The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

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2018 Group Reads - Archives > Christmas Around the World: Germany

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message 1: by Gem , Moderator (last edited Dec 14, 2018 10:58AM) (new)

Gem  | 682 comments Mod
Germany - The Elves and The Shoemaker (1806) by The Brothers Grimm

A poor shoemaker and his wife are down to their last piece of leather when their fortunes change thanks to help from talented elves.


message 2: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2771 comments Mod
The important thing in this story is the gratitude shown by the shoemaker. He continued to prosper his whole life through.


message 3: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments He paid the elves for overtime, and they worked for him forever more with health benefits and a pension plan.


message 4: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2034 comments Mod
I regularly joke that the trouble with taking time off work is that no little elves come in and do the work for you while you are out, it just piles up.


message 5: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2771 comments Mod
It is the same thing with housework, Robin. I could use a house elf.


message 6: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments A cooking elf, a food-shopping elf, a laundry elf....


message 7: by Linda2 (last edited Dec 18, 2018 10:49AM) (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Paper editions sometimes have charming illustrations. This fellow scans the books in, and needs a donation:
https://www.globalgreyebooks.com/cont...


message 8: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2771 comments Mod
I have the complete Grimm fairy tales, but this just had a very small illustration in the version I read.


message 9: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments A friend of mine who has someone cleaning, doing laundry and ironing for her, bought me a beautiful Brooks Brothers shirt some years ago. It needs ironing after every washing. It's still hanging in my closet.


message 10: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments I just checked Wikipedia. Disney wasn't the first to bowdlerize some of the tales. After the first edition, the Grimms had to remove some tales and alter others to make them more child-friendly

My 2 favorite illustrators are Rackham and duLac.


message 11: by Rafael (last edited Dec 19, 2018 09:31AM) (new)

Rafael da Silva (morfindel) | 270 comments Linda wrote: "I just checked Wikipedia. Disney wasn't the first to bowdlerize some of the tales. After the first edition, the Grimms had to remove some tales and alter others to make them more child-friendly

My..."


I read in my edition of their collection that was one of them, not they, I am not sure which one, that made these changes. I will look to discover who was.


message 12: by Wendel (last edited Dec 19, 2018 06:54AM) (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 229 comments The elves! In the old days all nooks and crannies must have been filled with them. OK, maybe it was just a poor man’s illusion: elves to make your dreams come true. Like winning in a magic lottery. You know it won’t happen, and yet …

Now there sure are critics who regard such hopes as a capitalist trick (a conspiracy!) to control the subjected masses. But to me nothing here is really invented, more likely the elves live in our genes. Or used to. Might go some way to explain that apparently useless DNA we have.

In all its compactness (microstory) I found the third story especially fascinating. One can’t know what it means, but it offers all kinds of opportunities (capabilities).


message 13: by Jo (new)

Jo (deronda) | 87 comments The changeling in the third story was somewhat creepy. Maybe it's the German word 'Wechselbalg' that made this creature seem so eerie ... 'changeling' sounds almost harmless in comparison.


message 14: by LiLi (new)

LiLi | 263 comments Does "wechsel" mean "exchange", like the verb "wisselen" in Dutch?


message 15: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2771 comments Mod
It does.


message 16: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1282 comments Mod
There's an urban fantasy novel by Victor LaValle called The Changeling. It was interesting.


message 17: by Jo (new)

Jo (deronda) | 87 comments @Elizabeth: Yes; and Balg has a negative connotation.
I don't know why the mere thought of such an 'impish' child scares me stiff ...


message 18: by Gem , Moderator (new)

Gem  | 682 comments Mod
I adore this story and always have.

Speaking of the Grimm Stories, I'm partial to their original 1812 publication... before the stories started being cleaned up for the kiddos.


message 19: by LiLi (new)

LiLi | 263 comments Thank you, Rosemarie and Jo.


message 20: by LiLi (new)

LiLi | 263 comments Linda, I also really love Rackham's illustrations.


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