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Grimm's Fairy Tales

The Gnome -

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

German title: Dat Erdmänneken
English title: The Gnome
English title: The Elf
English title: The Elves
Story position: Volume 2, Number 5
Story designation: KHM 91 ("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.)

The Gnome is written in a German dialect. Here are the nontrivial differences between the first and final versions using the English translation by Margaret Hunt (1884). We disregard spelling and punctuation updates.

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.

A highlighted ! in a section of text common to both versions indicates an exclamation appearing in the first version that was lost by the final version. There's just one. Other "!" are common to both versions, or introduced by the translator. When in doubt, check the original!


The Gnome [1] -
showing the significant differences between the first and final versions

THERE was once upon a time a rich King who had three daughters, who daily went to walk in the palace garden, and the King was a great lover of all kinds of fine trees, but there was one for which he had such an affection, that if anyone gathered an apple from it he wished him a hundred fathoms under ground. And when harvest time came, the apples on this tree were all as red as blood. The three daughters went every day beneath the tree, and looked to see if the wind had not blown down an apple, but they never by any chance found one, and the tree was so loaded with them that it was almost breaking, and the branches hung down to the ground. Then the King's youngest child had a great desire for an apple, and said to her sisters, "Our father loves us far too much to wish us underground, it is my belief that he would only do that to people who were strangers." And while she was speaking, the child plucked off quite a large apple, and ran to her sisters, saying, "Ah! just taste, my dear little sisters, for never in my life have I tasted anything so delightful." Then the two other sisters also ate some of the apple, whereupon all three sank

1:   deep, so


deep down into the earth, where they could hear no cock crow.

When mid-day came, the King wished to call them to come to dinner, but they were nowhere to be found. He sought them everywhere in the palace and garden, but could not find them. Then he was much troubled, and made known to the whole land that whosoever brought his daughters back again should have one of them to wife. Hereupon so many young men went about the country in search, that there was no counting them, for every one loved the three children because they were so kind to all, and so fair of face. Three young huntsmen also went out, and when they had travelled about for eight days, they arrived at a great castle, in which were beautiful apartments, and in one room a table was laid on which were delicate dishes which were still so warm that they were smoking, but in the whole of the castle no human being was either to be seen or heard. They waited there for half a day, and the food still remained

1:   and smoked, [2]

7:   warm and smoking,

and at length they were so hungry that they sat down and ate, and agreed with each other that they would stay and live in that castle, and that one of them, who should be chosen by casting lots, should remain in the house, and the two others seek the King's daughters. They cast lots, and the lot fell on the eldest; so next day the two younger went out to seek, and the eldest had to stay home. At mid-day came a small, small mannikin and begged for a piece of bread, then the hunts-man took the bread which he had found there, and cut a round off the loaf and was about to give it to him, but whilst he was giving it to the mannikin, the latter let it fall, and asked the huntsman to be so good as to give him that piece again. The huntsman was about to do so and stooped, on which the mannikin took a stick, seized him by the hair, and gave him a good beating. Next day, the second stayed at home, and he fared no better. When the two


7:   others

returned in the evening, the eldest said, "Well, how have you got on?"

