Grimm's Fairy Tales

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Children's and Household Tales (German: Kinder- und Hausmärchen) is a collection of German origin fairy tales first published in 1812 by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the Brothers Grimm. The collection is commonly known today as Grimms' Fairy Tales (German: Grimms Märchen). (From
Curriculet Details
101 Questions
99 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 5th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining historic and cultural references, and asking students to make personal connections with the text. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about figurative language and plot elements. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of plot comprehension, characterization, and text comparison. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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The Golden Bird

As you start this collection of stories, consider that they were first published in German in 1812, meaning these tales are over 200 years old! Why have they stayed popular for so long? What lessons from them can we apply today? 
What human quality is being given to the wind in this sentence? 
Many fairy tales use the number three repeatedly, as in the three sons in this story. 
Watch the video below to see an explanation of personification. The highlighted phrase is just one example of this type of figurative language.  (This annotation contains a video)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up? What does "thither" mean? 
How is the youngest son different from his older brothers? List two examples from the text. 

Hans in Luck

Did you know that cats really do "alight upon their legs" when they fall or are dropped? The cat righting reflex is a cat's innate ability to orient itself as it falls in order to land on its feet. Cats are able to do this because they have an unusually flexible backbone and no functional collarbone. 
The shepherd manipulates Hans into thinking he's getting a good deal by saying 
Why does Hans keep thinking he's getting a good deal with each trade? 
Most fairy tales are told from a certain point of view. Watch the video below to learn more about the three types. (This annotation contains a video)
One of the lessons of this story is that 

Jorinda and Jorindel

The first paragraph of this story reveals the fairy tale's exposition. Watch the video below to learn more about this plot element. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the best meaning for the phrase "all in vain"? 
What do you think happened to the old fairy? Why doesn't the author tell us? 

The Travelling Musicians

How do the animals avoid being killed by their masters? 
Who are the witch, man, and monster in reality? 

Old Sultan

Name two similarities between this story and the previous one about the musician animals. 

The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean

Do you foresee any problems with this arrangement? 

Briar Rose

Because it tells us the background about the royal family, the highlighted section is the _______ of the story. 
A spindle is the pointy part on the front of a spinning wheel, as in the image below. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is this prince able to get through the thorns when all the others got stuck and died? 

The Dog and the Sparrow

The sparrow's behavior is an example of  
Notice that many of the fairy tales you've read so far have had animals instead of people as main characters. Giving animals human weaknesses makes it easier for readers to examine those behaviors with detachment than if it were people with the same issues. 

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Here's another use of the number three. 
The stories The Golden Bird, The Dog and the Sparrow, and this one all use a similar plot device wherein 
Up until now the youngest princess has been the most alert to changes in the routine. 
Can you imagine what it would be like to be the eldest princess who is treated like property and has no say in who she marries? 

The Fisherman and His Wife

Which phrase tells why the man went back to ask the Flounder for a cottage? 
The highlighted phrase doesn't mean that the man's heart literally weighed more than it used to. It means he was sad and troubled. 
Give three examples from the text that show how fancy the castle is. 
The sceptre is the long wand pictured below, and the orb is the small globe with the cross on top. They are traditional marks of royalty. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the lesson of this story? 

The Willow-wren and the Bear

Which side is more likely to win? Why? 

The Frog-prince

The highlighted section shows the beginning of the main _________ of the story. 
What are two differences between the text version and the movie version of this story? 
Watch the trailer for the Disney version of this story below, then answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains a video)

Cat and Mouse in Partnership

An altar is the large table-like structure in the front of the church. Some are very ornate, while others are rather simple, as in the image below. This is where the officiant performs certain religious ceremonies. (This annotation contains an image)
What reason does the cat give every time it wants to leave the house? 

The Goose-girl

A "waiting-maid" is the same thing as a maid-in-waiting or lady-in-waiting. She would the be personal attendant of a princess, queen, or other high-ranking woman at court. Her jobs could range from basic secretarial tasks to embroidery to taking secret messages to other members at court. 
In your own words, explain what the highlighed verse means. 
The word "gangest" is a very old-fashioned term for "goes." The verse wouldn't sound quite as good trying to rhyme "hangest" with "goes." 
Because this story is told in third person limited point of view, which of the following statements is true? 
Is Curdken telling the truth that the princess teases him all day long? 
The phrase from this paragraph which best explains why no one recognized the true princess at the feast is 

The Adventures of Chanticleer and Partlet

Use the "define" feature to look up the meanings of the names "Chanticleer" and "Partlet." What are these characters? 
The best synonym for the word "stirring" in the highlighted phrase is 
A millstone is a large, heavy stone, like the one in the picture below, that would be rolled in circles on a stone table in order to grind different grains between the two stone surfaces. (This annotation contains an image)
Who helped Chanticleer get over the stream? 
Is this a typical fairy tale ending? What did you expect instead? 


