The story of a boy who went forth to learn far – part 2

Hello fellow fairy tale lovers!

Sorry it has taken so long. I’ve been beset by technical difficulties and a looong holiday.

Here is the second part of The story of a boy who went forth to learn fear. Here we discuss the meaning of this story, and also a little more on why fairy tales are so important for children.


Things will be a little bit slow at the moment – I need to update my technology, so please bear with me.

More lovely tales coming soon – The wolf and the 7 Kids is in the making…

Technical update

Sorry all!

The podcast feed disappeared for a while. This is because I was playing around with WordPress post formats, and some of these don’t read in Feedburner.

It should all be back to normal now. If your Old Tales podcast does not show any posts in iTunes please bear with me. Next time iTunes indexes this feed, it should all be back to normal.

More Old Tales coming soon!

The story of a boy who went forth to learn fear – Part 1

Afraid of ghosts? Ghouls? Cats? Then this story is not for you. Or maybe it is. Because our hero this week sure knows how to deal with all of them. Because he’s the boy who knows no fear.

And boy, is he having some adventures. I am so excited – this must be one of my favourite Grimms’ fairy tales. I had a graphic novel of it as a kid, and it scared me out of my wits, especially the gallows scene.

Wait, there’s a gallows scene? In a kiddie tale?

Welcome to 18th century Germany.

By the way, this tale is too long to do the reading and the analysis in one podcast. The second part will follow next week.

Are you not too scared to open your eyes? Read The Story of a Boy who went forth to learn Fear here

Mary’s child

The Virgin Mary is a baby snatcher! Also, kings like dirty girls and sometimes your finger turns golden and no one cares. I’m serious!

Also known as Our Lady’s Child, this is the first time we enter Christian mythology in the Grimm tales. There will be more stories like this, where traditional religious symbolism is mixed in with worldly storytelling and superstition.

My favourite sentence: “One day, when all the angels had gone out…”. Yep, heaven’s pretty awesome, but sometimes an angel’s gotta hit the street and score a latte.

Feeling holier than thou? Read Mary’s Child here.

Cat and Mouse in Partnership

Cat and mouse fall in love, move in together, buy a pot of fat and live happily ever after…. Or, do they?

Well, these are the original Grimm fairy tales, so take an informed guess.

This story is a perfect example of fairy tale mood whiplash – and shows how much our perception of what makes a good story has changed in the past 200 years.

Want to skip ahead to the ending? Read Cat and Mouse in Partnership here.

The Frog King

Huzzah, hello and Guten Tag!

We sally forth into the wonderful world of the Grimm fairy tales. The original ones. Plus, some analysis.

First up is the Frog King – a delightful tale of lost balls, thrown frogs and found love. And Iron Henry. Who is Iron Henry? Well, you’ll have to hear the whole story:

This is the first old tale in the Grimm brother’s first edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen, as translated by Margaret Hunt. It’s also one of the most famous German fairy tales, but as we will see it has been bowdlerised many times during its 200-odd-year history. The original tale is rather dark and creepy, just the way we like ’em.

Can’t be bothered listening to me? Read The Frog King here.