"Oh, very badly," said he, and then they lamented their misfortune together, but they said nothing about it to the youngest, for they did not like him at all, and always called him Stupid Hans, because he did not exactly belong to the forest. On the third day, the youngest stayed at home, and again the little mannikin came and begged for a piece of bread. When the youth gave it to him, the elf let it fall as before, and asked him to be so good as to give him that piece again. Then said Hans to the little mannikin, "What! canst thou not pick up that piece thyself? If thou wilt not take as much trouble as that for thy daily bread, thou dost not deserve to have it." Then the mannikin grew very angry and said he was to do it, but the huntsman would not, and took my dear mannikin, and gave him a thorough beating. Then the mannikin screamed terribly, and cried, "Stop, stop, and let me go, and I will tell thee where the King's daughters are." When Hans heard that, he left off beating him and the mannikin told him that he was an earth-mannikin, and that there were more than a thousand like him, and that if he would go with him he would show him where the King's daughters were. Then he showed him a deep well, but there was no water in it. And the elf said that he knew well that the companions Hans had with him did not intend to deal honourably with him, therefore if he wished to deliver the King's children, he must do it alone. The two other brothers would also be very glad to recover the King's daughters, but they did not want to have any trouble or danger. Hans was therefore to take a large basket, and he must seat himself in it with his hanger and a bell, and be let down. Below were three rooms, and in each of them was a princess, with a many-headed dragon, whose heads she was to comb and trim, but he must cut them off. And having said all this, the elf vanished. When it was evening the two brothers came and asked how he had got on, and he said, "pretty well so far," and that he had seen no one except at mid-day when a little mannikin had come who had begged for a piece of bread, that he had given some to him, but that the mannikin had let it fall and had asked him to pick it up again; but as he did not choose to do that, the elf had begun to lose his temper, and that he had done what he ought not, and had given the elf a beating, on which he had told him where the King's daughters were. Then the two were so angry at this that they grew green and yellow. Next morning they went to the well together, and drew lots who should first seat himself in the basket, and again the lot fell on the eldest, and he was to seat himself in it, and take the bell with him. Then he said, "If I ring, you must draw me up again immediately." When he had gone down for a short distance, he rang, and they at once drew him up again. Then the second seated himself in the basket, but he did just the same as the first, and then it was the turn of the youngest, but he let himself be lowered quite to the bottom. When he had got out of the basket, he took his hanger, and went and stood outside the first door and listened, and heard the dragon snoring quite loudly. He opened the door slowly, and one of the princesses was sitting there, and had nine dragon's heads lying upon her lap, and was combing them. Then he took his hanger and hewed at them, and the nine fell off. The princess sprang up, threw her arms round his neck, embraced and kissed him repeatedly, and took her stomacher, which was made of Red gold, and hung it round his neck. Then he went to the second princess, who had a dragon with five heads to comb, and delivered her also, and to the youngest, who had a dragon with four heads, he went likewise. And they all rejoiced, and embraced him and kissed him without stopping. Then he rang very loud, so that those above heard him, and he placed the princesses one after the other in the basket, and had them all drawn up, but when it came to his own turn he remembered the words of the elf, who had told him that his comrades did not mean well by him. So he took a great stone which was lying there, and placed it in the basket, and when it was about half way up, his false brothers above cut the rope, so that the basket with the stone fell to the ground, and they thought that he was dead, and ran away with the three princesses, making them promise to tell their father that it was they who had delivered them, and then they went to the King, and each demanded a princess in marriage.

In the meantime the youngest huntsman was wandering about the three chambers in great trouble, fully expecting to have to end his days there, when he saw, hanging on the wall, a flute; then said he, "Why dost thou hang there, no one can be merry here?" He looked at the dragons' heads likewise and said, "You too cannot help me now." He walked backwards and forwards for such a long time that he made the surface of the ground quite smooth. But at last other thoughts came to his mind, and he took the flute from the wall, and played a few notes on it, and suddenly a number of elves appeared, and with every note that he sounded one more came. Then he played until the room was entirely filled. They all asked what he desired, so he said he wished to get above ground back to daylight, on which they seized him by every hair that grew on his head, and thus they flew with him on to the earth again. When he was above ground, he at once went to the King's palace, just as the wedding of one princess was about to be celebrated, and he went to the room where the King and his three daughters were. When the princesses saw him they fainted. Hereupon the King was angry, and ordered him to be put in prison at once, because he thought he must have done some injury to the children. When the princesses came to themselves, however, they entreated the King to set him free again. The King asked why, and they said that they were not allowed to tell that, but their father said that they were to tell it to the stove. And he went out, listened at the door, and heard everything. Then he caused the two brothers to be hanged on the gallows, and to the third he gave his youngest daughter, and on that occasion I wore a pair of glass shoes, and I struck them against a stone, and they said, "Klink!" and were broken.

