An explorable forest of Grimm fairystories

This a 360 video of a 3D forest in which each tree represents one of the folk tales collected by the Brothers Grimm in their 'Household Tales'. Attached to each tree is a snippet of audio from the stories, so as you walk through the forest you are surrounded by the tales. 

You can download the Unity app here 
(WARNING: 629MB)

The forest is built on an analysis of the language in the stories. The height of the ground is determined by the uniquely Grimm words used in the story, the type of tree by the trope classification of the story, the life of the tree by that story's popularity.

Below is a much simpler visualisation to give some idea of the shape and data of the forest.

 
1 The Frog-King, Or Iron Henry : 81 Grimm Words 10 The Pack Of Ragamuffins: 14 Grimm Words 100 The Devil'S Sooty Brother: 58 Grimm Words 101 Bearskin: 79 Grimm Words 102 The Willow-Wren And The Bear: 55 Grimm Words 103 Sweet Porridge: 13 Grimm Words 104 Wise Folks: 35 Grimm Words 105 Stories About Snakes: 12 Grimm Words 106 The Poor Miller'S Boy And The Cat: 34 Grimm Words 107 The Two Travellers: 165 Grimm Words 108 Hans The Hedgehog: 72 Grimm Words 109 The Shroud: 1 Grimm Word 11 Little Brother And Little Sister: 85 Grimm Words 110 The Jew Among Thorns: 48 Grimm Words 111 The Skilful Huntsman: 116 Grimm Words 112 The Flail From Heaven: 6 Grimm Words 113 The Two Kings' Children: 200 Grimm Words 114 The Cunning Little Tailor: 57 Grimm Words 115 The Bright Sun Brings It To Light: 9 Grimm Words 116 The Blue Light: 75 Grimm Words 117 The Wilful Child: 2 Grimm Words 118 The Three Army-Surgeons : 22 Grimm Words 119 The Seven Swabians : 21 Grimm Words 12 Rapunzel: 34 Grimm Words 120 The Three Apprentices : 18 Grimm Words 121 The King'S Son Who Feared Nothing : 115 Grimm Words 122 Donkey Cabbages : 98 Grimm Words 123 The Old Woman In The Wood : 24 Grimm Words 124 The Three Brothers : 17 Grimm Words 125 The Devil And His Grandmother : 41 Grimm Words 126 Ferdinand The Faithful : 95 Grimm Words 127 The Iron Stove : 120 Grimm Words 128 The Lazy Spinner : 7 Grimm Words 129 the four skilful brothers : 60 Grimm Words 13 The Three Little Men In The Wood: 65 Grimm Words 130 One-Eye, Two-Eyes, And Three-Eyes : 114 Grimm Words 131 Fair Katrinelje And Pif-Paf-Poltrie : 4 Grimm Words 132 The Fox And The Horse : 18 Grimm Words 133 The Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces : 62 Grimm Words 134 the six servants : 105 Grimm Words 135 The White Bride And The Black One : 68 Grimm Words 136 Iron John : 162 Grimm Words 137 The Three Black Princesses : 28 Grimm Words 138 Knoist And His Three Sons : 2 Grimm Words 139 The Maid Of Brakel : 5 Grimm Words 14 The Three Spinners: 26 Grimm Words 140 Domestic Servants : 7 Grimm Words 141 The Lambkin And The Little Fish : 16 Grimm Words 142 Simeli Mountain : 57 Grimm Words 143 Going A-Travelling : 11 Grimm Words 144 The Donkey : 59 Grimm Words 145 The Ungrateful Son : 0 Grimm Words 146 The Turnip : 35 Grimm Words 147 The Old Man Made Young Again : 13 Grimm Words 148 The Lord’s Animals And The Devil'S : 19 Grimm Words 149 The