their life-times! To translate fairy tales without an ear to these archetypal themes is to lose their psychological importance.
The Grimm tales are works of art, finely faceted gems: no word is superfluous and all parts complement the telos, the purpose, of each, individual tale. It is as if the Grimms understood the essence of “fairy tale” and trimmed and shaped the stories to achieve that quality. They were philologists, folklorists, professors of German language and literature, and a primary force in shaping contemporary usage of the language. The original, 1812 edition of the tales, contained almost as many scholarly footnotes as the story text. Between them, the Grimms wrote some thirty-five books, many of them on folklore and legend. They produced, for example, the beginnings of the definitive dictionary of German—the equivalent of the Oxford English Dictionary. For me, any translation that moves away from the closest literal rendering of these stories, compromises them, if only in small ways. Some examples illustrate what I mean.
In Number 17, “The White Snake,” the king’s servant who serves the mysterious final bowl after everyone else has left the table is referred to as “servant” until the point in the tale where he dismounts from the horse given to him by the king. From that point on without exception he is referred to as a “youth” in the original German. To return to the designation of “servant” once he has undergone the transformation to “youth,” is to ignore and disguise the significance of the change that has taken place. It also seriously misleads the reader!
The translation that wins the prize as my favorite one to hate is the rendering of “king’s daughter” as “princess.” While this may sound like the epitome of pedantic hair-splitting, it does make a difference in the psychology of the tales. “King’s daughter” tells the reader that the girl’s identity comes from her relationship to father, more importantly, to father as the ruling dominant or principle, “king.” “Princess” carries connotations of being coddled, of being a “Jewish American Princess,” and/or of a superior, perhaps snobbish attitude. It does not necessarily convey the father’s daughter dynamic of the first term. The dwarfs, for instance, wrote in gold letters on Little Snowwhite’s coffin that she was a king’s daughter, despite the fact that the story only refers to a king in passing. [I understand the overall context of how he intended its use here. Honoring the original text both in his Forward and in his translations from the original Brothers Grimms Fairy Tales remains my mission with the ongoing project.]
To honor the psychological significance of the tales, it is, I feel, crucial to stay as close to the original image as possible. This was Jung’s rule of thumb for working with dream material: “Stay as close as possible to the image.” The specificity of image and an appreciation for that principle is vital in working with fairy tales as psychological manifestations. With that end in mind, I have attempted the closest thing to a direct, literal translation possible, sacrificing ease in reading for the feeling tone of the direct wording. The resulting stories conveys some of the archaic, folkloric quality of the originals more so than had they been “polished.” I would add, parenthetically, that a translation produced with a sense of and attention to the images is also easier to work with and to hear from a psychological perspective. In this vein, I offer the translations in this collection.
Although a work in progress as the title suggests, this “book” will probably never include all of the tales of the Grimm Brothers collected. Nonetheless, it is my intention to translate as many them as I can. Further, I intend to include only Grimm tales, simply because they represent for me the most evolved form of the genre. To use an analogy, they are to fairy tales what the stories of Greek mythology are to other mythologies. Each tale is numbered according to the Grimms’ numbering. The translations are based on the standardized version of the Grimms’ tales.
There is a specific reason why I have not included Number 19, the story known as “The Fisherman’s Wife.” It is written in German dialect, the Plattdeutsch of the North Sea region. Since I am not conversant with an analogous English dialect form, I cannot translates it. I recommend the reader to the Penguin collection of Grimms’ fairy tales which includes a fine translation in Scots’ dialect.
Finally, I am translating these stories, because I throughly enjoy working with fairy tales. Even more than that other, traditional manifestation of the psyche, dreams, they possess a beauty and a wonder which delights any who have ears to hear. I hope that the stories in this booklet help in some measure to communicate the pleasure and wonder I have discovered in my translating—a childlike delight in the mystery of the human psyche and its products.
Gary V. Hartman, Mission, Kansas, October 1998
What a task/command Gary has given us….
In these regular installments I will strive to stay true to Gary’s biases while honoring the evolution and continued growth of both the illustrators and myself.
In 2002 Gary added additional parallel translation from the Brothers Grimm 1812/1815 stories. What follow is the Forward to Book 11.
The Loose-Leaf Fairy Tale Book II:
Original (1812/1815) Stories Collected by the
Brothers Grimm in Parallel Translation
More accurately, this book should carry the subtitle, “The Parallel Tales,” for its true purpose lies in providing parallel stories. When working with unknown or enigmatical images, C.G. Jung suggested collecting as many comparable contexts as possible in which a particular motif occurs. This approach—one he called amplification—provides a wider basis for appreciating the motif or image in question. Jung further likened amplification to a cryptographer’s deciphering of hieroglyphic inscriptions by comparing them to other steles and tablets. Indeed, fairy tales and their elusive imagery often approximate hieroglyphics for our twenty-first century comprehension. The more tales with parallel themes from which we can draw, therefore, the greater the likelihood of our fully relating to any given story.
The Grimm Brothers, themselves, are the most immediate source of parallel stories for their tales. Rather, other versions of their stories are the most direct parallels. Here I mean the six editions of Kinder- und Hausmärchen, Gesammelt durch die Brüder Grimm (Children’s and Household Tales, Collected by the Brothers Grimm) that preceded the brothers’ final edition in 1857. The Grimms’ most useful edition in this regard, however, the original Kinder- und Hausmärchen (KHM) from 1812/1815, had been unavailable to all except scholars until 1986 when Vendenhoeck and Ruprecht (Göttingen) published an enlarged facsimile edition of those two volumes. Yet, even that edition is only in German. To the best of my knowledge, no systematic translation into English exists of the original one hundred and fifty-six tales, let alone of the even earlier (1810) forty-nine stories from the handwritten Ölenburg Manuscript. The present volume not only provides English translations of selected 1812/1815 stories, but provides them in side-by-side translations with their counterparts from the seventh and final (1857) edition.
