Art, Books

The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich

Fairie Tale Theatre - The Tale of the Frog PrinceThe introduction for Pullman’s new English version of the Grimm Fairy Tales includes a comment about the fact that the later edition was edited more piously by Wilhelm Grimm.   I came across a wonderful website hosted by the University of Pittsburg that actually compares the first 1812 edition of The Frog King with the final 1857 edition.  There has always been academic study regarding morality and sexuality in older tales. The importance of the kiss and/or the meaning of the frog wanting to sleep in the princess’s bed has been of particular discussion.  The Frog King illustrates all of the above.  The earliest version says the following:

“But when the frog came down onto the bed, he was a handsome young prince, and he was her dear companion, and she held him in esteem as she had promised, and they fell asleep together with pleasure.”

And the 1857 edition says:

“But when he fell down, he was not a frog, but a prince with beautiful friendly eyes. And he was now, according to her father’s will, her dear companion and husband. He told her how he had been enchanted by a wicked witch, and that she alone could have rescued him from the well, and that tomorrow they would go together to his kingdom. Then they fell asleep.”

The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich is one of my favorite fairy tales.  It has so many aspects and provides an enormous amount of fantastic imagery to interpret.  (I loved the Fairie Tale Theater version with Robin Williams as the frog). If any other tale was first in the book, I probably would never have dreamt up my artistic project.  Speaking of which…

The first of my interpretations…

The heart of Heinrich (from The Frog King)

“Faithful Heinrich had been so saddened by his master’s transformation into a frog that he had had to place three iron bands around his heart to keep it from bursting in grief and sorrow.”

It is not an obvious choice as it is about an often forgotten aspect of the story.  The faithful servant, Henirich, and the iron bands he wrapped around his heart to stop his grief.  I’m rather pleased with how the first turned out, especially when I can’t even remember the last time I picked up my pencils and drew anything.

[For future reference, I may not post all of my interpretations here on this blog.  They will all be posted on my tumblr and/or my deviatart profile.  If I feel like have something remotely interesting to say about the fairy tale or the piece, then I’ll add a post here.]


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