Franz Xaver Von Schönwerth (16 July 1810 - 24 May 1886) was a German civil servant and collector of legends and Fairy Tales. Although he fell into obscurity after his death, he is one of the most important German folklorists.
Born in Amberg and inspired by The Brothers Grimm, Schönwerth travelled throughout the Upper Palatinate collecting all kind of folk tales, from legends to simple nursery rhymes narrated by ordinary country folk. In 1857-59 he published his three-volume collection Aus der Oberpfalz-Sitten und Sagen (From the Upper Palatinate- Customs and Legends). Unlike the Grimm, who became gradually less concerned with preserving the tales exactly as told after Children's and Household Tales's 1812 first edition, Schönwertz did his best to stick to the original, unchanged tales. He also collected different versions of classic tales like "Cinderella" and "The Bremen Town Musicians".
Most of tales collected by Schönwerth remained unpublished at his death, and they became forgotten until they were rediscovered in 2009 by German scholar Erika Eichenseer. Since then, many of his tales have been finally published in collections like The Turnip Princess or White As Milk, Red As Blood.
Tales collected by Schönwerth with their own tropes page:
- "The Traveling Animals" (Die Wandernden Tiere): A significantly different version of "The Bremen Town Musicians''.
- "Ashfeathers" (Aschenflügel): Another Cinderella version.
- "The Enchanted Quill" (Die Zauberfeder)
- "King Goldenlocks" (König Goldhaar)
- "Nine Bags Of Gold" (Neun Säcke voll Gold)
- "Seven with one blow!" (Sieben auf einen Schlag)
- "The Three Flowers" (Die drei Blumen)
- "Thumbnickel" (Der Daumen-Nickerl!)
- "The Turnip Princess" (Die Rübenprinzessin)
Tropes common to his tales:
- Abusive Parents: In "The Howling of the Wind" (summarized here), the main character's wife was turned into a dragon by her mother.
- Beary Friendly: In The Turnip Princess (Die Rübenprinzessin) (English translation here and here, a talking bear helps the prince find his bride.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In "Flour for Snow" (Mehl statt Schnee), (summarized here), a woodcutter asks God to turn all snow into flour. His wish is granted, but immediate access to free and limitless food means everybody stop working, and human civilization gradually collapses.
- Being Good Sucks: In The Raven with the Silver Beak (Der Rabe mit dem silbernem Schnabel), seven young men take part in a witch's coven. Most of them want to become filthy rich to fulfill selfish wishes, but the seventh boy only wants some money to request a Mass for his deceased mother, and he is reluctant to dabble in witchcraft. At the end, he gets nothing except being frightened and harassed by supernatural creatures and berated by his now-rich partners, who divide up his share of the loot.
- Fingore: In "King Goldenlocks", a shepherd is offered expensive clothes in exchange for his little finger. He promptly bites his finger off.
- Forced Transformation: In The Turnip Princess, the prince's father and the princess have been transformed into a bear and a witch by a curse.
- Garden Garment: Wood sprites in "The Three Flowers" and other stories wear clothing made from "spun moss that hangs in ropelike strands from trees".
- Halfway Plot Switch: "The Glass Mountain (Der gläserne Berg) starts off with a goldsmith reneging on his pledge to marry his son to a farmer's daughter, and the farmer sending his son after the goldsmith and his would-be daughter-in-law. Then he runs into a witch who promises to help him meet the princess of the Glass Mountain, and the whole family feud is forgotten.
- "Just So" Story: In "The Color of the Snow" (Die Farbe des Schnees), the Snow have to choose its color, but neither the grass nor the flowers will let it wear theirs. Finally, the snowdrop takes pity on the snow and lets it wear its color. Since then, the snow is white, and enemy to the grass and all flowers but the snowdrop.
- Nameless Narrative: Often played straight, but the main character is named in several tales.
- Noble Fugitive: The titular "King Goldenlocks" runs away from his kingdom when he is sentenced to death.
- Our Fairies Are Different: Wood sprites of Bavarian folktales are described thusly: "Wood sprites, or forest sprites, are tiny creatures that make their homes near hearths. Their clothing is made of spun moss that hangs in ropelike strands from trees. We think of them as enchanted beings hounded by phantom hunters. They live together as married couples and bear children. Their enemies are the phantom hunters, who rage through the lands like wild beasts during autumnal storms. The wood sprites' only protection against them is to take refuge on a tree stump that has three crosses carved into it."
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent:
- In The Raven with the Silver Beak, the main characters meet up with a talking toad with witch powers.
- In many tales, the main character must endure to be tortured by dragons, giant snakes or fire-breathing turtles in order to pass a test.
- Riches to Rags: In "King Goldenlocks/Golden Hair" (König Goldhaar) -summarized here-, after running away from his home, the prince finds work as a gardener's assistant.
- Rule of Three:
- In The Raven with the Silver Beak, the main characters wear nine wooden logs and nine pieces of bread.
- In "King Goldenlocks", the prince's father-in-law has three daughters.
- In "Learning How to Steal", (Stehlen lernen) -summarized here-, the judge challenges Klaus to steal three different things.
- Rule of Seven:
- In The Raven with the Silver Beak, seven men take part in a witch's coven.
- In "The Howling of the Wind" (summarized here), the main character and his wife have seven children.
- Talking Animal:
- In The Turnip Princess , a bear tells the prince how to break a curse.
- In The Raven with the Silver Beak, the seven young men talk to a toad and several birds during the coven.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In The Turnip Princess, the prince bumps into a witch, a bear and a dog. After the initial meeting, the dog disappears from the tale entirely. Likewise, the monster who chases the prince out of a turnip field will not be mentioned again.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: In "King Goldenlocks", a shepherd lets the king's soldiers kill and maim his dog in exchange for fancy clothes without a second thought.
- Wicked Witch: In "The Deceived Witch" (Die geprellte Hexe), the titular character is an evil witch who kidnaps and imprisons three princess.
- Youngest Child Wins: In "King Goldenlocks" (König Goldhaar), the youngest and most beautiful princess ends up married to King Goldenlocks.