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Grimm's Fairy Tales

The Shroud -

a comparison of the first version (1815)
with the final version (1857)

 
German title: Das Todtenhemdchen
English title: The Shroud
English title: The Little Shroud
Story position: Volume 2, Number 23
Story designation: KHM 109 ("Kinder- und Hausmärchen")

Quick history: There were seven editions of the Grimm's Fairy Tales published in the Grimm Brothers' lifetime. Each edition was presented in two volumes. Volume 1 of the first edition appeared in 1812; Volume 2 of the first edition appeared in 1815. Both volumes of the seventh (7th) and final edition appeared in 1857.

(Take me directly to the detailed comparison in the original German.)

Here are the nontrivial differences between the first and final versions of The Shroud using the English translation by Margaret Hunt (1884). We disregard spelling, punctuation, and grammar updates, and minor shuffling of words.

In the difference spots, "1:" indicates the first edition (1815), and "7:" indicates the seventh and final edition (1857). Naturally, Hunt worked with the final edition, so all of the words in the common passages and the lines labeled "7:" are hers. Think of the lines labeled "1:" as what she would have produced if she had translated the 1st edition. Highlighted words direct your attention to the added, deleted, or changed wording. Click on "1:" to see the difference spot in the original German.

 

The Shroud -
showing the significant differences between the first and final versions

THERE was once a mother who had a little boy of seven years old, who was

1:   handsome,

7:   so handsome and lovable that no one could look at him without liking him,

and she herself worshipped him above everything in the world.

1:   He died suddenly,

7:   Now it so happened that he suddenly became ill, and God took him to himself;

and for this the mother could not be comforted, and wept both day and night.

1:   But not very long after the child had been buried, it appeared in the night in the places where it had sat and played,

7:   But soon afterwards, when it had been buried, the child appeared by night in the places where it had sat and played in its life,

and if the mother wept, it wept also,

1:   but

7:   and

when morning came it disappeared.

1:   As now

7:   But as

the mother would not stop crying, it came one night, in the little white shroud in which it had been laid in its coffin, and with its wreath of flowers round its head, and stood on the bed at her feet, and said, "Oh, mother, do stop crying, or I shall never fall asleep in my coffin, for my shroud will not

1:   completely

7:  

dry because of all thy tears, which fall upon it." The mother was afraid when she heard that, and wept no more. The next night the child came again, and held a little light in its hand, and said, "Look, mother, my shroud is nearly dry, and I can rest in my grave." Then the mother gave her sorrow into God's keeping, and bore it quietly and patiently, and the child came no more, but slept in its little bed beneath the earth.

 

***

To identify the differences, I did a word-by-word comparison of the first and final versions in the original German. I used texts provided on the fine "Kinder- und Hausmärchen der Brüder Grimm" site (khm.li). In the comparisons below, as above, "1:" indicates the first version (1815), and "7:" indicates the seventh and final version (1857).

Und nun, auf Deutsch, mit aller Unterschieden zwischen die erste und letzte Ausgaben . . .

 

Das Todtenhemdchen

Es hatte eine Mutter ein Büblein von sieben Jahren, das war

1: schön
7: so schön und lieblich, daß es niemand ansehen konnte ohne ihm gut zu sein,

und sie hatte es

1: lieber, wie
7: auch lieber als

alles auf der Welt.

1: Auf einmal starb es,
7: Nun geschah es, daß es plötzlich krank ward, und der liebe Gott es zu sich nahm;

darüber konnte sich die Mutter nicht trösten und weinte Tag und Nacht.

1: Als aber das Kind noch gar nicht lang begraben, so zeigte es sich in der Nacht
7: Bald darauf aber, nachdem es begraben war, zeigte sich das Kind Nachts

an den Plätzen, wo es sonst

1: gesessen und gespielt, und
7: im Leben gesessen und gespielt hatte;

weinte die Mutter, so weinte es auch,

1: aber
7: und

wenn der Morgen kam, war es verschwunden. Als

1: nun
7: aber

die Mutter gar nicht aufhören wollte zu weinen, kam es in einer Nacht mit seinem weißen Todtenhemdchen, in

1: dem
7: welchem

es in den Sarg gelegt war, und mit dem Kränzchen auf dem Kopf, setzte sich zu ihren Füßen auf das Bett und

1: sprach: »ach Mutter, hör’
7: sprach »ach Mutter, höre

doch auf zu weinen, sonst kann ich in meinem Sarge nicht einschlafen, denn mein Todtenhemdchen wird

1: gar
7:

nicht trocken von deinen Thränen, die alle darauf fallen.« Da

1: erschrak
7: erschrack

die Mutter, als sie das

1: hörte
7: hörte,

und weinte nicht

1: mehr und
7: mehr. Und

in der andern Nacht kam das Kindchen

1: wieder mit einem Lichtchen
7: wieder, hielt

in der Hand

1: und sagte:
7: ein Lichtchen und sagte

»siehst du, nun ist mein Hemdchen bald

1: trocken
7: trocken,

und ich habe Ruhe in meinem Grab.« Da befahl die Mutter dem lieben Gott ihr Leid und ertrug es still und geduldig, und das Kind kam nicht wieder, sondern schlief in seinem unterirdischen Bettchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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