There are several types of edible rampion plants, one of which is pictured below. Many other varieties have small purple flowers on the ends of long, graceful stems. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rapunzel let her hair down for the King's son? 
The handsome prince is a recurring character in many fairy tales. In fact, he shows up so often and his character is so unrealistic that it's easy to find ways to make fun of him. Below is a humorous duet between Cinderella's prince and Rapunzel's prince from the musical "Into the Woods." How does the prince in the musical version really feel about Rapunzel's singing? (This annotation contains a video)


From what point of view is this story told? 

The Valiant Little Tailor

Remember that these stories were originally written in German. 
How does the tailor trick the giant into thinking he is stronger than the giant? 
In this case, a girdle would be a type of sash or belt, as pictured below. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the tailor defeat the two giants? 
Here again we see the number three used prominently in the structure of this fairy tale. 

Hansel and Gretel

Which line tells how the wife convinces her husband to leave the children in the wood? 
The highlighted sentence is an example of a simile comparing pebbles to silver pennies. Watch the video below to learn more about similes and their close cousins, metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
Originally this character was the children's mother, but readers were so shocked at the thought of a mother abandoning her children that the authors changed it to stepmother. 
The author uses a _____________ to describe the pebbles. 
If the forest birds ate the breadcrumbs Hansel was dropping, why do you think they haven't eaten this house made of food? (This annotation contains an image)
Which line explains how Hansel tricks the witch? 
This story is so popular that it's been made into a movie and into an opera. Below is a clip from the opera which shows the children besting the witch and celebrating their freedom. (This annotation contains a video)

The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage

Rewrite the highlighted phrase in your own words. 
One main idea of this story might be that 

Mother Holle

Here you can see the girl removing the loaves from the oven. (This annotation contains an image)
The girl's experience shows that 
List two ways this girl acts differently from her sister. 
Quiz 1 

Little Red-cap (Little Red Riding Hood)

How do you imagine this scene between Little Red Cap and the wolf? Does the image below match the one in your head? (This annotation contains an image)
From what point of view is this story told? 
This story seems especially written to caution children to always listen to their parents. 

The Robber Bridegroom

How is the journey of the girl similar to that of Hansel and Gretel? 
The best synonym for the word "draught" in this sentence is 
Notice how many fairy tales contain gruesome details. 

Tom Thumb

How does Tom manage to get the horse and cart to his father? 
How would you react at finding a tiny person in the middle of a field? 
How does Tom react after being swallowed by the wolf? 
This theme is common among fairy tales. Also, the movie "The Wizard of Oz" borrows this phrase to get Dorothy back home. (This annotation contains a video)


Watch the video below to learn about how to summarize. As you continue reading, think about which events you would include in a summary of this story.  (This annotation contains a video)
Write a short summary explaining how the miller's daughter became the queen. 
This story has had several different endings through the years. At first, Rumpelstiltskin "ran away angrily, and never came back". This was later changed to say that Rumpelstiltskin "in his rage drove his right foot so far into the ground that it sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the left foot with both hands and tore himself in two". Other versions have Rumpelstiltskin driving his right foot so far into the ground that he creates a chasm and falls into it, never to be seen again. 

Clever Gretel

Which of the following lines shows Gretel justifying her eating the chicken? 

The Old Man and His Grandson

What did the child learn from his parents? 

The Little Peasant

Over the centuries, common ravens, as pictured below, have been the subject of mythology and folklore. Some cultures regard ravens as birds of ill omens or death, while others revere them as spirit guides or gods. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the peasant use the raven to his advantage? 
How does the peasant convince the parson to help him trick the villagers? 

Frederick and Catherine

Watch the video below to learn about text-based evidence. As you read this story, watch for examples of Catherine's foolishness. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Catherine give the pedlars all the yellow buttons? 
What is the main difference between Catherine and Frederick? 
Provide three pieces of evidence from the text to show that Catherine is foolish. 