Beam : 7 Grimm Words 15 Hansel And Grethel: 62 Grimm Words 150 The Old Beggar-Woman : 2 Grimm Words 151 The Three Sluggards : 10 Grimm Words 151* The Twelve Idle Servants : 9 Grimm Words 152 The Shepherd Boy : 13 Grimm Words 153 The Star-Money : 9 Grimm Words 154 The Stolen Farthings : 4 Grimm Words 155 Brides On Their Trial : 1 Grimm Words 156 Odds And Ends : 10 Grimm Words 157 The Sparrow And His Four Children : 25 Grimm Words 158 The Story Of Schlauraffen Land : 13 Grimm Words 159 The Ditmarsch Tale Of Wonders : 7 Grimm Words 16 The Three Snake-Leaves: 53 Grimm Words 160 A Riddling Tale : 4 Grimm Words 161 Snow-White And Rose-Red : 92 Grimm Words 162 The Wise Servant : 11 Grimm Words 163 The Glass Coffin : 69 Grimm Words 164 Lazy Harry : 6 Grimm Words 165 The Griffin : 92 Grimm Words 166 Strong Hans : 51 Grimm Words 167 The Peasant In Heaven : 22 Grimm Words 168 Lean Lisa : 3 Grimm Words 169 The Hut In The Forest : 49 Grimm Words 17 The White Snake: 50 Grimm Words 170 Sharing Joy And Sorrow : 6 Grimm Words 171 The Willow-Wren : 37 Grimm Words 172 The Sole : 4 Grimm Words 173 The Bittern And The Hoopoe : 4 Grimm Words 174 The Owl : 16 Grimm Words 175 The Moon : 13 Grimm Words 176 The Duration Of Life : 16 Grimm Words 177 Death's Messengers : 11 Grimm Words 178 Master Pfriem (Master Cobbler'S Awl) : 25 Grimm Words 179 The Goose-Girl At The Well : 115 Grimm Words 18 The Straw, The Coal, And The Bean: 8 Grimm Words 180 Eve's Various Children : 17 Grimm Words 181 The Nix Of The Mill-Pond : 36 Grimm Words 182 The Little Folks' Presents : 42 Grimm Words 183 The Giant And The Tailor : 39 Grimm Words 184 The Nail : 2 Grimm Words 185 The Poor Boy In The Grave : 20 Grimm Words 186 The True Sweethearts : 83 Grimm Words 187 The Hare And The Hedgehog : 37 Grimm Words 188 The Spindle, The Shuttle, And The Needle : 47 Grimm Words 189 The Peasant And The Devil : 23 Grimm Words 19 The Fisherman And His Wife: 87 Grimm Words 190 The Crumbs On The Table : 2 Grimm Words 191 The Sea-Hare : 56 Grimm Words 192 The Master-Thief : 72 Grimm Words 193 The Drummer : 146 Grimm Words 194 The Ear Of Corn : 7 Grimm Words 195 The Grave-Mound : 64 Grimm Words 196 Old Rinkrank : 39 Grimm Words 197 The Crystal Ball : 57 Grimm Words 198 Maid Maleen : 117 Grimm Words 199 The Boots Of Buffalo-Leather : 54 Grimm Words 2 Cat And Mouse In Partnership : 6 Grimm Words 20 The Valiant Little Tailor: 166 Grimm Words 200 The Golden Key: 5 Grimm Words 21 Cinderella: 117 Grimm Words 22 The Riddle: 57 Grimm Words 23 The Mouse, The Bird, And The Sausage: 27 Grimm Words 24 Mother Holle: 31 Grimm Words 25 The Seven Ravens: 32 Grimm Words 26 Little Red-Cap: 33 Grimm Words 27 The Bremen Town-Musicians: 20 Grimm Words 28 The Singing Bone: 26 Grimm Words 29 The Devil With The Three Golden Hairs: 119 Grimm Words 3 Our Lady's Child: 63 Grimm Words 30 The Louse And The Flea: 1 Grimm Words 31 The Girl Without Hands: 77 Grimm Words 32 Clever Hans: 3 Grimm Words 33 The Three Languages: 29 Grimm Words 34 Clever Elsie: 10 Grimm Words 35 The Tailor In Heaven: 43 Grimm Words 36 The Wishing-Table, The Gold-Ass, And The Cudgel In The