Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (Estate)

Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) was a local historian in the Bavarian region of Oberpfalz who gathered a collection of over 500 myths, legends and fairytales, many of which do not appear in other European fairytale collections. A contemporary of the Grimm brothers, von Schönwerth spent decades asking country folk, labourers and servants about local habits, traditions, customs and history, and putting down on paper what had only been passed on by word of mouth. In 1885, Jacob Grimm said of him: “Nowhere in the whole of Germany is anyone collecting [folklore] so accurately, thoroughly and with such a sensitive ear.” Von Schönwerth compiled his research into a book called Aus der Oberpfalz – Sitten und Sagen, which came out in three volumes in 1857, 1858 and 1859. The book never gained prominence and faded into obscurity. His collection was rediscovered by Operpfalz cultural curator Erika Eichenseer in an archive in Regensburg, and she published a selection of the fairytales in 2011.