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Grimm's Fairy Tales

The Beam -

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

 
German title: Der Hahnenbalken
English title: The Beam
Story position: Volume 2, Number 63
Story designation: KHM 149 ("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 Beam 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 Beam* -
showing the significant differences between the first and final versions

THERE was once an enchanter who was standing in the midst of a great crowd of people performing his wonders. He had a cock brought in, which lifted a heavy beam and carried it as if it were as light as a feather. But a girl was present who had just found a four-leaved clover, and had thus become so wise that no deception could stand out against her, and she saw that the beam was nothing but a straw. So she cried,

1:   "Aha! You people,

7:   "You people,

do you not see that it is a straw that the cock is carrying, and no beam?" Immediately the enchantment vanished, and the people saw what it was, and drove the magician away in shame and disgrace. He, however, full of inward anger, said, "I will soon revenge myself?"

After some time the girl's wedding-day came, and she was decked out, and went in a great procession over the fields to the place where the church was. All at once she came to a stream which was very much swollen, and there was no bridge and no plank to cross it. Then the bride nimbly took her clothes up, and wanted to wade through it. And just as she was thus standing in the water, a man, and it was the enchanter, cried mockingly close beside her, "Aha! Where are thine eyes that thou takest that for water?" Then her eyes were opened, and she saw that she was standing with her clothes lifted up in the middle of a field that was blue with the flowers of blue flax. Then all the people saw it likewise, and chased her away with ridicule and laughter.

 
*Hahnenbalken (collar beam). This is technically the upper tie- beam or collar of the rafters of a roof, but as in small houses the roof is open and fowls are allowed to roost on it, its name with cottagers is naturally the hen-beam. TR.

 

***

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 Hahnenbalken

Es war einmal ein Zauberer, der stand mitten in einer großen Menge Volks und vollbrachte seine

1: Wunderdinge, da
7: Wunderdinge. Da

ließ er auch einen Hahn

1: einher schreiten,
7: einherschreiten,

der hob einen schweren Balken und trug

1: ihn, als wär’
7: ihn als wäre

er federleicht. Nun war aber ein Mädchen, das hatte eben ein vierblättriges Kleeblatt

1: gefunden,
7: gefunden

und war dadurch klug geworden, so daß kein Blendwerk vor ihm bestehen konnte, und

1: es sah,
7: sah

daß der Balken nichts

1: war,
7: war

als ein Strohhalm. Da rief

1: es: »Ei, ihr Leute
7: es »ihr Leute,

seht ihr nicht, das ist ein bloßer Strohhalm und kein Balken, was der Hahn da trägt.« Alsbald verschwand der Zauber, und die Leute sahen was es

1: war,
7: war

und jagten den Hexenmeister mit Schimpf und Schande

1: fort, er aber sprach voll Zorn innerlich: »Ich
7: fort. Er aber, voll innerlichen Zornes, sprach »ich

will mich schon rächen.«

1: –
7:

Nach einiger Zeit hielt das Mädchen Hochzeit, war

1: geputzt, und ging
7: geputzt und gieng

in einem großen Zug über das Feld nach dem Ort, wo die Kirche stand. Auf einmal kamen sie an einen stark angeschwollenen Bach, und war keine Brücke und kein

1: Steg
7: Steg,

darüber zu gehen. Da war die Braut flink, hob ihre Kleider auf und wollte durchwaten. Wie sie nun eben im Wasser so steht, ruft ein

1: Mann
7: Mann,

und das war der

1: Zauberer
7: Zauberer,

neben ihr ganz

1: spöttisch: »Ei,
7: spöttisch »ei!

wo hast du deine Augen, daß du das für ein Wasser

1: hältst.« Da gingen
7: hältst?« Da giengen

ihr die Augen

1: auf und sie sah,
7: auf, und sie sah

daß sie mit ihren aufgehobenen Kleidern mitten in einem blaublühenden Flachsfeld stand. Da sahen es die Leute auch allesammt und jagten sie mit Schimpf und Gelächter fort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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