Germany has long been considered a land of fairy tales. The Brothers Grimm collection of Märchen popularised the tales they collected here, and plenty of German villages, houses and forests look like they might have sprung straight out of a story book.
But having moved to Germany a little over a year ago, I’ve become more aware of the smaller ways in which the famous fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm reflect their cultural origins. For the first time, I can see evidence of the roots they sprung from in the world around me – roots I wouldn’t have noticed while in my Australian homeland. Continue reading
In a few more days it will be Halloween, and I’d say there will be a good many witches wandering the streets. You know the look – a pointy crooked hat, a black cloak, a long warty nose, maybe even a broomstick. The kind of thing you’d see in a rendition of The Wizard of Oz or Hansel and Gretel. Fantasy stories are so often populated by witches that we barely bat an eyelid at their mention. We dress up as them, sometimes even wish we could be them, and fantasise about receiving our letter from Hogwarts. What we rarely give a thought to is that a few hundred years ago, a witch was more than just something from a fantasy story… and it was one of the last things you’d want to pretend to be. Continue reading
In high school I remember having to sit through a Disney cartoon rendition of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (1994) for a unit we were doing on fairy tales. It told the usual story – Goldilocks comes to the bears’ house, tries the porridges, the chairs and the beds, falls asleep, and then runs away when the bears come home. Unfortunately, in this version they extended the story. Goldilocks and the three bears become friends. Then an evil circus man captures the bears and Goldilocks must save and free them. Oh, and since it’s Disney, they also add an obligatory annoying sidekick animal to provide some comic relief. I think it was a rabbit.