[1] Hunt's title was "The Elves". "The Gnome" is the title used in the Pantheon edition of the complete Grimm tales, translated by Margaret Hunt and with corrections by James Stern. "Gnome" does seem much better for "earth mannikin".
[2] In the first version, was the omission of "warme" this second go-round intentional, or a typo?



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 . . .


Dat Erdmänneken

Et was mal en rik Künig west, de hadde drei Döchter had, de wören alle Dage in den

1: Schlott-Goren spazeren gaan,
7: Schlottgoren spazeren gaen,

un de Künig, dat was so en

1: Lievhaber
7: Leivhawer

von allerhand wackeren Bömen

1: west;
7: west:

un einen, den hadde he so leiv had, dat he denjenigen, de

1: ünne
7: ümme

en Appel dervon plückede, hunnerd Klafter unner de Eere verwünschede.

1: As
7: Als

et nu Hervest war, da

1: wurden
7: worden

de Appel an den

1: eine Baume so raut,
7: einen Baume so raut

ase Blaud. De drei Döchter gungen alle Dage unner den Baum un

1: seken to,
7: seihen to

ov nig de Wind ’n Appel herunner schlagen hädde, awerst se fannen ir

1: levedage
7: Levedage

kienen, un de

1: Baum,
7: Baum

de satt so vull, dat he

1: brecken
7: breken

wull, un de Telgen (Zweige) hungen bis up de Eere. Da gelustede den jungesten Künigskinne

1: gewaldig,
7: gewaldig

un et segde to sinen

1: Süstern:
7: Süstern

»use Teite (Vater) , de hett us viel to leiv, ase dat he us verwünschen

1: deihe; ik glöve,
7: deihe: ik glöve

dat he dat nur wegen de frümden Lude dahen hat.« Un indes plücked dat Kind en gans dicken Appel af un sprunk fur sinen Süstern

1: und segde: »a!
7: un segde »a,

nu schmecket mal, mine lewen Süsterkes, nu hew ik doch min

1: levedage so wat schönes
7: Levedage so wat schones

no nig schmecket.« Da beeten de beiden annern Künigsdöchter auch mal in den Appel, un da versünken se alle drei

1: deip, so

deip unner de Eere, dat kien Haan mer danach

1: krehete.
7: krähete.

As et da Middag is, da

1: willt
7: wull

se de Künig do Diske roopen, do sind se

1: nirgens to finnen,
7: [1] nirgends to finnen:

he söket se so viel im Schlott un in

1: Goren;
7: Goren,

awerst he kun se nig finnen. Da werd he so

1: bedröwet,
7: bedröwet

un let dat ganse Land upbeien (aufbieten) , un wer ünne sine Döchter wier brechte, de sull ene davon tor Fruen hewen. Da gahet so viele junge Lude uwer

1: Feld,
7: Feld

un söket, dat is gans ut der

1: Wise
7: Wiese

(über alle Maßen)

1: ;
7: ,

denn jeder hadde de drei Kinner geren had, wiil se wören gegen jedermann so fründlig un so schön von Angesichte west.

1: Und
7: Un

et togen auck drei

1: Jäger-burschen
7: Jägerburschen

ut, un ase da wol en acht Dage

1: riefet
7: rieset

hadden, da kummet se up en grot

1: Schlott,
7: Schlot,

da woren so hübsche Stoben inne west, un in

1: einer
7: einen

Zimmer is en Disch decket, darup wören so söte Spisen, de sied noch so

1: warme,
7: warme

dat se dampet, awerst in den ganzen Schlott is kien Minsk to hören noch to seihen.

