answer, but nodded a little with her head. So he climbed up the tree
himself, carried her down, placed her on his horse, and bore her home.
Then the wedding was solemnized with great magnificence and rejoicing,
but the bride neither spoke nor smiled.
When they had lived happily
together for a few years, the King's mother, who was a wicked woman,
began to slander the young Queen, and said to the King, "This is a
common beggar girl whom thou hast brought back with thee. Who knows
what impious tricks she practises secretly! Even if she be dumb, and
not able to speak, she still might laugh for once; but those who do not
laugh have bad consciences." At first the King would not believe it, but
the old woman urged this so long, and accused her of so many evil things,
that at last the King let himself be persuaded and sentenced her to death.
And now a great fire was lighted in the courtyard in which she was to be
burnt, and the King stood above at the window and looked on with tearful
eyes, because he still loved her so much. And when she was bound fast to
the stake, and the fire was licking at her clothes with its red tongue,
the last instant of the seven years expired. Then a whirring sound
was heard in the air, and twelve ravens came flying towards the place,
and sank downwards, and when they touched the earth they were her twelve
brothers, whom she had delivered. They tore the fire asunder, extinguished
the flames, set their dear sister free, and kissed and embraced her. And
now as she dared to open her mouth and speak, she told the King why she
had been dumb, and had never laughed. The King rejoiced when he heard that
she was innocent, and they all lived in great unity until their death. The
wicked step-mother was taken before the judge, and put into a barrel
filled with boiling oil and venomous snakes, and died an evil death.
10 The Pack of Ragamuffins
The cock once said to the hen, "It is now the time when our nuts are
ripe, so let us go to the hill together and for once eat our fill
before the squirrel takes them all away." "Yes," replied the hen,
"come, we will have some pleasure together." Then they went away to
the hill, and on it was a bright day they stayed till evening. Now I
do not know whether it was that they had eaten till they were too fat,
or whether they had become proud, but they would not go home on foot,
and the cock had to build a little carriage of nut-shells. When it
was ready, the little hen seated herself in it and said to the cock,
"Thou canst just harness thyself to it." "I like that!" said the cock,
"I would rather go home on foot than let myself be harnessed to it; no,
that is not our bargain. I do not mind being coachman and sitting on
the box, but drag it myself I will not."
As they were thus disputing, a duck quacked to them, "You thieving folks,
who bade you go to my nut-hill? Well, you shall suffer for it!" and ran
with open beak at the cock. But the cock also was not idle, and fell
boldly on the duck, and at last wounded her so with his spurs that she
also begged for mercy, and willingly let herself be harnessed to the
carriage as a punishment. The little cock now seated himself on the box
and was coachman, and thereupon they went off in a gallop, with "Duck,
go as fast as thou canst." When they had driven a part of the way they
met two foot-passengers, a pin and a needle. They cried, "Stop! stop!"
and said that it would soon be as dark as pitch, and then they could
not go a step further, and that it was so dirty on the road, and asked
if they could not get into the carriage for a while. They had been at
the tailor's public-house by the gate, and had stayed too long over
the beer. As they were thin people, who did not take up much room, the
cock let them both get in, but they had to promise him and his little
hen not to step on their feet. Late in the evening they came to an inn,
and as they did not like to go further by night, and as the duck also was
not strong on her feet, and fell from one side to the other, they went
in. The host at first made many objections, his house was already full,
besides he thought they could not be very distinguished persons; but at
last, as they made pleasant speeches, and told him that he should have the
egg which the little hen has laid on the way, and should likewise keep
the duck, which laid one every day, he at length said that they might
stay the night. And now they had themselves well served, and feasted
and rioted. Early in the morning, when day was breaking, and every one
was asleep, the cock awoke the hen, brought the egg, pecked it open,
and they ate it together, but they threw the shell on the hearth. Then
they went to the needle which was still asleep, took it by the head
and stuck it into the cushion of the landlord's chair, and put the pin
in his towel, and at the last without more ado they flew away over the
heath. The duck who liked to sleep in the open air and had stayed in
the yard, heard them going away, made herself merry and found a stream,
down which she swam, which was a much quicker way of travelling than
being harnessed to a carriage. The host did not get out of bed for two
hours after this; he washed himself and wanted to dry himself, then
the pin went over his face and made a red streak from one ear to the
other. After this he went into the kitchen and wanted to light a pipe,
but when he came to the hearth the egg-shell darted into his eyes. "This
morning everything attacks my head," said he, and angrily sat down
on his grandfather's chair, but he quickly started up again and cried,
"Woe is me," for the needle had pricked him still worse than the pin,
and not in the head. Now he was thoroughly angry, and suspected the
guests who had come so late the night before, and when he went and
looked about for them, they were gone. Then he made a vow to take no
more ragamuffins into his house, for they consume much, pay for nothing,
and play mischievous tricks into the bargain by way of gratitude.
