Book #49

The Robber Bridegroom by Brothers Grimm

Drawn from German folklore, dark, fantastical fairy tales of wicked deeds, gruesome punishment, and just rewards.

I’m very confused at Penguin’s decision to name this Grimm compilation after what is, by far, one of the weakest stories within the book. The Robber Bridegroom fell flat for me; although not disengaging, and by no means dull, in comparison with its brothers and sisters within the pages, it couldn’t quite meet the bar.

Having never read any Grimm (despite owning the complete works which I will get around to on some rainy day in the future), I was surprised and delighted at how gruesome the stories are. Obviously modern day adaptations have watered down the majority of the gore and death, but to read fairy tales which include cannibalism, aggressive animals, and (my favourite) dancing in hot iron shoes until you fall down dead, was nothing but delectable to me.

The style is incredibly simplistic, but this lends a real tone of fable to the little tales. They truly feel perfect for reading aloud, without being patronising or glaringly aimed at children. With each of them containing some sort of murder, or act of violence, it’s difficult to imagine these being used to entertain children today; if I had any wee brats, I would surely try.

A gorgeous little introduction to Grimm, this has made me look forward to tackling the giant tome that is the complete works when I feel I have the staying power for it.