Deutsche Volksmärchen aus Russland und Rumanien (German Ethnic Fariytales from Russia and Romania)

Review by Arnold H. Marzolf, Professor Emeritus, NDSU, Fargo, ND

Deutsche Volksmärchen aus Russland und Rumanien (German Ethnic Fariytales from Russia and Romania). Edited by Alfred Cammann. Göttingen, West Germany: Verlag Otto Schwartz, 1967.

German fairytales traveled with Germans wherever they migrated. This is no less true with Germans who went to Bessarabia, the Dobrudscha, the Ukraine, the Crimea and to Middle Asia.

In this book, fifty authorities tell (or retell) 180 stories (fairytales, sagas, legends, myths, rumors, traditions, instances, anecdotes, etc.) in various German dialects, including High German. The art of storytelling seems to have remained constant no matter where the Germans lived and it was a part of the psychology and sociology. The editor finds a strong desire among Germans to moralize and exemplify in their stories.

In common with the Grimm Brothers, editor Cammann believes that fairytales, myths, etc. are the sources of the origins of life (what it was and what it will be); that they are clear, genuine, original; that they come to the truth in which reality is mirrored; and that they make it possible for researchers to discover the roots, purpose and essence of mankind.

The editor divided the 180 stories into six general groups: Fairytales, Animal Stories, Robber Stories, Exemplary Models, Anecdotes, and Sagas. A few examples of story headings are: Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf and the Fox, The Twelve Robbers, The Glass Bridge, The Golden Calf, The Evil Stepmother, The Witch, The Orphan Child, The Poor Widow, The Great Russian, The Bet with the Devil, etc.

Anyone who can read German (and its dialects) will surely enjoy this delightful book prepared for children and adults.

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