Do hobbits represent Irish folk culture

Walter Kahn Fairy Tale Foundation

The pending award of the European Fairy Tale Prize to Prof. Dr. Helge Gerndt, as well as the young talent award 2020 will have to take place on a small scale this year. There will probably not be a public award ceremony due to the coronavirus.

The prizes were awarded to the winners as early as 2020 (see press release EMP and LRP / GFP), but could not be awarded at a ceremony intended for this according to the statutes. In their subsequent resolution, the members of the award jury agreed that the election carried out will apply unchanged for 2021 due to the fact that the European Fairy Tale Prize could not be awarded. Thus, the European Fairy Tale Prize for 2020 was subsequently suspended. The young award winners will be honored for their achievements in 2020.

As a result of the various restrictions and the pandemic-related closings of the universities in the past year, we have not received any work despite the extended deadline. As a result, an award for 2021 has to be suspended. The financial resources saved as a result will benefit other projects and measures of the foundation.

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The corona pandemic still determines our everyday life and restricts us in many ways. The Board of Directors of the Foundation has again assessed the situation for itself these days. The planning and implementation of the Fairy Tale Days 2021 is associated with such a high level of uncertainty that we cannot guarantee the event with the desired content and organizational requirements vis-à-vis the conference participants, the speakers and the conference center today. Taking all the factors into account, we therefore feel compelled to do the Fairy tale days on the topic of "fairy tales and migration"originally planned for 2020 and postponed to September 2021 are now final to cancel. We regret this very much, the fairy tale days are always a highlight of our work.

The conference will be rescheduled and reorganized for 2022. We will announce the topic and date in due course.

Our wish is that you stay healthy and that we meet again on the fairy tale days 2022.

Posted in General, Fairy Tale Days 2020, Fairy Tale Days 2021, News / Press Releases

The announcement can also be accessed here in PDF format.

Posted in General, News / Press Releases

Press release, March 2021

The Walter Kahn Fairy Tale Foundation annually awards the “Lutz-Röhrich Prize”, endowed with € 2,500, for a final study in the field of fairy tale or storytelling research. In addition, the “Separate Sponsorship Prize” is awarded for several outstanding works, the prize money of which was increased by EUR 500 to EUR 1,500 in 2020. Due to the corona pandemic that afflicted us in 2020, our award ceremony could unfortunately not take place in the usual, festive setting.
We hope that our fairy tale days can take place as planned in 2021. In a separate ceremony on September 9, 2021, the award ceremony in the historic Schelfenhaus in Volkach is to be rescheduled.

The Lutz Röhrich Prize 2020 receives Dr. Lubomír Sůva (Göttingen) for his excellent dissertation “The Czech Heaven is in Hell. Fairy tales by Božena Němcová and the Brothers Grimm in comparison ”at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Sůva would like to see the “genus Grimm” and the Czech romantic “folk tale” “as two different expressions of the same kind” (Sůva).
He gives a knowledgeable insight into fairy tale research and the difficulties of defining fairy tales, looking at the Grimms' adaptations as well as the historical contexts. His main focus is then on Němcová and her work. Comparatively and with the help of materials, Sůva succeeds in opening up instructive perspectives on the genre of fairy tales and adding well-founded and clever work to fairy tale research.
For the Walter Kahn Fairy Tale Foundation: Dr. Simone Stiefbold (Zurich), member of the jury

Provided an exceptionally thorough and equally interesting study Jule Ana Herrmann with her master's thesis: “A memorial made of paper and ink. On the influence of Benedict Naubert on Ferdinand Grimm's literary work ”(2019). With this study, the author gives a voice to that “unknown brother” who was only ever measured against his famous brothers and yet created his own literary accents in fairy tales and legends as part of his contact with Benedigte Naubert and their work, as meticulously in Jule Herrmanns more accurate historical-comparative research can be recognized. For this purpose, she also worked on previously neglected documents and unpublished correspondence between the brothers. On the occasion of this extremely competent research work, you will be the Separate sponsorship award 2020 awarded.
The award-winning study has now been printed as an extended version under the title:
“A memorial made of paper and ink. On the literary influence of Benedict Naubert
the work of Ferdinand Grimm. "Baden-Baden, Ergon Verlag 2020.
For the Walter Kahn Fairy Tale Foundation: Helga Zitzlsperger (Bermatingen), member of the jury and board of trustees

The press release can be downloaded as a PDF here.

