Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Coursera Essay


I hope Aravis meant it. After her request I decided to post the short essays I’ve been writing for the Coursera science fiction and fantasy class. The first week we read a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales grouped together in an edition from the late 1800’s called Household Stories, available free through the Open Library.


Ignoring Cultural DifferencesEurope, including Germany, was comprised of many small political regions during the 18th and 19th centuries. There were culture clashes on all sides. It is easy to develop an “us vs them” attitude. The city states and communication limitations fostered that mindset. Some of the Grimms’ stories address the differences by ignoring them in some animal stories.

“Bremen Town Musicians” is a good example of “people” working together. They have something in common – they are old and in danger of being killed. The ass offers to help others who aren’t any threat to him. But the next three, the cat, the cock, and the dog, are enemies. Dogs chase cats, cats eat birds, and cocks strike out at anything that threatens them. When this group has an opportunity to improve their lives, they work together. They trick the robbers by their wits to trick, attack, and repel the men.

“Old Sultan” is another story of unlikely animals working together. When Sultan thinks he was about to die, the dog visits his friend the wolf. Their first trick uses each of their own natures as they work together. The wolf “steals” the baby – expected for a wolf. Sultan rescues the baby. That is part of the nature of a trusted family pet. After the wolf and dog’s misunderstanding about the sheep, the wolf challenges the dog. He brings a boar as his second for a duel. The dog brings a cat – again, different natures working together. The wolf surrenders after the cat chases away the boar. The wolf and dog become friends again despite their nature.

Although these types of stories are not common in the Household Tales, they are not common in real life as well. The stories illustrate that people can overcome their culture and prejudices to come together.


There are many morals throughout the Fairy Tales. This is the theme I chose for my essay.

One Comment

  1. Comment by Aravis:

    I had never thought of Bremen in that context. That’s a really interesting point.

    I’ve never heard of Sultan, but now want to read it.

    Keep them coming. :0)