Once upon a time, in a faraway land, were born two brothers.
It's safe to say that they spent a fair amount of their life in the city of Hanau, and were given an overwhelming amount of education. At some point, they both exceeded normal expectations, and crossed the line.....to become intellectuals.
In the early 1800s, they went off to the University of Marburg, where they developed this curiosity over folk tales.
Most people of the world today have little to get peppy about or get thrilled over such juvenile things such as folk tales. But in the early 1800s.....around a fireplace or campfire....folk tales were the only source of entertainment for most people. They were invented.....to pass time, distract, inspire, and charm the others sitting in the darkness.
Around by 1812, the brothers had reached a point (roughly late 20's) where they had a number of stories and found a publisher in the local area who felt there was a market for it. In the first series of the book.....the Brothers Grimm put together eight-six stories.
When you go back and examine the original stories, their slant, and the audience involved.....it was like putting a Stephen King novel together for a short five-to-ten minute story, where people could be entertained and scared for a brief moment by the descriptions written by the Brothers Grimm.
Prior to 1525, books were only for the rich and elite....being hand-written by a very small crowd. After 1525, with the printing press now an option.....books started to become more popular, and the ability to read was now of value. In roughly 300 years....life changed in Europe. Books became a source of entertainment and people could stimulate their lives with stories or wild tales of 'talking-cats'.
The Brothers Grimm weren't stupid about this whole business of pubishing. After the first series sold out.....they went back....revised some stories (making them slightly different or better)....and published the second series. They'd throw in another story or two.....on top of the previous book, and the new book sold just as well.
Over a forty-year period, they revised the book on more than thirty occasions, and in the last of the series before they died.....there were over 200 stories.
For all of this....the Grimm Brothers are known....not just in Germany, but across the globe
But there's this other side of the brothers.
I had a chance to visit Grimm Welt in Kassel, where the locals have put together a five-star museum in honor of the two brothers who lived there for a number of years.
As much as they are a great product of German literature.....they have this second mission in life, which is bigger and more important.
In 1838.....after being 'fired' from their university jobs, the brothers took up an offer which I think they just didn't know the full implications about. The deal? Someone felt Germans needed a dictionary, which hadn't been written yet.
So the Brothers Grimm started the process. The truth is.....Germans had a heck of a lot of words, which were handed down through generations and some words were only used in certain parts of the country. But for this dictionary....of 300,000 eventual German words.....the Brothers Grimm would spend the rest of their lives trying assemble the words and put this to a print-format. It would be 1854 before the first edition was printed and it was still not a complete dictionary. In fact, it was not until 1971.....that an absolute complete dictionary existed for the German language.....more than a hundred years after their death.
Grimm Welt in Kassel puts together the epic story of the brothers and their path in life. It's on the west side of the Fulda River and fairly easy to find. For kids under twelve.....they might as well skip it because they won't get the full impact of the museum. But you spend an awful lot of time looking at the two great accomplishments of the Brothers Grimm and how they changed society. It's a great museum to check out.