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Grimm's Fairy Tales

Knoist and His Three Sons -

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

German title: Knoist un sine dre Sühne
English title: Knoist and His Three Sons
Story position: Volume 2, Number 52
Story designation: KHM 138 ("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 edition appeared in 1857.

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

Knoist and His Three Sons is written in a German dialect. There are no substantive differences between the first and final versions. All differences fall into the categories of spelling, grammar, and punctuation updates. Here is the complete tale in the English translation by Margaret Hunt (1884).


Knoist and His Three Sons -
the first and final version

BETWEEN Werrel and Soist there lived a man whose name was Knoist, and he had three sons. One was blind, the other lame, and the third stark-naked. Once on a time they went into a field, and there they saw a hare. The blind one shot it, the lame one caught it, the naked one put it in his pocket. Then they came to a mighty big lake, on which there were three boats, one sailed, one sank, the third had no bottom to it. They all three got into the one with no bottom to it. Then they came to a mighty big forest in which there was a mighty big tree; in the tree was a mighty big chapel--in the chapel was a sexton made of beech-wood and a box-wood parson, who dealt out holy-water with cudgels.

"How truly happy is that one
Who can from holy water run!"



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 ( 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 . . .


Knoist un sine dre Sühne

Twisken Werrel un Soist, do wuhnde ’n

1: Mann
7: Mann,

un de hede Knoist, de hadde dre Sühne, de eene was blind, de annre was lahm un de dridde was splenternaket. Do

1: gingen se mohl
7: giengen se mol

öwer Feld, do sehen se eenen Hasen. De blinne de schöt en, de lahme de fienk en, de nackede de stack en in de Tasken. Do käimen se für

1: een
7: en

groot allmächtig Waater, do wuren dre Schippe uppe, dat eene dat rann, dat annre dat sank, dat dridde, do was keen Buoden inne. Wo keen Buoden inne was, do

1: gingen
7: giengen

se olle dre

1: inne: do
7: inne. Do

käimen se an eenen allmächtig grooten Walle (Wald) , do was

1: een
7: en

groot allmächtig Boom inne, in den Boom was eene allmächtig groote Capelle, in de Capelle was een hageböcken Köster un

1: een
7: en

bußboomen Pastoer, de deelden dat Wiggewaater mit Knuppeln uit. Sielig is de Mann, de den Wiggewaater entlaupen kann.


























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