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Grimms' Fairy Tales

Grimms' Fairy Tales


by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Grimms' Fairy Tales Tales 161-170 Summary

Tale 161: Snow White and Rose Red

  • A poor widow (what, did you think she'd be rich?) lived with her two daughters, named Snow White and Rose Red for the rosebushes in front of the house, one white and one red. 
  • Since they're so kind and pious, they wander in the forest all the time and the animals all trust them and keep watch over them.
  • One night they open the door, only to find a bear standing there. But it's a talking bear, so you know, he's a bit more manageable. 
  • He reassures them that he won't hurt them—he just wants to warm himself in front of the fire. The little girls play with him, roughly at times, until he says something cryptic about him being their suitor.
  • The bear becomes their playmate, until he has to split to defend his treasure from the dwarves. The girls resume playing in the forest. They see a dwarf whose beard is caught in the crack of a tree, so they help him by cutting the tip off his beard, which causes him to shout verbal abuse at them. Lots. Um, it's called thank you, dude.
  • This happens two more times—them rescuing the dwarf from a fish and from an eagle, but each time he is ungrateful and says mean things to the girls. And each time he has a sack of treasure with him.
  • The last time they see the dwarf, their friend the bear is attacking him. The bear kills the dwarf and then turns into a handsome prince, as the dwarf had enchanted him. 
  • Snow White marries him and Rose Red marries his brother. Yay for symmetrical happy endings.

Tale 162: The Clever Servant

  • Hans is a faithful servant. His master likes and trusts him. 
  • So when Hans goes off to look for a lost cow, his master worries when he doesn't return. 
  • Finally the master finds Hans running around a field, looking for three blackbirds: one that he can see, one that he can hear, and one that he is still chasing. 
  • The narrator concludes that this is very wise behavior, in which case this tale is either a satire, or is, like, totally deep. Think Matrix-deep with Keanu Reaves saying "whoa." Yeah, like that.

Tale 163: The Glass Coffin

  • A tailor sets out wandering and looks for a place to spend the night. 
  • A not-very-nice old man lets him crash at his place, but the tailor is awoken by the sounds of a battle: a black bull and a stag are duking it out outside.
  • The stag beats the bull, and then lifts up the tailor with his antlers and carries him far away, leaving him in front of a cliff that opens for the guy. A mysterious voice tells him that no harm will come to him and that great fortune awaits him.
  • He wanders through halls filled with riches and beautiful things, and then he sees a beautiful maiden lying inside a glass coffin as though sleeping. 
  • She opens her eyes and tells him to push back the bolt on the coffin, which will free her. 
  • After she climbs out, the first thing she does is don a cloak (she was wearing nothing but her long, golden hair) and then she tells him her story.
  • She and her brother, the children of a rich count, once admitted a guest to their castle. He turned out to be an enchanter who wanted to seduce her and wouldn't take no for an answer. 
  • He transformed her brother into a stag, which was way uncool, and then he imprisoned her in the glass chest. 
  • She knew that a young man would come save her, and it turned out to be the tailor. 
  • Her brother and all her servants and people are disenchanted, and she marries the tailor out of gratitude.

Tale 164: Lazy Heinz

  • Heinz is too lazy to even take his goat to the pasture daily, so he gets a wife with the thought that she'll do it for him. 
  • The problem is, his wife is also lazy, and she suggests trading in their goats for a beehive, which will mind itself. 
  • They start planning what to do with the honey, and end up breaking the jug while gesticulating about what will happen in the future. 
  • After scooping up a tiny bit to eat, they console themselves by saying that things are after all fine the way they are, and that haste makes waste.

