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Lessons from Forgotten Bavarian Fairy Tales

It all started, as hardly any good stories do, in a municipal archive. It was there that Erika Eichenseer, a retired teacher in the city of Regensburg, Germany found more than 500 fairytales that had been forgotten for over a century and a half.

The tales had been complied by Franz Xaver von Schonwerth, a 19th century Regensburg civil servant with a passion for folklore.  The dusty boxes Eichenseer discovered contained many stories that had been all but lost.

Those stories can now be read in English for the first time in a new book titled, “The Turnip Princess and other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales.”

Maria Tatar, a professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard, is the book’s translator. She’s also the chair of Harvard’s Folklore and Mythology program. She was interviewed on OPB’s program The Takeaway last week and provides a number of insights into how Schonwerth’s work differs from the work of the more famous Brothers Grimm.

You can hear the interview, as well as excerpts from the book, by clicking on this link.

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