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Brides on Their Tria
Grimm Märchen

Brides on Their Tria - Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm

Reading time for children: 3 min

There was once a young shepherd who wished much to marry, and was acquainted with three sisters who were all equally pretty, so that it was difficult to him to make a choice, and he could not decide to give the preference to any one of them. Then he asked his mother for advice, and she said, „Invite all three, and set some cheese before them, and watch how they eat it.“ The youth did so. The first, however, swallowed the cheese with the rind on. The second hastily cut the rind off the cheese, but she cut it so quickly that she left much good cheese with it, and threw that away also. The third peeled the rind off carefully, and cut neither too much nor too little. The shepherd told all this to his mother, who said, „Take the third for thy wife.“ This he did, and lived contentedly and happily with her.

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Backgrounds to fairy tale „Brides on their trial“

„Brides on Their Trial“ (also known as „Die Brautschau“ in German) is a lesser-known fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm collection. It can be found in their book „Children’s and Household Tales“ (Grimms‘ Fairy Tales), which contains over 200 stories. The tale is numbered as KHM 186 in the collection.

In „Brides on Their Trial,“ a young man is tasked with finding a suitable bride. He devises a test for potential brides, in which they must help him pick peas from the ashes of the fireplace. The trial is meant to assess the diligence, patience, and resourcefulness of the young women. Ultimately, the young man finds his perfect match in a maiden who passes the test and demonstrates these qualities.

The Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, were German scholars who collected and published traditional Germanic folklore and fairy tales in the early 19th century. They aimed to preserve the oral storytelling traditions of their time, and their collection has become one of the most famous and influential compilations of fairy tales worldwide.

Like other Grimm fairy tales, „Brides on Their Trial“ reflects the themes and motifs often found in their works, such as the importance of inner qualities, diligence, and patience. The story also highlights the societal expectations of the time concerning the ideal qualities of a wife.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Brides on their trial“

„Brides on Their Trial“ from the Brothers Grimm offers several interpretations and themes that can be explored. Here are some possible interpretations of this lesser-known fairy tale:

The importance of inner qualities: The story emphasizes the significance of inner qualities such as diligence, patience, and resourcefulness in finding a suitable partner. The young man’s test aims to reveal these traits in potential brides, highlighting the notion that compatibility is based on more than just external appearances.

Societal expectations and gender roles: The tale reflects the societal expectations and gender roles of the time, particularly concerning the ideal qualities of a wife. The test devised by the young man focuses on tasks related to household chores and domestic responsibilities, which were traditionally associated with women’s roles in the 19th century.

Patience and perseverance: The story illustrates the importance of patience and perseverance, as the successful bride demonstrates these virtues by meticulously picking the peas out of the ashes. This theme can also be applied more broadly to life situations, suggesting that success often comes to those who are willing to put in hard work and remain patient.

The process of choosing a life partner: „Brides on Their Trial“ provides an allegorical representation of the process of choosing a life partner. The young man’s test serves as a metaphor for the challenges and considerations involved in selecting a compatible spouse, emphasizing the need to look beyond superficial qualities.

Critique of superficiality: The tale can be interpreted as a critique of superficial judgments in the context of choosing a life partner. The young man devises a test to identify inner qualities instead of basing his decision solely on external appearances, suggesting that true compatibility lies beneath the surface.

Overall, „Brides on Their Trial“ provides valuable insights into the importance of inner qualities, societal expectations, and the process of selecting a life partner. The tale encourages readers to consider these themes in their own lives and to prioritize virtues like patience, diligence, and resourcefulness when making important decisions.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Brides on their trial“

„Brides on Their Trial“ is a lesser-known fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm collection, and as a result, there are fewer adaptations compared to more famous Grimm stories like „Cinderella“ or „Hansel and Gretel.“ However, some adaptations and reinterpretations of this story can still be found:

Illustrated editions and picture books: Illustrated versions of „Brides on Their Trial“ may be included in compilations of lesser-known Grimm’s fairy tales or as standalone picture books for younger readers. These editions often feature engaging artwork and simplified language to make the story accessible to a young audience.

Retellings and reinterpretations: Various authors and storytellers have reinterpreted or retold „Brides on Their Trial“ over the years, sometimes with modifications to the plot or characters. These retellings may offer new perspectives on the story’s themes or focus on different aspects of the tale.

Theater and puppet shows: Although there may not be many large-scale productions based on „Brides on Their Trial,“ smaller theater companies or puppet shows may have adapted the story for live performances. These adaptations often focus on the tale’s core themes, using music, dance, or puppetry to engage audiences.

Educational materials: Due to the moral lessons and themes present in the story, „Brides on Their Trial“ may be included in educational materials such as lesson plans, teaching guides, or discussion prompts. The story can serve as a starting point for exploring themes like patience, diligence, and inner qualities.

Audio recordings and storytelling podcasts: „Brides on Their Trial“ may be featured in audio recordings or storytelling podcasts focused on fairy tales or lesser-known Grimm stories. These adaptations bring the tale to life through engaging narration and sometimes include sound effects or music to enhance the listening experience.

