So…there is NO fairy tale called The Seven Swans, although I’ve often referred to it by accident. Turns out, there are several different fairy tales that include the words ‘seven’ and ‘swans’, and are all much the same story: “The Seven Ravens,” “The Six Swans,” and “The Wild (or Eleven) Swans.” There’s also the story “The Children of Lir,” which has a plot similar to the others. And the more I dig, the more I find! The Twelve Brothers/ The Twelve Ravens by Grimm, and The Seven Ravens by Ludwig Bechstein, are both another retelling. There seem to be more versions of this tale than of Snow White!
I’m going to call this post The Seven Swans, as a nod to all the similarities between the stories.
1. “The Wild Swans,” by Hans Christian Anderson, is majestic and ornate. By far my absolute favorite! It’s full of trusting tenderness and wicked guile. And Anderson’s descriptions are gorgeous!
2. “The Seven Ravens,” by Grimm, is short, with a lurid tone. A regular Halloween tale.
3. “The Six Swans,” also by Grimm but translated and republished by Andrew Lang, was clearly the one that most inspired Anderson in his retelling. But it is a little darker than his, as all the Grimm tales are.
The Children of Lir, an Irish Fable, is a short one, and far sadder than any of the others!
5. The Twelve Brothers surprised me! I thought the Twelve Ravens was my last one to compile until I found this hidden gem!
6. The Twelve Ravens has a twist at the end that I like, but some confusing plot twists!
7. The Seven Ravens retold by Ludwig Bechstein, is my favorite of the Ravens!