Pervertiert Märchen (Twisted Fairytale)

Once again I’ve been writing late night mood pieces in German when I can’t sleep. This is starting to become a habit. Also, I apologise for this piece also being a more sombre mood one.  I will write something happy when my muse is inspired to, I promise. Bonus points if you recognise the fairytale this is based on.

Der Spiegel zerschmetterte. Das Mädchen hob eine große Scherbe auf und starrte es an. Sie schnitt es quer ihre Handfläche und sah das Blut lauf herunter ihre Arme an. Die Königin war tot aber der Schmerz wird nie sein.

English translation:

The mirror shattered. The girl picked up a large shard and stared at it. She sliced it across her palm and watched the blood run down her arm. The Queen was dead but the pain never will be.

I originally wrote this in past tense but it felt really clumsy so I switched to Prätertium and it flows much better. I’m starting to realise that as much as I hate Präteritum, it does have its uses. Damn you Präteritum!

This piece is uncorrected, so please feel free to post corrections as I know it needs them.

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6 thoughts on “Pervertiert Märchen (Twisted Fairytale)

  1. I think “zerschmettern” always needs an object – “Sie zerschmetterte den Spiegel” would work, for example, but as is, it should be “Der Spiegel zersplitterte” (or “zerbrach”, though “zersplittern” sounds more dramatic to me).

    gender agreement: “starrte _sie_ an”

    “She sliced it across her palm” could be translated “Sie schnitt damit quer über ihre Handfläche”. Er, come to think of it, that might properly be “Sie schnitt _mit ihr_..” since the shard is still female. (Sometimes gender confuses native speakers, too, see? XD). The way you have it doesn’t work in German; it says that she is damaging the mirror shard by cutting it with something else.

    “Ihre Arme” is plural, singular, following your English version, it should be “ihren Arm”. It’s the correct case, though. :)

    “…and watched the blood run down her arm” I’d translate “…und sah dem Blut zu, wie es ihren Arm herunter lief”. “Zusehen” applies better to watching a process – as the blood moving – than “ansehen”, which would work for either a process or just a thing. (With “ansehen” it’d be “und sah das Blut an, das ihren Arm herunter lief”.)

    “der Schmerz wird es nie sein.”

    Nice moody vignette, that. :)

    • Thanks so much for the corrections. I actually started with zebrach but wanted something more dramatic but didn’t realise that zerschmettern needed an object.

      • As for something drastic to destroy that innocent mirror:

        zersprang in tausend Stücke

        As for the corrections of Anke:

        I would say that

        “… sie sah zu, wie das Blut ihren Arm herablief.” is a little more like real farytale language… “dem Blut zusehen” sounds a bit strange to me as blood doesn’t REALLY actively do stuff… I can “meinem Sohn beim spielen zusehen”… it’s not wrong though and it is juts my personal feeling… another, shorter but more “technical” possibility would be:

        “sah/ das Blut ihren Arm herablaufen.”

        and then finally I would replace the last “aber” with the infamous “doch”… that sounds just more fairtaleicious

        • and another thought… I don’t actually think this to be twisted fairytale style… those things are indeed quite cruel so this is by no means over the top :)

        • Thanks so much for the corrections, they are extremely helpful.
          Also, you are right this really isn’t a truly twisted fairytale but it’s more in the style of the original Brothers Grimm before they got all cleaned up, however I really just love the title. I really want to read the Brothers Grimm fairytales in their original form when my German gets better.

  2. Well, reading Grimms Märchen in the original form feels a bit like reading Sir Walter Scott in the original English, a bit oldfashioned but comprehensible.
    In my 1837 edition of Schneewittchen she was still called “Sneewittchen”, yeah, once upon a time and a few consonant shifts ago English and German were pretty close…
    The queens death for example reads:
    “…Aber es waren schon eiserne Pantoffeln über Kohlenfeuer gestellt, und wurden glühend herein gebracht: da mußte sie die feuerroten Schuhe anziehen, und darin tanzen, daß ihre Füße jämmerlich verbrannten: und sie durfte nicht aufhören bis sie sich tot getanzt hatte”
    Perversion, as we see, is no invention of the 20th century…

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