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The Star Money
The Star Money Märchen

The Star Money - Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm

Reading time for children: 4 min

There was once on a time a little girl whose father and mother were dead, and she was so poor that she no longer had any little room to live in, or bed to sleep in, and at last she had nothing else but the clothes she was wearing and a little bit of bread in her hand which some charitable soul had given her. She was, however, good and pious. And as she was thus forsaken by all the world, she went forth into the open country, trusting in the good God.

Then a poor man met her, who said: „Ah, give me something to eat, I am so hungry!“ She reached him the whole of her piece of bread, and said: „May God bless it to thy use,“ and went onwards. Then came a child who moaned and said: „My head is so cold, give me something to cover it with.“ So she took off her hood and gave it to him; and when she had walked a little farther, she met another child who had no jacket and was frozen with cold. Then she gave it her own; and a little farther on one begged for a frock, and she gave away that also. At length she got into a forest and it had already become dark, and there came yet another child, and asked for a little shirt, and the good little girl thought to herself: „It is a dark night and no one sees thee, thou canst very well give thy little shirt away,“ and took it off, and gave away that also.

The Star Money Fairy Tale

And as she so stood, and had not one single thing left, suddenly some stars from heaven fell down, and they were nothing else but hard smooth pieces of money, and although she had just given her little shirt away, she had a new one which was of the very finest linen. Then she gathered together the money into this, and was rich all the days of her life.

Backgrounds to fairy tale „The Star Money“

„The Star Money“ (also known as „Die Sterntaler“ in German) is a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm collection, which can be found in their book „Children’s and Household Tales“ (Grimms‘ Fairy Tales). The tale is numbered as KHM 153 in the collection.

„The Star Money“ tells the story of a young orphan girl who has nothing left in the world but the clothes on her back and a piece of bread. She is kind-hearted and generous, giving away her possessions to those in need. As she walks through the forest, she encounters various people in need and helps them, eventually giving away her last piece of bread and the clothes she is wearing.

That night, as she stands alone in the forest, stars fall from the sky, turning into silver coins. The girl collects the coins and is rewarded for her kindness and generosity with newfound wealth. She is no longer poor and can live a comfortable life, thanks to her compassionate actions.

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

„The Star Money“ reflects several themes and motifs often found in the Brothers Grimm’s works, such as the importance of kindness, selflessness, and the rewards that come from good deeds. The story serves as a moral lesson, emphasizing the value of generosity and the idea that one’s actions can have profound consequences, whether in the form of divine intervention or the goodwill of others.

Interpretations to fairy tale „The Star Money“

„The Star Money“ from the Brothers Grimm offers several interpretations and themes that can be explored. Here are some possible interpretations of this fairy tale:

The importance of kindness and generosity: The story emphasizes the value of being kind and generous, even when one has little to give. The orphan girl’s selflessness and willingness to help others in need ultimately leads to her reward of newfound wealth, illustrating the positive consequences of being compassionate and giving.

Divine intervention and rewards: The tale demonstrates the idea that good deeds are recognized and rewarded, sometimes through divine intervention. The stars falling from the sky and turning into silver coins can be seen as a heavenly reward for the girl’s kindness and selflessness, suggesting that there is a higher power that watches over and rewards those who do good.

The power of self-sacrifice: The orphan girl’s willingness to sacrifice her own well-being for the sake of others in need showcases the power of self-sacrifice. Her actions not only help those around her but ultimately bring about her own reward and happiness.

The transformative power of kindness: „The Star Money“ highlights the transformative power of kindness and generosity. The girl’s actions have a profound impact on her own life and the lives of those she helps, demonstrating that even small acts of kindness can bring about significant change.

The contrast between material and spiritual wealth: The story also explores the contrast between material and spiritual wealth. The orphan girl initially has nothing in terms of material possessions but is rich in kindness and compassion. Her spiritual wealth ultimately leads to material wealth, as she is rewarded for her good deeds.

Overall, „The Star Money“ explores themes of kindness, generosity, divine intervention, self-sacrifice, and the transformative power of compassion. The story serves as a reminder to readers of the importance of being kind and selfless, as well as the potential rewards that come from helping others and living a virtuous life.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „The Star Money“

„The Star Money“ from the Brothers Grimm has inspired various adaptations and reinterpretations over the years. Some examples include:

Illustrated editions and picture books: Illustrated versions of „The Star Money“ can be found in compilations of 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 „The Star Money“ 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.

Animated films and television shows: „The Star Money“ has been adapted into animated films and television shows, such as the 1987 German animated film „Die Sterntaler,“ directed by Maria-Elisabeth Lott. These adaptations often feature colorful visuals and engaging storytelling to bring the tale to life for a new generation of viewers.

Theater and puppet shows: Some theater companies and puppet shows have adapted „The Star Money“ for live performances, using music, dance, or puppetry to engage audiences and convey the story’s themes of kindness, generosity, and divine rewards.

Educational materials: Due to the moral lessons and themes present in the story, „The Star Money“ 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 kindness, generosity, and the transformative power of compassion.

Audio recordings and storytelling podcasts: „The Star Money“ may be featured in audio recordings or storytelling podcasts focused on fairy tales or Grimm’s 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 „The Star Money“ may not be as numerous 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 „The Star Money“

„The Star Money“ is a classic fairy tale that has been adapted and reimagined in various forms across different media. Here are a few examples of adaptations:

Picture Books: There are numerous picture book adaptations of „The Star Money,“ aimed at young children. These books often feature bright, colorful illustrations that bring the story to life.

