Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859) are nowadays simply known as "the brothers Grimm." They were born in the German state of Hesse and throughout the troubled years of the early nineteenth century they worked, under various rulers, as librarians.
The two had an ambitious plan to collect the traditional folk tales of Germany, which they considered in danger of being forgotten. Few of the tales were to be found in books—they were preserved by being told and re-told over the generations, from one person to another. They worked steadily on gathering the stories, relying on many sources: friends and neighbors, peasants and members of the upper classes—anyone who knew a story would do! The two hundred tales they assembled were published in two volumes, in 1812 and 1814, and include some of today's best-known folk tales. The stories cover all moods: some are funny, some are shockingly violent, but most are ageless because they tell truths about human nature.
The brothers continued to write, starting on a huge dictionary of the German language, but it is for their traditional tales that they are remembered.
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