#FairytaleTuesday: The Three Little Men in the Forest

[CW: child abuse, attempted murder]

Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index type 403B: The White and the Black Bride, with elements of type 480: The Kind and the Unkind Girls

This story came to the brothers by way of Wilhelm Grimm’s future wife, Dortchen Wild. It is believed that Charles Perrault’s The Fairies was a source of inspiration, given that similar punishment/reward systems were used for the kind and unkind girls. Some variants have the queen asking the king that mercy be shown to her stepmother and stepsister, who are then banished instead of being executed.

**Edited to add** One thing that I find interesting about the images that are created for this story is that so many of them feature her wearing a dress of what looks like newspaper. The story never says “newspaper,” only “paper,” but the artist’s mind still goes for a newsprint look. I can only assume they do this in order to make the viewer understand at first glance that the dress is paper, because when you look at the Daniela Drescher version, it’s hard to tell whether the dress is paper or cotton. Anyway, that’s just my rambling thought of the moment. Enjoy!

One day, in the middle of winter, when the snow was high, the stepmother sewed her a dress made of paper, and when it was finished, she called her stepdaughter to her and said, ‘I’ve got a craving to eat strawberries. So put on this dress, go into the forest, and fetch me a basket of strawberries. And don’t you dare return home until the basket is full.’

Arthur Rackham, 1917
Daniela Drescher, Date Unknown
Kira Garfagnoli, Date Unknown

Work Cited:
Grimm, Jacob; Grimm, Wilhelm. The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition. Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

2 thoughts on “#FairytaleTuesday: The Three Little Men in the Forest

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