The Three Feathers
by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm

BBC Radio 3

The second in a series of six original plays drawn from the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.

Broadcast: Friday 14th August 1987 @ 9:40 p.m.

As the King is dying, there is wonder on who he will chose to succeed him. The king's three sons toss feathers into the air to direct their expeditions to earn the right to be king. The youngest son, Dummling, is guided to a trap door where he finds a family of helpful frogs.

"The Three Feathers" (Die drei Federn) from "Grimm's Household Tales" by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, first published in 1812, was adapted for radio by Peter Redgrove.

With Andrew Branch [Dummling], Terence Hardiman [Grimald], Pavel Douglas [Rudolph], Michael Tudor Barnes [The King], Sheila Grant [Mother Toad], Jennifer Piercey [Gretchen], and Susie Brann [Matilda].

Music composed and realised by Stephen Rollings.

Directed by Brian Millar in Bristol .

Re-broadcast on Saturday 18th March 1989 @ 10:45 p.m. 30 min.

45 min.



The Brothers Grimm, Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859), were born in Hanau, near Frankfurt, in the German state of Hesse.

Throughout their lives they remained close friends, and both studied law at Marburg University. Jacob was a pioneer in the study of German philology, and although Wilhelm's work was hampered by poor health the brothers collaborated in the creation of a German dictionary, not completed until a century after their deaths. But they were best (and universally) known for the collection of over two hundred folk tales they made from oral sources and published in two volumes of 'Nursery and Household Tales' in 1812 and 1814. Although their intention was to preserve such material as part of German cultural and literary history, and their collection was first published with scholarly notes and no illustration, the tales soon came into the possession of young readers. This was in part due to Edgar Taylor, who made the first English translation in 1823, selecting about fifty stories 'with the amusement of some young friends principally in view.' They have been an essential ingredient of children's reading ever since.


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