Grimm’s Fairytales: 200th Birthday Today

Fairytales are everywhere: on hit TV shows, on the big screen, at Halloween parades. But what are the roots of the genre? Well, once upon a time, two German brothers began collecting the best fairytales of their age. They gathered an array of stories involving princes and princesses, forests, castles and magic, but also darker sagas of cannibalism, dismemberment, murder and evil stepmothers. (Pictured is “Fitcher’s Bird,” illustrated by Arthur Rackham.) The 200th anniversary today of the first publication of the Grimm brothers’ Die Kinder und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales), a collection of 86 stories that became worldwide classics, is triggering a year of feverish celebrations in Germany to mark the birth of one of the most frequently read books in the world.

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