This morning I came across a news article that caught my attention.
We all are familiar with the collection of fairytales known worldwide that were written by the Grimm brothers Jacob and Wilhelm. Well, it seems that at about the same time that they were collecting those tales, there was a historian by the name of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth who was also gathering myths, legends and fairytales. For decades he talked to country folk, servants, and labourers, recording on paper their local habits, traditions, customs, and history that otherwise were passed to next generations only by word of mouth. The Grimm brothers admired his accuracy, and Jacob told the king of Bavaria that Von Schönwerth was the only one who could ever replace them in their work.
Von Schönwerth’s research was compiled into a book called Aus der Oberpfalz – Sitten und Sagen, which translated: is From the Upper Palatinate – customs and legends. It was released in 1857, 1858 and 1859 in three volumes, but, sadly, all his meticulous work never gained popularity and was forgotten. Last year the present cultural curator, Erika Eichenseer, published a book of selected fairytales by Von Schönwerth. If you are interested, you can find it here: http://amzn.to/xEvOma
Eichenseer, while looking through Von Schönwerth’s collection in Regensburg, also discovered 500 new fairytales he had recorded and which had been locked away in an archive for over 150 years! Many are not mentioned in other European fairytale collections. So, in 2008, the curator helped to found the Franz Xaver von Schönwerth Society devoted to studying his work and publicizing it. Work has already begun on an English translation. Eichenseer said, “Their main purpose was to help young adults on their path to adulthood, showing them that dangers and challenges can be overcome through virtue, prudence and courage.”
Another society member – Daniel Drascek, a professor of language, literature, and cultural sciences – was quoted as saying, “Schönwerth’s legacy counts as the most significant collection in the German-speaking world in the 19th century.”
Why am I telling you all this? I found this news story to be fascinating, amazing, and sad. It made me wonder …
What if your work is so well done, even to be envied by other writers, but for one reason or another it just doesn’t make it? Would you keep trying? Would you file it away?
Do you keep those things – those treasures you so passionately created – that are rejected time and again, or do you finally give up in despair and toss them?
Do you have a secret file, or a ‘just in case’ file, for your rejects or those stories you just aren’t ready to send out there?
And finally, do you feel inspired or encouraged by this story? Would you want your work to find its place even long after you are gone?
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂
Read the full story here: Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany (guardian.co.uk)