The Brothers Grimm

(1785 – 1863 / 1786 – 1859)

The Brothers GrimmBiographical Sketch

The Brothers Grimm (in German: die Brüder Grimm or die Gebrüder Grimm, Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm (Hanau, Germany January 4, 1785 – Berlin, Germany, September 20, 1863) and Wilhelm Carl Grimm (Hanau, Germany, February 24, 1786 – Berlin, Germany, December 16, 1859), were Hessian academics, philologists, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors who together collected and published folklore during the 19th century. They were among the first and best-known collectors of German and European folk tales, and popularized traditional oral tale types such as Cinderella (Aschenputtel), The Frog Prince (Der Froschkönig), The Goose-Girl (Die Gänsemagd; Die Gänseliesel), Hansel and Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood (Rotkäppchen), The Wolf and the Seven Young Goats (Der Wolf und die sieben Geißlein), Rumpelstiltskin (Rumpelstilzchen), Sleeping Beauty (Dornröschen), Snow White (Schneewittchen), and Mother Holly (or Mother HuldaFrau Holle). Their classic collection, Children’s and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in two volumes; the first in 1812 and the second in 1815.

The brothers were born in the town of Hanau in the German Landgravate of Hesse-Cassel and spent most of their childhood in the nearby town of Steinau. Their father’s death in 1796 impoverished the family and affected the brothers for many years after. They attended the University of Marburg where they began a lifelong dedication to research the early history of German language and literature, including German folktales. The rise of Romanticism during the 18th century had revived interest in traditional folk stories, which to the Grimms and their colleagues represented a pure form of national literature and culture. The Brothers Grimm established a methodology for collecting and recording folk stories that became the basis for folklore studies. Between the first edition of 1812–1815 and the seventh (and final) edition of 1857, they revised their collection many times, so that it grew from 156 stories to more than 200.[ In addition to collecting and editing folk tales, the brothers also compiled German legends. Individually, they published a large body of linguistic and literary scholarship. Together, in 1838, they began work on a massive historical German dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch) which, in their lifetimes, they completed only as far as the word Frucht (‘fruit‘).

Many of the Grimms’ folk tales have enjoyed enduring popularity. The tales are available in more than 100 languages and have been adapted by filmmakers including Lotte Reiniger and Walt Disney, with films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty. During the 1930s and 40s, the tales were used as propaganda by the Third Reich; later in the 20th century, psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim reaffirmed the value of the work, in spite of the cruelty and violence in original versions of some of the tales (which the Grimms eventually sanitized).

Read more about the Brothers Grimm on Wikipedia.



Collaborative Works
Collected Fairy Tales
  • Kinder- und Hausmärchen (1812)
    (Children’s and Household Tales)
    (AKA German Popular Stories; Household Tales; Grimm’s Fairy Tales; Household Stories; Household Fairy Tales; German Folk Tales; Fairy Tales; Grimm’s Tales for Young and Old)
    – Seven editions between 1812 and 1857.

