Diamonds & Toads | Modern Interpretations

The story of Diamonds and Toads and its themes have appeared in literature and other forms of art. This page provides a small discussion of some of the better known treatments by authors and other artists.

Modern Interpretations

Charles, Veronika Martenova. It's Not about the Diamonds!New York: Tundra Books, 2013. Buy the book in ebook or paperback.

NOVEL: More first books for fledgling readers that offer the enjoyment of a good story with the thrill of accomplishment that comes from independent reading. Written in short, easy phrases with carefully selected vocabulary and plentiful illustrations, each book helps youngsters achieve success as they have fun.

The series follows three friends who love to share stories. In each book, one is reminded of a well-known story. As one friend starts his story, the others are reminded of versions they know so each volume has three stories within one framework. The stories come from around the world, and Veronika Martenova Charles provides a note at the end of each book to describe the origins.

Once Upon a Toad by Heather Vogel Frederick

Frederick, Heather Vogel. Once Upon a ToadNew York: Simon & Schuster, 2012. Buy the book in hardcover
 or ebook.

NOVEL: From the publisher: "Cat Starr's life is no fairy tale. When her mother goes on a NASA mission, Cat is shipped off to live with her father and bratty stepsister, Olivia, and younger brother, Geoffrey, aka Barf Bucket. When Cat finally can't take it anymore, she places a very long distance call to her mother in space. Next thing she knows, her Great Aunt Abyssinia (who also happens to be her rather inept fairy godmother) comes to town. So when toads start appearing every time Cat talks and Olivia gets flowers and gems when she opens her mouth, Cat is more than happy to keep quiet. But Olivia makes the mistake of showing off and before you can say "once upon a time," Geoffrey is kidnapped by jewel thieves hoping to to exchange him for the jewel-spouting Olivia--while Cat is taken by a government agency to a secret lab in Area 51 so that they can perform experiments on her. Cat has got to find a way to rescue Geoffrey, protect Olivia, and get rid of all these toads! But is this one story that just won't end happily ever after?"

The Fairy's Mistake by Gail Carson Levine

Levine, Gail Carson. The Fairy's Mistake. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. Buy the book in hardcover.

NOVEL: In The Fairy's Mistake, two very different sisters have two very different encounters with the fairy Ethelinda. Rosella is kind and helpful. Her reward: Jewels and gems tumble out of her mouth whenever she speaks. Myrtle is rude and spiteful. Her punishment: Bugs and vipers slither out of her mouth. The fairy Ethelinda feels she's meted out justice just right--until she discovers Rosella has been locked up by a greedy prince and Myrtle is having the time of her life!



Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 1847. Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

NOVEL: With a secret wife locked up in the attic, Mr. Rochester is a version of Bluebeard although he can only be accused of trying to murder Jane Eyre's virtue, not her physical person, when he tries to enter into a bigamous marriage with her. This is a classic novel with obvious Bluebeard themes.

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson

Tomlinson, Heather. Toads and Diamonds. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2010. Buy the book in hardcover.

NOVEL: Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family's scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks. It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward. Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani's newfound wealth brings her a prince-and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province's governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters' fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love . . . or death?

Silver Birch, Blood Moon

Cadnum, Michael. "Toad-Rich." Silver Birch, Blood Moon.Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, eds. New York: Avon, 1999. Buy the book in paperback.


Twice Upon A Time edited by Denise Little

Hoffman, Nina Kiriki. "How I Came to Marry a Herpetologist." Twice Upon A Time. Denise Little, ed. New York: DAW Books, 1999. Buy the book in paperback.


Silver Birch, Blood Moon

Hopkinson, Nalo. "Precious." Silver Birch, Blood Moon.Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, eds. New York: Avon, 1999. Buy the book in paperback.


Wolf at the Door edited by Datlow and Windling

Sherman, Delia. "The Months of Manhattan." A Wolf at the Door. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, eds. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

SHORT STORY: Based on "The Twelve Months" tale which is closely related to Diamonds and Toads.

