Once upon a time there were two brothers

We can all remember the bedtime stories our parents read to us during our childhood. In fact, many of them still play an important role in our daily life when it comes to deciding between right and wrong. Come to think of it, you might even say that we owe a large part of our upbringing to two brothers, who lived in and around Kassel in the German Hessen region.

In 1812 the Brothers Grimm published their bestseller Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Grimm’s Fairy Tales). To this day, no other German book has been translated more often than this magnum opus of children’s literature. But all is not what it seems, not even in the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale world – as we learn more and more about the origins of these tales which are so deeply rooted in our culture. 

Over three centuries ago the Hessen Lengeltal’s thickly wooded slopes provided shelter for French Hugenot refugees, who brought with them their traditional tales with names such as ‘The wolf and the two (!) little goats, named Jean and Claude’. The Brothers Grimm retold this tale as ‘The wolf and the seven goats’. In Louisendorf, a hamlet in the Lengeltal, parents still tell this famous tale in its original French form with only one wolf, one mother goat and just two baby goats.

Geographically speaking both the Grimms’ and the French versions seem to be chips off the same block – for they both originate from Landhaus Bärenmühle’s Lengeltal, a place straight out of the fairy tales we all know so well. The old half-timbered watermill, nestled between wooded hills with white smoke curling from its chimney, will remind you of storybook idylls from long ago. Situated in the middle of this enchanted region, Landhaus Bärenmühle pays homage to its fairy tale origins by keeping its heritage alive in the hotel and restaurant.