    • Volume 1
      • The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich
        (Der Froschkönig oder der eiserne Heinrich)
      • Cat and Mouse in Partnership
        (Katze und Maus in Gesellschaft)
      • Mary’s Child
      • The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was
        (Märchen von einem, der auszog das Fürchten zu lernen)
      • The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids
        (Der Wolf und die sieben jungen Geißlein)
      • Faithful John or Trusty John
        (Der treue Johannes)
      • The Good Bargain
        (Der gute Handel)
      • The Wonderful Musician or The Strange Musician
        (Der wunderliche Spielmann)
      • The Twelve Brothers
        (Die zwölf Brüder)
      • The Pack of Ragamuffins
        (Das Lumpengesindel)
      • Little Brother and Little Sister
        (Brüderchen und Schwesterchen)
      • Rapunzel
      • The Three Little Men in the Woods
        (Die drei Männlein im Walde)
      • The Three Spinning Women
        (Die drei Spinnerinnen)
      • Hansel and Gretel
        (Hänsel und Gretel)
      • The Three Snake-Leaves
        (Die drei Schlangenblätter)
      • The White Snake
        (Die weiße Schlange)
      • The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean
        (Strohhalm, Kohle und Bohne)
      • The Fisherman and His Wife
        (Von dem Fischer und seiner Frau)
      • The Brave Little Tailor
        (AKA The Valiant Little Tailor; The Gallant Tailor)
        (Das tapfere Schneiderlein)
      • Cinderella
      • The Riddle
        (Das Rätsel)
      • The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage
        (Von dem Mäuschen, Vögelchen und der Bratwurst)
      • Mother Holle
        (AKA Mother Hulda; Old Mother Frost)
        (Frau Holle)
      • The Seven Ravens
        (Die sieben Raben)
      • Little Red Riding Hood
      • The Bremen Town Musicians
        (Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten)
      • The Singing Bone
        (Der singende Knochen)
      • The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs
        (Der Teufel mit den drei goldenen Haaren)
      • The Louse and the Flea
        (Läuschen und Flöhchen)
      • The Girl Without Hands
        (AKA The Handless Maiden)
        (Das Mädchen ohne Hände)
      • Clever Hans
        (Der gescheite Hans)
      • The Three Languages
        (Die drei Sprachen)
      • Clever Elsie
        (Die kluge Else)
      • The Tailor in Heaven
        (Der Schneider im Himmel)
      • The Magic Table, the Gold-Donkey, and the Club in the Sack
        (Tischchen deck dich, Goldesel und Knüppel aus dem Sack; AKA Tischlein, deck dich!)
      • Thumbling
        – Character similar to the English legendary character Tom Thumb.
      • The Wedding of Mrs. Fox
        (Die Hochzeit der Frau Füchsin)
      • The Elves
        (Die Wichtelmänner)

