Modern Endings to German Fairy Tales


Since the Brother’s Grimm first set forward to collect and share the fantastic stories of various villages and peoples, Germany has been known for its fairy tales. These are legends as old as the country itself. Sadly the Grimm’s aren’t around anymore and are unable to update their classic tales for modern German times. But worry not! After taking a class on German fairy tales at university (no, I’m not joking), I present to you 5 updated endings to the Märchen you know and love.


Once there was a rich man who had a daughter and a sickly wife. The wife sadly passed and soonafter the man had remarried once more. The new wife had brought with her two daughters, who were beautiful of face but black of heart. They dressed the rich man’s daughter in torn clothes and gave her wooden shoes. She had to do hard work from morning till night in what was called a “minijob” position. She had no bed and slept by the hearth in the cinders. It happened that the king gave orders for a festival to which all the beautiful young girls in the country were invited, in order that his son might choose himself a bride. Cinderella begged her step-mother to allow her to attend. No, said she, for you do not have the proper attire. That’s ok, said Cinderella, because I had checked the Facebook event and realized that it was an Ü30 techno party, and that there was a cover charge. So Cinderella instead decided to attend an open air festival wherein she dropped acid and her clothes were considered “chic”.


Once there was a miller who told his king, I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold. The king said to the miller, if your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to-morrow to my palace. And when the girl was brought to him he took her into a room which was quite full of straw, and said, now set to work, and if by to-morrow morning you have not spun this straw into gold, you must die. Thereupon he himself locked up the room, and left her in it alone, weeping. But all at once the door opened and in came a little man. The man said, good evening, mistress miller, why are you crying so? Alas, answered the girl, I have to spin straw into gold, and I do not know how to do it. The manikin responded, that is completely ridiculous, you should file a claim with the Arbeitsagentur. And so legal proceedings took place, and it was found that not only was the king at fault for demanding an impossible task, but also that the working conditions were atrocious and, incidentally, that first born children are not a suitable form of payment for services rendered.

The Bremen Town Musicians

Once there was an old donkey who ran away and set out on the road to Bremen with hopes of being a town-musician. As he walked, he found a hound lying on the road. What are you doing on the road, asked the donkey. Ah, replied the old hound, I can not hunt, I am no longer employable. Join my band, said the donkey, we will play in Bremen. The hound agreed, and on they went. Before long they came to an old cat with a face like three rainy days. Now then, what is the matter, asked the donkey. Because I am now old, I can no longer hunt mice, answered the cat. Go with us to Bremen, said the donkey. You can be a town-musician. The cat thought well of it, and went with them. After this the three fugitives encountered a cock, crowing with all his might. Why do you crow so loudly, said the donkey. My lady has declared that I am to be for supper, answered the cock. Ah red-comb, said the donkey, come away with us. We are going to Bremen. The cock agreed, and all four went on together. And so they played their music on the public transport, with a donkey braying, a rooster crowing, a dog barking, and a cat meowing. And somehow it was better than 90% of the buskers, since they did not get all up in the faces of the passengers, and they made a tidy sum until the Steueramt began to investigate them for tax fraud.

The Jew Among Thorns

You know what? We’re just going to skip this one.

Hansel and Gretel

Hard by a great, dark forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife and his two children, a boy called Hansel and and a girl called Gretel. So poor was the wood-cutter that he had little to bite and to break, and when a great famine fell on the land, he could no longer procure even daily bread. Now when he thought over this by night in his bed, and tossed about in his anxiety, he groaned and said to his wife, what is to become of us. How are we to feed our poor children, when we no longer have anything even for ourselves. Here is what we will do, answered the woman, early to-morrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to where it is the thickest. We will light a fire for them, and give each of them one more piece of bread, and then we will leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and we shall be rid of them. No, said the man, I will not do that. How can I bear to leave my children alone in the forest. The wild animals would soon come and tear them to pieces. You’re right, said the wife, that is horrific. Besides, we receive tax breaks for reproducing in Germany and the Kindergeld has assisted with our financial concerns. Not to mention it is extremely easy as an EU citizen for you to move someplace else where there may be better job opportunities. You could even go to school in Scandinavia and receive financial assistance while studying! And so the wood-cutter and his family moved to Sweden, which has been historically accepting of foreigners coming to enjoy the benefits of living in a cradle-to-grave welfare state.

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