11 Little Brother and Little Sister
Little brother took his little sister by the hand and said, "Since our
mother died we have had no happiness; our step-mother beats us every day,
and if we come near her she kicks us away with her foot. Our meals are
the hard crusts of bread that are left over; and the little dog under
the table is better off, for she often throws it a nice bit. May Heaven
pity us. If our mother only knew! Come, we will go forth together into
the wide world."
They walked the whole day over meadows, fields, and stony places;
and when it rained the little sister said, "Heaven and our hearts are
weeping together." In the evening they came to a large forest, and they
were so weary with sorrow and hunger and the long walk, that they lay
down in a hollow tree and fell asleep.
The next day when they awoke, the sun was already high in the sky,
and shone down hot into the tree. Then the brother said, "Sister, I am
thirsty; if I knew of a little brook I would go and just take a drink;
I think I hear one running." The brother got up and took the little
sister by the hand, and they set off to find the brook.
But the wicked step-mother was a witch, and had seen how the two children
had gone away, and had crept after them privily, as witches do creep,
and had bewitched all the brooks in the forest.
Now when they found a little brook leaping brightly over the stones,
the brother was going to drink out of it, but the sister heard how it
said as it ran, "Who drinks of me will be a tiger; who drinks of me will
be a tiger." Then the sister cried, "Pray, dear brother, do not drink,
or you will become a wild beast, and tear me to pieces." The brother
did not drink, although he was so thirsty, but said, "I will wait for
the next spring."
When they came to the next brook the sister heard this also say, "Who
drinks of me will be a wolf; who drinks of me will be a wolf." Then
the sister cried out, "Pray, dear brother, do not drink, or you will
become a wolf, and devour me." The brother did not drink, and said,
"I will wait until we come to the next spring, but then I must drink,
say what you like; for my thirst is too great."
And when they came to the third brook the sister heard how it said as
it ran, "Who drinks of me will be a roebuck; who drinks of me will be a
roebuck." The sister said, "Oh, I pray you, dear brother, do not drink,
or you will become a roebuck, and run away from me." But the brother
had knelt down at once by the brook, and had bent down and drunk some
of the water, and as soon as the first drops touched his lips he lay
there a young roebuck.
And now the sister wept over her poor bewitched brother, and the little
roe wept also, and sat sorrowfully near to her. But at last the girl said,
"Be quiet, dear little roe, I will never, never leave you."
Then she untied her golden garter and put it round the roebuck's neck,
and she plucked rushes and wove them into a soft cord. With this she
tied the little beast and led it on, and she walked deeper and deeper
into the forest.
And when they had gone a very long way they came at last to a little
house, and the girl looked in; and as it was empty, she thought, "We
can stay here and live." Then she sought for leaves and moss to make a
soft bed for the roe; and every morning she went out and gathered roots
and berries and nuts for herself, and brought tender grass for the roe,
who ate out of her hand, and was content and played round about her. In
the evening, when the sister was tired, and had said her prayer, she
laid her head upon the roebuck's back: that was her pillow, and she
slept softly on it. And if only the brother had had his human form it
would have been a delightful life.
For some time they were alone like this in the wilderness. But it happened
that the King of the country held a great hunt in the forest. Then
the blasts of the horns, the barking of dogs, and the merry shouts
of the huntsmen rang through the trees, and the roebuck heard all,
and was only too anxious to be there. "Oh," said he, to his sister,
"let me be off to the hunt, I cannot bear it any longer;" and he begged
so much that at last she agreed. "But," said she to him, "come back to
me in the evening; I must shut my door for fear of the rough huntsmen,
so knock and say, 'My little sister, let me in!' that I may know you;
and if you do not say that, I shall not open the door." Then the young
roebuck sprang away; so happy was he and so merry in the open air.
The King and the huntsmen saw the pretty creature, and started after him,
but they could not catch him, and when they thought that they surely had
him, away he sprang through the bushes and could not be seen. When it
was dark he ran to the cottage, knocked, and said, "My little sister,
let me in." Then the door was opened for him, and he jumped in, and
rested himself the whole night through upon his soft bed.
The next day the hunt went on afresh, and when the roebuck again heard
the bugle-horn, and the ho! ho! of the huntsmen, he had no peace, but
said, "Sister, let me out, I must be off." His sister opened the door
for him, and said, "But you must be here again in the evening and say
When the King and his huntsmen again saw the young roebuck with the
golden collar, they all chased him, but he was too quick and nimble for
them. This went on for the whole day, but at last by the evening the
huntsmen had surrounded him, and one of them wounded him a little in the
foot, so that he limped and ran slowly. Then a hunter crept after him to
the cottage and heard how he said, "My little sister, let me in," and saw
that the door was opened for him, and was shut again at once. The huntsman
took notice of it all, and went to the King and told him what he had
seen and heard. Then the King said, "To-morrow we will hunt once more."
