The Ragamuffins

It’s another day in the country side. Cock and hen decide to have an advendure and subsequently enslave a duck, talk to pins and torture a landlord. Yes, the landlord gets poked, and… not in the head.

And why not? What’s wrong with being cruel? As the moral of this tale goes, lies and trickery save you lots of money and get you invited to the best parties.

Here’s some advice for your next pub outing.

The story is not a traditional fairy tale, but what we Germans call a “Schwank” (it’s not what you think it is, either), a funny, short tale meant to entertain and tease.

If you have a pin in your… nether regions, read more about this condition here.

The Wonderful Musician

A musician wanders into a forest and gets bored. Animal cruelty ensues.

Well, what can you do when all these wolves, hares and foxes are constantly clinging to your genius. After all, man is cleverer than beast, so why not demonstrate this by stringing the pesky creatures up some trees?

Truly,this is an old tale from before the days of the RSPCA. It’s a nice example of how our perception of appropriate treatment of wildlife has changed. And a neat story.

If your paws happen to be stuck in a tree trunk and you cannot press play, read the story here.

I borrowed the image from a certain Mark Thompson, who has disappeared from the internet. Sorry Mark. If you’d rather I take it down, let me know.

A shout-out also to Professor Hans-Jorg Uther, whose work is very helpful!

Faithful John

Aaah, Faithful John! A story about true love, in all its wonderful forms. And how do you prove true love, Grimm-style? Well, shooting a horse, burning a bridal gown and beheading some babies might be a good start.

I’m serious – the amount of violent crime in this tale tops everything we’ve heard so far. Yet, it is also a hauntingly beautiful fairy tale. And it’s our first “happily ever after”.

Discerning listeners and gaming fans will notice something special: I’ve used the soundtrack of Torin’s Passage, one of my favourite Sierra games, for this episode. It was composed by the wonderful Michel Le Grand, and you can download it here.

If you’re still not over the beheaded babies and think I made it all up, read the original here.

This story is quite long – I will do an analysis in a separate podcast.

The Wolf and the Seven Kids

And then there were none. Well, one. But hey, a visit from the big, bad wolf can be devastating, especially when he is armed with chalk and flour.

Fortunately one of the seven little kids is clever enough to hide in a clock. Oh, for the good old days of yore when that was still possible. In the days of the Apple Watch that little kid would have been a goner.

You still have no idea what I am talking about, right? Well, listen to this:


You can find more on Ludwig Bechstein, the dude with the all-round beard, here. If you’re getting tired of me bleating on about goats, read the story here.

Truly, men are like that!

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…

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