Sweetheart Roland

There must be a reason the girl puts the drops of blood in these places. What could it be? 
How is the shepherd's house getting clean? 


You may know this story better as "Snow White." 
Which of the following definitions best fits the meaning of "spruce" in this sentence? 
Below is one of the early illustrations from the book. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain how the queen reacts to the news that Snowdrop is still alive. 
Below is a scene from the Disney movie "Snow White" showing what that glass coffin may have looked like. (This annotation contains an image)

The Pink

Why does the king believe that the queen let the boy be taken by wild animals? 
A pink is an unusual term for a pink carnation, as pictured below.  (This annotation contains an image)
What detail from the text explains what the queen means when she says that God will set her free? 

Clever Elsie

Do you think Elsie is clever? What does it say about all the other characters that they believe she is? 
How is Elsie similar to the character of Catherine in the story "Frederick and Catherine"? 

The Miser in the Bush

Watch the video below to learn about character traits. As you continue reading, think about what traits you could use to describe the main character. (This annotation contains a video)
What character trait do you think best describes the countryman? Provide two examples from the text to support your idea. 


This story has a more familiar name than "Ashputtel." Can you guess what it is? 
The highlighted section is a rhyming verse set off from the rest of the text. It tells the reader that Ashputtel is 
Is it fair for Ashputtel's stepmother to make her stay home? 
What line from the text explains how Ashputtel escaped from the prince? 
These gory details are definitely not in the Disney version of Cinderella! 
Think back over the stories you've read so far. How are mothers portrayed differently from stepmothers? 

The White Snake

Why is the man able to understand what the ducks are saying? 
Notice how in many of these tales the main character is not immediately rewarded for completing a task as part of a bargain. Characters are often asked to perform several more acts to prove themselves worthy.  

The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids

The highlighted statement most likely means that 
The way the goat gets her children out of the wolf's stomach and how they fill it back up again is similar to an event which story? 

The Queen Bee

Here we see another example of a common thread in these fairy tales--a character treating others with kindness and not expecting anything in return. Usually, those others somehow are able to repay the character in a time of need. 
Because the young dwarf was kind to them, the animals 

The Elves and the Shoemaker

Watch this short video adaptation of the story, then answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains a video)
How is the animated story different from the text version? How do those differences affect the message of the story? 

The Juniper-tree

The highlighted phrase is an example of 
A juniper is an evergreen tree with small bluish-grey berries. Many varieties of juniper berries are safe to eat, although some are very bitter and others are toxic. (This annotation contains an image)
Well, another evil stepmother. Are you surprised? 
Black pudding is a sausage made mostly from blood (usually from a pig), onions, spices and oatmeal. Does the image below look appetizing? (This annotation contains an image)
Who else used to find comfort under the juniper tree? 
List three details that show the goldsmith left his house in a hurry. 
What type of figurative language does the author use to describe the bird? 
The layout here is a bit confusing. The bird sings a verse, and one by one, the men in the mill stop working to listen. 
Even though the bird flies away with the stone around its neck, we know the stone is heavy because 
Notice how the author describes the wife's feelings of guilt. 
No one seems to care that the wife is dead! 

The Turnip

Which of the following words below show that the brother is angry? 
Why doesn't the former soldier just ask the student to get him down? Why does he try to manipulate the student into wanting to be in the sack himself? 

Clever Hans

Notice that there is a break in time between these two conversations; it's probably the next day. 
Why does Hans put the goat in his pocket? 
Why doesn't Hans ever bring Gretel anything? 
What are three funny events that have happened so far? 
Quiz 2 
What pattern of events repeats throughout the whole story? 

The Three Languages

It's unusual for a fairy tale to have a real country as a setting. Switzerland is a land-locked country right in the center of Europe, as the red circle below shows. (This annotation contains an image)

The Fox and the Cat

The main message of this tale is that 

The Four Clever Brothers

In this context, a "glass" is probably some kind of telescope, like the one pictured below. (This annotation contains an image)
In your own words, explain how the old man tests his sons' new skills. 
This is a pretty unusual ending! How often does the princess not get married off to whomever performs a feat of skill or bravery, but instead gets to marry someone she prefers? 

Lily and the Lion

Because this story is told in third person limited point of view, the reader doesn't know 
This sounds very much like the story of Beauty and the Beast. 
The night wind gave Lily a nut for what reason? 
A griffin, pictured below, is a mythical creature that is part lion and part eagle.  (This annotation contains an image)
The Red Sea is a long piece of water, pictured below, separating the continents of Asia and Africa.  (This annotation contains an image)

The Fox and the Horse

What does the master think when he sees the horse dragging the lion? 