Animated Films: „The Star Money“ has been adapted into several animated films, including the 1990s Russian animated film „Zvezdniye Moneti“ and the 2019 American short film „The Star Money.“

Stage Productions: The story has also been adapted for the stage, with several theater companies producing their own versions of the tale. Some of these productions incorporate music and dance to create a more immersive experience for audiences.

Literary Retellings: Many writers have reimagined „The Star Money“ in their own ways, incorporating new characters and plot elements. For example, Donna Jo Napoli’s 1996 book „The Magic Circle“ features a retelling of the story set in medieval Europe.

Modern Adaptations: „The Star Money“ has also been adapted for modern audiences, with updated settings and themes. For example, the 2001 film „The Shipping News“ features a character who gives away his lottery winnings to help others, echoing the themes of generosity and selflessness in the original tale.

Overall, „The Star Money“ has proven to be a timeless and adaptable story that continues to inspire new creative works across different media.

Summary of the plot

„The Star Money“ is a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm that tells the story of a kind-hearted, orphaned girl who experiences a series of magical events.

The young girl, left with nothing but the clothes on her back and a small loaf of bread given to her by a compassionate soul, sets off into the world. As she walks through the forest, she encounters various people in need, including a hungry man, a cold child, and a crying baby. Despite having so little, she generously shares her bread and clothing with each person she meets.

As night falls, the girl finds herself alone in the forest, with nothing left to give. She looks up at the sky and notices that the stars seem to be falling from the heavens. To her amazement, the stars turn into shiny coins as they land on the ground. She collects the coins and discovers a beautiful set of new clothes nearby.

The story ends with the girl becoming wealthy and well-clothed, thanks to her kindness and generosity. „The Star Money“ illustrates the virtues of selflessness, compassion, and the belief that good deeds will be rewarded in the end.


Backgrounds to fairy tale „The Star Money“

„The Star Money“ is a German fairy tale, also known as „Die Sterntaler“ in its original German title. It is part of the collection of folktales compiled by the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, during the early 19th century. The Brothers Grimm were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who collected and published folklore as part of their efforts to preserve and document the rich oral storytelling tradition in Germany.

The first edition of their famous collection, „Kinder- und Hausmärchen“ (Children’s and Household Tales), was published in 1812. It contained 86 stories, with subsequent editions expanding the collection to over 200 tales. „The Star Money“ is included in this collection, and it is categorized as tale number 153 in the final edition published during the Grimm brothers‘ lifetime.

The Brothers Grimm’s collection of fairy tales is considered a cornerstone of Western literature and has been translated into numerous languages. Their work has had a significant impact on the study of folklore and the development of the modern fairy tale genre. Many of the stories, including „The Star Money,“ have been adapted into various forms of media such as film, television, and theater, and they continue to be cherished and enjoyed by readers of all ages worldwide.

Interpretations to fairy tale „The Star Money“

„The Star Money“ can be interpreted in various ways, offering valuable life lessons and morals:

The power of kindness and generosity: The girl’s selfless acts of giving away everything she has, even when she herself is in need, demonstrate the importance of helping others. Her kindness is rewarded, emphasizing the idea that good deeds are often repaid in unexpected ways.

The virtue of faith: The girl’s unwavering faith in God, despite her difficult circumstances, highlights the power of belief and trust in a higher power. This faith guides her actions and ultimately leads to her reward.

The importance of humility: The girl does not hesitate to give away her last possessions, including her clothes, highlighting the value of humility and putting others‘ needs before one’s own.

The idea of divine intervention: The miraculous event of stars turning into money and the appearance of a new shirt suggest divine intervention as a reward for the girl’s virtuous actions. This interpretation emphasizes the belief that God watches over and rewards those who are kind, generous, and faithful.

The concept of inner wealth: The girl’s generosity and kindness demonstrate that true wealth lies within one’s character and actions, rather than material possessions. Her selflessness and compassion make her rich in spirit, which is eventually reflected in her newfound material wealth.

Overall, „The Star Money“ offers a heartwarming and inspiring message about the importance of kindness, generosity, faith, and humility in the face of adversity.

Summary of the plot

„The Star Money“ is a fairy tale by Brothers Grimm about a little girl who is orphaned and left with nothing but the clothes on her back and a piece of bread. Despite her misfortune, she is kind and pious, and she sets out into the open country, trusting in God.

During her journey, she encounters several people in need. She meets a hungry man and gives him her bread, followed by a child who needs a head covering, to whom she gives her hood. As she continues, she encounters more children needing clothes, and she gives away her jacket, frock, and finally, her little shirt.

Now completely without possessions, the girl finds herself alone in a dark forest. Suddenly, stars fall from the sky, transforming into smooth pieces of money. Miraculously, she also finds herself wearing a new shirt made of the finest linen. She gathers the money and becomes wealthy, living a prosperous life for the rest of her days.

The story emphasizes the virtues of kindness, selflessness, and faith, as the girl’s generosity is ultimately rewarded with wealth and security.

Informations for scientific analysis

Fairy tale statistics
NumberKHM 153
Aarne-Thompson-Uther-IndexATU Typ 779
TranslationsDE, EN, DA, ES, FR, PT, FI, HU, IT, JA, NL, PL, RO, RU, TR, VI, ZH
Readability Index by Björnsson37.8
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index72.1
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level10.8
Gunning Fog Index13.4
Coleman–Liau Index6.4
SMOG Index8.7
Automated Readability Index11.7
Character Count1.668
Letter Count1.272
Sentence Count11
Word Count337
Average Words per Sentence30,64
Words with more than 6 letters24
Percentage of long words7.1%
Number of Syllables413
Average Syllables per Word1,23
Words with three Syllables10
Percentage Words with three Syllables3%
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