This is the discussion post for episode 29: Upward Mobility, which tells the stories of Rapunzel and The Brave Little Tailor by the Brothers Grimm.
Two stories from the Grimm brothers, both of which have people going up, but in different ways. The first is the story of Rapunzel, and the second is about a small tailor who uses one success to face giants, a rampaging boar, and a unicorn when seeking the hand of the princess. The only problem? His greatest achievement may be based on a lie, and he's either the world's smoothest con man or completely delusional. Or both.
The creature this week is a stack of old weasels. That catch things on fire.
This one was interesting, but not particularly surprising. I mean, there were significant changes from the story of Rapunzel that we all know, what with the pregnancy, the thorns in the eyes, and all that, but nothing shockingly different.
Full disclosure, in the beginning, the story doesn't specifically say that the sorceress came in the form of the midwife, only that she showed up in the room. I put it together in such a way that made sense to me, but the original doesn't really concern itself with the details.
The Brave Little Tailor
This story was so much fun. I'm not sure if the little tailor was delusional or just a really great con man, and I think that's part of the fun of the story. Obviously there are prominent themes of social mobility and ingenuity, with the tailor rising from his "lowly" station as a peasant to king, and the royalty being outwitted by the tailor. Intelligence and hard work are the keys to success, not bloodlines and stodgy social classes.
There is a strong theme of trickery, which makes me think the tailor might have been a bit more of a con man than someone who earnestly believed that killing seven flies was something amazing. I really enjoyed it.
Elaborations and Errata:
Parsley, by Giambattista Basile
None so far, but let me know if I got something wrong
"Satellites and Waterfalls" by Nihilore | "Where it Goes" by Jazzer | "The Journey" by Marcos H. Bolanos | "AS Nihilism Gives Way to Existentialism" by Nihilore | "Windy Bluffs" by Visager | "Scramby Eggs" by Andy G. Cohen | "Beat the Burglar" by Scott Holmes | "We Can Make You Feel Alive Wholesale" by Winjer3 | "Wipe my Face Away" by Keshco |"Seasong" by Jelsonic
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Thank you for your podcast , sure helps in the long shifts at work . Plus I get to hear all of my favorite stories from childhood again . The brave Little Tailor was one of my favorites , I read it many times in the school library .
Hey there! First of all, I’d love to say that I love your podcast. I’m addicted, and I’m catching up right now. I just learned today that Marco Polo mistook a rhinoceros or a unicorn. Could that be what the giant, muscular unicorn was?
Possibly, though I would imagine since it’s Germany it’s probably just a unicorn.
Are there any approximate dates on the Grimm version vs. Basille version? Also, I’d like to point out that only an Italian would name their child Parsley and throw bread to a dog to calm it down.
The Grimm version is definitely later than the Basile version. Basile lived around the 1600s and the Grimm brothers collected their stories in the 1800s.
I think the Beastie Boys summed it up best:
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair, so I can climb up and get in your underwear.”
From What Goes Around off of the Paul’s Boutique record.
Great episode, as ever. There was a distinct lack of punishment by way of barrel as in other tales – such as with nailed pointed inwards or filled with boiling oil and venomous snakes- or any of the other brutal forms of retribution peppered throughout the Grimm tales. Probably no bad thing to be honest. But I really enjoyed the Brave Little Tailor- I think theres a certain moral ambiguity to him that makes him an interesting character- as you mentioned, his self-belief does lead to his social ascension and his achieving feats beyond what other might assume from a man of his social rank, but his deception and arrogance made me personally question just how much we’re supposed to be on the side of this tailor. I definitely found myself thinking ‘He’s going to end up in a barrel’ at a few points… This was a Grimm story I wasn’t familiar with, but great job- as ever!
As the Grimm stories go, I felt these two were a bit ‘vanilla’. I liked the explanation of the origin of the name rapunzel and how it really means a plant. Its these little asides into the background origin of story points that really keep me interested. Thank you Jason, great job once again.
Thanks! Yeah, I found the Grimm stories to be either chaotically violent or really predictable. These were a bit on the predictable side, but I really like the fun of the Brave Little Tailor and the “did you know?” aspects of Rapunzel. This was supposed to be a lighter week where I could get ahead, but I was having so much fun with the stories that they just went long.