The Land of Fairy Tales

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A month ago I had the wonderful honor of traveling to Germany. My German publisher invited me and two other authors for a book tour in their wonderful country. It was a whirlwind week, with two speaking engagements each day with lots of driving, but what an opportunity! The country was beautiful and green and there were castles!

View from my window in Marburg. If I leaned out the 3rd story window, I could see the castle on the hill overlooking the city.

View from my window in Marburg. If I leaned out the 3rd story window, I could see the castle on the hill overlooking the city.

Now, I have to admit that ever since my Disney childhood days, I’ve been a sucker for a good fairy tale. Shocking that I grew up to be a romance author, huh? Well, not only is Germany the land of castles, but it’s also the home of fairy tales, thanks to the Brothers Grimm.

Well, the town where my German publisher is situated, and the place that served as our home base is a lovely town called Marburg. After flying all night, we arrived on Sunday morning, and since we were all travel weary, we grabbed a nap then met up with one our interpreters who gave us a tour of the city. Little did I know that I was staying in the heart of fairy tale land.

As it turns out, the man who illustrated most of the Grimm Fairy Tales was from Marburg, and he used the castle and surrounding village as inspiration for his artwork. In honor of that distinction, all around the old town of Marburg, you will find tributes to the stories he illustrated. As we walked around the old town, here are some of the fairy tale allusions we spotted:

Cinderella's Shoe. We passed this as we walked down the hill from the castle. You can see part of the castle in the background.

Cinderella’s Shoe. We passed this as we walked down the hill from the castle. You can see part of the castle in the background.

Mirror Mirror on the wall.

Mirror Mirror on the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Riding Hood's Basket

Red Riding Hood’s Basket

The Brave Little Tailor who killed 7 with one blow (no one realized the 7 were flies he swatted). He later had to use hit wits to defeat giants. The flies are on the wall of the building.

The Brave Little Tailor who killed 7 with one blow (no one realized the 7 were flies he swatted). He later had to use his wits to defeat giants. See the flies on the wall of the building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is part of the old town square in Marburg. Don't you love the architecture? We had dinner next to the clock tower and got to watch it come alive when we were finishing our meal. So perfect!

This is part of the old town square in Marburg. Don’t you love the architecture? We had dinner next to the clock tower and got to watch it come alive when we were finishing our meal. So perfect!

A close up view of the castle in Marburg.

A close up view of the castle in Marburg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So if you had to pick a favorite fairy tale, which would you pick?

Karen Witemeyer
Winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the HOLT Medallion, and two-time RITA finalist, CBA bestselling author, Karen Witemeyer, writes historical romance for Bethany House believing the world needs more happily ever afters ... and hunky cowboy heroes. She's an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. She makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.

28 Comments

  1. Hi Karen,

    Hands down, my favorite all time fairy tale is Beauty & the Beast. It shows that beauty comes from within.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    1. That’s mine, too! I’ve always been a sucker for a wounded hero being healed by love.

  2. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. And it’s fairly easy to rewrite, too. 😀

    1. There have been elements of Beauty in the Beast in some of my romances, I must admit. 🙂 Full Steam Ahead probably had the most.

      1. Oh yeah! You do, don’t you? I’ve got one in the works that might be published next year. It’s set in the time of King Solomon. 🙂

        1. Sounds intriguing, Faith. 🙂

  3. What a fascinating trip. I would stick with the classic Cinderella fairy tale as my favorite.

    1. I love a good wall flower story. Probably because I was never part of the popular crowd in school, but I loved to imagine that the man of my dreams would see past all the noise of the crowd to appreciate the quiet internal beauty I offered. In truth, I stopped looking for the dreamy popular man and found my Prince Charming among the nerds. A perfect match!

  4. I like Snow White.

    1. Classic! There’s nothing more powerful than the message of true love conquering all – even the sleep of near death. Love it!

  5. What a lovely city! I can never pick a favorite fairy tale. 🙂 I love almost all of them!

    1. There are so many good ones, aren’t there? I love them all, too. Well, the Disney versions anyway. Some of the actual stories are grim, indeed. (pun intended, LOL).

  6. Cinderella is my favorite. She works hard, is treated cruelly, remains sweet and kind, and gets her wonderful man in the end. Thank you for sharing your great pictures. What a trip! Have a great day, Karen!

    1. I love that you brought out Cinderella’s work ethic and kindness even in adversity. Those are characteristics that make a true heroine.

  7. My all time favourite fairy tale would have to be Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

    The courageous heart, forgiving spirit, wondrous mind, and gentle characteristics of the heroine make me so happy!

    The stubborn soul, turning into one of fierce loyalty makes my heart a flutter. Along with such tender emotions make me ecstatic from the hero!

    1. I hear you, Moriah. And I agree 100%. Love that story!

  8. Sleeping Beauty. Folklorists see her as a symbol for the lunar year, but I think the theme of “awakening” is what appeals to me.

    1. Nice, Eliza. Like the Snow White story, I also like the idea of true love being strong enough to overcome any obstacle.

  9. Thank you Karen for this great post! Loved seeing the pictures of the beautiful sights from Germany!! As for my favorite fairy tale,can I bend the rules a bit? I actually have four top favorites (Although truth be told there are so many I like it’s hard to pick!) My favorites are:Snow White,Rapunzel,Beauty and the Beast,and a little known one called Bearskin. (It’s about a soldier who makes a deal with a demon that if a beautiful girl falls in love with him he gets a fortune,the catch: The soldier can’t bathe,cut his nails or hair. If you haven’t read or seen it it’s a very good tale.) Bless you Karen! Have a wonderful day!!

    1. Bearskin sounds very interesting. Almost a beauty and the beast tale, only his motives start with greed. Hopefully, he is changed inwardly as well as outwardly as he experiences true love. I’ll have to look it up. I love a good romantic tale. 🙂 Thanks, Lynne!

  10. Cinderella

    1. A classic. Love that one, too. 🙂

  11. I love Snow White, particularly the Disney animated version, but Beauty and the Beast is my favorite! I identify with Belle, the bookworm who tamed the hairy beast, who turned out to be a handsome prince in disguise! ?

    1. What book-loving girl wouldn’t love Belle’s story? 🙂 It’s my favorite as well.

  12. I love the story of the Brementown Musicians and the ‘music’ they made 🙂

  13. Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella have always been my favorites.
    What a wonderful opportunity for you to get to travel to such a lovely place. Germany has many interesting and beautiful places to visit. Speaking twice a day and traveling so much didn’t leave much time to relax, explore, and enjoy what you were seeing. Maybe they will bring you back for another trip and give you a bit more free time.

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