Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse” as Want to Read:
The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  4,018 ratings  ·  202 reviews
To read Hermann Hesse's fairy tales is to enter a fabulous world of dreams and visions, philosophy and passion. This landmark collection contains twenty-two of Hesse's finest stories in this genre, most translated into English here for the first time. Full of visionaries and seekers, princesses and wandering poets, his fairy tales speak to the place in our psyche that insp ...more
Paperback, 266 pages
Published October 1995 by Bantam Books (first published January 1919)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Evelyn Lee 15 or older, and most would probably still be bored. There's not a lot of action. The stories are more philosophical tales, which would have more mean…more15 or older, and most would probably still be bored. There's not a lot of action. The stories are more philosophical tales, which would have more meaning to those with more life experiences.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,018 ratings  ·  202 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse
Ahmad Sharabiani
Märchen = The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse, Hermann Hesse
Märchen (which means Fairy Tales). 22 Stories: "The Dwarf", 1904; "Shadow Play", 1906; "A Man by the Name of Ziegler", 1908; "The City", 1910; "Dr. Knoegle’s End", 1910; "The Beautiful Dream", 1912; "The Three Linden Trees", 1912; "Augustus", 1913; "The Poet", 1913; "Flute Dream", 1914; "A Dream About the Gods", 1914; "Strange News from Another Planet", 1915; "Faldum", 1916; "A Dream Sequence", 1916; "The Forest Dweller", 1917; "The Diffi
Susan Budd
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ve loved the writing of Hermann Hesse ever since I first read Siddhartha in my teens, but until now I had never read any of his short fiction. This collection translated by Jack Zipes includes twenty-two stories dated from 1904 to 1918—before the novels that I associate so fondly with my young adulthood: Demian (1919), Siddhartha (1922), Steppenwolf (1927), and Journey to the East (1932).

Since I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, I’ll rate them separately.

“The Dwarf” (1904) is set
Jovan Autonomašević
I love this book. It is a thick collection of fairy tales, all told as part of a wider story, in the time-honoured Arabian Nights fashion. But the tales are all penned by Hesse himself. In them he takes the reader on a fantastic journey where nothing is as it seems, but where a new reality exists, tantalisingly within the reach of the reader, a reality where the values that imbue fairy tales thrive. Love, honour and courage, but also betrayal, death and loss. Like all good fairy tales, when the ...more
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read one story from this collection of fairy tales each night before bed. I keep waiting for them to infiltrate my dreams and maybe they do, but so far I have not remembered. I do think about them though. My favorite tale from the book is about wishes. A stranger offers the people of a village each one wish. How do you think that tale develops? You kind of know because it's a story that we've all heard, right? It has become part of our collective consciousness. I learn by reading these tales, ...more
Jul 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I feel like I would be better qualified to review this book if I had more of an understanding of the literary history of the fairy tale. As it stands, however, I know only enough about the genre to say that Hesse's collection is traditional in the sense that they are not really written with Disney-fed children in mind, as these tales are mostly serious in theme and happy endings are often wanting.

Like any collection of stories, I found some more powerful than others. "Faldum" was by far my favo
Tom Schulte
This is really an abridgment of the main collection translated by Jack Zipes. This is a two cassette audio edition of narration with incidental guitar by Donovan. In order, the tales presented are "A Man By The Name Of Ziegler" (1908), "A Dream About The Gods" (1914), "Faldum" (1916), "The Poet" (1913) and "Flute Dream" (1914). This is the first time I ever dived into this material and I must say I much prefer the novels from Hesse, such as Steppenwolf, and Siddhartha. These just don't work for ...more
I had only read a few short stories by Hesse before picking up this book. Some of the stories are shocking. I want to know, for instance, what Hesse has aganist women and veganitarians. Honestly, really, what did vegans every do to him?

Most of the stories are excellent. My only complaint is the ordering of the stories. Zipes put them in publication/written order, which makes sense. The drawback, however, is that you are reading one too many anti-war stories in a row. There are not bad, but it is
Aug 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: pensive story-addicts
Much can be learned from the ruminations of mountains....and everyone should write fairy tales for their time.
Nice collection of tales, but not for children. They all have hidden meanings, some are ironical, some are bitter, others are nostalgic and so on.
Anand Ganapathy
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ourlibrary
Excellent set of stories by Herman Hesse. Very different from the conventional fairy tales ; liked the sudden twists in the plots and quirky ends ( some almost macabre like Roald Dahl )
Ioana Ioana
1933, Nature as a religion

Nature, dreams, death. Here are at least three indispensable elements for the making of a Man.

