The Picture Language of Folktales

Friedel Lenz

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Quick Look

  • An analysis of twenty-five of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales including Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and The Musicians of Bremen
  • Considers the original images contained in these texts and explores how they shaped human consciousness
  • A useful resource for Steiner-Waldorf teachers and readers wishing to consider these texts from a fresh perspective

An exploration of twenty-five of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, considering their meaning and role in the development of human consciousness.

228 x 152 mm
WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America)
Steiner-Waldorf Education
8 b/w illustrations
284 pages
Publication date:
25 Aug 2022


"All folktales have in common that they are the remains of a faith going back to the earliest times, a faith, a religion, that speaks of supersensible things in pictures. These pictures are like fragments of a shattered jewel that lie strewn on the ground overgrown with grass and flowers. Only the sharpest eye can discover them. Their meaning is long lost but can still be felt and gives the folktales their substance." -- Wilhelm Grimm

In The Picture Language of Folktales, Friedel Lenz explores the meaning of twenty-five of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, originally collected and retold between 1812 to 1857. Lenz's interpretation draws on the ideas of anthroposophy and considers the stories in relation to the development of human consciousness. The tales considered range from the familiar, including Cinderella and Snow White, to the less well-known, including The Three Feathers, The Goose Girl and The Seven Ravens.

Lenz's commentary illuminates the significance of these texts, making this a useful resource for Steiner-Waldorf teachers sharing these stories in the kindergarten and lower school, as well as for interested readers who want to understand these classic stories in a new way.


Friedel Lenz (1898-1970) lived in Munich, Germany. She studied in the Waldorf teacher training program and knew Rudolf Steiner. Her husband and two daughters were killed in the Second World War; she and her two sons survived. She then made a new life for herself as a teller of folktales to children and as a lecturer who brought them to life for adults.

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