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Grimms' Fairy Tales

Grimms' Fairy Tales


by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Grimms' Fairy Tales Tales 101-110 Summary

Tale 101: Bearskin

  • A discharged soldier makes a deal with a man in the green jacket who turns out to be the devil: if he wears a bearskin and doesn't wash himself, trim his nails, or comb his hair and beard for seven years, the devil will make him rich. 
  • But if he dies in that time, his soul will belong to the devil. He also gets a jacket that has money in the pockets anytime he reaches in, to which we say, where can we get one?
  • The soldier, now called Bearskin, reaches an inn and decides to stay there. While there, he bails out a man who's so poor that he's about to be thrown in jail for his debts, upon which the poor man offers him one of his three daughters in marriage.
  • Back at the poor man's house, the first two daughters are disgusted by Bearskin, but the third daughter's all, meh, why not? Bearskin breaks a ring in two, giving her half to keep, and goes to wander the world and finish his devilish servitude.
  • At the end of the seven years, Bearskin meets the devil, who has to groom him until he's handsome again. 
  • When he goes to the former-poor-man's house to claim his bride, the first two daughters are all over him. The third daughter is wearing black and doesn't even look at him until he slips her the ring half. 
  • They're happily married, and the two sisters, bitter about missing out on the opportunity to marry a rich hottie, kill themselves. 
  • The devil appears to inform the soldier that he's pleased to have gotten two souls instead of one. Ain't that a bargain?

Tale 102: The Wren and the Bear

  • A bear insults the wren's children as ugly, causing a war between all the animals. The birds and other flying things win, frightening the bear enough that he finally apologizes.

Tale 103: The Sweet Porridge

  • A woman and her daughter are poor and hungry. 
  • The daughter meets an old woman in the woods who gives her a pot that will magically serve up porridge if she says, "Little pot, cook." Hey, can we have one?
  • The girl and her mother have enough to eat until one day, the mother tells it to start cooking, but forgets how to stop it. 
  • Their whole village is nearly drowned in porridge until the girl shows up with the phrase, "Little pot, stop."

Tale 104: The Clever People

  • A farmer's wife is not the sharpest tack in the box. 
  • She sells three of their cows to a man who says he'll bring his money the next day, so he leaves one cow as a deposit. 
  • The farmer is so angry upon coming home to find only one cow and no money that he promises his wife a beating unless he goes out and finds someone more idiotic than her. 
  • When he meets a woman, he tells her that he's from heaven, so she gives him a purse of money to bring to her husband there. Her son gives him a horse to bring to his father. 
  • When the farmer returns home with a horse and a purse of money, he decides that his wife isn't so stupid after all, and that he can live with this situation.

Tale 105: Tales About Toads

  • First tale: a little girl's mother gives her bread and milk every day, which she shares with a toad that is her companion. The toad also brings her gifts like jewels and treasure, ya know, stuff that toads just have lying around. One day the mother sees this and freaks out, killing the toad. The girl's health instantly starts declining and she dies soon. Bummer.
  • Second tale: an orphan girl is sitting by the wall when a toad emerges from a crack. She puts her handkerchief down because apparently toads like that kind of thing. The toad disappears and then emerges with a little golden crown. The girl picks up the crown, because who wouldn't, but then the toad freaks out and bashes its head against the wall until it dies. If she'd left the crown there, the toad might've brought out more of its treasure and not done itself in.
  • Third tale: a child asks a toad if it's seen his little sister. The toad says it hasn't, and says hoo-hoo a bunch (perhaps it is an owl-toad; an early predecessor of the lol-cat?).

Tale 106: The Poor Miller's Apprentice and the Cat

  • A miller tells his three apprentices that he'll bestow his mill on whoever brings him the finest horse. 
  • The youngest and simplest, Hans, is promptly ditched by the other two, but it's all good because meets a little cat who tells him that if he will serve her for seven years, she'll give him the finest horse in the world. 
  • So he chops wood for her and builds her a cottage with silver tools, and then journeys back to the mill, where everyone makes fun of him for not only being simple but also being ragged from working for so long. 
  • The cat is supposed to show up with his horse, but instead a princess arrives, and—surprise—it's the cat transformed back into her real form. 
  • She leaves the horse with the miller and marries Hans, making him a king.

Tale 107: The Two Travelers

  • A merry little tailor and a sour shoemaker become traveling companions. 
  • The tailor gently pokes fun at the shoemaker one too many times, so the shoemaker decides to take his revenge. 
  • When they're going through a forest and the tailor runs out of food, the shoemaker feeds him, in exchange for cutting out first one eye, then the other.
  • The blind tailor is left at the foot of a gallows. Yikes. Two crows, perched on the hanged men there, hold a conversation about how the dew that falls in the morning will restore sight. 
  • As soon as he regains his sight, thanks to the dew, the tailor, resumes wandering. Though hungry, he spares the lives of a foal, a stork, a duck, and a colony of bees, because he's a nice guy like that.
  • When he reaches a city, he starts tailoring once again. He's awesome enough at it that he's appointed court tailor. 
  • Less awesome is the fact that the shoemaker has also received a position at court. The shoemaker decides to make trouble for the tailor by lying to the king about the tailor bragging about accomplishing a variety of impossible tasks. 
  • Luckily, the animals the tailor had spared help him accomplish each one, proving his ex-buddy wrong. 
  • The tailor gets one of the king's daughters as a bride, and the shoemaker is exiled. He ends up under the same gallows the tailor had slept under, and the crows peck out his eyes.

Tale 108: Hans My Hedgehog

  • A farmer and his wife wish for a child, even if it were a hedgehog. Big mistake in a fairy tale. They name the hedgehog-child Hans My Hedgehog, and he turns out to be kind of ornery. 
  • So nobody's all that sad when he asks for bagpipes and a rooster to ride away on. On his own, he herds pigs and donkeys in the forest. 
  • Two different kings get lost in his forest, and he agrees to show them the way out only if they give him their daughters in marriage. Each agrees, but the first king secretly doesn't want to honor the bargain, and neither does his daughter. 
  • So when Hans My Hedgehog comes to claim his bride and finds out about their attitudes, he strips her naked and sticks her with his quills until she bleeds (seriously, we can't make this stuff up).
  • He goes for the second daughter, who welcomes him warmly. When they're married, he throws off his hedgehog skin and they burn it. 
  • The couple lives happily, and he brings his father to live with them.

Tale 109: The Little Shroud

  • A mother loses her seven-year-old boy and, naturally, cries all the time. 
  • His ghost starts appearing and finally he asks her to stop weeping since her tears soak his shroud and he's too wet to sleep. 
  • She stops crying and his ghost stops visiting her. 
  • The (sad) end.

Tale 110: The Jew in the Thornbush

  • A young man is let go from service with only a few coins to his name. 
  • A dwarf asks him for the coins and will give him three things in return. One of the things the youth asks for is a fiddle that forces anyone listening to it to dance. 
  • He meets a Jew and decides to make him dance for amusement's sake, which is very not cool.
  • Since the Jew is standing near a thornbush, he starts getting all scratched up, and pleads to the youth to stop, offering him gold.
  • The youth stops and takes the gold, but the Jew curses him and swears revenge. He has the judge take the youth into custody, and he's sentenced to death. 
  • The youth asks to play his fiddle one last time before he dies, so of course everyone has to dance, and the judge finally pardons him. They hang the Jew instead.
  • Wait, what?
  • Yeah, this tale is anti-Semitic like whoa. In a lot of parts of Europe back in the day, Jews were unfairly and stereotypically considered to be swindlers and so violence against them was sadly common, even in narratives.

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