As far as we know for now, nature is the Universe’s heartbeat. We live in it.

Erich Fromm, the German psychologist and writer, might have captured in writing an important function of dreams: ‘A dream is a microscope through which we look at the hidden occurrences in our soul.’ What he is trying to say, I think, is that dreams allow the hidden to emerge. We need to look into our
SJ Loria
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Hesse's brilliance in conveying timeless truths though simple prose apparently also works in short story form. I wonder about the "fairy tales" aspect of the title, I think this is actually just a collection of short stories. Some do have elements of fairly tales, but the form is unique. It's a blend of the classic fairy tale format, more modern adaptations (think Gabriel Garcia Marquez), and Hesse's own philosophies.
The book is filled with incredible stories, among my favorites are "The Dwarf"
Bob Schnell
I went through a pretty serious Hermann Hesse stage in my late teens and twenties so my curiosity was piqued when I saw this on the library shelf as I was browsing. Now in my 50's, I wasn't sure if Hesse's "fairy tales" would appeal to me but I took a chance.

First, only two of the stories have anything close to fairies and Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm might object to the title. The short stories range from meditations on civilization to longer tales of lives spent in search of p
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Herman Hesse’s narrative is full of well sound poetry and has some resemblance with Alexandre Dumas writing style. I’ll definitely read more books of this writer. He’s sweet!
Severine Salvador
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fairy tales as a format is natural to Hesse's writing; the simple language and elements of whimsy provide a sense of calm wisdom typical of Hesse. I can say nothing else but to highly recommend reading these tales.
The Usual
Sep 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Have you ever wondered what a book would sound like? I don't mean that literally; we've all heard of audiobooks, radio adaptations, or, at least, bedtime stories. I mean what a book would sound like if it were music.
Take Gormenghast, for example. Gormenghast is a Mahler symphony - it is a monumental combination of the dramatic and the absurd, it is very beautiful, it doesn't take itself at all seriously, and it sometimes seems weighed down by the level of detail.
The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hess
Lory Hess
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
See my full review at The Emerald City Book Review. Translator/editor Jack Zipes has gathered many different sorts of tales, originally published between 1904 and 1918: early Gothic-style romances like "The Dwarf," pieces that mimic traditional folklore like "The Three Linden Trees," several surreal dream narratives, anti-war satires like "If the War Continues," and symbolic quest stories like "Iris." Few are retellings or variants of traditional tales, but they share the heightened, concentrate ...more
Kirk Smith
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I had something else in mind for "fairy tales" and would rather see the title be "short stories". All of these are written before 1920, yet the messages are still valid today. Hesse is a philosopher that conceals his intent so well that the language and rhetoric of sophistry is never apparent. One humorous story is about a utopian community created only for vegetarians. Differentiating between the types he identifies vegetarianists, vegetabilitarians, raw purists, pulpists, and mixed vegetarian ...more
Jul 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a trippy collection of tales. When reading some of the stories I wondered if Hesse was tripping on LSD. A Dream Sequence read like some lyrics Jim Morrison would have written. Needless to say I didn't get the meaning behind some of the stories; perhaps Hesse's philosophies are too abstract for my understanding.

I do, however, like these ones:
Iris (a touching story)
The Forest Dweller (reminded me of sufism and the need to break free from dogmas of organized religion)
The European (snide an
tara! Cronin
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
my new all time favorite book!!

i want to throw this book at all to read

a general overview:

- magickal hesse language as always, for those who are fans
- not your standard 'fairytale', as endings are not happy and stories are not lightfooted
- leans toward being heavily moralistic but the views are something to consider
- in all, one mans thoughtful perspective of the human condition; i appreciated it and will read it again and again
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book gave me some insight in the character of Hesse that I had missed 30 years ago when i loved his books. The women in this book were all "wooden" characters, he simply could not relate to women as complete people at all. A disappointing read, but an eye opener.
Sven Eberlein
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
These are wonderful stories and fairy tales, it really takes you deep. I transcribed one of them (orig. Ein Mensch namens Ziegler) into a song, that's how good it was.
Bryan "They call me the Doge"
I thought this collection started out fantastic--of the first five stories, I was really enchanted by four of them. Unfortunately, I didn't feel much of anything for the remaining seventeen. The change seems to come after 1910--all of the ones I enjoyed were written before that, the rest after.

