Strange and Creepy Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales

Largely thanks to Disney, most people associate classic fairy tales, like Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty, with happiness, love, and heart-warming nostalgia. Beautiful princesses, dashing princes, delightfully evil stepmothers, and comedic sidekicks appear in almost every Disney movie and book. Though these cheerful adaptations are most popular today, many of the stories actually originated from the darkly brilliant minds of two German brothers in the 1800s: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The Grimm Brothers collected and wrote hundreds of fairy tales—many far-fetched and downright creepy. Perfect for Halloween, the fairy tales listed below are sure to delight fans of magic, suspense, and surprising endings.

To find more fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers, search the library catalog using subject terms similar to “Grimm Brothers” or “Grimm fairy tales” and limit your search to the Social Sciences, Health, and Education library for easy browsing. You can also stop by the S-Collection and browse the S.398.2 section to find even more delightful folk and fairy tales.

Babbitt, Natalie.
Ouch! A Tale from Grimm. 1998.
In this twist on a rags to riches story, young Marco’s ordinary life completely changes when he suddenly becomes king. Though his new life seems charmed, Marco encounters strange obstacles on his path to royalty, like traveling to hell and interacting with the devil’s surprisingly sweet and helpful grandmother.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. S.398.2094302 B113o]

Geringer, Laura.
The Seven Ravens. 1994.
When a peasant’s wife delivers the couple’s 12th child, they are both delighted to see they finally gave their 11 sons a sister. After an unfortunate series of events, however, the peasant ends up cursing his sons and turning them into ravens. When the single daughter finally gains health and grows up, she goes on a quest to find her brothers and turn them human again.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q.SE. G315S]

Grimly, Gris.
Gris Grimly’s Tales from the Brothers Grimm. 2016.
This selection of the Grimm Brothers’ tales doesn’t shy away from the dark, creepy, and sinister elements present in the original stories. Vivid illustrations highlight each story’s whimsically terrifying twists and turns.
[SSHEL S-Collection S.398.20943 G882k:E]

Heyer, Marilee.
Iron Hans. 1993.
When a young prince encounters an encaged wild, iron-skinned man in the forest by his castle, the two form an unlikely friendship. The prince sets Iron Hans free, and in return, Iron Hans tells the prince he can call on him for assistance whenever he needs it. When the prince sets out to win the hand of a princess in a nearby kingdom, Iron Hans follows through with his promise and the two men learn about each other’s true selves.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q.SE. H514I]

Kimmel, Eric.
Nanny Goat and the Seven Little Kids. 1990.
Before Nanny Goat leaves to fetch food at the market, she warns her seven young children to beware of any strangers who try to enter their home. The kids obey at first, but soon an evil wolf disguised as Nanny Goat tricks the kids into opening the door and gobbles them up right away. With a few household items, Nanny Goat attempts to save her children and teach the wolf a fateful lesson.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SE. K571n]

Manheim, Ralph.
Grimms’ Tales for Young and Old. 1977.
As a complete translated collection of the Grimm Brothers’ 210 fairy tales, this massive books boasts over 600 pages of twisted tales written and recorded by the brothers. From classics like “Rapunzel” and “Rumpelstiltskin” to lesser known tales like “The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage” and “The Girl Without Hands,” this extensive volume offers stories for readers of all ages and interests.
[SSHEL S-Collection S.398 G88GT]

Pacovska, Kveta.
Hansel & Gretel. 2016.
This stunning retelling of Hansel and Gretel features striking illustrations done by renowned artist Kveta Pacovska. Pacovska’s vibrant, modern art style adds drama and emotion to this suspenseful tale, creating an even more thrilling journey for the two young protagonists.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. S.398.2 H198h2016]

Tan, Shaun.
The Singing Bones: Inspired by Grimms’ Fairy Tales. 2016.
Striking images of original sculptures created by Shaun Tan accompany short excerpts from reimagined Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales in this collection of stories. Longer descriptions of the stories are included in the back of the book for anyone unfamiliar with some of the lesser known Grimm tales.
[SSHEL S-Collection S.398.210943 T1535si]

Zelinsky, Paul.
Rumpelstiltskin. 1986.
A young maiden is forced by the king to spin straw into beautiful golden thread. When she cries out in distress, a tiny man appears and offers to help her as long as she gives him something in return. When the maiden runs out of gifts, the tiny man makes her promise to give him her firstborn child. Horrified but desperate, she agrees, and her promise leads the two characters down a path full of trickery and despair.
[SSHEL S-Collection S.398.2109 Z37R]

Zipes, Jack.
The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. 2014.
Over 500 pages long, this lengthy eBook offers the collection of tales published in the Grimm Brothers’ two-volume first edition. This first edition contained some of the brothers’ strangest and boldest stories before the pair started censoring their work in later collections. These 156 translated fairy tales are sure to provide nearly endless hours of entertainment to the truest Grimm fans.