        • The Elves and the Shoemaker
          (Erstes Märchen)
        • Second Story
          (Zweites Märchen)
        • Third Story
          (Drittes Märchen)
      • The Robber Bridegroom
        (Der Räuberbräutigam)
      • Herr Korbes
      • The Godfather
        (Der Herr Gevatter)
      • Frau Trude
      • Godfather Death
        (Der Gevatter Tod)
      • Thumbling’s Travels
        (Daumerlings Wanderschaft)
      • Fitcher’s Bird
        (Fitchers Vogel)
      • The Juniper Tree
        (Von dem Machandelboom)
      • Old Sultan
        (Der alte Sultan)
      • The Six Swans
        (Die sechs Schwäne)
      • Briar Rose
        (AKA Sleeping Beauty)
      • Foundling-Bird
      • King Thrushbeard
        (König Drosselbart)
      • Snow White
      • The Knapsack, the Hat, and the Horn
        (Der Ranzen, das Hütlein und das Hörnlein)
      • Rumpelstiltskin
      • Sweetheart Roland
        (Der Liebste Roland)
      • The Golden Bird
        (Der goldene Vogel)
      • The Dog and the Sparrow
        (Der Hund und der Sperling)
      • Frederick and Catherine
        (Der Frieder und das Katherlieschen)
      • The Two Brothers
        (Die zwei Brüder)
      • The Little Peasant
        (Das Bürle)
      • The Queen Bee
        (Die Bienenkönigin)
      • The Three Feathers
        (Die drei Federn)
      • The Golden Goose
        (Die goldene Gans)
      • All-Kinds-of-Fur
      • The Hare’s Bride
      • The Twelve Huntsmen
        (Die zwölf Jäger)
      • The Thief and His Master
        (De Gaudeif un sien Meester)
      • Jorinde and Joringel
        (Jorinde und Joringel)
      • The Three Sons of Fortune
        (Die drei Glückskinder)
      • How Six Men got on in the World
        (Sechse kommen durch die ganze Welt
      • The Wolf and the Man
        (Der Wolf und der Mensch)
      • The Wolf and the Fox
        (Der Wolf und der Fuchs)
      • Gossip Wolf and the Fox
        (Der Fuchs und die Frau Gevatterin)
      • The Fox and the Cat
        (Der Fuchs und die Katze)
      • The Pink
        (Die Nelke)
      • Clever Gretel
        (Das kluge Gretel)
      • The Old Man and his Grandson
        (Der alte Großvater und der Enkel)
      • The Water Nixie
        (Die Wassernixe)
      • The Death of the Little Hen
        (Von dem Tode des Hühnchens)
      • Brother Lustig
        (Bruder Lustig)
      • Gambling Hansel
        (De Spielhansl)
      • Hans in Luck
        (Hans im Glück)
      • Hans Married
        (Hans heiratet)
      • The Gold-Children
        (Die Goldkinder)
      • The Fox and the Geese
        (Der Fuchs und die Gänse)
    • Volume 2
      • The Poor Man and the Rich Man
        (Der Arme und der Reiche)
      • The Singing, Springing Lark
        (Das singende springende Löweneckerchen)
      • The Goose Girl
        (Die Gänsemagd)
      • The Young Giant
        (Der junge Riese)
      • The Gnome
        (Dat Erdmänneken
      • The King of the Gold Mountain
        (Der König vom goldenen Berg)
      • The Raven
        (Die Raben)
      • The Peasant’s Wise Daughter
        (Die kluge Bauerntochter)
      • Old Hildebrand
        (Der alte Hildebrand)
      • The Three Little Birds
        (De drei Vügelkens)
      • The Water of Life
        (Das Wasser des Lebens)
      • Doctor Know-all
        (Doktor Allwissend)
      • The Spirit in the Bottle
        (Der Geist im Glas)
      • The Devil’s Sooty Brother
        (Des Teufels rußiger Bruder)0
        Bearskin (Bärenhäuter)
      • The Willow Wren and the Bear
        (Der Zaunkönig und der Bär)
      • Sweet Porridge
        (Der süße Brei)
      • Wise Folks
        (Die klugen Leute)
      • Tales of the Paddock
        (Märchen von der Unke)
      • The Poor Miller’s Boy and the Cat
        (Der arme Müllerbursch und das Kätzchen)
      • The Two Travelers
        (Die beiden Wanderer)
      • Hans My Hedgehog
        (Hans mein Igel)
      • The Shroud
        (Das Totenhemdchen)
      • The Jew Among Thorns
        (Der Jude im Dorn0
      • The Skillful Huntsman
        (Der gelernte Jäger)
      • The Flail from Heaven
        (Der Dreschflegel vom Himmel)
      • The Two Kings’ Children
        (Die beiden Königskinder)
      • The Cunning Little Tailor
        (AKA The Story of a Clever Tailor)
        (Vom klugen Schneiderlein)
      • The Bright Sun Brings it to Light
        (Die klare Sonne bringt’s an den Tag)
      • The Blue Light
        (Das blaue Licht)
      • The Willful Child
        (Das eigensinnige Kind)
      • The Three Army Surgeons
        (Die drei Feldscherer)
      • The Seven Swabians
        (Die sieben Schwaben)
      • The Three Apprentices
        (Die drei Handwerksburschen)
      • The King’s Son Who Feared Nothing
        (Der Königssohn, der sich vor nichts fürchtete)
      • Donkey Cabbages
        (Der Krautesel)
      • The Old Woman in the Wood
        (Die Alte im Wald)
