Ten Fantastic Unknown Fairy Tales - The Grimm's Edition

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Hrafnagaldur (Odin's Raven Magic) from Screaming Masterpiece.

More Fantastic Unknown/Forgotten Fairy Tales - Part 1
More Fantastic Unknown/Forgotten Fairy Tales - Part 2
More Fantastic Unknown/Forgotten Fairy Tales - Part 3

Since we are on the self-dubbed fairy tale month, I thought I should share my secret love for several shinning unknown gems. I like obscure things, in fact you could say I relish in them (just look at some of my Current Theme Songs. Today's for example, I don't think you could find anywhere). I love indie bands, I love exotic foods no one has heard of, let alone know how to pronounce. My most recent to this list comes from my trip to Thailand. Mangosteens rock the world out in white fleshy goodness.

Likewise I love obscure fairy tales. Lovelovelove them. I always dreamed of rewriting an unknown fairy tale, because I fell in love with fairy tale retellings ever since stumbling on Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley in fifth grade. Ever since then I've been hooked.

I grew up on fairy tales, and so as I grew up, I never understood when I talked about fairy tales that no one else had ever heard of. They gave me funny looks, and I often cocked my eight year old head in confusion. The most common of late has been The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Thankfully that wonderful story has come into a fuller light with such retellings as Wildwood Dancing and Princess of the Midnight Ball, and Barbie's Twelve Dancing Princesses (so sue me. I've seen it and I liked it). :) But even then, I've had so many people say they have never heard of it before. It's unfathomable to me.

Another thing I just don't get is how some fairy tales became popular, and others didn't. Take Rumpelstiltskin. Talk about a crazy fairy tale that makes no sense (thank you to A Curse as Dark as Gold for a valiant try to untangle that mess of a story). So here I've compiled a list of ten fantastic unknown fairy tales, presented as "The Grimms Edition." You may know of one or two, but I can bet you've never even heard of half of them. I would really suggest looking them up. They are well worth the adventure.

The Valiant (or Brave) Little Tailor *

The Girl Without Hands

King Thrushbeard**

The Two Brothers***

The Six Swans****

East of the Sun, West of the Moon*****

Allerleirauh (or All-Kinds-of-Fur)^

The Twelve Huntsmen^^

Iron Hans

The Peasant's Wise Daughter^^^

*the version of this I first heard as a child had Mickey Mouse as the main character. I was so happy to see it was a real fairy tale.

**keep an eye out for something special with this one.

***Can I claim this one for a novel adaptation? :)

****made most famous by Juliet Marillier's masterful retelling Daughter of the Forest trilogy.

*****my original favorite unknown fairy tale. Alas, tis too famous for me to ever do my own retelling of it now. It's like Beauty and the Beast with a polar bear and where the girl takes charge to save her own prince. You can't beat that!

^there is a wonderful adaptation done by the Jim Hensen's The Storyteller TV series called Sapsorrow (and what a cool name!). I would love to do a novel adaptation of this one as well. It's like Cinderella, but in a cool take charge way.

^^awesome AWESOME premise. Can't say any more.

^^^loved this one as a child too. Maybe it is famous and I just don't know it. Any takers to prove me wrong?


writtenwyrdd said...

I've wanted to redo Iron John (Iron Hans) which is otherwise known as The Golden Ball, I believe. haven't quite figured out how, yet, but I am also working on a horror version of Beauty and the Beast, because at base it is a horror, and seems to me to have been cleaned up with an HEA romance ending.

PJ Hoover said...

I've heard of none of them. Um, the girl without hands. That is begging for a retelling. I can see a movie from that one.

Sadako said...

I love fairy tales. Do you know Brother and Sister? Of course you do. That's one of my favorites. I also like Donkeyskin. I think that one is fairly well known but would probably be more if not for the pesky incest beginning.

Heather Zundel said...

writtenwyrdd - I head you. I didn't want to sound redundant, but I would love to do retellings of all of these incredible stories. Iron Hans is one of my special favorites. It really has a lot of potential to be an amazing retelling. Do tell me when you finish your Beauty and the Beast horror story. That is a fresh take on it. Is is going to be a short story or novel?

PJ- Really? Oh you should read some of them. The Two Brothers sounds terribly generic, and so easy to get mixed up with The Three Brothers and whatnot, but it is a great fairy tale. Did you read The Girl Without Hands? Talk about a jaw dropper. :)

Sadako - Yes, I do know Brother and Sister. :) Donkeyskin is a bit more famous, I think mostly because Robin McKinley did a retelling of it. But it is still really unknown. Allerleirauh is quite similar, but there is no actual incest, thank goodness. And Jim Hensen's The Storyteller makes the daddy's intentions good. Yay. What are some of your other favorite unknowns? :D

writtenwyrdd said...

I was planning on a longish short story for my Beauty & Beast retelling. Let me just say, Beauty victimizes Beast. (Doesn't that story seem to imply she at the very least takes advantage of him?)

A fellow named Curzon wrote a play about Cinderella after the HEA. Wish I could remember the name of it, it was pretty funny.

Anonymous said...

I love all fairy tales.
Some of my faves are The Goose Girl, The Dancing Water and Why the sea moans (Dionysia)

Anonymous said...

i just finished reading Beauty, A Retelling of The Beauty And The beast!
i just started on robin McKinley's sleeping beauty.
i know all of the fairytales on your list.:O ^o^
you know, there's a Greek myth that's kind of like East o the sun and the West o the moon...t's a about eros falling in love with the human girl hi mom, aphrodite hate. i think jim hensen did a episode on east of the sun and the west of of the moon. do you read the sisters grimm? by Michael Buckley?
random question:how old are you? (@ writer girl)
sorry if it was rude...just catching up. i just discovered this blog.

EVANGELINE(i love that name!!!

Heather Zundel said...

This is so cool you know all of them! :D You may be the first. I have not read the Sisters Grimm. Is it good?

By the way, Eros and Psyche is one of my favorite Greek myths. :)

I will keep mum on the age question (I can be shy in that regard) but I will say this - I have graduated college.