Quite a few of the classic fairy tale themes: the maiden in the tower, the baby taken at birth by a wicked witch, an enchanted but forbidden garden – and the iconic image of a maiden lowering her long tresses of golden hair down to her prince.
This amusing story by the Brothers Grimm is about four farm animals who believe they can earn a good living as musicians. But it isn’t really by the sweetness of their barking, braying, mewing, and cockle-doodle-doing that gets their supper.
A beautiful princess loses her ball down the well. A frog offers to fetch it for her, if only she promise that he can be her friend. The princess tries to break her promise, but the frog persists.
Rumpelstiltskin, magical, wild, and full of rage, comes to the aid of a young girl who is given the impossible task of weaving straw into gold. She makes him a rash promise, which she finds hard to keep.
A poor fisherman pulls a golden fish out of the sea. When it speaks, he throws it back. His wife is furious, and demands that the magic fish grant them a wish, and then another wish, and then another wish. A story of greed and over-reaching ambition.
The tale of Snow White features one of the most fabulous baddies of all time in the form of the Wicked Queen, vainly peering into her mirror and asking – Who is the fairest of us all? Her motivations of vanity and envy are so very human, and that is what gives the tale its power.
If you have ever been tempted to be greedy, you will have just a little sympathy with the cunning cat of this story, even though she is certainly bad. Every time she thinks about being naughty, she persuades herself with a little excuse that rings true to life.