This beautiful book published by Macmillan in 1882 is one of signature works of Walter Crane.
It is available on archive.org, but i decided to take only some of the illustrations (o.k., most) from most known fairy tales (o.k., including most of less known). They are all black and white and maybe suitable for coloring on some rainy afternoons.
I’ll try to present the illustrations with some short notes about fairy tales.
Let’s start the journey on Household Stories by brothers Grimm!
This story is best know as Little Red Riding Hood but the translation of Rotkäppchen is really Red Cap and I can’t explain when and why cap became hood in English.
And another one:
This fairy tale is now known as The Juniper Tree. But in most versions of Grimm’s collections it is not present anymore. It is full of blood and violence and improper for kids by today’s standards.
Did I mention it has cannibalism too?
Just like in Red Cap, we have a motif of resurrection in Almond Tree.
Next fairy tale has something other in common with Almond Tree: a tree with some magic powers and of course we can notice another important role of birds, popular helpers in Grimms’ Fairy Tales.
Just in case if you didn’t recognize her: Aschenputtel is more known as Cinderella.
Don’t forget: in Grimms’ Cinderella slippers are made of gold. Glass slippers are invented by Perrault.
It seems fairy tales with animals in leading roles were more popular in 19 th century than now.
Brother and sister is another tail about love, sacrifice and magic. In this tail sister shows more patience and smartness than her brother, what is not so rare in classic fairy tales but is too often forgotten in some reviews where only passive heroines are considered as bad examples. But if you want to criticize classics, maybe you should read them first?
It is a good story. Too pity it is almost forgotten.
Let’s look at illustrations from Cat and Mouse in partnership:
Yes, another almost forgotten beauty…
And Clever Gretel (no relation with Hansel and Gretel) is another denial of stereotypical women’s role in fairy tales.
She likes to drink, she likes to eat and she really likes to outsmart men!
The fisherman and his wife:
She wants more and more and more until …
Frog Prince (aka Frog King is the one by which the first collection of Grimms started.
Yes, this is another story about growing up and taking responsibilities.
Here we go with one of my all time favorites – Gallant Tailor of Brave Little Tailor!
Well, after all he did kill seven at once…
We can find variations of The Golden Bird in most countries in the world. In Russia for instance it is called Fire Bird.
Another funny fairy tale is Golden Goose:
Goose Girl is another Grimm’s classic telling how important is a given word.
Next scene is from Hansel and Grethel. It has many religious overtones and this is one of the most known ever.
This one is funny:
No matter what Hans has, there is always something he can take for exchange…
Here we go with King Thrushbeard. The princess is too rude to him and he teaches her a lesson.
In the end she realize he is actually great match and we happy everything ready for happy ending.
Mother hulda is a story about good and bad girl.
One is ready for work and the other not.
One got reward and the other doesn’t. How simple is that!
The story about prudent Hans is different. Hans is not very smart…
He had many opportunities, but the bride lost her patience at the end.
In old fairy tales the motif of animal groom (or bride) was very popular.
Sometimes we find the perfect partner in very unusual places.
And another classic:
Of course the story is different than in Disney’s animated movie.
In old times pregnant women’s cravings for certain foods were taken very seriously.
Let’s check another story with babe in the wood!
This fairy tale is another great example of active heroine which can be shown to all so called experts who complain about passive roles of the girls in Grimms’ fairy tales. Only few of them were actually passive and the most important question is: why are these the most popular? It is certainly not fault of brothers Grimm!
…for some action…
And another one which is known to most kids only as a sidekick from profitable franchise about something completely different:
But this has a price!
Next one doesn’t need introduction, I suppose…
Did you know thorns around Sleeping Beauty’s castle were ‘invented’ by Grimms?
This story is loaded with symbolism.
Let’s continue with Snow White:
Next fairy tale is called The Elves. It has interesting message – if you return good deed, you can loose help!
Next one is more of a fable than fairy tail:
And another from the same category:
And now a classic fairy tale about three brothers and three magic gifts!
We continue with a fairy tale with a test.
Less known story about three spinsters:
White snake comes next.
The final fairy tale is more known as Wolf and Seven Kids but in this version we have seven goslings.
Wow, I made it. I hope you enjoyed this beautiful work as much as I did. Walter Crane made terrific job with Grimms’ Fairy Tales and I can only applaud.