You may not have read a fairy tale in a while. After all, you know the drill: Cinderella makes it to the ball, Hansel and Gretel escape the evil witch, the ugly frog becomes a handsome prince. But did you know that in the original version there were no glass slippers? Or that the brother-sister duo was carried to safety by a duck? Or that the frog wasn’t kissed into manhood, but violently thrown against a wall?
In Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, best-selling author Philip Pullman revisits 50 of the siblings’ most bewitching stories, retranslating and retelling each in a way that cleaves to the original while also appealing to the modern reader.
Standbys like “Rumpelstiltskin” and “Little Red Riding Hood” are given new and often grisly life, but even more interesting are the stories you’ve never heard: “Faithful Johannes,” who turned to stone to save his master’s life, or “The Girl With No Hands,” whose father dismembered her to appease the devil.
Pullman--best known for the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials--provides brief background and commentary at the end of each tale, while never becoming too analytical (or Freudian) about the whole thing.
Instead, it’s clear he wants us to love these stories for what they are: good yarns with timeless morals.