This is a story I somehow missed when reading the Grimm Fairytales. Arynnesfannin makes several valid points in the analysis: Exactly how bad does a child have to be in a fairy tale when God himself has to punish him? No one seems particularly surprised/concerned/terrified that the child’s arm won’t stay buried. Is this a regular occurrence in that village? And exactly how shallow was the child’s grave that his arm kept sticking out despite multiple coverings of dirt?
So this is a subject I’ll probably talk more about in the future, but I had to post this fairy tale. It is cheating a little bit, since the stories collected by Johann and Wilhelm Grimm weren’t originally intended just for children, and the Western European concept of childhood as we understand it wouldn’t really show up for a while yet, but here’s the story in its entirety as compiled, translated, and categorized by D.L. Ashliman:
The Willful Child
Once upon a time there was a child who was willful and did not do what his mother wanted. For this reason God was displeased with him and caused him to become ill, and no doctor could help him, and in a short time he lay on his deathbed.
He was lowered into a grave and covered with earth, but his little arm suddenly came forth and reached up, and…
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Categories: Neat Stuff