The little sister, however, was dreadfully frightened when she saw that
her fawn was hurt. She washed the blood off him, laid herbs on the wound,
and said, "Go to your bed, dear roe, that you may get well again." But the
wound was so slight that the roebuck, next morning, did not feel it any
more. And when he again heard the sport outside, he said, "I cannot bear
it, I must be there; they shall not find it so easy to catch me." The
sister cried, and said, "This time they will kill you, and here am I
alone in the forest and forsaken by all the world. I will not let you
out." "Then you will have me die of grief," answered the roe; "when I
hear the bugle-horns I feel as if I must jump out of my skin." Then the
sister could not do otherwise, but opened the door for him with a heavy
heart, and the roebuck, full of health and joy, bounded into the forest.
When the King saw him, he said to his huntsmen, "Now chase him all day
long till night-fall, but take care that no one does him any harm."
As soon as the sun had set, the King said to the huntsman, "Now come
and show me the cottage in the wood;" and when he was at the door, he
knocked and called out, "Dear little sister, let me in." Then the door
opened, and the King walked in, and there stood a maiden more lovely
than any he had ever seen. The maiden was frightened when she saw,
not her little roe, but a man come in who wore a golden crown upon his
head. But the King looked kindly at her, stretched out his hand, and said,
"Will you go with me to my palace and be my dear wife?" "Yes, indeed,"
answered the maiden, "but the little roe must go with me, I cannot leave
him." The King said, "It shall stay with you as long as you live, and
shall want nothing." Just then he came running in, and the sister again
tied him with the cord of rushes, took it in her own hand, and went away
with the King from the cottage.
The King took the lovely maiden upon his horse and carried her to his
palace, where the wedding was held with great pomp. She was now the Queen,
and they lived for a long time happily together; the roebuck was tended
and cherished, and ran about in the palace-garden.
But the wicked step-mother, because of whom the children had gone out
into the world, thought all the time that the sister had been torn to
pieces by the wild beasts in the wood, and that the brother had been
shot for a roebuck by the huntsmen. Now when she heard that they were
so happy, and so well off, envy and hatred rose in her heart and left
her no peace, and she thought of nothing but how she could bring them
again to misfortune. Her own daughter, who was ugly as night, and had
only one eye, grumbled at her and said, "A Queen! that ought to have
been my luck." "Only be quiet," answered the old woman, and comforted
her by saying, "when the time comes I shall be ready."
As time went on, the Queen had a pretty little boy, and it happened
that the King was out hunting; so the old witch took the form of the
chamber-maid, went into the room where the Queen lay, and said to her,
"Come, the bath is ready; it will do you good, and give you fresh
strength; make haste before it gets cold."
The daughter also was close by; so they carried the weakly Queen into
the bath-room, and put her into the bath; then they shut the door and
ran away. But in the bath-room they had made a fire of such deadly heat
that the beautiful young Queen was soon suffocated.
When this was done the old woman took her daughter, put a nightcap on
her head, and laid her in bed in place of the Queen. She gave her too
the shape and the look of the Queen, only she could not make good the
lost eye. But in order that the King might not see it, she was to lie
on the side on which she had no eye.
In the evening when he came home and heard that he had a son he was
heartily glad, and was going to the bed of his dear wife to see how
she was. But the old woman quickly called out, "For your life leave the
curtains closed; the Queen ought not to see the light yet, and must have
rest." The King went away, and did not find out that a false Queen was
lying in the bed.
But at midnight, when all slept, the nurse, who was sitting in the
nursery by the cradle, and who was the only person awake, saw the door
open and the true Queen walk in. She took the child out of the cradle,
laid it on her arm, and suckled it. Then she shook up its pillow, laid the
child down again, and covered it with the little quilt. And she did not
forget the roebuck, but went into the corner where it lay, and stroked
its back. Then she went quite silently out of the door again. The next
morning the nurse asked the guards whether anyone had come into the
palace during the night, but they answered, "No, we have seen no one."
She came thus many nights and never spoke a word: the nurse always saw
her, but she did not dare to tell anyone about it.
When some time had passed in this manner, the Queen began to speak in
the night, and said - -
"How fares my child, how fares my roe?
Twice shall I come, then never more."
The nurse did not answer, but when the Queen had gone again, went
to the King and told him all. The King said, "Ah, heavens! what is
this? To-morrow night I will watch by the child." In the evening he went
into the nursery, and at midnight the Queen again appeared and said - -
"How fares my child, how fares my roe?
