500 New Fairy Tales

Ever tire of reading the same old fairy tales? If you’re anything like me, then probably not. I’m a sucker for a good children’s story with a strong, moral message. But if you do, then get ready.  Apparently, in recent years, a collection of over 500 new fairy tales have been discovered. Gathered back in the middle of the 19th c. by a German historian named Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810-1886), the stories collected dust for over 150 years.

Eventually, the collection was discovered by a cultural curator in Bavaria, Erika Eichenseer, who subsequently published some of the stories she found. She explains that the tales may be enjoyed by children, but they are not for children alone. “Their main purpose was to help young adults on their path to adulthood, showing them that dangers and challenges can be overcome through virtue, prudence and courage,” says Eichenseer.

Unfortunately, most of the published stories are in German. However, a tale called “The Turnip Princess”, has been translated into English. Here’s a sampling:

A young prince lost his way in the forest and came to a cave. He passed the night there, and when he awoke there stood next to him an old woman with a bear and a dog. The old witch seemed very beautiful and wished that the prince would stay with her and marry her. He could not endure her, yet could not leave that place.

One day, the bear was alone with him and spoke to the prince: “Pull the rusty nail from the wall, so that I shall be delivered, and place it beneath a turnip in the field, and in this way you shall have a beautiful wife.” The prince seized the nail so strongly that the cave shook and the nail cracked loudly like a clap of thunder. Behind him a bear stood up from the ground like a man, bearded and with a crown on his head.

To read the rest of “The Turnip Princess”, click here.


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