1: Da
7: Do

wartet se noch en halwen Dag, un de

1: Spisen bliewet immer
7: Spiesen bliewet immer warme

un dampet, bis up et lest, da weret se so

1: hunerig,
7: hungerig,

dat se sik derbie settet un

1: ettet
7: ettet,

un macket mit en anner ut, se

1: wullen
7: wüllen

up den Schlotte wuhnen bliewen, un wüllen darümme loosen, dat eine in Huse blev un de beiden annern de Dochter söketen; dat doet se

1: auk,
7: auck,

un dat Loos dreppet den ölesten. Den annern

1: Dag,
7: Dag

da gaet de twei jüngesten söken, un de öleste mot to Huse bliewen. Am Middage kümmt der so en klein klein Männeken un hölt um ’n

1: Stukesken
7: Stükesken

Braud ane, da nümmt he von dem Braude, wat he da funnen

1: hädde
7: hädde,

un schnitt en Stücke rund umme den Braud

1: weg,
7: weg

un will ünne dat giewen, indes dat he et ünne reiket, lett et dat kleine Männeken fallen un

1: segd,
7: segd

he sulle dok so gut sin un giewen ün dat Stücke wier. Da will he dat auck doen un bucket sik, mit des nümmt dat Männeken en Stock un päckt ünne bie den Haaren un giwt ünne

1: düchtige
7: düete

Schläge. Den anneren Dag, da is de tweide to Hus bliewen, den geit et nicks

1: better; ase de tweide
7: better. Ase de beiden annern

da den Avend nah Hus kümmet, da segd de

1: öleste:
7: öleste

»no, wie hätt et die dann gaen?«

1: – »o et geit wie
7: »O, et geit mie

gans schlechte.« Da klaget se sik enanner

1: ehre
7: ere

Naud, awerst den jungesten hadden se nicks davonne sagd, den hadden se gar nig lien (leiden) mogt

1: und hadden ünne jümmer
7: un hadden ünne jummer

den dummen Hans heiten, weil he nig recht van de Weld was. Den

1: driden
7: dritten

Dag, da blivt de

1: jüngeste
7: jungeste

to Hus, da kümmet dat kleine Männeken wier un hölt um en Stücksken Braud

1: an,
7: an;

da he ünne

1: da
7: dat

giewen hätt, let he et wier fallen un

1: segd, he mögte
7: segd he mügte

dock so gut sien

1: und
7: un

reicken ünne dat Stücksken wier. Da segd he to den kleinen

1: Männeken:
7: Männeken

»wat! kannst du dat Stücke nig sulwens wier up

1: nummen,
7: nümmen,

wenn du die de Möhe nig mal um dine

1: däglige
7: dägliche

Narunge giewen wust, so bist du auck

1: nig
7: nich

werth, dat du et etest.«

1: Do
7: Da

word dat Männeken so bös

1: und sehde,
7: un sehde

he möst et

1: doen;
7: doen:

he awerst nig fuhl, nam min lewe Männeken un drosch et

1: daet
7: duet

dör (tüchtig durch)

1: , da schrige
7: . Da schriege

dat Männeken so viel un

1: rep:
7: rep

»hör up, hör up,

1: nu
7: un

lat mie geweren, dann will ik die auck

1: seggen,
7: seggen

wo de Künigsdöchter

1: sied;« wie
7: sied.« Wie

he dat hörde, häll

1: he up to slaen
7: hei up to slaen,

un dat Männeken

1: vertelde,
7: vertelde

he wör en

1: Erdmänneken un sulke wören
7: Erdmänneken, un sulke wären

mehr ase dusend, he mögte man mit ünne gaen, dann wulle he ünne

1: wiesen,
7: wiesen

wo de Künigsdöchter weren. Da wist he ünne en deipen Born, da is awerst kien Water inne

1: west, da segd dat Männeken, he wuste wohl,
7: west. Da segd dat Männeken he wuste wohl

dat et sine Gesellen nig ehrlich mit ünne meinten, wenn he de Künigskinner erlösen wulle, dann möste he et alleine doen. De beiden annern

