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In the first half of the 1800s, tales as a story form, as a form of art - was highly esteemed among the Germans. German Romantics had a deep sympathy for the genre and produced tales too.

Some collectors

The Grimm Brothers. The Grimm brothers collected, edited and published their Hausmärchen - or Household Tales - in the early half of the 1800s. The Grimms also published German Legends (Deutsche Sagen), first in 1816 and 1818, in two volumes.

Ludwig Bechstein. Ludwig Bechstein published Deutsches Märchenbuch (German Fairy-Tale Book) in 1845 and Neues Deutsches Märchenbuch (New German Fairytale Book) in 1856. His books were more widely read than the Grimms' Kinder- und Hausmärchen for about half a century.

✑ An English selection: [Bechstein Tales]

✑ Bechstein: Work and English translations: [Bio etc.]

Musäus. In 178286 Johann Karl August Musäus (1735–87) published his Volksmärchen der Deutschen, a collection of reworked and satirical German fairy tales based on tales he had gathered among people. He changed the stories told to him. Not so with von Schönwerth (below):

Schönwerth's collected tales. Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) collected folklore in the Upper Palatinate region, in Oberpfalzen, that is, the northeast region of Bavaria. Inspired by Jacob Grimm, from 1854, Schönwerth researched the lives of the people there. His wife was from the Upper Palatinate, like him, and could inform him about the region's folklore and traditions too. The family's housekeeper told much, and so did his wife's acquaintances in Munich, where they lived. Yet Schönwerth got his material mostly from other collectors living in the Oberpfalz or from people working as "migrant workers" in Munich; he got stories from informants in exchange for no more than coffee and cigars, writes Helmut Groschwitz (more by him is below, with a link).

In 1857–59, Schönwerth published folkloric material from his native region in a 3-volume work, Aus der Oberpfalz — Sitten und Sagen (From the Upper Palatinate – Customs and Legends). Schönwerth did not single out wonder folk tales or fairy tales in these three volumes. Dover has published a selection of stories from it, translated by Charlotte Wolf (2014).

In 1860 and 1861 Schönwerth went on folklore collecting expeditions in the Upper Palatinate region. He recorded legends, fairytales, comic stories, children's games, nursery rhymes, children's songs and proverbs. He also observed how people lived, describing the everyday life of peasants, their customs and their traditional costumes.

Jacob Grimm told the king that Schönwerth was the only person who could continue his and his brother's work after their death; thus, Grimm recognised the quality of Schönwerth's work.

In 2009, unpublished material collected by Schönwerth, including "some 500 folktales", was discovered in the municipal archives of Regensburg by Erika Eichenseer (1934-). The exact number of tales may not be five hundred, but her findings created interest in von Schönwerth. Over a hundred tales have been published in German with the title Prinz Rosszwifl (2010) - and an English translaton by Maria Tatar is The Turnip Prince (2013).

Why are the tales found in Regensburg so raw and little worked on by the collector, unlike the Grimm tales? The answer may lie in this: Schönwerth's first collection in three volumes, Aus der Oberpfalz, became a burden moneywise. Some say 'disaster'. That may explain very well why several hundred collected tales were put away and stored without editing work, Helmut Groschwitz estimates. [◦More].

"Etc. etc." Jack Zipes tells of brilliant German collections by "Theodor Vernaleken, Johann Wilhelm Wolf, Ignaz and Joseph Zingerele, Heinrich Pröhle, Josef Haltrich, Christian Schneller, Karl Haupt, Hermann Knust, Carl and Theodor Colshorn, etc. etc." [◦Jack Zipes on collections he had been into and one he had not been into]

Alexander Schöppner (1820-1860) is known for collecting Bavarian legends (Sagen). Some tales from his comprehensive Sagenbuch der Bayerischen Lande, 3 Bände (Munich: Rieger, 1852, 1852, 1853) are included here.

A long period with prominent persons to spin tales about. And still earlier, century after century, German legends and lays were produced around famous persons and places, such as emperors and kings and noblemen of the Holy Roman Empire, which was a union of territories in Central Europe during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. The empire was not holy or Roman, but it stood the test of time as a feudal forerunner of "the bare bones of EU" and lasted over 840 years before it was dissolved in 1806.