Sack: 123 Grimm Words 37 Thumbling: 43 Grimm Words 38 The Wedding Of Mrs. Fox: 52 Grimm Words 39 The Elves: 19 Grimm Words 4 The Story Of The Youth Who Went Forth To Learn What Fear Was: 86 Grimm Words 40 The Robber Bridegroom: 62 Grimm Words 41 Herr Korbes: 12 Grimm Words 42 The Godfather: 3 Grimm Words 43 Frau Trude: 4 Grimm Words 44 Godfather Death: 36 Grimm Words 45 Thumbling As Journeyman: 39 Grimm Words 46 Fitcher's Bird: 42 Grimm Words 47 The Juniper-Tree: 94 Grimm Words 48 Old Sultan: 28 Grimm Words 49 The Six Swans: 99 Grimm Words 5 The Wolf And The Seven Little Kids: 35 Grimm Words 50 Briar-Rose: 60 Grimm Words 51 Fundevogel (Bird-Foundling): 35 Grimm Words 52 King Thrushbeard: 75 Grimm Words 53 Little Snow-White: 133 Grimm Words 54 The Knapsack, The Hat, And The Horn: 64 Grimm Words 55 Rumpelstiltskin: 47 Grimm Words 56 Sweetheart Roland: 22 Grimm Words 57 The Golden Bird: 269 Grimm Words 58 The Dog And The Sparrow: 19 Grimm Words 59 Frederick And Catherine: 30 Grimm Words 6 Faithful John: 194 Grimm Words 60 The Two Brothers: 558 Grimm Words 61 The Little Peasant: 80 Grimm Words 62 The Queen Bee: 31 Grimm Words 63 The Three Feathers: 55 Grimm Words 64 The Golden Goose: 29 Grimm Words 65 Allerleirauh: 126 Grimm Words 66 The Hare's Bride: 55 Grimm Words 67 The Twelve Huntsmen: 66 Grimm Words 68 The Thief And His Master: 27 Grimm Words 69 Jorinda And Joringel: 30 Grimm Words 7 The Good Bargain: 60 Grimm Words 70 The Three Sons Of Fortune: 31 Grimm Words 71 How Six Men Got On In The World: 76 Grimm Words 72 The Wolf And The Man: 22 Grimm Words 73 The Wolf And The Fox: 44 Grimm Words 74 The Fox And His Cousin: 14 Grimm Words 75 The Fox And The Cat: 10 Grimm Words 76 The Pink: 89 Grimm Words 77 Clever Grethel: 19 Grimm Words 78 The Old Man And His Grandson: 3 Grimm Words 79 The Water-Nix: 4 Grimm Words 8 The Wonderful Musician: 48 Grimm Words 80 The Death Of The Little Hen: 27 Grimm Words 82 Gambling Hansel: 29 Grimm Words 83 Hans In Luck: 36 Grimm Words 84 Hans Married: 15 Grimm Words 85 The Gold-Children: 94 Grimm Words 86 The Fox And The Geese : # Grimm Words 87 The Poor Man And The Rich Man: 49 Grimm Words 88 The Singing, Springing Lark: 58 Grimm Words 89 The Goose-Girl: 102 Grimm Words 9 The Twelve Brothers: 130 Grimm Words 90 The Young Giant: 70 Grimm Words 91 The Gnome: 73 Grimm Words 92 The King Of The Golden Mountain: 57 Grimm Words 93 The Raven: 70 Grimm Words 94 The Peasant's Wise Daughter: 59 Grimm Words 95 Old Hildebrand: 24 Grimm Words 96 The Three Little Birds: 52 Grimm Words 97 The Water Of Life: 113 Grimm Words 98 Doctor Knowall: 27 Grimm Words 99 The Spirit In The Bottle: 24 Grimm Words 81 Brother Lustig: 112 Grimm Words T a l e s o f M a g i c T a l e s o f t h e S t u p i d O g r e R e l i g i o u s T a l e s R o m a n t i c T a l e s N / A J o k e s & A n e c d o t e s A n i m a l T a l e s T h e T w o B r o t h e r s Cinderella 145 The Ungrateful Son: 0 Grimm Words Little Snow White T h e T w o K i n g s C h i l d r e n T h e T w o T r a v e l l e r s T h e V a l i a n t L i t t l e T a i l o r The Golden Bird Iron John Faithful John The Drummer

