the Grimms

Children's and Household Tales


The Children’s and Household Tales of the Brothers Grimm have set the tone for fairy tales for generations. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm wanted to preserve traditional folk narratives from oblivion, thus providing posterity with this unique collection of fairy tales.

Step by step

In 1806, the Grimms began collecting fairy tales in Kassel. Six years later, shortly before Christmas, the first edition of the Children’s and Household Tales appeared. This still included notes and text fragments, inviting the readers to help enlarge the collection. Many revisions followed, until the publication of the illustrated "Small Edition” in 1825 led to the brothers’ world-wide fame.


The material for the fairy tales was mainly provided by women of the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy, who in turn had gathered their fairy tales from servants, farmers and traders. The most important source is Dorothea Viehmann, who knew a wealth of fairy tales from far and wide and was able to tell them fluently.


While the Brothers Grimm intended their collection to be documented folklore and a valuable educational book for children, the Children’s and Household Tales had to undergo sharp criticism in the course of their history. After the Second World War, they were classed as unsuitable children's literature, but today they have been rehabilitated as an educational tool for seeing the world with confidence.

Explore the fairy tales for yourself:

The digitisation of the Grimms’ personal copies of the Children’s and Household Tales is part of a cooperation project between the City of Kassel and the University of Kassel.