Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were two young men from Germany who loved a good story.
As university students, they became interested in folktales — traditional stories that people memorized and told again and again.
They began to collect traditional folktales from storytellers all over Germany.
Many were similar to stories told in France, Italy, Japan, and other countries.
Between 1812 and 1814, the brothers published two books in German.
These included stories like Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood.
Despite the fact that Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are often associated with Snow White and Rapunzel, the brothers didn’t actually write any of those stories.
In fact, the stories existed long before the two men were born in Germany in the mid-1780s.
The fairy tales, in fact, were part of a rich oral tradition — passed down from generation to generation, often by women seeking to pass the time during household chores.
童话过去属于口头故事 – 代代相传，往往是妇女做家务时讲来消遣时间的。
In 1812, Jacob and Wilhelm published the stories as part of a collection titled Nursery and Household Tales, or what is now known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
The Grimm brothers’ tales were about traditional life and beliefs.
For example, forests are common in Germany, and this image often appears in the Grimms’ stories.
In the past, many people believed forests were dangerous places.
In the Grimms’ stories, a forest is the home of evil witches, talking animals, and other magical beings.
Although most people today think of these stories as fairy tales for children, the brothers first wrote them for adults.
Many of their early tales were dark and a little scary. Later, the brothers changed the text of some of the original stories.
They “softened” many of the tales and added drawings. This made them more appropriate for children.
Like the early tales, though, each story still has a moral: work hard, be good, and listen to your parents.
Actually, as university-trained philologists and librarians, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published more than fairy tales.
They wrote books about mythology, and published scholarly works on linguistics and medieval studies.