The Blue Light

What is the witch's "evil intention"? 
Is this how you expected the soldier to get revenge? 
In this context, "going outside the gate" would mean leaving the city, going outside the city walls to escape. 

The Raven

The second paragraph sets up the main _________ of the story. 
What type of figurative language does the author use to describe how the man slept? 
Look up the definition of the word "league." About how many hours will it take the man to walk to the castle? 
Those robbers aren't too smart. 

The Golden Goose

What line from the text tells the reason why the little man decides to help Dummling? 
What does it mean that emptying a barrel of wine "is like a drop on a hot stone" to the man? 

The Water of Life

Below is a picture of a sugarloaf cap, so called because it resembles the loaves into which sugar was formed in the 1600's. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the dwarf help the youngest son? 
In most of the other stories where the youngest son is more successful than his older brothers, the older brothers plot ways to get rid of the younger one. What do you think might happen here? 
The huntsman's actions toward the youngest prince show that he is 
Why do so many fairy tales have these rhyming, song-like verses in them? 

The Twelve Huntsmen

How do you know that the King thinks the hunters are men? 
Look at how women are portrayed in this tale. They won't be able to control themselves around every woman's dream -- a spinning wheel! 

The King of the Golden Mountain

In which other story does a father make a bargain to give away the first thing that greets him upon his return home? 
Keep in mind that Heinel is somewhere between twelve and fourteen years old. 
Heinel's father doesn't believe that he's a king because 
This story has quite a sudden and violent end. 

Doctor Knowall

How does Dr. Knowall get a reputation for knowing everything? 

The Seven Ravens

Here we see an event similar to the story "The Raven," where the queen wished her unsettled baby would turn into a raven and give her some peace. 
The girl's actions here illustrate which common theme in many fairy tales? 

The Wedding of Mrs Fox

The expression "stone dead" means someone has been dead a long time and is completely lifeless. 
Why does Mrs. Fox reject so many suitors? 
Note that in this story, Mr. Fox seems to be dead for real. 
What complaint does Mrs. Fox have about her old husband? 

The Salad

Remember that in addition to the bird's heart, the huntsman also has a cloak that will take him anywhere he wishes. 
How did the huntsman know that he could get off the mountain if he climbed higher? 
He even plans to take revenge on the young lady he used to love. Have you ever gotten so angry that you wanted to do something mean to someone? 

The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was

What are two ways the brothers are different from each other? 
What does it mean that the sexton "stood as if he were made of stone"? 
The youth is sitting underneath a tree where men have been hanged, like in the image below. It is supposed to scare him. Do you think it will? (This annotation contains an image)
The phrase __________ indicates that the cats mean to harm the youth. 
Nine-pins is a game similar to bowling, but, as the name indicates, there are only nine pins and not ten, and the ball which is rolled has no finger holes in it. 
This paragraph shows the height of tension in the story, where the reader doesn't know if the youth will finally learn to shudder or if he will be successful at lasting three nights in the castle and win riches and a bride. That means this section is called the 

King Grisly-beard

The princess's descriptions of all the suitors in the highlighted section are 
Think about why the princess would not know how to cook, clean or spin. 
The highlighted phrase is an example of a type of figurative language called "hyperbole." Watch the video below to learn more. Do you ever use hyperbole to exaggerate how you're feeling? (This annotation contains a video)

Iron Hans

The phrase about the body being "brown like rusty iron" is a 
Gold is quite heavy. Imagine what it would feel like to have your head covered in it. 
Look up the definition of the word "seemly." Then write your own sentence using the word correctly. 
Do you know who the strange knight was? 
What two details does the king learn that make him realize who the mysterious knight was? 


Notice that there are often comparisons using the word "as" that are not similes. In this case, the two things being compared are both people, so there is nothing figurative about the expression. It means exactly what it says. 
List two similes included in this paragraph. 
Why do you think the king put a ring on her finger without telling her? 

Snow-white and Rose-red

What is the main difference in the personalities of Snow-white and Rose-red? 
Lambs and doves are often used to symbolize peace. Does that idea fit in this context? 
The author compares the dwarf to  
Would you continue to help someone who was so rude to you? 
Quiz 3