Aside from different versions of the same tales, the Grimms furnish further parallels with stories from the 1812/1815 edition that they subsequently eliminated from the later editions. Of the eighteen stories in this volume, five of them were not carried over into the second edition (1819) and, therefore, do not appear here with parallel translations. With the exception of 33. “The Booted Tomcat”—best known under the title of “Puss in Boots”—these stories are all, themselves, parallels to other stories in this volume. The parallels are as follows:
62. “Bluebeard — 46. “Fitcher’s Bird;
75. “Bird Phoenix” — 29. “Concerning the Devil with Three Golden
82. “The Three Sisters” — 50. “Little Thornrose” (at least, according to the
These omitted tales have been translated into English—with the exception of 75. “Bird Phoenix”—in Jack Zipes, The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, New York, 1987. As is the case with all translators, I must suppose, I prefer my renditions.
Finally, the Grimms furnish yet another source of parallel fairy tales by way of the appendix notes they included in the 1812/1815 edition for each story. Admittedly, many of their references are unobtainable for contemporary readers, consisting of collections that were contemporary—and earlier—when the Grimms were writing two hundred years ago. Parallel tales that are obtainable, like those by Charles Perrault or Ludwig Tieck’s dramatic adaptations, are generally indicated. Nevertheless, the Grimms’ notes frequently include useful parallel material such as summarized beginnings or endings or, even, complete stories. The appendix commentary for 24. “Frau Holla,” for example, offers lengthy summaries of two other versions of that story. The same holds true for 53. “Little Snowwhite:” the Grimms’ commentary and margin notes cover four, full pages.
Additionally, the Grimms’ appendix and margin notes include their commentary on particular aspects of the stories. The appendix commentaries mention the lore surrounding the understanding of animal speech, for instance, for 17. “The White Snake” and the folk tradition concerning the “sleeping thorn” for 50. “Little Thornrose.” The Grimms’ margin notes to 62. “Bluebeard,” offer some understanding of his bloodlust as well as of the origins of the name, itself. Again, to the best of my knowledge, these appendix and margin notes have never been systematically translated into English.
Where relevant, I include translated references from Ulrike Marquardt and Heinz Rölleke’s Kinder- und Hausmärchen, Gesammelt durch die Brüder Grimm, Transkriptionen und Kommentare (Göttingen, 1986/1996), the signal resource for the 1812/1815 edition.
Since so much has been made of the alterations the Grimms made to their tales, I must utter a word of warning. The changes from one version to another of these tales are anything but the stuff of sensationalism, despite all the ink that has been spilled on the subject. The few occasional and glaring examples of bowdlerizing have already been documented. Rapunzel’s comment to Frau Gothel that her clothes have become too tight as a result of the king’s son’s visits, comes to mind. Those interested in “Grimm bashing,” in other words, will find little or no material here for their misbegotten crusade. They would do better to question entitling perfectly fine German fairy tales such as “Ashpuddle” or “Thornrose” with the titles of equally fine French tales, “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty,” respectively.
Actually, the changes the Grimms did make were frequently minimal and of little significance, consisting solely of, perhaps, an increase in dialogue or a shift from indirect to direct speech. The two versions of 26. “Little Red Cap” (“Little Red Ridinghood”) are practically identical, as are those of 24. “Frau Holla.” Many tales have been further elaborated, with motivation and detail added to create a more rounded narrative. 75. “Bird Phoenix”stands as an example of a fairy tale for which the Grimms made no such changes and leaves the reader rather scratching his or her head in consequence. The differences between the two versions of 55. “Rumplestiltskin,” on the other hand, reveal the Grimms’ storytelling abilities at their finest. At times, the brothers shortened and tightened the tales. Personally, however, I much prefer the more rambling and less structured original version of 21. “Ashpuddle” to its later version. Occasionally, the alterations are stunning as in 64/III. “The Three Feathers.” In the 1812/1815 version, Dumbling encounters a beautiful young woman spinning flax beneath the earth instead of the big itchy (toad). Yet, the basic tale remains constant, and the stories in this category comprise the exception, not the rule.
Finally, on a personal note, a subtle hope lies concealed under the guise and purpose of these parallel translations. The hope is for a wider, deeper, and fuller appreciation of fairy tales in general and the tales of the Brothers Grimm in particular. Should the reader discover one piece of new information, identify a single, unfamiliar parallel tale, or recognize an imaginal or psychological reality heretofore unknown, that hope will be fulfilled. Too, as I continue to read and translate parallel fairy tales, this collection will grow. Much as the Grimm Brothers’ collection grew over the almost fifty years of their work. In myself, at least, the fundamental hope and purpose behind these translations has already been realized and will continue to flower.
Gary V. Hartman
Mission, Kansas, May 2002
This is helpful in understanding the overall picture of what to expect in this series. Thanks, Lois.
I agree with Sharon. Actually taking the time to read this has really benefited me. I like the idea of parallel tales. When I research [Google] my stories, I find many versions, and many that also are actually parts of two stories, including “Little Snow White.” Many of the translations that I have seen, include parts of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Then there is “Snow White and Rose Red.” I need to look more deeply into them.
These tales also inspire me to tell and illustrate my often bizarre dreams.
Thank you, Cindy, this project is so much fun. Your support is honored. Lois