Recently I have noticed how many movies and stories are re-telling the same fairy tales but with a twist. Cinderella could be half-biotic or Goldielocks was really kidnapped by the bears. I looked back at my books, and I can see a lot of them are the same story that has been adapted , or loosely adapted, to fit the same themes as the original fairy tales— the Grimm’s Fairy tales. 

Grimm Brother’s Fairy Tales

The Grimm’s fairy tales are a collection of folk lore that the brothers Grimm collected over the years. Their fascination on collecting these tales, stems from how they grew up and the people influencing their lives. In college, the brothers wanted to study law. While there they gained a mentor called Professor Friedrich Carl von Savigny who believed that the language and ways of a people is what helped shaped the law to govern them.

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Grimm Brother’s Fairy Tales

Through their mentor they were included into a social circle that included writers who were interested in German folklore. This social circle was quiet trendy with the times and really participated in the cultural phenomena of studying, digging into philosophy, and having heated debates about what made a German, German in the first place. With these two influences in their lives the brothers went about collecting folklore and re-publishing it. The two brothers really relied on word of mouth to gather their stories.

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They did refer to a few books that had been published with individual stories in them, but mainly relied on middle class friends, family, and friends of the family. This played another role in the Grim brother’s life — leading them to making a German dictionary and helped describe sound related issues with the German language. But even with their many achievements in the field of philology, the brothers are still best remembered by their collection of folklore. 

So Why Do We Keep Re-telling The Same Fairy Tales?

When reading the original folklore from the brothers Grimm, you realize that they are incredibly dark stories. Usually filled with warnings and intended to scare children into behaving. These stories are nothing like what we read to children today. And they are defiantly nothing like the Disney movies you and your children watch on repeat.

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Red Riding Hood Depiction

Looking over the transformation of the Grimm’s fairytales from a very broad view, you see a small pattern appear; they start off dark, then get “modernized” by turning into what we call a G rated story. Then as the kids who grew up with the G rated stories get older, they want the fairy tales to grow with them. The stories then revert them back to a darker version of the story then finally someone needs to make it G rated again for the younger kids, and then the cycle repeats. 

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The idea of retelling fantasy stories is not a new idea. After all that is what folklore is — a re-telling of a story over and over again that often spans generations.

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Most of the stories …we find so remarkable that recalling them once more is certainly worth our time and attention, and thus we have spent long hours compiling into one narrative their achievements as related in numerous books. – Halldor Laxness 

Many authors want to put their own unique spin on the story. They want to show the world why that story was so profound to them. Each reader will have a different experience with a book, and  by re-telling the story you can try to share your experience with other readers. But overall I think we re-tell the classic fairy tales because they have a spell over us since we were a kid.

Stack of my fav FairyTales
A stack of classic books

Each fairy tale is unique and can appeal to multiple audiences, and have a profound impact. We re-tell fairy tales because we are creatures of habits, especially habits with a positive outcome every time. And mainly – because we like them and they still help teach us as we grow.

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