Once will I come, then never more."
And she nursed the child as she was wont to do before she disappeared. The
King dared not speak to her, but on the next night he watched again. Then
she said - -
"How fares my child, how fares my roe?
This time I come, then never more."
Then the King could not restrain himself; he sprang towards her, and
said, "You can be none other than my dear wife." She answered, "Yes,
I am your dear wife," and at the same moment she received life again,
and by God's grace became fresh, rosy, and full of health.
Then she told the King the evil deed which the wicked witch and her
daughter had been guilty of towards her. The King ordered both to be led
before the judge, and judgment was delivered against them. The daughter
was taken into the forest where she was torn to pieces by wild beasts,
but the witch was cast into the fire and miserably burnt. And as soon as
she was burnt the roebuck changed his shape, and received his human form
again, so the sister and brother lived happily together all their lives.
There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for
a child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her
desire. These people had a little window at the back of their house
from which a splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most
beautiful flowers and herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall,
and no one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress,
who had great power and was dreaded by all the world. One day the
woman was standing by this window and looking down into the garden,
when she saw a bed which was planted with the most beautiful rampion
(rapunzel), and it looked so fresh and green that she longed for it,
and had the greatest desire to eat some. This desire increased every day,
and as she knew that she could not get any of it, she quite pined away,
and looked pale and miserable. Then her husband was alarmed, and asked,
"What aileth thee, dear wife?" "Ah," she replied, "if I can't get some
of the rampion, which is in the garden behind our house, to eat, I shall
die." The man, who loved her, thought, "Sooner than let thy wife die,
bring her some of the rampion thyself, let it cost thee what it will." In
the twilight of the evening, he clambered down over the wall into the
garden of the enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and
took it to his wife. She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it
with much relish. She, however, liked it so much - -so very much, that the
next day she longed for it three times as much as before. If he was to
have any rest, her husband must once more descend into the garden. In the
gloom of evening, therefore, he let himself down again; but when he had
clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the enchantress
standing before him. "How canst thou dare," said she with angry look,
"to descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a thief? Thou shalt
suffer for it!" "Ah," answered he, "let mercy take the place of justice, I
only made up my mind to do it out of necessity. My wife saw your rampion
from the window, and felt such a longing for it that she would have
died if she had not got some to eat." Then the enchantress allowed her
anger to be softened, and said to him, "If the case be as thou sayest,
I will allow thee to take away with thee as much rampion as thou wilt,
only I make one condition, thou must give me the child which thy wife
will bring into the world; it shall be well treated, and I will care
for it like a mother." The man in his terror consented to everything,
and when the woman was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once,
gave the child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her.
Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child beneath the sun. When she
was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower, which lay
in a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but quite at the top was a
little window. When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed herself
beneath it and cried,
Let down thy hair to me."
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she
heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses,
wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the hair
fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.
After a year or two, it came to pass that the King's son rode through
the forest and went by the tower. Then he heard a song, which was so
charming that he stood still and listened. This was Rapunzel, who in
her solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound. The
King's son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the
tower, but none was to be found. He rode home, but the singing had so
deeply touched his heart, that every day he went out into the forest
and listened to it. Once when he was thus standing behind a tree, he
saw that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried,
Let down thy hair."
Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress climbed
up to her. "If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I will for once
try my fortune," said he, and the next day when it began to grow dark,
he went to the tower and cried,
Let down thy hair."
Immediately the hair fell down and the King's son climbed up.
At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man such as her eyes
had never yet beheld, came to her; but the King's son began to talk to
her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so stirred
that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to see her. Then
Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take him for
her husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought,
"He will love me more than old Dame Gothel does;" and she said yes,
and laid her hand in his. She said, "I will willingly go away with thee,
but I do not know how to get down. Bring with thee a skein of silk every
time that thou comest, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that
is ready I will descend, and thou wilt take me on thy horse." They agreed
that until that time he should come to her every evening, for the old
woman came by day. The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until once
Rapunzel said to her, "Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that you are
so much heavier for me to draw up than the young King's son - -he is with
me in a moment." "Ah! thou wicked child," cried the enchantress "What do
I hear thee say! I thought I had separated thee from all the world, and
yet thou hast deceived me." In her anger she clutched Rapunzel's beautiful
tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand, seized a pair of scissors
with the right, and snip, snap, they were cut off, and the lovely braids
lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless that she took poor Rapunzel
into a desert where she had to live in great grief and misery.
On the same day, however, that she cast out Rapunzel, the enchantress
in the evening fastened the braids of hair which she had cut off, to
the hook of the window, and when the King's son came and cried,
Let down thy hair,"
she let the hair down. The King's son ascended, but he did not find
his dearest Rapunzel above, but the enchantress, who gazed at him with