Carryl, Guy Wetmore. "How Rudeness and Kindness Were Justly Rewarded." Grimm Tales Made Gay. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1902.

Read the poem on this site at How Rudeness and Kindness Were Justly Rewarded.

Story Hour by Sara Henderson Hay

Hay, Sara Henderson. "The Flaw." Story Hour. Fayetteville, AS: University of Arkansas Press, 1998. Buy the book in hardcover
or paperback.

I have listed primarily classical compositions of music using the themes of this fairy tale in either ballet, opera or some other musical style. I have also provided links to popular recordings of the music when available at The advantage to these links is that you can listen to samples of the music at no charge.

None so far!


To learn more about these films, please visit the
Internet Movie Database.


Frau Holle (1954). Fritz Genschow, director. West Germany. USA Title: Mother Holly.

Renée Stobrawa .... Frau Holle 
Rita-Maria Nowotny .... Goldmarie 
Erika Petrick .... Pechmarie 
Werner Stock .... Schwarzer Peter

Frau Holle (1961). Peter Podehl, director. West Germany. USA Title: Mother Holly.

Lucie Englisch .... Frau Holle 
Madeleine Binsfeld .... Goldmarie 
Iris Mayer .... Pechmarie 
Addi Adametz .... Witwe

"Lucie Englisch is a very nice Frau Holle to whom the controlling of the weather can be entrusted, in this nice and smart adaptation of the fairy tale. Also nicely designed and especially the world of Frau Holle with its unrealistic (almost surrealist) sets is enchanting. Well directed and paced and with sweet Madeleine Binsfeld as Goldmarie this is a very agreeable children's film." (

Frau Holle (1963). Gottfried Kolditz, director. East Germany. USA Title: Mother Holly.

Karin Ugowski .... Goldmarie 
Mathilde Danegger .... Frau Holle 
Katharina Lind .... Pechmarie

Once Upon a Time (1976)

Once Upon a Time (1976). Rolf Kauka, director. Italy / West Germany.

A blend of Diamonds and Toads and Cinderella, this is a little known film that is a cult hit and classic to many, finally released to DVD in 2006.

Storybook International DVD Set

"The Twelve Months." Part of the Storybook Internationalseries. 1985. Buy the movie on DVD.

LIVE ACTION: Meruska, a pretty, hard-working girl, is sent into the forest to perform impossible tasks by her jealous stepmother and stepsister, Helena. In the forest she meets the Twelve Months of the year. Based on the Hungarian tale.

Stories From My Childhood, Vol. 1: Twelve Months

Stories From My Childhood: Twelve Months (1999). Also known as: Mikhail Baryshnikov's Stories From My Childhood.
Buy the movie on DVD.

ANIMATED SHORT from PBS TV SERIES: Twelve Months features the voices of Lolita Davidovitch and Amanda Plummer.

The PBS series, Stories From My Childhood, features animated shorts from Russia's Soyuzmultfilm Studios, one of the most celebrated animation factories of the 20th century. Mikhail Baryshnikov was co-executive producer of the new English versions, featuring well-known actors' voices. This TV series and the subsequent DVDs collect several of Soyuzmultfilm's most dazzling adaptations of European folklore. These versions are often more accurate than the American film versions of the same tales. Most of the films were originally produced in the 1950s and '60s.

Twelve Months: A Fairy-Tale by Samuel Marshak

Marshak, Samuel. Twelve Months: A Fairy-Tale. Fredonia Books, 2000.

PLAY: Samuel Marshak was born in 1887. His start in literary life he owed largely to Maxim Gorky, in the circle of whose family he spent part of his youth. He first appeared in print in 1907, with lyrics of his own and translations of foreign poets. 

Marshak also wrote several plays based on Russian fairy tales and designed for the juvenile stage, including Twelve Months. Written in a light and witty vein, Twelve Months portrays twelve wise and just rulers of nature, and two girls of opposite type, the one good, whom they help, and the other bad, whom they punish. The play was awarded a Stalin Prize in 1946.


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