Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Heart Fairy Tales.

Hansel and Gretel by Brothers Grimm
Illustrated by Eloise Wilkin

Western Publishing Company, 1954

I love this dark, somewhat violent fairy tale. I mean, when one thinks about it, it's quite scary. It really plays on one's childhood fears--evil stepmother, child abandonment, getting lost, being hungry and alone, creepy old ladies who entice you with candy but really want to cook and eat you, murdering someone even if it's in self defense. And then divorce of some sort when the evil stepmother heads for the hills and the repentant father seeks out the kids he'd traded away for his new wife. Yikes.

Wilkin's innocent illustrations soften that story considerably. Some versions have a white duck at the end. This one does not. It's how I first learned Hansel and Gretel.

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