      • The Three Brothers
        (Die drei Brüder)
      • The Devil and His Grandmother
        (Der Teufel und seine Großmutter)
      • Ferdinand the Faithful and Ferdinand the Unfaithful
        (Ferenand getrü und Ferenand ungetrü)
      • The Iron Stove
        (Der Eisenofen)
      • The Lazy Spinner
        (Die faule Spinnerin)
      • The Four Skillful Brothers
        (Die vier kunstreichen Brüder)
      • One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes
        (Einäuglein, Zweiäuglein und Dreiäuglein)
      • Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie
        (Die schöne Katrinelje und Pif Paf Poltrie)
      • The Fox and the Horse
        (Der Fuchs und das Pferd)
      • The Shoes that were Danced to Pieces
        (Die zertanzten Schuhe)
      • The Six Servants
        (Die sechs Diener)
      • The White and the Black Bride
        (Die weiße und die schwarze Braut)
      • Iron John
      • The Three Black Princesses
        (De drei schwatten Prinzessinnen)
      • Knoist and his Three Sons
        (Knoist un sine dre Sühne)
      • The Maid of Brakel
        (Dat Mäken von Brakel)
      • My Household
        (Das Hausgesinde)
      • The Lambkin and the Little Fish
        (Das Lämmchen und das Fischchen)
      • Simeli Mountain
      • Going a Traveling
        (Up Reisen gohn)
        – Appeared in the 1819 edition; the 1812/1815 edition contained Die Kinder in Hungersnot (The Starving Children).
      • The Donkey
        (AKA The Little Donkey)
        (Das Eselein)
      • The Ungrateful Son
        (Der undankbare Sohn)
      • The Turnip
        (Die Rübe)
      • The Old Man Made Young Again
        (Das junggeglühte Männlein)
      • The Lord’s Animals and the Devil’s
        (Des Herrn und des Teufels Getier)
      • The Beam
        (Der Hahnenbalken)
      • The Old Beggar Woman
        (Die alte Bettelfrau)
      • The Three Sluggards
        (Die drei Faulen)
      • The Twelve Idle Servants
        (Die zwölf faulen Knechte)
      • The Shepherd Boy
        (Das Hirtenbüblein)
      • The Star Money
        (Die Sterntaler)
      • The Stolen Farthings
        (Der gestohlene Heller)
      • Looking for a Bride
        (Die Brautschau)
      • The Hurds
        (Die Schlickerlinge)
      • The Sparrow and His Four Children
        (Der Sperling und seine vier Kinder)
      • The Story of Schlauraffen Land
        (Das Märchen vom Schlaraffenland)
      • The Ditmarsch Tale of Lies
        (Das dietmarsische Lügenmärchen)
      • A Riddling Tale
      • Snow-White and Rose-Red
        (Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot)
      • The Wise Servant
        (Der kluge Knecht)
      • The Glass Coffin
        (Der gläserne Sarg)
      • Lazy Henry
        (Der faule Heinz)
      • The Griffin
        (Der Vogel Greif)
      • Strong Hans
        (Der starke Hans)
      • The Peasant in Heaven
        (Das Bürle im Himmel)
      • Lean Lisa
        (Die hagere Liese)
      • The Hut in the Forest
        (Das Waldhaus)
      • Sharing Joy and Sorrow
        (Lieb und Leid teilen)
      • The Willow Wren
        (Der Zaunkönig)
      • The Sole
        (Die Scholle)
      • The Bittern and the Hoopoe
        (Rohrdommel und Wiedehopf)
      • The Owl
        (Die Eule)
      • The Moon
        (Der Mond)
      • The Duration of Life
        (Die Lebenszeit)
      • Death’s Messengers
        (Die Boten des Todes)
      • Master Pfreim
        (Meister Pfriem)
      • The Goose-Girl at the Well
        (Die Gänsehirtin am Brunnen)
      • Eve’s Various Children
        (Die ungleichen Kinder Evas)
      • The Nixie of the Mill-Pond
        (Die Nixe im Teich)
      • The Gifts of the Little People
        (AKA The Little Folks’ Presents)
        (Die Geschenke des kleinen Volkes)
      • The Giant and the Tailor
        (Der Riese und der Schneider)
      • The Nail
        (Der Nagel)
      • The Poor Boy in the Grave
        (Der arme Junge im Grab)
      • The True Bride
        (Die wahre Braut)
      • The Hare and the Hedgehog
        (Der Hase und der Igel)
      • Spindle, Shuttle, and Needle
        (Spindel, Weberschiffchen und Nadel)
      • The Peasant and the Devil
        (Der Bauer und der Teufel)
      • The Crumbs on the Table
        (Die Brosamen auf dem Tisch)
      • The Sea-Hare
        (Das Meerhäschen)
      • The Master Thief
        (Der Meisterdieb)
      • The Drummer
        (Der Trommler)
      • The Ear of Corn
        (Die Kornähre)
      • The Grave Mound
        (Der Grabhügel)
      • Old Rinkrank
        (Oll Rinkrank)
      • The Crystal Ball
        (Die Kristallkugel)
      • Maid Maleen
        (Jungfrau Maleen)
      • The Boots of Buffalo Leather
        (Der Stiefel von üffelleder)
      • The Golden Key
        (Der goldene Schlüssel)
    • The Children’s Legends
      – First appeared in the 1819 edition at the end of Volume 2.