While adaptations of „Brides on Their Trial“ may not be as widespread as those of more famous Grimm fairy tales, the story has still inspired various creative works that explore its themes and lessons in different formats and contexts.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Brides on their trial“

The fairy tale „Brides on their Trial,“ also known as „The Twelve Brothers,“ has been adapted in various forms of media over the years. Here are a few notable adaptations:

Operas: The fairy tale has been adapted into several operas, including „Die zwölf Brüder“ by Austrian composer Johann Joseph Abert and „Les douze frères“ by French composer Ernest Chausson.

Ballets: The story has also been adapted into ballets, including „The Twelve Brothers“ by American choreographer George Balanchine.

Films: The fairy tale has been adapted into several films, including the 1949 Soviet film „The Twelve Months“ and the 2013 German film „The 12th Day.“

TV Shows: The story has been adapted into several TV shows, including an episode of the animated TV series „Simsala Grimm“ and an episode of the live-action TV series „Once Upon a Time.“

Children’s Books: The tale has been adapted into many children’s books, including „The Twelve Brothers“ by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and „The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Other Fairy Tales“ by Andrew Lang.

Each adaptation brings its unique interpretation of the story and characters, but the fundamental themes and motifs remain consistent throughout.

Summary of the plot

In the fairy tale „Brides on Their Trial“ from the Brothers Grimm, a young man is searching for a suitable bride. To find a wife who possesses the inner qualities he values, he devises a test for potential brides. The test requires them to pick peas out of the ashes from a fireplace, a task that demands diligence, patience, and resourcefulness.

As various young women attempt the test, most fail to demonstrate the qualities the young man is looking for. Eventually, a maiden comes along who successfully passes the test by meticulously picking out the peas from the ashes. Impressed by her diligence, patience, and resourcefulness, the young man chooses her as his bride.

The story highlights the importance of inner qualities and virtues in selecting a life partner and serves as a reminder that compatibility goes beyond external appearances. Additionally, the tale reflects the societal expectations and gender roles of the time concerning the ideal qualities of a wife.


Backgrounds to fairy tale „Brides on their trial“

„Brides on their Trial“ is a lesser-known fairy tale from the collection of German folktales compiled by the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. The Brothers Grimm were prominent linguists and cultural researchers in the 19th century, and they gathered tales from various sources, including oral traditions and written works. Their collection, known as „Grimm’s Fairy Tales“ or „Children’s and Household Tales,“ contains over 200 stories, including more famous tales like „Cinderella,“ „Snow White,“ and „Hansel and Gretel.“

The Brothers Grimm aimed to preserve the German folk tradition and culture by documenting these stories, which had been passed down through generations. Their work not only served as a cultural record but also had a profound influence on literature, folklore, and storytelling across the world.

„Brides on their Trial“ is a short and straightforward tale, illustrating important life lessons through the simple act of eating cheese. While not as widely recognized as other Grimm stories, it still offers valuable insights into human nature, decision-making, and the importance of inner qualities over outer beauty. The story, like many other Grimm fairy tales, contains elements of wisdom and guidance, which serve as moral lessons for readers.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Brides on their trial“

„Brides on their Trial“ can be interpreted in various ways. Here are a few possible interpretations:

The importance of careful observation: The story highlights the importance of observing and understanding people’s behaviors before making a decision, especially in choosing a life partner. The mother’s advice helps the shepherd make an informed choice by examining the sisters‘ approach to a simple task.

Attention to detail: The way the sisters handle the cheese is symbolic of their personality and approach to life. The third sister’s careful and thoughtful approach to peeling the cheese shows that she is attentive to details and values resources, which are desirable qualities in a spouse and for managing a household.

Wisdom and guidance from elders: The shepherd seeks advice from his mother, who provides him with a simple but effective test to help him choose a suitable wife. This illustrates the value of listening to the wisdom and experience of our elders when making important decisions.

Inner qualities over outer beauty: While all three sisters are equally beautiful, the shepherd’s final decision is based on their actions and character rather than their physical appearance. This interpretation underscores the importance of valuing inner qualities over superficial beauty when selecting a life partner.

Prudence and balance: The third sister’s approach to removing the cheese rind demonstrates a balanced and measured approach to life. She is neither wasteful nor careless, and this quality makes her the ideal wife for the shepherd. The story serves as a reminder of the importance of prudence and balance in our daily lives.

Summary of the plot

„Brides on their Trial“ is a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm that tells the story of a young shepherd who is unsure of which of the three equally beautiful sisters he should marry. Seeking advice from his mother, she suggests he observe the sisters‘ actions while eating cheese. Following her advice, the shepherd invites the sisters over and serves them cheese. The first sister devours the cheese with the rind still on, while the second sister hastily removes the rind, but in her haste, she also wastes a significant portion of the cheese. The third sister, however, carefully peels off the rind, ensuring not to waste any of the cheese or take off too much. After reporting his observations to his mother, she recommends he marry the third sister. He does so and enjoys a happy, contented life with her.

Informations for scientific analysis

Fairy tale statistics
Readability Index by Björnsson29.1
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index80.7
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level6.8
Gunning Fog Index10.3
Coleman–Liau Index8.1
SMOG Index9.7
Automated Readability Index7.4
Character Count817
Letter Count630
Sentence Count8
Word Count155
Average Words per Sentence19,38
Words with more than 6 letters15
Percentage of long words9.7%
Number of Syllables195
Average Syllables per Word1,26
Words with three Syllables10
Percentage Words with three Syllables6.5%
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