Tale 165: The Griffin

  • A king has a sick daughter, who will become healthy again by eating apples. So the king proclaims that whoever brings apples and makes her well will marry her and become king.
  • The three sons of a peasant each take turns bringing apples from their garden. 
  • The two oldest sons lie about the contents of their basket to a little man, and whatever they make up is what's actually in the basket when they arrive at court.
  • The youngest son, named Hans (like every other dude in these tales) tells the truth to the little man, saying that he has apples to make the princess regain her health, so it comes true.
  • The king regrets promising his daughter to whoever cures her, so first he makes Hans bring him a boat that will travel on land. 
  • The father asks the two older sons to help with this task, but again they lie to the little man and again Hans says what he's intending to happen, so he's successful.
  • The king sets another condition: Hans must herd one hundred hares without one escaping. The little man gives him a whistle to make all the hares come to him, so he passes that task too. Finally, the king makes him get a feather from the Griffin's tail. 
  • Along the way, Hans takes requests from people he passes for answers that the knowledgeable griffin can provide. Still, however knowledgeable the Griffin is, we can't forget that he also eats people. 
  • Before Hans meets the Griffin, the Griffin's wife warns him of the danger, and tells Hans to pluck a feather from his tail while he's sleeping, so he won't provoke the beast.
  • Hans follows her instructions, and the wife gets the answers to all the folks' questions to boot. When Hans returns victorious, the king tries to backtrack to get the riches that Hans got for helping people along the way.
  • But he's drowned by the ferryman Hans had helped, so Hans becomes king next.

Tale 166: Strong Hans

  • Robbers steal away a mother and her small son. Bummer.
  • The son, Hans, makes himself a club when he's nine years old, and tries to beat up the chief of the robbers. The chief slaps the boy down, but when Hans tries in another few years, he manages to beat the pants off the robbers. Then he goes home with his mother.
  • After getting a new, stronger staff, Hans sets out on his own. Ah, growing up.
  • He meets men with extraordinary talents and assembles The Avengers. Just kidding. He meets a man strong enough to twist trees that he calls Fir-Twister and a giant who can break rocks with his fist that he nicknames Rock-Chopper. They all set up house together, with two going out to hunt each day and one staying home to cook.
  • A little old man beats up the two other dudes when they're alone, but each is too ashamed to tell the others. 
  • Hans gets the better of the dwarf and follows him to his underground lair where there's an imprisoned princess. 
  • Hans kills the dwarf and frees her, but his companions try to kill him, so he stays underground. He takes a ring from the slain dwarf's finger that transports him to where his false companions are, so he can kill them too. 
  • Then—surprise, surprise—he takes the maiden to her home and marries her.

Tale 167: The Peasant in Heaven

  • A peasant waits behind a rich man to get into heaven. 
  • When the rich man is admitted, there's tons of singing and merriment. 
  • When the poor man is admitted, it's silent. How rude.
  • He asks Saint Peter what's going on, and he says that while they're happy to have the poor man there, they receive lots of poor people in heaven—but a rich man only makes it in once every hundred years.
  • Okay—less rude, more funny.

Tale 168: Lean Lisa

  • Lean Lisa and her husband Tall Lenz work super-hard but it never seems to amount to anything, like every Bruce Springsteen song that has ever been sung.
  • One night they argue over what they would do with the milk of a cow if they could afford to buy a cow. 
  • Tall Lenz smothers his wife with a pillow until…well, we're not sure if she falls asleep or if she dies, because the tale only tells us that it's uncertain whether she keeps quarreling or tries to find a way to buy that cow.

Tale 169: The House in the Forest

  • A woodcutter's wife sends out the first of three daughters to bring lunch to her dad. 
  • She gets lost and asks to spend a night in a house in the forest. She cooks food for herself and the old man there, but neglects to take care of the animals, so she's imprisoned in the cellar. 
  • The same thing happens to the second daughter.
  • The third daughter, though, is kind, and she takes care of the animals in the cottage. 
  • When she lays down after working to take care of all the house's inhabitants, she's awoken by strange noises: the cottage becomes a castle, and the old man turns into a prince.
  • He explains that he and his servants (who had been transformed into animals) were put under a spell. They could only be redeemed by a maiden with a kind heart. 
  • The prince and maiden are married, while the two sisters are forced to work as servants until they learn to become kinder.

Tale 170: Sharing Joys and Sorrows

  • This one tailor is kind of a jerk (and here you probably thought all the tailors in the Grimms' tales were kind and humble). He beats his wife until the authorities take him away. 
  • When he's let out of prison, he resumes his behavior. 
  • And when they ask him for an explanation, he says he's doing what a spouse should: sharing all the joys and sorrows. 
  • He goes on to explain that when one of his blows connected, it was a joy for him and sorrow for her, but when he missed, it was a joy for her and sorrow for him. Obviously this does not satisfy the authorities, so they punish him, to which Shmoop says, well done.

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