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Grimm's Fairy Tales

The Willful Child -

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

 
German title (1815): Von einem eigensinnigen Kinde
German title (1857): Das eigensinnige Kind
English title: The Willful Child
English title: The Stubborn Child
Story position: Volume 2, Number 31
Story designation: KHM 117 ("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 Willful Child 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 Willful Child -
showing the significant differences between the first and final versions

ONCE upon a time there was a child who was wilful, and would not do what her mother wished. For this reason God had no pleasure in her, and

1:   she became

7:   let her become

ill, and no doctor could do her any good, and

1:   soon

7:   in a short time

she lay on her death-bed. When she had been lowered into her grave, and the earth was spread

1:   over,

7:   over her,

all at once her arm came out again, and stretched upwards, and when they had put it in and spread fresh earth over it, it was all to no purpose, for

1:   it

7:   the arm

always came out again. Then the mother herself was obliged to go to the grave, and strike the arm with a rod, and when she had done that, it was drawn in, and then at last

1:  

7:   the child

had rest beneath the ground.

 

***

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 . . .


1: Von einem eigensinnigen Kinde
7: Das eigensinnige Kind

Es war einmal ein Kind eigensinnig und that nicht was seine Mutter haben wollte.

1: Da
7: Darum

hatte der liebe Gott kein Wohlgefallen an ihm und

1: es ward krank,
7: ließ es krank werden,

und kein Arzt

1: konnt’ ihm helfen und bald
7: konnte ihm helfen, und in kurzem

lag es auf dem Todtenbettchen. Als es

1:
7: nun

ins Grab versenkt

1: war, und Erde darüber gedeckt,
7: und Erde über es hingedeckt war, so

kam auf einmal sein

1: Aermchen
7: Ärmchen

wieder hervor und reichte in die Höhe, und wenn sie es hineinlegten und frische Erde darüber

1: legten,
7: thaten,

so half das nicht,

1: er
7: und das Ärmchen

kam immer wieder heraus. Da mußte die Mutter

1: selber zum Grab gehen
7: selbst zum Grabe gehn

und mit der Ruthe

1: auf das Aermchen
7: aufs Ärmchen

schlagen, und wie sie das gethan hatte, zog es sich

1: hinein und
7: hinein, und das Kind

hatte nun erst

1: Ruh
7: Ruhe

unter der Erde.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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