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Google honors books of Brothers Grimm

Today's Google Doodle honors Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the German brothers who sought out folk tales and published them in collections that included many of our most popular "fairy tales." You won't find many fairies in the stories -- but plenty of big, bad wolves and evil step-sisters.

The brothers, who were trained as lawyers, published hundreds of folk tales in Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales) and Deutsche Sagen, a collection of German legends, in the early 19th Century, according to a biography compiled by the University of Pittsburgh. Google is marking the 200th anniversary of the first publication.

The timeless tales live on in Disney-sized, popular versions, including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, the Tortoise and the Hare, and Snow White.

The Grimm's tales sometimes had a very grim side, as well. The Jew in the Thorns, for example, was based on many of the anti-Semitic legends that spread around Christian-dominated countries such as Germany and Austria. It's a sad, and often overlooked, part of the folklore the brothers preserved for posterity.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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