It appears that Disney won’t have to worry about running out of fairy tales for future animated films (and now live-action) anytime soon. A researching in Germany has discovered 500 fairy tales that were buried in an archive in Regensberg, Germany. They were originally recorded by historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810 – 1886). This man spent most of his life collection local folklore, myths, legends and most of all fairy tales from the peoples of Germany’s Black Forrest. Schönwerth worked on collecting these stories as he heard them and didn’t exaggerate or embellish on the stories as the brothers Grimm did. The both lived during the same general time period. Instead, he stayed true to the stories he was hearing from the locals.
The fairy tales were discovered by Oberpfalz cultural curator Erika Eichenseer. She has published a collection of Schönwerth’s works and some are being translated into English currently. The first modern published collection is called “Prinz Roßzwifl,” or “scarab beetle.” Another name for it would be the “dung beetle” which buries buries its valuables in dung. Eichenseer believes that this is symbolic and that fairy tales are some of the most valuable treasures for mankind.
The original collection by Schönwerth’s came out in three volumes in 1857, 1858, and 1859 and were called Aus der Oberpfalz – Sitten und Sagen. They never really became popular however and disappeared from the literary world until their recent discovery. Commenting on the stories, Eichenseer said that they weren’t just for children but rather, “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.”
One of the stories that has been translated is called The Turnip Princess. It can be read here. Another story has a young maiden escaping the clutches of an evil witch by becoming a pond. The witch then drinks the pond only to have the maiden cut her way out of the witch’s stomach. These are just a couple of the 500 stories that will slowly be making its way to the public thanks to Erika Eichenseer and the Franz Xaver von Schönwerth Society, an interdisciplinary committee devoted to analyzing Schönwerth’s work and publicizing it.
Are you interested in reading these stories? What did you think of The Turnip Princess? Do you think Disney should be making some new movies from these newly discovered fairy tales?