A Grimm vocabulary

We all have some sense of what constitutes a fairy story: princesses, dragons, castle, forests, wolves. But any reader of Grimm's stories will tell you that the actual tales are often very different. What is it about them that makes them distinctive to modern readers? And do they match our preconceived ideas?

A word count easily tells you the most frequently occurring words in the Grimm folktales. By then removing the most common words in English we are left with a list of words that stand out as particularly Grimm to modern ears.

These are the top fifty Grimm words (sized by count, verbs & duplications removed):

bear bird bread bride brothers castle church cock cook devil earth eyes faithful fish forest fox giant gold hare heaven huntsman husband king kingdom lion lord maid maiden master mountain others palace peasant pieces poor princess queen rich royal servant snow soldier stone tailor twelve wedding wild wine wolf youth

King, forest, gold, maiden, castle, fox, huntsman, wolf, princess. The list reads like a Grimm story in precis. All the usual suspects are there. But what is just as interesting is what is not there. 

There are no fairies in these fairy stories:

bear bird bread bride brothers castle church cock cook devil earth eyes faithful fish forest fox giant gold hare heaven huntsman husband king kingdom lion lord maid maiden master mountain others palace peasant pieces poor princess queen rich royal servant snow soldier stone tailor twelve wedding wild wine wolf youth Human Animal Supernatural

There are, in fact, very few purely supernatural  beings or concepts in these top 50 words. Even beings who often appear in the stories in supernatural roles, like 'witch' (with a count of 67) and 'dwarf' (62), fail to make the cut. Although it should be noted that a fair number of those wolves, fish and foxes - in fact most of the animals - can talk, both with each other and with humans. Not to mention get married, play instruments and dispense worldly wisdom.

However, the world of the stories is very human. While the human protagonists might journey through the wilderness encountering talking animals and magical events, their concerns are with the world they have come from, the civilised world of little kingdoms and peasant farmers. Above all the stories are about the social, economic and relationship concerns of human society.

bear bird bread bride brothers castle church cock cook devil earth eyes faithful fish forest fox giant gold hare heaven huntsman husband king kingdom lion lord maid maiden master mountain others palace peasant pieces poor princess queen rich royal servant snow soldier stone tailor twelve wedding wild wine wolf youth Civilisation Wilderness

The clichés of the fairy story are fully in place. These are frequently stories in which low status protagonists, often male, undergo adventures that raise them to the pinnacle of society.

But there is little in between. The only bourgeois profession here is the tailor - often a trickster figure of mischief. These are stories of a peasant agricultural society of petty kingdoms where only the working and ruling classes exist.

In fact, in reading the stories, it becomes evident that, for all the kings, even the aristocrats barely exist. Castles and palaces often seem to be farmhouses on a grand scale - just kitchens and halls - their business curiously humdrum and small scale. These are stories told by peasants to peasants about peasants.

bear bird bread bride brothers castle church cock cook devil earth eyes faithful fish forest fox giant gold hare heaven huntsman husband king kingdom lion lord maid maiden master mountain others palace peasant pieces poor princess queen rich royal servant snow soldier stone tailor twelve wedding wild wine wolf youth High status Medium Low

And this becomes even more evident as you explore the forest.

Walking between the trees, catching words and phrases as you pass, you begin to become aware of the stories not as individual tales but as parts of a broader landscape of story. These tales are all linked by tropes and themes, subjects and shape. They are expressions that come from a very particular place - that nineteenth century rural German life. But in their fantasy they reach beyond that specific to the wider general.

These strange and unexpected stories are the product of very ordinary people - they are their attempts to think about and prepare for the strange and unexpected events of ordinary life. It is because of this, because they deal with subjects we all have to deal with, but with insight and wonder and glee and deep weirdness, that we still read them, ponder them and tell them, two centuries later.