Although Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their book of collected stories in the 1800’s the stories themselves had been around for much longer. Many if not all of these stories date back to the middle ages or before. This was a time in which Europe was a very dangerous place and, to quote the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, life was for many people, “Nasty, brutish, and short.”
The stories collected by the Grimm brothers reflect the unease, confusion, and fear with with many medieval Europeans looked at the world around them. Reading them you will see themes of betrayal, starvation, abduction, violence, and terrifying superstition. These stories along with other legends we an attempt to cope with and warn against dangers known and unknown.
The dangers we face today are different. Science has taught us not to fear cursed spinning wheels and angry faeries, but modern life has also given us other things to be concerned about. We still tell stories and we still need to cope with loss and fear and the unknown.
Your group task is to choose one of the fairy tales from the list provided. Read it together then update it for modern day. What would the modern equivalent of the big bad wolf be? What about a poisoned apple? Rumpelstiltskin?
Next week you will give a retelling of this tale to the class; a fairy tale for modern times. This is not so much a skit as a dramatic reading. Decide among your group how best to divide up the reading (or reciting). Click below to get started.