1: Bröer
7: Broer

wullen wohl auck geren de Künigsdöchter wier hewen, awerst se wullen der kiene Möge un Gefahr umme doen, he möste so en grauten Korv nümmen, un möste sik mit

1: finen
7: sinen

Hirschfänger un en Schelle darinne setten un sik

1: herunner winnen laten,
7: herunter winnen laten:

unnen da wören drei Zimmer, in jeden sette ein Künigskind un hädde en Drachen mit villen

1: köppen
7: Köppen

to lusen, den möste he de Köppe afschlagen. Ase dat Erdmänneken

1: nun
7: nu dat

alle sagd hadde, verschwand et. Ase’t Awend is, da kümmet de beiden

1: anneren un fraget,
7: annern un fraget

wie et ün

1: goen
7: gaen

hädde, da segd

1: he;
7: he

»o, so wit

1: gud«
7: gud,«

un hädde keinen Minsken sehen, ase des Middags, da wer so ein klein Männeken kummen, de hädde ün umme en Stücksken Braud biddit, do he et ünne giewen hädde,

1: häddet
7: hädde

dat Männeken et fallen laten un hädde

1: segd, he mogtet
7: segd he mögtet

ünne doch wier up nümmen, wie he dat nig

1: hadde
7: hädde

doen wullt, da hädde

1: he
7: et

anfangen to puchen, dat hädde he awerst unrecht verstan un hädde dat Männeken prügelt, un da hädde et ünne

1: vertellt,
7: vertellt

wo de Künigsdöchter wären. Da ärgerten sik de

1: beiden,
7: beiden

so viel, dat se gehl un grön wören. Den

1: anneren
7: annern

Morgen da gungen se to haupe an den Born un mackten Loose,

1: we
7: wer

sik dat erste in den Korv setten sulle,

1: do
7: da

feel dat Loos wier den öllesten to, he mot sik darin setten un de

1: Klinget mitniemen, da segd he:
7: Klingel mitnümmen. Da segd he

»wenn ik klingele, so

1: mütt
7: mutt

gi mik nur geschwinne wier herupwinnen.« Ase he en bitken herunner is, da klingelte wat, da winnen se ünne wier

1: heruper,
7: heruper:

da sett sik de tweide herinne, de maket ewen

1: sau;
7: sau:

nu kümmet dann auck de Riege an den

1: jüngesten,
7: jungesten,

de lät sik awerst gans

1: derinne
7: drinne

runner winnen. Ase he ut den

1: Korwe stigen
7: Korve stiegen

is, da nümmet he sinen Hirschfänger un geit vor der ersten Doer staen un lustert, da hort he den Drachen gans lute

1: schnarchen; he
7: schnarchen. He

macket langsam de Döre oppen, da sitt da de eine Künigsdochter un häd op eren Schot niegene (neun) Drachenköppe ligen un luset de. Da nümmet he sinen Hirschfänger un hogget to,

1: do sied de niegene Köppe
7: da siet de niegne Koppe

awe. De Künigsdochter

1: sprunk
7: sprank

up un fäl ünne um den Hals un drucket un piepete (küßte) ünn so

1: viel;
7: viel,

un nümmet ihr Bruststücke, dat wor von rauen Golle west, un henget ünne dat umme. Da geit he auck nach der

1: tweiten
7: tweiden

Künigsdochter, de häd en Drachen mit sieven Köppe to lusen un erlöset de auck, so de jungeste, de hadde en Drachen mit viere Köppen to lusen had, da geit he auck hinne. Do froget se sich alle so viel, un

1: drucke’n un piepete’n
7: drucketen un piepeten

ohne uphören. Da klingelte he sau harde, bis dat se

1: öwen
7: owen

hört. Da set he de

1: Künigsdochter
7: Künigsdöchter

ein nach der annern in den Korv un let se alle drei heruptrecken, wie nu an ünne de Riege kümmt, da fallet ün de Woore (Worte) von den Erdmänneken wier bie, dat et sine Gesellen mit ünne nig

