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Grimm's Fairy Tales

The Flail From Heaven -

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

 
German title: Der Dreschflegel vom Himmel
English title: The Flail From Heaven
English title: The Fleshing Flail From Heaven
Story position: Volume 2, Number 26
Story designation: KHM 112 ("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 Flail From Heaven 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 Flail From Heaven -
showing the significant differences between the first and final versions

A COUNTRYMAN was once going out to plough with a pair of oxen. When he got

1:   into the country,

7:   to the field,

both the animals' horns began to grow, and went on growing, and when he wanted to go home they were so big that the oxen could not get through the gateway for them. By good luck a butcher came by just then, and he delivered them over to him, and made the bargain in this way, that he should take the butcher a measure of rape-seed, and then the butcher was to count him out a Brabant thaler for every seed. I call that well sold! The peasant now went home, and carried the measure of

1:   rape-seed.

7:   rape-seed to him on his back.

On the way, however, he lost one seed out of the bag. The butcher paid him justly as

1:   agreed on.

7:   agreed on, and if the peasant had not lost the seed, he would have had one taler more.


1:   When the peasant

7:   In the meantime, when he

went on his way back, the seed had grown into a tree which reached up to the sky.

1:   "Ah,"

7:   Then

thought the peasant, "As thou hast the chance, thou must just see what the angels are doing up there above, and for once have them before thine eyes." So he climbed up, and saw that the angels above were threshing oats, and he looked on. While he was thus watching them, he observed that the tree on which he was standing, was beginning to totter; he peeped down, and saw that some one was just going to cut it down. "If I were to fall down from hence it would be a bad thing," thought he, and in his necessity he did not know how to save himself better than by taking the chaff of the oats which lay there in heaps, and twisting a rope of it. He likewise snatched a hoe and a flail which were lying about in heaven, and let himself down by the rope. But he came down on the earth exactly in the middle of a deep, deep hole. So it was a real piece of luck that he had brought the hoe, for he

1:   took it and hoed himself a flight of steps,

7:   hoed himself a flight of steps with it, and mounted up,

and took the flail with him as a token of his

1:   truth.

7:   truth, so that no one could have any doubt of his story.

 

***

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 . . .

 

Der Dreschflegel vom Himmel

Es zog einmal ein Bauer mit einem Paar Ochsen zum Pflügen

1: aus, als er auf’s Land kam, da fingen
7: aus. Als er auf den Acker kam, da fiengen

den beiden Thieren die Hörner an zu wachsen, wuchsen

1: fort
7: fort,

und als er nach Haus

1: will, sind
7: wollte, waren

sie so groß, daß er nicht mit zum Thor hinein

1: kann.
7: konnte.

Zu gutem Glück kam gerade ein Metzger daher, dem überließ er sie, und schlossen sie den Handel dergestalt, daß er sollte dem Metzger ein

1: Maas
7: Maß

Rübsamen bringen, der

1: wollt’
7: wollt

ihm dann für jedes Korn einen brabanter Thaler

1: aufzählen: das heiß ich mir
7: aufzählen. Das heiß ich

gut verkauft! Der Bauer

1: ging nun hin
7: gieng nun heim,

und trug das

1: Maas Rübsamen,
7: Maß Rübsamen auf dem Rücken herbei;

unterwegs verlor er aber aus dem Sack ein Körnchen. Der Metzger

1: bezahlt’ ihn nun nach dem Handel richtig aus. Wie der Bauer
7: bezahlte ihn wie gehandelt war richtig aus; hätte der Bauer das Korn nicht verloren, so hätte er einen brabanter Thaler mehr gehabt. Indessen, wie er

wieder des Wegs zurück kam, war aus dem Korn ein Baum gewachsen, der reichte bis an den Himmel.

1: »Ei, dachte der Bauer, weil
7: Da dachte der Bauer »weil

die Gelegenheit da ist, mußt du doch sehen, was die Engel da droben

1: machen
7: machen,

und ihnen einmal unter die Augen gucken.« Also stieg er hinauf und

1: sah,
7: sah

daß die Engel oben

1: Haber
7: Hafer

droschen und schaute das mit an; wie er so schaute, merkte er, daß der Baum, worauf er stand,

1: anfing zu wackeln und guckte hinunter da wollt’
7: anfieng zu wackeln, guckte hinunter und sah daß

ihn eben einer

1: umhauen. Wenn
7: umhauen wollte. »Wenn

du da herab

1: stürzest, das wär’ ein böses Ding,
7: stürztest, das wär ein böses Ding«

dachte er, und in der Noth

1: wußt’
7: wußt

er sich nicht besser zu helfen, als daß er die Spreu vom

1: Haber
7: Hafer

nahm, die haufenweis da

1: lag
7: lag,

und daraus einen Strick

1: drehte,
7: drehte:

auch griff er nach einer Hacke und einem Dreschflegel, die da herum im Himmel

1: lagen
7: lagen,

und ließ sich an dem Seil herunter. Er kam aber unten auf der Erde gerade in ein

1: tiefes,
7: tiefes

tiefes Loch, und da war es ein rechtes Glück, daß er die Hacke hatte, denn

1: die nahm er und hackte sich eine Treppe
7: er hackte sich damit eine Treppe, stieg in die Höhe

und brachte den Dreschflegel zum Wahrzeichen

1: mit.
7: mit, so daß niemand an seiner Erzählung mehr zweifeln konnte.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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