Exploring Historical Paths

  • Jack Zipes


Inevitably they find their way into the forest. It is there that they lose and find themselves. It is there that they gain a sense of what is to be done. The forest is always large, immense, great, and mysterious. No one ever gains power over the forest, but the forest possesses the power to change lives and alter destinies. In many ways it is the supreme authority on earth and often the great provider. It is not only Hansel and Gretel, who get lost in the forest and then return wiser and fulfilled.

Once upon a time there was a prince who was overcome by a desire to travel about the world, and the only person he took with him was his faithful servant. One day he found himself in a great forest when evening came. He had not found a place to spend the night and did not know what to do. Then he noticed a maiden going toward a small cottage, and when he came closer, he saw that she was young and beautiful. (“The Riddle”)1

The boy set out with this letter but lost his way, and at night he came to a great forest. When he saw a small light in the darkness, he began walking toward it and soon reached a little cottage. Upon entering, he discovered an old woman sitting all alone by the fire. (“The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs,” 110–111)


Oral Tradition Fairy Tale Protestant Ethic Historical Path Social Type 
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© Jack Zipes 2002

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  • Jack Zipes

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