The Turnip Princess And Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales

Paperback | February 24, 2015

byFranz Xaver Von SchonwerthEditorErika EichenseerTranslated byMaria Tatar

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A rare discovery in the world of fairy tales—now for the first time in English

Move over, Cinderella: Make way for the Turnip Princess! And for the “Cinderfellas” in these stories, which turn our understanding of gender in fairy tales on its head.


With this volume, the holy trinity of fairy tales—the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen—becomes a quartet. In the 1850s, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth traversed the forests, lowlands, and mountains of northern Bavaria to record fairy tales, gaining the admiration of even the Brothers Grimm. Most of Schönwerth's work was lost—until a few years ago, when thirty boxes of manu­scripts were uncovered in a German municipal archive. Now, for the first time, Schönwerth's lost fairy tales are available in English. Violent, dark, and full of action, and upending the relationship between damsels in distress and their dragon-slaying heroes, these more than seventy stories bring us closer than ever to the unadorned oral tradition in which fairy tales are rooted, revolutionizing our understanding of a hallowed genre.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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From the Publisher

A rare discovery in the world of fairy tales—now for the first time in EnglishMove over, Cinderella: Make way for the Turnip Princess! And for the “Cinderfellas” in these stories, which turn our understanding of gender in fairy tales on its head.With this volume, the holy trinity of fairy tales—the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and...

Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) had a successful career in law and the Bavarian royal court before devoting himself full-time to cataloging the customs and folktales of his homeland. Erika Eichenseer (editor) is the director of the Franz Xaver von Schönwerth Society. She lives in Germany. Maria Tatar (translator and introducer) ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 7.8 × 5.1 × 0.7 inPublished:February 24, 2015Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143107429

ISBN - 13:9780143107422

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"Prince Dung Beetle"There was once a poor girl named Barbara, whose mother was ill. she had to run over to the doctor and druggist for help. On the way, she jumped across a paving stone and slipped, almost flattening a dung  beetle. When  she realized that  she had sprained her ankle,  she felt terrible and cried out: “Now who is going to bring back the doctor? My mother is going to die!”The beetle muttered: “Climb up on my back.” Startled by the strange voice, the girl began to sob uncontrollably. The beetle slid right under her, spread its wings, and lifted her up in the air, carrying her to the doctor and druggist in a flash and then back home to her mother.“You must be sure to feed your little horse,” the mother said to  her  daughter  while  they  were eating bread and sipping water.“Yes, of course, but my little horse seems to have wandered away,” Barbara said. She searched every corner of the house and looked out all the windows. Suddenly one of the king’s horsemen appeared on the horizon, riding toward them.“Oh, that must be the Blue Prince,” the mother called out, as if he were  an  old  friend. The door  flew open, and  the prince marched right in, looking radiantly young and handsome. He greeted  the  mother warmly, and  then  he looked  at  the  young woman, took her by the hand, and said: “You lifted the curse on me, and I want to thank you by giving you everything i own.” Barbara did not know what todo, and she looked first at the prince, then at her mother. she was afraid of the stranger. But he explained what had happened to him: “For many years, more years than there are trees in the woods, I have been living as a beetle, crawling around in dust and refuse, beaten  down, crushed, tortured, and in pain, all because I did the same things to animals when I was a boy. My punishment was to turn into a beast and to suffer as they do. You took pity on me, miserable beetle that I was, and that’s how you lifted the curse. I want to ask your mother for the hand of the angel who saved me!” The girl turned pale, and both mother and daughter were deeply moved. The prince threw open the shutters and blew on his horn. The mountains wafted the melody over the forests, and everything there awakened and came alive. Barbara and her mother began  to realize that the many people who had  suddenly  appeared with horses and carts were the prince’s subjects, and they, too, had been rescued by the love of a simple young woman. The mother was soon healed, and her beautiful, rosy-cheeked daughter joyfully accepted the prince’s proposal.At the wedding, the fleas played the fiddle, the birds whistled tunes, and all creatures with feet, large and small, danced and leaped through the air.

Editorial Reviews

One of NPR’s Best Books of the Year“The tales are fascinating— . . . they have all their original, fiercely oddball appeal.” —NPR, “Best Books of the Year”“Bawdier, racier and significantly more scatological than the collection the Grimms published.” —Laura Miller, Salon“This stunning fairy-tale find is grimmer than Grimm. . . . Here is real treasure. Just watch out for the witch.” —The Washington Post“Schönwerth’s tales have a compositional fierceness and energy rarely seen in stories gathered by the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault.” —The New Yorker“In the hands of renowned folklorist and scholar Maria Tatar, these seventy-two stories come to life with a snappy matter-of-factness, racing with palpable energy through fantasy landscapes that always feel close to home.” —NPR.org“Lively and lucid.” —Marina Warner, The New York Review of Books“[A] parade of giants, gnomes, kings, and witches . . . Anyone familiar with Disney or the Grimms will be surprised by these brief, enigmatic tales. . . . They teach us to read for the simple thrill of the tales themselves, their humor and their zest. . . . In their simple charm and wild imagination they remind us of the foundation of literature itself: the impulse to entertain.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette“[This] new collection of German folk stories . . . challenges preconceptions about many of the most commonly known fairytales. . . . Many of the stories centre around surprisingly emancipated female characters.” —The Guardian “Schönwerth’s legacy counts as the most significant collection in the German-speaking world in the nineteenth century.” —Daniel Drascek, University of Regensburg“These eminently enjoyable tales offer a rich new take on the material of the Grimms and Andersen. . . . The tales are vigorous, direct, and less artful then those of the Grimms, suggesting greater authenticity, closer to the source.” —Library Journal