Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Say hello To the Hassenpflug

Susette Hassenpflug:
Eldest of the Hassenpflug sisters, contributed the least of the stories, moved out of the house just as the brothers started visiting.  She would have been a young wife at the time of the story.  Like her sisters, she would have spoken French in the home, as her family were French Hugonauts (Protestants).

Jeanette Hassenpflug: b. 1790, 20 years old in 1810
She was a significant contributor to the collection.  Stories attributed to her include Puss in Boots, The Twelve Huntsmen, and On the Despicable Spinning of Flax.  It seems clear that several sisters often told the same stories to the brothers, and so while Jeanette and Marie tell the opposite stories in their scenes as those usually attributed to them, they each likely told their own versions of each other’s stories.

Marie Hassenpflug: b.1788, 22 years old in 1810
Marie was a major contributor of stories, sharing at least 20 of the 40 tales attributed to the Hassenpflugs. Stories attributed to Marie include Little Brother and Little Sister, The Robber Bridegroom, Sleeping Beauty, The Girl Without Hands, and Red Riding Hood.  She suffered from illness as a child and collecting and telling stories helped restore her health.  Many of the versions she told came from France, but she delighted in talking with the brothers about German medieval epics and the writings of Geothe.

Amalia Hassenpflug:  b. 1799, 12 years old in 1810
Amalia was usually known as Malchan, but with a Gretchen and Dortchen, her formal name is used in the play.  Amalia was convinced that she was homely because she had a crooked nose and crossed eyes.  However, her telling was remarkable and she demonstrated exceptional memory and intelligence.  She was something of a tomboy and acted out fairy tales with her brothers, often opting to play the heroic male roles rather than the damsel in distress.   She never married;  it was said of her than Amalia was too self-determined.  She because close with Lottie and Dortchen through the gathering of the stories.


  1. The German writer 'Geothe' is actually called 'Goethe'.

  2. Hello! What are your sources? Where did you find this picture?