      • Saint Joseph in the Forest
        (Der heilige Joseph im Walde)
      • The Twelve Apostles
        (Die zwölf Apostel)
      • The Rose
        (Die Rose)
      • Poverty and Humility Lead to Heaven
        (Armut und Demut führen zum Himmel)
      • God’s Food
        (Gottes Speise)
      • The Three Green Twigs
        (Die drei grünen Zweige)
      • The Blessed Virgin’s Little Glass
        (AKA Our Lady’s Little Glass)
      • The Little Old Lady
        (AKA The Aged Mother)
        (Das alte Mütterchen)
      • The Heavenly Marriage
        (AKA The Heavenly Wedding)
        (Die himmlische Hochzeit)
      • The Hazel Branch
        (Die Haselrute)
    • Removed from Final Edition
      • Von der Nachtigall und der Blindschleiche
        (The Nightingale and the Slow Worm)
        (AKA The Nightingale and the Blindworm)
      • Die Hand mit dem Messer
        (The Hand with the Knife)
      • Wie Kinder Schlachtens miteinander gespielt haben
        (The Children Who Played Slaughtering)
      • Der Tod und der Gänsehirt
        (Death and the Goose Keeper)
      • Der gestiefelte Kater
        (Puss in Boots)
      • Von der Serviette, dem Tornister, dem Kanonenhütlein und dem Horn
        (Of the Napkin, the Knapsack, the Cannon Guarding Flax, and the Horn)
      • Die wunderliche Gasterei
        (The strange Inn)
        (AKA The Wonderly Guesting Manor)
      • Hans Dumm
        (Foolish Hans)
      • Blaubart
      • Hurleburlebutz
      • Der Okerlo
        (The Okerlo)
      • Prinzessin Mäusehaut
        (Princess Mouse Skin)
      • Das Birnli will nit fallen
        (The Fruit Will Not Fall)
      • Das Mörderschloss
        (The Murder Castle)
      • Vom Schreiner und Drechsler
        (Of The Carpenter and Turner)
      • Die drei Schwestern
        (The Three Sisters)
      • Schneeblume
        (Snow Flower)
        Vom Prinz Johannes
        (Of Prince Johannes)
        – Fragment.
      • Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse
        (The Princess and the Pea)
      • Der Faule und der Fleißige
        (The Sluggard and the Diligent)
      • Der gute Lappen
        (The Good Rag)
        – Fragment.
      • Die heilige Frau Kummernis
        (The Holy woman Kummernis)
      • Die Krähen
        (The Crows)
      • Der Löwe und der Frosch
        (The Lion and the Frog)
      • Der Räuber und seine Söhne
        (The Robber and His Sons)
      • Der Soldat und der Schreiner
        (The Soldier and the Carpenter)
      • Die treuen Tiere
        (The faithful animals)
      • Das Unglück
        (The Accident)
      • Der wilde Mann
        (The Wild Man)
      • Der Schmied und der Teufel
        (The Smith and the Devil)
Other Collaborative Works
  • Die beiden ältesten deutschen Gedichte aus dem achten Jahrhundert: Das Lied von Hildebrand und Hadubrand und das Weißenbrunner Gebet (1812)
    (The Two Oldest German Poems of the Eighth Century: The Song of Hildebrand and Hadubrand and the Wessobrunn Prayer)
    – Two 9th century heroic songs.
  • Altdeutsche Wälder (1813 – 1816)
    (Old German Forests)
    – Three volumes.
  • Der arme Heinrich von Hartmann von der Aue (1815)
    (Poor Heinrich by Hartmann von der Aue)
  • Lieder der alten Edda (1815)
    (Songs from the Elder Edda)
  • Deutsche Sagen (1816 – 1818)
    (German Sagas; German Legends)
    – Published in two parts.
  • Irische Elfenmärchen (1826)
    – The Grimms’ translation of Thomas Crofton Croker’s Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland.
  • Deutsches Wörterbuch (from 1852)
    (German Dictionary)
    – 32 volumes through 1960.
  • Briefe der brüder Grimm (1923)
    – The brothers’ correspondence; published posthumously and edited by H. Gürtler.
  • Die schönsten Grimms Märchen (1950
    – Selected fairy tales; publisihed posthumously and edited by Gisela Fischer.
  • Die allerschönsten Märchen der Gebrüder Grimm (2004
    – Selected fairy tales; published posthumously and illustrated by Bernhard Oberdieck.
By Jacob Grimm
  • Über den altdeutschen Meistergesang (1811)
  • Irmenstrasse und Irmensäule (1815)
  • Wuk Stephanowitsch’ Kleine Serbische Grammatik, verdeutscht mit einer Vorrede (1824)
    – German translation of Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic’s Serbian Grammar.
  • Zur Recension der deutschen Grammatik (Kassel, 1826)
  • Hymnorum veteris ecclesiae XXVI. interpretatio theodisca (1830)
  • Reinhart Fuchs (1834)
  • Deutsche Mythologie (1835, 3rd ed., 1854, 2 vols.)
    (Teutonic Mythology)
    – 2 volumes.
  • Taciti Germania edidit (1835)
  • Über meine Entlassung (1838)
    – Together with Schmeller.
  • Lateinische Gedichte des X. und XI. Jahrhunderts (1838)
  • Sendschreiben an Karl Lachmann über Reinhart Fuchs (1840)
  • Weistümer, Th. i. (1840 – 1869)
    – 5 parts; contributor.
  • Andreas und Elene (1840)
  • Frau Aventure (1842)
  • Geschichte der deutschen Sprache (1848)
    – 2 volumes.
  • Des Wort des Besitzes (1850)
  • Rede auf Wilhelm Grimm und Rede über das Alter (1868)
  • Kleinere Schriften (1864 – 1884)
    – 7 volumes.

