During the lead up to 1848 revolutions, Bettina von Arnim wrote Poor Book, a report on poverty in Prussia. Though mostly nonfiction, it included a fairy tale, “Tale of the Lucky Purse,” in which Arnim gives money to an old beggar woman from magical inexhaustible money purse. When the purse inexplicably dries up, however, Arnim refills it with money from the king. I argue that Arnim uses the form of the fairy tale to redirect social narratives and fairy-tale motifs of poverty, and to depict the poor not as victims but as tragic heroes owed for generations of sacrifice made to Prussia.
Koehler, Julie. "When the Inexhaustible Purse Runs Dry: Bettina von Arnim’s “Tale of the Lucky Purse”." Marvels & Tales 33.1 (2019). Web. <https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/marvels/vol33/iss1/5>.