Scratch Your Fairy Tale Weirdness Itch With This Rediscovered Story

In Depth

The house that mouse built is about to debut yet another retelling of Cinderella. If you’re hesitant to feed into the Disney Industrial Complex, however, you might consider as an alternative some recently discovered tales from the same period.

Back in 2012, Erika Eichenseer dug up a bunch of fairy tales collected by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth back in the nineteenth century, which had been sitting around a German city’s archives for more than a century. And now NPR reports that a collection of the tales has just been released, complete with translation and introduction by fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar. It’s called The Turnip Princess (me irl) and if old-time fairy tale weirdness is your thing it’ll be right up your alley:

Many of the stories are short enough that themes begin to emerge beyond just the story types Tatar has sorted: Evil is almost mundanely ubiquitous, an unavoidable presence that walks hand-in-hand with all the marvelous coincidences within these stories. If a set of talking swans insist you let a giant breathe fire on you and then kiss twelve tortoises, there’s no point asking why; if your friends leave you at the bottom of a well, might as well wander around until you find a magical garden. The land of stories is crawling with princes; it’s crawling with evil, too. Not much point questioning either.

If you’re into that, good news—Slate has one of the stories available for your reading pleasure. It’s called “Tricking the Witch,” and it’s about a couple trying to outwit a wily witch. Everybody knows there’s no bonding experience quite like defeating a paranormal menace.

Photo via Tom Tom/Shutterstock.

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