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We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who appreciates and promotes the work of our foundation, be it through their participation in our fairy tale days (although these had to be postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the pandemic), the authors and readers of the “fairy tale mirror “And the many institutions that we were able to support this year in the implementation of their projects or will be able to support them in the future.

From December 23, 2020 up to and including
January 03, 2021 our office is closed.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Content of the current fairy tale mirror - issue 4/2020
Posted in General, Fairy Tale Mirror, News / Press Releases

For a joint project, a wall calendar for 2021, we called on illustrators to send in interpretations on the subject of “heroines and heroes of fairy tales”. We are happy about the active participation and would like to acknowledge and present all submissions.

You can now find 12 of these images in our 2021 calendar, which can now be purchased from the foundation. Please use our order form.

Final selection for the 2021 calendar:

All submissions at a glance:

Illustration to the fairy tale “The Bremen Town Musicians” by A. Andiel

Illustration "the good ones in the potty, the bad ones ..." from the fairy tale "Cinderella" by C. orth

Illustration to the fairy tale “The Seven Ravens” by A. Bockes

Illustration to the fairy tale "Frau Holle" by D. Zornik

Illustration for “Heroic Narrators” by F. Peikert

Illustration “The goat mother” to the fairy tale “the wolf and the seven young hostages” by G. Bonacker

Illustration "The golden goose in the land of milk and honey" by G. Bartels

Illustrations for the fairy tale "Frau Trude" by H. Weinrebe

Illustration to the fairy tale "Frau Holle" by I. Franke

Illustration to the fairy tale "Zottelhaube" by J. Pisarek

Illustration "Anti" by J. Seiler

Illustration to the fairy tale “Die BRemer Stadtmusikanten” by L. Frömel

Illustration "Ritt über den Feuerberg" from the "Fairy tale The ZhUang - the brocade picture" by S. Wickenbrock

Illustration "The teased water spirit" from "Goosebumps at lunchtime - 17 new fable stories from Salzburg" by W. Hölzl

Illustration to the fairy tale "The Seven Ravens" by M. Zornik

Illustrations for the fairy tales "Die Sternthaler" and "Die alten im Walde" by M. Gräser

Illustrations for the fairy tales "The Little Mermaid", "The Snow Queen", "The Basil Girl", Goldmarie der "Frau Holle", "Scheherazade", "Hansel and Gretel" and "The Emperor's New Clothes" by E. C. S. Schmidt


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Fairy tales tend to age, they prefer positive images of age - mostly - unless it's about old witches and villains. Then even extremely negative views of old age prevail, then old age appears ugly, angry, mendacious, disgruntled, stubborn, incorrigible. The majority of fairy tales, however, represent encouraging images of old age: The Bremen Town Musicians, for example, are a group of old people who rebel against their age determination by starting something new and probably founding what is probably the world's first shared flat for the elderly. The fairy tale “The old grandfather and the grandson” develops a whole old age ethic in a nutshell. Structurally, it is obvious: Old and young, along with good and bad, beautiful and ugly, poor and rich, lazy and hardworking, clever and stupid, loyal and treacherous, are among the fundamental opposites of European folk tales.

This volume comprises 19 articles from different scientific disciplines: from narrative and fairy tale research in the narrower sense, from cultural and literary studies, from various philologies as well as from psychology, gerontology, religious studies and theology. Four major topics are dealt with: 1. Basic questions of storytelling about age in fairy tales, 2. Age in other narrative genres in comparison, 3. Age in comparison of international fairy tale collections, 4. Age in individual fairy tales. Using fairy tales from all over the world as an example, the articles aim to explore the diversity of positive and negative images of old age in fairy tales.

The order form is available here.

Orders should be sent to: [email protected]


Published on by Roland Kahn
Content of the current fairy tale mirror - Issue 3/2020
Posted in General, Fairy Tale Mirror, News / Press Releases

Content of the current fairy tale mirror - issue 2/2020


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The board of the Märchen-Stiftung Walter Kahn reassessed the current situation on June 2nd, 2020 and has now finally decided to change our Fairy tale days on the subject of "fairy tales and migration" to be postponed to 2021. Unfortunately, the current situation does not give the foundation, as the organizer, sufficient planning security, which is why we have decided against holding it in 2020.

