I like many people, am always very poor before pay day! Bills have gone out. and food has been packed into the fridge and we can rest easy for a couple of weeks. Isn’t that all the time that the security seems to last before you’re poor again?
I’ve had a wonderful array of Care and Retail jobs since graduating University, each as hellish as the last, so after a bad month I always take the time to treat myself to something.. Even if it’s something small, as long as I will keep and cherish it, it can come home with me.
A few months ago, I found this– It as on a cardboard shelf surrounded by other classics, Dracula (another favourite of mine!) Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Great Expectations….. It was too beautiful to leave. I simply couldn’t!
You of course, already know of the famous brothers Grimm- the two brothers born in the 1780’s. Linguists, cultural researchers and academics who together studied their local folklore, culminating into collecting hundreds of German and Scandinavian tales and captured them in paper form. I hear that initially these stories were not at all for children-
In Little Red Riding hood, both the girl and the Grandmother are eaten through her naivety, and the woodsman has to cut the wolf open to save them, fill the wolf with stones, and sew him back up, where he falls into the well and drowns.
In the Cinderella tale, the two sisters cut off their own toes to fit their oversized feet into the glass slipper..
Perhaps the most disturbing, is Rapunzel- When the prince first visits her in her tower he impregnates her, and she being unfamiliar to the facts of life grows more and more heavily pregnant- the witch cuts away all of her hair, casts Rapunzel out into the desert, then uses the hair to fool the prince into climbing up it- she cuts the hair when he is halfway up and he falls into the thorns where his eyes are scratched out leaving him to wander about, blind! Gory!
Goodness know what happened to all of our English ones- do we have so many as the two brothers collected?
Although Arthur Rackham beautifully illustrated the inside- I’m not sure who did the illustration on the cover (of Rapunzel!). I do love it though, and if you look close enough, you can see the cracks in the glaze of the original painting. If you do know who did it, please let me know!
The book was sealed up in a plastic sleeve when I bought it, so it filled me with joy to have bought something so beautiful, especially when I turned the cover to see this! (See below!)
I have always seen books as as investment, and something to be treasured and kept for a long time, so this one is probably going on a high shelf where curious fingers can’t reach it!
Snow White, illustrated below. I have adored Rackham’s work for many years and studied him in depth in college and University- the array of intricate illustrations that he’s done are inspiring. His work has been highly sought since the early 1900’s where people bought his books in droves, typically as Christmas gifts. This was a lovely gift for myself!
I know the Brother’s Grimm is mainly associated with Children these days, and it is like finding hen’s teeth, getting hold of the original and more gory stories these days- some of the only copies lie in museums and ancient libraries- BUT.
Sometimes I like to curl up and read a short story- it goes along with the folklore that I so love to study, and fills the darker winter nights with a little tradition.
What are the books that you love the most? Are there any that you cherish?