Once upon a time..., many fairy tales, collected by the Grimm Brothers, begin with this phrase.
For centuries, children around the world have been listening to the Brother Grimms' stories spellbound. Even today, in the 21st century, their fairy tales are going strong.
My favourites are Hänsel & Gretel, Cinderella (Aschenputtel) and Little Red Riding Hood (Rotkäppchen).
Jacob Ludwig Carl & Wilhelm Carl Grimm were born in Hanau, Germany. The Grimm family had been living in Hanau for more than 100 years. Their father Philipp was a lawyer and town clerk in Hanau, their mother Dorothea née Zimmer hailed from Kassel in North Hessen.
The original house where the brothers were born in Hanau doesn't exist anymore, it was destroyed in 1945 during WWII. However, there used to be a cairn opposite their house of birth at Freiheitsplatz in Hanau and an information panel is still at the new house commemorate the place.
There is also a memorial of the brothers on market place in Hanau.
Philipp and Dorothea Grimm had 9 children, but only six survived infancy. Their first son Friedrich died 1784 aged 3 months. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were the oldest sons in the family. The famous brothers studied, worked and led a close life together. Even the fact that Jacob remained a batchelor and Wilhelm had his own family didn't change their close relationship.
Despite their various professions and scientific work, the Grimm Brothers continued updating their fairy tale collection during their lifetime. Grimm's Kinder & Hausmärchen where translated into almost all European languages.
For their scientific work the Grimms are acknowledged as the founders of German philology.
The first edition of Grimm's Kinder und Hausmärchen (Tales of Children and the Home) was published on 20th December 1812. It took a few years of editing and transforming the stories until they met the Grimms' perception, new editions followed. The fairy-tales were translated into 170 languages to take off on a triumphal path around the world.
The 200th birthday of Grimm's Märchen is only the first of other anniversaries related to the Brothers Grimm that follow in 2013. These include the