On the left, Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales, translator uncredited, published by Barnes & Noble in 2012. Nice dark green faux-leather binding, gilt-edged paper of the kind used for bibles. Gorgeous full-color endpapers, gold ribbon page marker, and best of all, the classic illustrations by Arthur Rackham. 722 pages, 211 stories, with an introduction by Jane Yolen.
On the right, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, a new English version by Philip Pullman. Regular cardboard hardcover, dust jacket cover art, newsprint paper (of a better quality but still newsprint). No endpapers, no illustrations. 405 pages, 50 stories, with an introduction by Philip Pullman. There’s also a brief commentary by Pullman at the end of each tale, citing sources and alternate versions.
They cost about the same, Php1,100 at National Bookstores. Your choice depends on whether you are an Arthur Rackham or Philip Pullman fan.
In the green book, The Frog King starts like this:
In olden times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face.
In the Pullman translation, the complete title is The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich.
In the olden times, when wishing still worked, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful; but the youngest daughter was so lovely that even the sun, who has seen many things, was struck with wonder every time he shone on her face.
Who is Iron Heinrich? He appears in both versions—in the green book he is called Faithful Henry—as the frog king’s faithful servant.
…when he’d learned that his master had been changed into a frog, he was so dismayed that he went straight to the blacksmith and ordered three iron bands to put around his heart to stop it bursting with grief.
goes the Pullman translation.
Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart, lest it should burst with grief and sadness.
says the older translation.
Both versions differ from the one we remember having heard countless times while growing up. The princess never has to kiss the frog; on the contrary she picks him up and throws him at the wall, and when he lands he is a handsome human prince. We don’t recall ever hearing of Iron Heinrich/Faithful Henry. If there’s a love story here, it’s between the enchanted prince and his loyal servant; the princess is just a brat who gets lucky.
Where did the frog-kissing business come from? Who told little girls that if they kissed enough frogs they might land a prince? Who tacked on that “moral lesson”: She was nice to the slimy amphibian so she was rewarded! Wheee! They need to get their asses kicked.