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Domestic servants
Grimm Märchen

Domestic servants - Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm

Reading time for children: 2 min

„Whither goest thou?“

„To Walpe.“

„I to Walpe, thou to Walpe, so, so, together we’ll go.“

„Hast thou a man? What is his name?“


„My man Cham, thy man Cham. I to Walpe, thou to Walpe; so, so, together we’ll go.“

„Hast thou a child? How is he styled?“


„My child Wild, thy child Wild; my man Cham, thy man Cham. I to Walpe, thou to Walpe, so, so, together we’ll go.“

„Hast thou a cradle? How callest thou thy cradle?“


„My cradle Hippodadle, my child Wild, thy child Wild, my man Cham, thy man Cham. I to Walpe, thou to Walpe, so, so, together we’ll go.“

„Hast thou also a drudge? What name has thy drudge?“

„From-thy-work- do-not-budge.“

„My drudge, From-thy-work-do-not-budge; my child Wild, thy child Wild; my man Cham, thy man Cham. I to Walpe, thou to Walpe; so, so, together we’ll go.“

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Backgrounds to fairy tale „Domestic servants“

„Domestic Servants“ is a lesser-known fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. The Brothers Grimm were German academics, linguists, and cultural researchers who gathered and published a collection of folklore during the 19th century, aiming to preserve and share the traditional stories of their culture.

Their most famous work, „Grimm’s Fairy Tales“ (originally titled „Children’s and Household Tales“ or „Kinder- und Hausmärchen“ in German), was first published in 1812. The collection has since become one of the most popular and influential works of folklore in the world. It includes over 200 stories, many of which have become household names, such as „Cinderella,“ „Snow White,“ „Rapunzel,“ and „Hansel and Gretel.“

„Domestic Servants“ stands out from many other Grimm’s tales due to its brevity, simplicity, and lack of a traditional narrative structure. Instead, it focuses on a series of encounters and conversations between two characters, revealing the shared aspects of their lives as they journey together.

The story also differs from other Grimm’s tales in that it does not involve any magical elements, fantastical creatures, or moral lessons. Instead, it serves as a simple, yet intriguing exploration of human connections, commonalities, and the power of repetition.

It is important to remember that the Brothers Grimm collected and recorded many stories from oral tradition. As a result, there are often multiple versions of each tale, with variations in details, characters, and themes. „Domestic Servants“ is just one of many stories that reflect the rich tapestry of German folklore and the diverse nature of the Brothers Grimm’s collection.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Domestic servants“

„Domestic Servants“ by Brothers Grimm is a simple yet thought-provoking tale that can be interpreted in various ways. Here are three possible interpretations of the story:

Unity and Friendship: One possible interpretation of the story is that it highlights the importance of unity and friendship. As the characters uncover their shared experiences and commonalities, they form a bond and decide to journey together. The story suggests that finding common ground can lead to companionship and that people can connect with one another through their shared circumstances.

The Power of Repetition: Another interpretation is that the tale showcases the power of repetition as a literary device. The characters continually repeat their similarities and shared destination, emphasizing the connection they have formed. This repetition serves as a unifying element that strengthens their bond and solidifies their journey together. It could also signify the importance of tradition and oral storytelling, as repetition helps reinforce memory and understanding.

The Human Need for Belonging: The story can also be seen as an exploration of the human need for belonging. As the characters discover their shared experiences, they feel a sense of kinship and camaraderie. This connection fulfills their inherent desire to belong and be part of a community or group. The tale implies that finding common ground with others is a crucial aspect of human social behavior, which can lead to stronger relationships and support systems.

In conclusion, „Domestic Servants“ can be interpreted in multiple ways, offering valuable insights into themes such as unity, friendship, the power of repetition, and the human need for belonging.

Summary of the plot

In the fairy tale „Domestic Servants“ by Brothers Grimm, the story revolves around a series of encounters between two characters who discover that they share various aspects of their lives. As they progress through these exchanges, they realize they are both headed to the same destination, Walpe.

The first encounter begins with one character asking the other where they are going. Upon learning that they are both headed to Walpe, they decide to travel together. As they journey, they start to inquire about each other’s lives and uncover the similarities they share.

The characters find out that they both have a man named Cham. Further, they both have a child named Wild. As their conversation continues, they discover that they each possess a cradle called Hippodadle. Lastly, they learn that they have a drudge, or servant, named „From-thy-work-do-not-budge.“

Throughout the story, the characters continue to repeat their similarities and their shared destination, Walpe, to emphasize their connection and unity. The repetition serves as a unifying element in the tale, illustrating the bond that forms between the two characters as they journey together.

In the end, the characters continue to travel to Walpe, affirming their connection by saying „I to Walpe, thou to Walpe; so, so, together we’ll go.“ The tale highlights the theme of shared experiences and the relationships that can form when people discover their commonalities.

Informations for scientific analysis

Fairy tale statistics
NumberKHM 140
Aarne-Thompson-Uther-IndexATU Typ 1940
TranslationsDE, EN, DA, ES, FR, PT, IT, JA, NL, PL, RU, TR, VI, ZH
Readability Index by Björnsson12.6
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index97.5
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level1.4
Gunning Fog Index4.3
Coleman–Liau Index5.5
SMOG Index6.4
Automated Readability Index0
Character Count863
Letter Count568
Sentence Count23
Word Count157
Average Words per Sentence6,83
Words with more than 6 letters9
Percentage of long words5.7%
Number of Syllables190
Average Syllables per Word1,21
Words with three Syllables7
Percentage Words with three Syllables4.5%
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