When the Grimm brothers first published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, in a scholarly effort to collate a national identity of the people, it was the beginning of an obsessive project of two intricately interwoven lifetimes.
To mark the bicentenary of the first edition, writer and mythographer Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in a 10-part series, revealing new insights into the stories we think we know so well, and introducing us to the charms and challenges of those that we don't.
Alongside beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves, renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm's rich heritage add to our understanding of these deceptively complex stories.
In the second episode, Marina traces the tales right back to their ancient origins, hoping to answer the question of why we find parallels with the Grimms' stories in texts across cultures throughout time. Her search centres on Cinderella as she visits the tale's oldest known incarnation - an ancient Egyptian manuscript that tells the rags-to-riches story of the 'rosy-cheeked' Rhodopis and was a (perhaps fittingly) precious find, recovered from a rubbish dump.
Producer: Kevin Dawson
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.