There were a combination of things I liked about the first few: The Dwarf seemed to be the closest thing to a fairy tale as I think of them in the entire collection--here I just enjoyed Hesse's style in a
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Starting off the new year the right way and finally finishing a book that I have been stringing along for far too long. I started reading this book in the beginning of 2016 and never really accessed it, so after a LONG hiatus, I picked it up again this fall and have been making my way through Hermann Hesse's short stories. I truly found his writing to improve midway through the book and as this collection was arranged chronologically, that makes sense to me. I found many of these fairy tales to ...more
Gs. Subbu
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing

At the very outset let me confess that I have always been a diehard admirer of the works of Hermann Hesse. Whether it is Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Narziss and Goldmund down to his magnum opus ‘The Glass Bead Game’ they have left their imprint and influence on me to this very day. Some time ago I did post here ‘Duality 2 – A Tribute to Hermann Hesse’ to explore the recurring theme of duality that characterises the works of Hermann Hesse, one of the gre
Adam Morris
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hesse is one of my favorite authors. All of his works combine a familiar world with mysterious dreamscapes, at once relatable and yet strange. Naturally in this collection of tales the stories jump quickly from a temporal reality into a hyper natural setting. At the same time, the antagonist always remains authentic so that the reader shares his or her experiences. The stories are varied, most allegorical, some quite straightforward and others with less obvious meaning, all beautifully related i ...more
Cat Noe
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hit and miss, as with most story collections, but the few that were really good had chills down my spine. Although I'm still unsure why we were beating a guy into shape with a red bedroom slipper... The more dreamlike ones pulled the average down considerably, in this case. I would have landed on a three star rating, but there's a lot of heart here, and I admire that more than if it had only shown more skill. A novel might have been better as a first reading for this author. Either way, it's goo ...more
David Cain
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The 22 stories that comprise The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse range from more traditional "fairy tale" stories, to allegories, to somewhat abstract sketches. None of these would be especially interesting for children, but anyone who enjoys Hesse's longer fiction will find much to appreciate here. The stories are presented in chronological sequence of publication date, ranging from 1904 to 1918. They average 10 pages each, so it's easy to digest these in bite-size chunks. The final story (Iris) i ...more
Evelyn Lee
Apr 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Hermann Hesse's fairytales revolve around wonderful, warm, and full colored outdoor scenes. The main character is always trying to find himself or a sense of purpose. The stories were interesting, definitely enjoyed the vivid descriptions, but the philosophical ideas seemed too...I don't know...namby pamby. The relationship between characters was either non existent or just put there to set the main character on a path. Makes me think the author must have been very much an introvert, unhappy wit ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: duplicate Herman Hesse book 2 25 Jan 07, 2020 02:26AM  
The Armchair Trav...: * The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse * discussion 3 14 Dec 14, 2015 12:31PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Alley Man
  • Rainbow's End
  • Poems of Heinrich Heine
  • On the Heights of Despair
  • 1999 was me 't jaartje wel
  • Under the Glacier
  • Century of the Wind (Memory of Fire, #3)
  • Palm-of-the-Hand Stories
  • Inocenții
  • Fiabe italiane raccolte dalla tradizione popolare durante gli ultimi cento anni e trascritte in lingua dai vari dialetti da Italo Calvino (2 Voll.)
  • Gergedan: Büyük Küfür Kitabı
  • Hymns to the Night
  • Jutustused (1907-1910) (Kogutud teosed, #2)
  • The Trial of God: (as it was held on February 25, 1649, in Shamgorod)
  • Vite brevi di idioti
  • Sillabari
  • Mascha: The Poems of Mascha Kaleko
  • Dangerous Laughter
See similar books…
Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. His best known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (also known as Magister Ludi) which explore an individual's search for spirituality outside society.

In his time, Hesse was a popular and influential author in the German-speaking world; worldwide fame only c

Related Articles

Thirty-four years after the publication of her dystopian classic, The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood returns to continue the story of Offred. We talked wi...
364 likes · 58 comments
“All the books of the world full of thoughts and poems are nothing in comparison to a minute of sobbing, when feeling surges in waves, the soul feels itself profoundly and finds itself. Tears are the melting ice of snow. All angels are close to the crying person.” 55 likes
“Love is like death. It is fulfillment and an evening after which nothing more may follow.” 29 likes
More quotes…