A Darker Side To 'Happily Ever After'

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Once upon a time — specifically, the 1850s — there lived a civil servant to Bavaria's Crown Prince. He moved in royal circles and was highly esteemed, but his true passion was folklore: gathering the stories of the common people.

It was once said of this man that "Nowhere in the whole of Germany is anyone collecting folklore so accurately, thoroughly, and with such a sensitive ear." Who is the hero of this fairytale? One of the Brothers Grimm, perhaps? In fact, it was Jacob Grimm himself who said this of one Franz Xaver von Schönwerth.

Schönwerth lived and work at roughly the same time as the Grimms, but his work faded into obscurity until 2012, when more than 500 of his fairy tales were unearthed from the Municipal Archive of Regensburg.

72 of these fairytales are now available in modern English in a new collection titled The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales.


Maria Tatar, chair of the program in folklore and mythology at Harvard University, and translator of The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales. She tweets @mariamtatar.

This segment aired on March 24, 2015.


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