From 1946 to 1949 he studied Physics, Mineralogy and Musicology at the University of Göttingen. At the same time, Scherf founded and initiated youth groups. 1949 he became Federal leader of the German Jungenschaft (some kind of Scout Movement).
After his studies Scherf worked as typesetter, editorial journalist, lector and publishing house manager.
Walter Scherf translated the first German edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (Kleiner Hobbit und der große Zauberer, Paulus Verlag, Recklinghausen 1957). This edition contains the illustrations made by Horus Engels. His revised translation was released 1971 in the Georg Bitter Verlag as Der kleine Hobbit, this edition contains illustrations by Klaus Ensikat.
After his retirement in 1982 he resumed his studies in Education, Psychology and Folklore which he began in the 1960s. He graduated in 1986 with the thesis Die Herausforderung des Dämons: Form und Funktion grausiger Märchen ("The challenge of the demon: the form and function of gruesome fairy tales").
Until 2001 he was a lecturer in folk narrative research in Innsbruck and Munich.
His main work as a researcher is a two-volume fairy tale encyclopedia from 1995.
For his works about fairy tales, Walter Scherf won awards like the Europäischer Märchenpreis.
- Wikipedia (German)