The Six Swans by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

In the story the “Six Swans” by Jacob and Wihelm Grimm, is a mix of all kinds of fairy tales but with a twist. When I saw the title the “The Six Swans” I automatically thought it was going to have the same story line as Snow White. I’m not sure exactly why besides the swans and dwarfs. However, this story is based on a king off in the woods hunting, and then getting lost in the woods. He asked an old lady for help, and she told that he would need to marry her daughter. He did, and he soon realized it was a big mistake. His children were in danger of her, and the king was right. She turned the 6 boys into swans, and in order to make them back into human their sister had to stay quiet for 6 years and make shirts for all of them. She did so, but during her process she became married and met another evil woman who was her mother in law, who did everything in her power to make her look bad. But because she couldn’t speak, the mother in law just came up with crazy ways to make her look bad. After 6 years, she completed the shirts and was able to turn her brothers back into humans again.

When reading this story, I picked up on some things that taught me lessons. Not lessons that I did not know, but this story gave an emphasis on things. For example, I wouldn’t marry a stranger because i was lost or needed help. In the story, the king was hunting but, on his way back to the castle he became lost. He asked for helped and because he did, he had to marry a stranger. That didn’t turn out so well.

The king was so worried that the new stepmother would cause his children harm that he had to hide his kids in the middle of woods.

“Fearing that the stepmother might not treat them well, even do them harm, he took them to a secluded castle which stood in the middle of a forest”

I don’t really know what rules of divorcing in royalty, but if this happened nowadays, I would take my kids and run. What else could the king do? Were there no other options? Why was the stepmom so evil though? If she was so determined to put kids at harm, and be cruel to the king? Why did she marry into it?

Also, even people who work for you, will turn their backs on you for some money. Which does sound a lot like employees quitting their job for a better paying job, except there is no evil stepmom in the new jobs. But seriously, “She gave a large sum of money to his servants, and they revealed the secret to her. They also told her about the ball of yarn which could point out the way all by itself.” Just for money, they put the kids at harm and the king, for a “large sum of money”. It teaches a lot, that even though someone works close with you, will still turn their backs on you for money. It’s sad, it’s hard to trust people nowadays, but even in “royal” days, you couldn’t trust anyone.

Also, not everyone’s family is there for you when you need it, and this story shows how amazing it is to have family close to you. When the six boys became swans, she did everything she can to make them come home and be human again. After they flew away, and after her father left, she left in the middle of the night to go find them. She risked her life to go out and look for them, the middle of the woods? I wouldn’t even do that.

“The conditions are too difficult. You would not be allowed to speak or to laugh for six years, and in that time you would have to sew together six little shirts from asters for us. And if a single word were to come from your mouth, all your work would be lost.”

Those conditions are very difficult, not being able to speak and or laugh for six years. That takes a lot of will power. She was dedicated though, she wanted her brothers back, and she did exactly everything needed to get them back.

I learned that family is very important, even in fairy tales. If you have family that truly loves and cares for you, they will go to the very end to make sure you are okay. I have an amazing family; they always have my back when and if I need it. I know that if I ever fall, they will be there to help me get back on my feet. This part of the story is my favorite. Because those conditions are very hard, trying to do those nowadays would be nearly impossible.

In the end, I learned that trust is important, when it comes to family, strangers, friends and workers. Not everyone is who they seem to be, however if you can find yourself trusting someone fully, that is a blessing. This story has small little lessons in it, that are common sense lessons, but it helped open my eyes a little more. I wasn’t expecting to learn or emphasize on some lessons when I first read this story, but I’m happy I did.

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Chelsea Stjean

Chelsea Stjean

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