We also regret this decision, but in such uncertain times planning and implementation is very difficult for everyone involved. On the one hand, the venue - according to the current status - cannot provide us with sufficient capacities in compliance with all protective measures. On the other hand, we want to prevent those interested from not participating due to health concerns. With an alternative date in the following year, we would like to give everyone the opportunity to participate.

All reservations that have already been made will be canceled and payments that have already been made will be fully reimbursed shortly.
The planned date for the conference in Münsterschwarzach is 08.09.2021–10.09.2021, which interested parties are welcome to make a note of.

Our award ceremonies will not be able to take place as usual either, we are still in the process of clarification.

Thank you for your understanding.

Posted in Fairy Tale Days 2020, News / Press Releases

It will soon be that time again: In Volkach, the great European Fairy Tale Prize of the Walter Kahn Fairy Tale Foundation is awarded, which annually honors a lifetime achievement in narrative research. On September 17, the Munich emeritus will take the prize, which is endowed with 5,000 euros and has been awarded every year since 1986 Prof. Dr. Helge Gerndt for 2020 in receipt. As part of a small ceremony, the prize is presented to him in the Volkacher Schelfenhaus and his life's work is presented in a laudatory speech.

Helge Gerndt was born in Dresden in 1939. In 2019 he celebrated his 80th birthday in obviously good health, looking back on a life as one of the most important and probably most versatile folklorists in Germany. After a not always easy post-war childhood, he studied folklore, as well as German and geography in Kiel and Vienna, where he was lucky enough to have excellent teachers such as L. Kretzenbacher. Philosophy, theater studies, prehistory and early history were attached.
In 1966 he received his doctorate from Kiel University. His dissertation made him one of the leading mythology researchers. The theme was maritime folklore: the Flying Dutchman and Klabautermann. Legendary shapes of the sea. In 1973 he completed his habilitation in Munich with a study on popular piety and still living custom traditions: Vierberglauf. Present and history of a Carinthian custom.
In 1979 Gerndt was called to Regensburg. There he became a professor of folklore, but did not stay long, because a year later he was offered the chair at the LMU in Munich. He has remained loyal to this city to this day. He has been an emeritus there since 2004 and has remained deeply connected to the subject with many honorary positions. One of these is his chairmanship of the DGV (German Society for Folklore). That was between 1987 and 1991. Even more important for the connection to the Narrative research but is probably the co-edition of the Encyclopedia of Fairy Talessince 1994. For this 14-volume “Bible of Narrative Research” he has also provided many basic articles himself since it came into existence.
The breadth of his approaches can be seen in his work on communicative remembering and forgetting, or on "culture as a field of research" or on "industrialized people". In the difficult 68s he was almost thirty, which perhaps also contributed to one of the first ideology-critical appraisals of folklore research during the time of National Socialism. Which, by the way, the folklorists were looking for access before the historians! A conference proceedings emerged from the legendary conference at his Munich institute, which is still part of the history of the subject - compulsory reading today. And in the Corona crisis, his disaster research becomes highly topical again: his Chernobyl essay is paradigmatic.
His current focus on non-European narrative traditions is also remarkable: at the University of Abomey-Calavi (Ivory Coast) he emerged as a founder, sponsor and source of ideas last year: in quick succession, four volumes of a text and photo collection were published with the title “ Sonafa "wears. That is Fon, the language there, and it means something like "It's going to be better tomorrow…"

For the Walter Kahn Fairy Tale Foundation: Prof. Dr. Sabine Wienker-Piepho (Jena / Freiburg),
Narrative researcher and folklorist who will also give the laudation.

The press release can be downloaded here in PDF format.

Posted in News / Press Releases

In view of the current developments in the Corona period, the foundation's board of directors met again in week 19 to decide whether the fairy tale days from September 16-18, 2020 in Münsterschwarzach and the award ceremonies on September 17, 2020 in Volkach as planned should take place.
The current easing measures suggest that these events may take place. The Fairy Tale Foundation would therefore like to look optimistically into the future and has therefore spoken out in favor of carrying it out. It is still important to monitor the situation and to orientate oneself to the legal regulations.

We look forward to an exciting conference and hope to have many interested participants. Here you can find the program and the registration modalities.

Stay healthy!

Posted in Fairy Tale Days 2020, News / Press Releases
Content of the current fairy tale mirror - issue 1/2020
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