the Grimm brothers, iv

The upstairs rooms in the museum
that was the Grimm brothers’ Steinau home—
that you reach [those upstairs rooms]
via a spiral staircase
winding its way up through an attached tower—
those rooms all have fairy tale themes (imagine that!).

What’s particularly striking
is to see, gathered in such close proximity to each other,
so very many different interpretations
of the same fairy tale characters—
unfamiliar illustrations from the oldest collections of fairy tales,
watercolor prints from German classrooms,
cartoon figures from German culture,
Disney’s interpretations—
fairy tale characters as drawn, painted, sculpted—
turned into dolls and plastic figurines, toys—
as costumed for the theater, the opera, the ballet, Halloween,

and to see the same stories
told so many different ways—
with some implicit understanding
that various versions are less important than
a story told and retold—
that differences in interpretation
pale in comparison to the significance
of stories that continue to inspire—
that remain essentially recognizable
amidst change that becomes … fun.

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