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Grimm's Fairy Tales

The Old Man and His Grandson -

a comparison of the first version (1812)
with the final version (1857)

 
German title: Der alte Großvater und der Enkel
English title: The Old Man and His Grandson
English title: The Old Grandfather and the Grandson
English title: The Old Grandfather's Corner
Story position: Volume 1, Number 78
Story designation: KHM 78 ("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 Old Man and His Grandson 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 Old Man and His Grandson -
showing the significant differences between the first and final versions

THERE was once

1:   an old man, who could hardly move, his knees trembled, he could hear and see not much, and also had no more teeth,

7:   a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull of hearing, his knees trembled,

and when he sat at table he could hardly hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth or let it run out of his mouth. His son and his son's wife were disgusted at this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove, and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not even enough of it. And he used to look towards the table with his eyes full of tears. Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl, and it fell to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but he said nothing and only sighed. Then they bought him a wooden bowl for a few half-pence, out of which he had to eat.

They were once sitting thus when the little grandson of four years old began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. "What are you doing there?" asked the father.

1:   "Oh, I am

7:   "I am

making a little trough," answered the child, "for father and mother to eat out of when I am big." The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and hence- forth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if he did spill a little of anything.

 

***

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 alte Großvater und der Enkel

Es war einmal ein

1: alter Mann, der konnte kaum gehen, seine Knie zitterten, er hörte und sah nicht viel und hatte auch keine Zähne mehr.
7: steinalter Mann, dem waren die Augen trüb geworden, die Ohren taub, und die Knie zitterten ihm.

Wenn er nun bei

1: Tisch saß,
7: Tische saß

und den Löffel kaum halten konnte, schüttete er Suppe auf das Tischtuch, und es floß ihm auch etwas wieder aus dem Mund. Sein Sohn und dessen Frau ekelten sich davor, und deswegen mußte sich der alte Großvater endlich hinter den Ofen in die Ecke setzen, und sie gaben ihm sein Essen in ein irdenes

1: Schüsselchen,
7: Schüsselchen

und noch dazu nicht einmal

1: satt,
7: satt;

da sah er betrübt nach dem Tisch, und die Augen wurden ihm naß. Einmal auch konnten seine zitterigen Hände das Schüsselchen nicht fest halten, es fiel zur Erde und zerbrach. Die junge Frau schalt, er

1: aber sagte
7: sagte aber

nichts und seufzte nur. Da

1: kauften
7: kaufte

sie ihm ein hölzernes Schüsselchen für ein paar Heller, daraus mußte er nun

1: essen: wie sie nun
7: essen. Wie sie

da so sitzen, so trägt der kleine Enkel von vier Jahren auf der Erde kleine Brettlein zusammen. »Was machst du da?«

1: fragt der Vater. »Ei,
7: fragte der Vater. »Ich mache ein Tröglein,«

antwortete das Kind,

1: ich mach ein Tröglein, daraus
7: »daraus

sollen Vater und Mutter essen, wenn ich groß bin.« Da sahen sich Mann und Frau eine Weile an,

1: fangen
7: fiengen

endlich an zu weinen, holten alsofort den alten Großvater an den

1: Tisch,
7: Tisch

und ließen ihn von nun an immer mit essen, sagten auch

1: nichts,
7: nichts

wenn er ein wenig verschüttete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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