(Photo by Steve Rawley)
Sunday Book Review
On My Nightstand
“Grimms’ Fairy Tales,” illustrated by Fritz Kredel
I picked up this copy from the free shelf because I liked the cover (red, cloth, not battered) and I’m always on the lookout for something my students might like. They love old books and anything they consider “primitive.” I did a lesson this week on stamp collecting, with the third graders, and had to dial it way back when I realized how few of them knew what postmarks were. The stamps were from “the olden days” (circa 1980), and once they realized a few of the stamps were dated from the ’40s and ’50s, they were in awe. Old books, coins and stamps are all treasures to them.
So the Grimm collection is a find — pristine condition — but they’re not getting their hands on it, sorry, kiddos. I’ll take it in for them to look at, but I’ll keep it as part of my permanent collection. The translations were done by Mrs. E.V. Lucas, Lucy Crane & Marian Edwards. Fritz Kredel’s illustrations are cool — simple, with some splashes of color. It was published in MCMXLV (for those of you who aren’t up on your Roman numerals, that’s 1945) (according to Google, anyway).
Those Grimms… they were kooky, eh? Here are openings from a few of the stories:
“There was once a forester who went into the woods to hunt, and he heard a cry like that of a little child. He followed the sound and at last came to a big tree where a tiny child was sitting high up on one of the top branches. The mother had gone to sleep under the tree, and a bird of prey, seeing the child on her lap, had flown down and carried it off in its beak to the top of the tree.
The forester climbed the tree and brought down the child, thinking to himself, ‘I will take it home, and bring it up with my own little Lina.”
“Jorinda and Joringel”
“There was once an old castle in the middle of a vast thick wood. In it there lived an old woman quite alone, and she was a witch. By day she made herself into a cat or a screech owl, but regularly at night she became a human being again. In this way she was able to decoy wild beasts and birds, which she would kill and boil or roast.”
“The wife of a rich man fell ill, and when she felt that she was nearing her end she called her only daughter to her bedside and said, ‘Dear child, continue devout and good. Then God will always help you, and I will look down upon you from heaven and watch over you.’
Thereupon she closed her eyes and breathed her last.”
“The Wren and the Bear”
“Once upon a time a bear and a wolf were taking a walk in a wood. It was summer, and the bear heard a bird singing most beautifully. He said, ‘Brother Wolf, what kind of bird is that singing so beautifully?”
– 30 –
(which means: The End o Fin)