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Grimm's Fairy Tales

A Riddling Tale -

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

 
German title (1815): Räthsel-Märchen
German title (1857): Räthselmärchen
English title: A Riddling Tale
English title: A Tale with a Riddle
Story position (first edition): Volume 2, Number 69
Story position (final edition): Volume 2, Number 76
Story designation: KHM 160 ("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.)

There are no substantive differences between the first and final versions of A Riddling Tale. 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).

 

A Riddling Tale -
the first and final version

THREE women were transformed into flowers which grew in the field, but one of them was allowed to be in her own home at night. Then once when day was drawing near, and she was forced to go back to her companions in the field and become a flower again, she said to her husband, "If thou wilt come this afternoon and gather me, I shall be set free and henceforth stay with thee." And he did so. Now the question is, how did her husband know her, for the flowers were exactly alike, and without any difference? Answer: as she was at her home during the night and not in the field, no dew fell on her as it did on the others, and by this her husband knew her.

 

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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: Räthsel-Märchen
7: Räthselmärchen

Drei Frauen waren verwandelt in Blumen, die auf dem Felde standen, doch deren eine

1: durft
7: durfte

des Nachts in ihrem Hause

1: seyn.
7: sein.

Da sprach sie auf eine Zeit zu ihrem Mann, als sich der Tag nahete und sie wiederum zu ihren Gespielen auf das Feld gehen und eine Blume werden

1: mußt:
7: mußte,

»so du heute Vormittag kommst und mich abbrichst,

1: werd’
7: werde

ich erlöst und fürder bei dir bleiben;« als dann auch

1: geschahe.
7: geschah.

Nun ist die Frage, wie sie ihr Mann erkannt habe, so die Blumen ganz gleich und ohne Unterschied waren?

1: Antwort: dieweil
7: Antwort, »dieweil

sie die Nacht in ihrem Haus und nicht auf dem Feld war, fiel der Thau nicht auf sie, als auf die andern zwei,

1: darbei
7: dabei

sie der Mann

1: erkannte.
7: erkannte.«

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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