Fairy Tales


The fairy tales of the brothers Grimm have all but been forgotten in today’s Green Eggs and Ham world. Some translations are poor; others misrepresent the story’s theme, or worse, try to change the lesson to be learned to suit a modern agenda. I recently read another review (Riverbank) of a new translation of six of Grimm’s tales. I read the recommended book myself, and was pleasantly surprised. A Handful of Beans: Six Fairy Tales is deftly retold by Jeanne Steig. While the 144 page book is easy reading for most ages, the power of the original tale, complete with imagination, lesson, and colorful narrative is not lost. I especially enjoyed Steig’s use of imagery and metaphoric illustration. Much of this kind of writing has been lost in recent literature. Characters who embody compassion and integrity in their relationships with others is a hallmark of Grimm’s. Readers will not lose this endearing quality in Steig’s translations. The six tales included are Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Frog Prince, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rumpelstiltskin.