Many folklore motifs and wide-spread interests are found in stories about famous persons and places. One may consider to what degree cherished tales indicate deep issues in a folk or locality.

This selection. The following stories have been selected and edited by me. I have used up to several versions to form a story, but usually less than that. Translations I have had recourse to, are listed below.

Many thanks, Erika, for original Schönwerth tales in manuscript form!

- Tormod Kinnes


German folk tales, fairy tales and legends, Literature  

In English

Eichenseer, Erika, comp. ed. Prinz Rosszwifl und andere Märchen aus der Sammlung von Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810-1886). Regensburg: Dr. Peter Morsbach Verlag, 2010.

Frary, Marie Harriette, and Charles Maurice Stebbins. The Sunken City and Other Stories. Springfield, Mass.: Milton Bradley, 1919.

Grattan, Thomas Colley. Legends of the Rhine and of the Low Countries Vol 1. London: H. Colburn and R . Bentley, 1832.

Grattan, Thomas Colley. Legends of the Rhine and of the Low Countries. Vol 2. London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1832.

Guerber, Helene A. Legends of the Rhine. 3rd ed. New York: Barnes and Co, 1899.

Günther, Marie Alker, coll. Tales and Legends of the Tyrol. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874.

Kiefer, F. J. The Legends on the Rhine from Basle to Rotterdam. 2nd ed. Mayence: David Kapp, 1869.

Lauder, Maria Elise. Legends and Tales of the Harz Mountains, North Germany. 4th ed. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1885.

Lear, H. L. Rhineland and Its Legends, and Other Tales. Translated from the German by William J. E. Bennett. London: Swift and Co, 1868.

Ruland, Wilhelm. Legends of the Rhine. 8th ed. Köln am Rhein: Verlag von Hoursch & Bechstedt /Gutenberg E-book, 2007.

Snowe, Joseph. The Rhine, Legends, Traditions, History, from Cologne to Mainz. Vol 1. London: F. C. Westley, 1839.

Snowe, Joseph. The Rhine, legends, traditions, history, from Cologne to Mainz. Vol 2. London: F. C. Westley, 1839.

Spence, Lewis. Hero Tales and Legends of the Rhine. London: George C. Harrap, 1915.

Sylva, Carmen, and Alma Strettell. Legends from River and Mountain. London: George Allen, 1896.

Thoms, William John. Lays and Legends of Germany. London: G. Cowie, 1834.

Thorpe, Benjamin. Northern Mythology: Comprising the Principal Popular Traditions and Superstitions of Scandinavia, North Germany, and the Netherlands. London: E. Lumley, 1851.

Tibbits, Charles John. Folk-lore and Legends. Germany. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1892.

Trautmann, Franz. Legends and Tales of Old Munich. München: Lentner, 1912.

Vernaleken, Theodor. In the Land of Marvels: Folk-tales from Austria and Bohemia. London: S. Sonnenschein and Co., 1889.

von Schönwerth, Franz Xaver. Original Bavarian Folktales: A Schönwerth Selection. A Dual-Language Book. Tr. Charlotte Wolf. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2014.

von Schönwerth, Franz Xaver. The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales. Coll. ed. Erika Eichenseer. Tr. Maria Tatar. New York: Penguin, 2013.

Westall, William. Tales and legends of Saxony and Lusatia. London: Griffith and Farran, 1877.

Auf Deutsch

Bechstein, Ludwig, ed: Deutsches Sagenbuch. Leipzig: Georg Wigand, 1853.

Schönwerth, Franz Xaver von. Aus der Oberpfalz. Sitten und Sagen. Band 1-3. Augsburg: Rieger, 1857, 1858, 1859.

Schöppner, Alexander. Sagenbuch der Bayerischen Lande aus dem Munde des Volkes, der Chronik und der Dichter Herausg. Band 3. München: Rieger, 1852, 1852, 1853.

Zingerle, Ignaz und Joseph. Kinder- und Hausmärchen aus Süddeutschland. Regensburg: F. Pustet, 1854.

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