    • Vol. 1: Reden und Abhandlungen (1864)
    • Vol. 2: Abhandlungen zur Mythologie und Sittenkunde (1865)
    • Vol. 3: Abhandlungen zur Litteratur und Grammatik (1866)
    • Vol. 4: Recensionen und vermischte Aufsätze, part I (1869)
    • Vol. 5: Recensionen und vermischte Aufsätze, part II (1871)
    • Vol. 6: Recensionen und vermischte Aufsätze, part III
    • Vol. 7: Recensionen und vermischte Aufsätze, part IV (1884)
  • John Mitchell Kemble and Jakob Grimm: a Correspondence 1832 – 1852 (1971)
    – Published posthumously; edited and translated by Raymond A. Wiley.
  • Reden und Aufsätze (1966)
    – Published posthumously and edited by W. Schoof.
By Wilhelm Grimm
  • Altdänische heldenlieder, balladen und märchen, 1811
  • Über deutsche Runen, 1821
  • Die deutsche Heldensage, 1829
    (The German Heroic Tale)
  • Altdeutsche Gespräche: Nachtrag, 1851
  • Zur Geschichte des Reims: Abhandlung der Berliner Akademie (1852)
  • Kleinere Schriften (1881 – 1897)
    – 4 volumes; edited by G. Hinrichs.
  • Briefwechsel zwischen Jenny von Droste-Hülshoff und Wilhelm Grimm (1929)
    – Correspondence; published posthumously.
Online Editions of the Grimm Brothers’ Works


A Selection of Quotes

From the Fairy Tales

“He who is too well off is always longing for something new.”

“He who helped thee when thou wert in trouble ought not afterwards to be despised by thee.”

“He who wants to be a sickle must bend himself betimes.”

“Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all?”

“‘Oh, grandmother, what big ears you have!’
‘The better to hear you with.’
‘Oh, grandmother, what big eyes you have!’
‘The better to see you with.’
‘Oh, grandmother, what big hands you have!’
‘The better to grab you with.’
‘But, grandmother, what a dreadful big mouth you have!’
‘The better to eat you with.’

Find more quotes by The Brothers Grimm on Wikiquote and on Goodreads (Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm).