Cover of Märchen.

Lindgren is best known for her books for children: They are beautiful, sometimes hauntingly so. They are deep and won’t seem cheap after you grow up. They are always grounded in reality, and everybody talks and acts like a real person.

Her fairy tales are the same, only more so. They are also grounded in reality, only in the darker and scarier parts. Children who feel alone, who are poor, who are abandoned. Children who die (never outright, but it’s blatantly between the lines). Children who are poor and nearly die of a fever, and the fairy tale is their fever dream (this is my favourite one).

And yet: It’s never quite too dark. Both Lindgren’s humanity and her grounding in reality and her dedication to storytelling always show through. I have never forgotten even a single of the stories in this book. Not all are amazing, but all are wildly above fairy tale average, and there are several that are vividly part of my … fantastical grounding? My ambient knowledge of fantasy realms? If you consider reading this book, take this as your +1.