The Story Of The Youth Who Went Forth To Learn What Fear Was --- German Fairy Tales (1)
November 28, 2017 1:33pm CST
The story in a nutshell: A father has two sons, the elder one is smart, the younger one stupid. He understands nothing, not even how to be afraid in situations that make his brother shudder. The father loses his patience and throws him out. While wandering along the road he keeps muttering to himself, “If I could but shudder! If I could but shudder!” He meets several men who think they can teach him how to shudder but all in vain. After some time he hears about “a haunted castle where anyone could very easily learn what shuddering was, if he would but watch in it for three nights. The king had promised that he who would venture should have his daughter to wife, and she was the most beautiful maiden the sun shone on. Likewise in the castle lay great treasures, which were guarded by evil spirits, and these treasures would then be freed, and would make a poor man rich enough. Already many men had gone into the castle, but as yet none had come out again.“ The young man goes there at once, but although he encounters outrageous situations, he doesn’t shudder. He marries the king’s daughter, becomes rich but goes on wishing he could shudder. This gets on his wife’s nerves and she empties a bucket full of cold water over him while he’s asleep. At last he learns to shudder. This fairy tale belongs to the group in which young men of a low social status or a prince in disguise - in any case someone from far away - gets to marry the king’s daughter and inherits the kingdom. In a society with matrilineal succession daughters inherit. If a tale moves to a society with patrilineal succession, a strong and persuasive reason must be found why a man should inherit instead of a woman. Here it’s someone with the rare gift not to be able to shudder. The typical upward climber of fairy tales is someone who appears to be stupid but who has a positive gift hitherto unknown. The young man of this fairy tale is different. It’s certainly not a positive gift not to be able to shudder. The real topic of the fairy tale is the young man’s emotional maturation. Courage includes the recognition of danger, whereas fearlessness means lack of imagination and insensitiveness. His constant wish to learn how to shudder expresses that he feels he’s got a deficit and not a positive gift. Only his marriage and his wife’s love enable him to feel empathy. The fairy tale can also be seen as a means of giving children courage and self-confidence who are bullied because they’re different. The young man may be stupid but he’s able to free the country from demons because of his special quality. It is his position as an outsider that helps him gain the princess’s love and riches and helps the others to gain freedom from evil forces. --- P.S. If you're interested in more interpretations of German fairy tales, you can click on the green bar at the top of the site. --- pic: interest --- If you’re interested in the whole fairy tale [from the folktale collection by the Brothers Grimm], you can listen to it here:
Play chapters in order: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZL7tynMEIMQT_LbWT6ly8M-zuPXdg5OD From "Grimms' Fairy Tales" by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Trans...
18 people like this
@catsholiday The Brothers Grimm were professors at the University of Göttingen which is in the north of Germany. The compiled a dictionary of the German language and visited old people in the villages nearby and asked them to tell them the fairy tales they knew from times gone by. Many people make the mistake of seeing them as authors. No, they were only collectors.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search For the comic series, see Grimm Fairy Tales (comics). Not to be confused with Grimm Tales (disambiguation) or Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics. Children's and Household Tales or Grimm's Fairy Tal
This is an interesting story, but in our days it seems that all the stories we used to read can be seen as a problem by some crazy parents. Have you heard in the UK, a woman sued the school because they showed the "Sleeping Beauty"? In her mind, the fact that the Prince kissed the Princess while she was sleeping is a case of abuse. If this is the trend of the modern generations, I do not see how the world can become a better place where to live.
• United States
I've never heard this one, but yes, how interesting it is to read into it to understand the lesson(s) from it. These lessons can be timeless too. I think of some children I see today . . . the deficit of "fear" - even if that means not fearing authority and consequences. Yet it's also a lesson about overcoming - being different does not necessarily mean it is a handicap.
• United States
A wonderful lesson in this fairy tale that definitely stands the test of time. When I did a stint as a special education teacher, and as a teacher of struggling readers, I knew all my students had gifts. I would focus on finding that gift in each one. After I had worked with the students for a few months, I would have them take a seat. I would then point to each student and describe in great detail, the gift I discovered in each one. My students were different from the norm, but their gifts were amazing if one took the time to find them. Who knew that Delaney, with Down syndrome, could perform every song from the musical she loved in front of the student body on talent day? Delaney knew, I knew, and eventually everyone else knew too. Delaney's courage and self-confidence grew by leaps and bounds due to someone pointing out that marvelous gift she had.