Wishes and magic in fairy tales Three public lecture courses of the University of St.Gallen (HSG), which will start on 12 April 2010, will provide listeners with an insight into the world of fairy tales. 7 April 2010. In her first lecture, narratologist Barbara Gobrecht will focus on wishes in fairy tales. Allerleirauh’s (or All-Kinds-of-Furs’) guileless beauty almost proves fatal for her. This fairy-tale heroine deserves to be able to wish for something, for she urgently needs assistance, indeed the help of magic. A fairy waves her magic wand – and do the wishes come true at once? It’s not as simple as that. In fairy tales, only those achieve happiness who make a judicious choice. Witches and wise womenThe second lecture on 19 April will deal with witches, sorceresses and wise women. Fairies are omnipresent in stories and pictures, like the “Gingerbread Witch” who dwells alone in the darkness of the forest and waylays children. Or they transform kings’ sons into frogs and dragons. What is a witch able to do, and why is she always old and evil? What distinguishes her from a sorceress? And what makes an old woman who knows about magic into a wise woman? Brothers Grimm in SwitzerlandIn her last lecture on 26 April, Barbara Gobrecht will home in on the influence of Grimm’s fairy tales in Switzerland. Quite clearly, many Swiss fairy tales depend on models that originated in the neighbouring country to the north. In the customary local collections, though, Grimm’s fairy-tale characters have been transmogrified – “helvetized”, as it were. Also, interesting changes have emerged between tales as they have been printed and told in the vernacular. And: did the Brothers Grimm bring fairy tales back to Switzerland?