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Illustration from a 1996 edition, by Bernadette Watts

"Brother and Sister"is a Fairy Tale about a brother and a sister who escape from their Wicked Stepmother.

When the stepmother learns that Brother and Sister have escaped, she enchants the streams in the forest in an attempt to turn them into animals. After drinking from one of the springs, the brother is transformed into a deer. They find a cottage in the woods and decide to live there for a while. Eventually, a king and his court come to the forest to hunt, and the brother eventually ends up leading the king to the cottage.

When the king sees the sister, he falls in love with her and asks her to marry him. She agrees to come to his castle, but only if the deer (her brother) can come along too. After a while, the sister has a child with the king, which is around the time when the stepmother discovers how happy the brother and the sister are, and she and her own daughter plot to ruin their happiness again...

See also "The Enchanted Stag".

The first recorded version comes from Giambattista Basile's Pentamerone; the better known ones are re-told by The Brothers Grimm (as Brüderchen und Schwesterchen), and by Alexander Afanasyev (as Sister Alionushka, Brother Ivanushka). The Grimms version was included in the anime series Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics, with several modifications.

The original provides examples of: Edit

  • Animorphism: The brother is turned into a deer.
  • Back From the Dead: After being murdered by her stepmother, the Sister returns as a ghost to look after her brother and her child. When the King later catches her before she is about to leave the castle forever, she is brought back to life.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The Sister grows into a really pretty girl, whereas the stepsister is not just evil but also ugly until the stepmother uses her magic on her (though she can't hide the bad eye).
  • Burn the Witch: The Wicked Stepmother's ultimate fate in the original. The evil stepsister, on the other hand, is thrown out in the woods and killed by wild animals.
  • It Was a Gift: Sorta. The Sister has a golden chain and she gives it to the Brother when he's turned into a deer.
  • Promotion to Parent: With the stepmother being a huge bitch, the Sister is more of a mother figure to her little Brother than just a Cool Big Sis.
  • Rags to Royalty: The protagonists go from two abused children who had to run away from their abusive caretaker, to the wife and brother-in-law of a King.
  • Red Right Hand: The evil stepsister has a bad eye, which cannot be concealed with magic. As such, she must lie down in a specific position that hides said eye; it's made easier by her impersonating a woman who had just given birth, thus having an excuse to not move a lot.
  • Rule of Three: It's from the third spring they encounter that the brother drinks from, and thus is turned into a deer. It's also during the third day the king and his court are out hunting that the king meets the sister.
  • Talking Animal: The Brother retains his capacity for human thought and speech after being transformed into a deer.
  • Wicked Stepmother: And one doubling as a Wicked Witch, even.


The Grimms' Fairy Tale Classics version provides examples of: Edit

  • Anguished Declaration of Love: The King gives one to Rosa's weakened spirit when he sees her, managing to convince her to tell him where she's being kept prisoner.
  • Bowdlerize:
    • Rosa/Sister is kidnapped instead of killed, and she uses Astral Projection to watch over her newborn baby (matching how the original Sister's soul does the same).
    • The Wicked Witch is not burned at the stake, but is last seen in a daze in the forest and dies off-screen.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Wicked Stepmother whips poor Rudolf simply for eating some apples, and then whips Rosa when she tries to reason with her.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Here the siblings are given the names Rudolf and Rosa.
  • Parental Abandonment: Rosa and Rudolf's father is never mentioned in the original, but here is specifically mentioned that he died few after marrying the stepmother. She started abusing them after his death.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: This version ommits the evil stepsister and simply has the Wicked Stepmother kidnapping Rosa and taking her to the mountains instead of killing her.
  • Rescue Romance: Subverted: Rosa is in lethal danger and needs to be rescued by the King... after they've fallen in love.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Rosa goes from a cute Girl Next Door to a beautiful and elegant young lady on-screen, matching her VERY handsome husband.
  • A Taste of the Lash: The Wicked Stepmother is seen using a whip on her stepchildren.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Rosa is really cute as a simple Girl Next Door. When she's kidnapped by the Wicked Stepmother she's seen with her hair and her clothes messy, but she still looks lovely.