1: gud
7: gut

meinden. Da nümmet he en groten Stein, de da

1: ligt, un lägt
7: ligt un legt

ün in den Korv, ase de

1: Korp da ungefär
7: Korv da ungefähr

bis in de Midde herup is, schnien de falsken Broer owen

1: de
7: dat

Strick af, dat de Korv mit den Stein up den Grund

1: füll un meinten,
7: füll, un meinten

he wöre nu

1: daude
7: daude,

un laupet mit de drei Künigsdöchter wege un latet sik dervan

1: verspreken,
7: verspreken

dat se an ehren

1: vater seggen willt,
7: Vater seggen willt

dat se beiden se erlöset hädden; da kümmet se

1: to Künig
7: tom Künig,

un begert se tor Frugen.

1: Unnerdes
7: Unnerdies

geit de jungeste Jägerbursche gans bedröwet in den drei Kammern

1: herümmer un denket,
7: herummer un denket

dat he nu wull sterwen möste, da süht he an der Wand ’n Fleutenpipe hangen, da segd

1: he: »woumme
7: he »worümme

hengest du da wull, hier kann ja doch keiner lustig

1: sin.«
7: sin?«

He bekucket auck de

1: Drachenköppe un segd: »ju kummt
7: Drachenköppe, un segd »ju künnt

mie nu auck nig

1: helpen;« he
7: helpen.« He

geit so mannigmal up un af spatzeren, dat de Erdboden davon glat werd. Up et lest, da

1: krieht
7: kriegt

he annere Gedanken, da nümmet he de

1: Flötenpipen
7: Fleutenpipen

van der Wand un blest en Stücksken, up eenmahl kummet da so viele

1: Erdmännekes, bie jeden Don
7: Erdmännekens, bie jeden Don,

den he däht, kummt eint

1: mehr;
7: mehr:

da blest he so lange dat Stücksken, bis det Zimmer

1: stopte-vull is. De vraget alle,
7: stopte vull is. De fraget alle

wat sin Begeren wöre, da segd

1: he,
7: he

he wull geren wier up de Ere an Dages Licht, da fatten

1: se
7: sie

ünne alle an, an jeden Spir (Faden) Haar, wat he up sinen Koppe hadde, un sau

1: fleigen
7: fleiget

se mit ünne herupper

1: bis
7: his

up de Ere. Wie he owen is, geit he glick nach den

1: Künigs-Schlott,
7: Künigsschlott,

wo grade de Hochtit mit der einen

1: Künigs-Dochter sin sulle, he
7: Künigsdochter sin sulle, un

geit up den Zimmer, wo de Künig mit sinen drei Döchtern is. Wie ünne da de Kinner seihet, da wered se gans

1: beschwähmt (ohnmächtig) , da
7: beschwämt (ohnmächtig) . Da

werd de Künig so böse un

1: lät
7: let

ünne glick in een

1: Gefängniße setten, wiel he meint,
7: Gefängnisse setten, weil he meint

he hädde den Kinnern en Leid anne daen. Ase awer de Künigsdöchter wier to sik kummt, da biddet se so

1: viel,
7: viel

he mogte ünne doch wier lose laten. De Künig fraget

1: se,
7: se

worümme, da segd

1: se,
7: se

dat se dat nig vertellen dorften, awerst de Vaer de

1: segd, se sulken et den
7: segd se sullen et en

Owen (Ofen) vertellen. Da geit he herut un lustert an de

1: Döre, un hört alles; da
7: Döre un hört alles. Da

lät he de beiden an en Galgen

1: hängen
7: hängen,

un den einen givt he de jungeste

1: Dochter;
7: Dochter:

un da trok ik en

1: paar
7: Paar

gläserne Schohe an,

1: und
7: un

da stott ik an en Stein, da segd

1: et: klink! da wären
7: et »klink!« da wören

se caput.


























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