Grimm's Household Tales, Volume 1/Notes

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This comes from Hesse, where there is also another story. A King who had three daughters was ill, and asked for some water from the well in his court-yard. The eldest went down and drew a glassful, but when she held it up to the sun, she saw that it was not clear. She thought this very strange, and was about to empty it again, when a frog appeared in the well, stretched forth its head, and at last jumped on to the edge of it. It then said to her,

"If thou wilt my sweetheart be,
Clear, clear water I'll give to thee;
But if my love thou wilt not be,
I'll make it as muddy as muddy can be."

"Oh, indeed, who would be the sweetheart of a disgusting frog?" cried the King's daughter, and ran away. When she went back again she told her sisters about the wonderful frog which was in the well and made the water muddy. Then the second went down and drew a glassful, which was also so thick that no one could drink it. The frog again sat on the brink, and said,

"If thou wilt my sweetheart be,
Clear, clear water I'll give to thee."

"That would be a chance for me!" cried the King's daughter, and ran away. At last the third also went to draw water, but she did not succeed better, and the frog cried to her,

"If thou wilt my sweetheart be,
Clear, clear water I'll give to thee."

"Very well, then," she answered laughingly, "I will be your sweetheart; I will really; only draw me some pure water that is fit to drink." She thought to herself, "What can it signify, it is very easy to please him by saying that; after all, a stupid frog can never be my sweetheart." The Irog had, however, leapt back into the well, and when the King's daughter again drew some water, it was so clear that the sun was actually sparkling in it for joy. So she took the glass upstairs and said to her sisters, "Why were you so stupid as to be afraid of the frog?" Then the King's daughter thought no more about it, and went to bed quite happy. And when she had lain there a while, but had not fallen asleep, she heard a noise outside the door, and some one sang,

"Open thy door, open thy door,
 Princess, youngest princess!
 Hast thou forgotten what thou didst say
 When I sat by the well this very day,
 That thou wouldst my sweetheart be,
 If clear, clear water I gave to thee?"

"Why, if that is not my sweetheart the frog!" said the King's child. "Well, as I promised, I will open the door for him." So she got up, and opened the door for him a very little, and then lay down again. The frog hopped after her, and at last hopped on the bottom of the bed to her feet, and stayed lying there, and when the night was over and day dawning, it leapt down and went out by the door. The next night when the King's daughter was in bed, it again crawled to the door, and sang its little song, she again opened the door, and the frog lay for another night at her feet. On the third night it came once more; then she said, "Mind, this is the last time that I shall let thee in; in future it won't happen." Then the frog jumped under her pillow, and she fell asleep. And when she awoke next morning, and expected the frog to hop away again, a handsome young prince was standing before her, who said that he had been the bewitched frog, but was now set free, because she had promised to be his sweetheart. Then they both went to the King, who gave them his blessing; a magnificent wedding was celebrated, and the two other sisters were vexed that they had not taken the frog to be their sweetheart. In a third story from the district of Paderborn, the King's son, after he has been delivered from his frog's shape, gives his betrothed, when he takes leave of her, a handkerchief, on which his name is written in red, and tells her if that should become black it will betoken that he is either dead or unfaithful. One day the princess sees, to her sorrow, that the name really has become black. On this she and her two sisters disguise themselves as troopers, and hire themselves to him. Some people suspect them, and strew peas,[1] thinking that if they really are girls and fall, they will be afraid, but if they are men they will swear. They have, however, discovered the plot, and when they fall on the peas, they swear. After this when the King's son travels away with the false bride, the three have to ride behind the carriage. On the way, the King's son hears a loud crack, and cries, "Stop; the carriage is breaking!" on this, the true bride behind the carriage, cries, "Alas, no, it is one of my heart-strings which is breaking." Twice more there is a crack, and each time he receives the same answer. Then he remembers the true bride, recognizes her in the disguise of the trooper, and marries her.

This story is one of the oldest in Germany. It was called by the name of Iron Henry, from the faithful servant who had caused his sorrowful heart to be bound with iron bands. Rollenhagen thus names it in the Old German Household Tales, and Philiinder von Sittewald refers to it (3. 42) when he says, "Then her heart would lie in my hand, more fast than in an iron band," which occurs in the same proverbial fashion in Froschmeuseler. The band of sorrow, the stone which lies on the heart, is spoken of elsewhere. An old Minnesinger says beautifully, "She is stamped on my heart as on steel;" and Heinrich von Sar (Man. p. 1. 36) has the expression, "My heart lies in bands." We find in the Lied von Heinrich dem Löwen, St. 59, "her heart lay in bands;" in Keller's Würteniberger (p. 35), "the body bound with iron bands." Wirnt says of the breaking heart,

von sîme tôde sî erschrac
sô sêre daz ir herze brast
lûte als ein dürrer ast,
swâ man den brichet enzwei.[2]

Wigalois, 7697-82.

In its main features the story is still current in Scotland. In the Complaynt of Scotland (written in 1548), the tale of the "wolf of the warldis end," which has unfortunately been entirely lost, is mentioned among other stories, perhaps the Saga of the Northern Fenrir. J. Leyden, in his edition of the Complaynt (Edinb. 1801, pp. 234, 235), believes that fragments of it are still existing in various songs and nursery tales, and says that he has heard fragments sung in which the "well of the warldis end" occurred, and was called the "well of Absolom" and "the cauld well sae weary." He connects our story with it, although the well of the world may very easily have worked its way into various traditions, and we perceive in the German no connection with the wolf (or should we in the original read wolf instead of well?) Leyden's words are these: "According to the popular tale, the lady is sent by her stepmother to draw water from the well of the world's end. She arrives at the well, after encountering many dangers, but soon perceives that her adventures have not come to a conclusion. A frog emerges from the well, and before it suffers her to draw water, obliges her to betroth herself to the monster, under penalty of being torn to pieces. The lady returns safe, but at midnight the frog-lover appears at the door and demands entrance, according to promise, to the great consternation of the lady and her nurse."

"Open the door, my hinny, my hart,
Open the door, my ain wee thing;
And mind the words that you and I spak,
Down in the meadow at the well-spring."

The frog is admitted, and addresses her:

"Take me up on your knee, my dearie,
Take me up on your knee, my dearie,
And mind the words that you and I spak
At the cauld well sae weary."

The frog is finally disenchanted, and appears in his original form as a prince.

It is likewise deserving of notice that the name of Henry for a servant, has something about it that is popular, as is fully shown in our edition of Der arme Heinrich, 213-216.

[This story bears some resemblance to the ballad of Earl Mar's daughter. She went out to play and saw a dove sitting in a tree, which she persuaded to come down by promising it a cage of gold and silver. The bird flew down and alighted on her head. She took it home and kept it daintily, but when night came a handsome youth stood by her side, who told her that he was the dove she had brought home, and that his mother was a queen skilled in witchcraft, who had turned him into a dove to charm such maidens as herself, and that he loved her and would live and die with her. She entreated him never to leave her.

For six years he lived in her bower, and she bore him seven sons, but whenever one was born he instantly flew away with it, and gave it into his mother's care. After twenty-three years a great lord came to court the maiden, who refused him, and said she was content to dwell alone with her bird cow-me-doo. Hereupon the Earl swore he would kill the bird. The bird heard of this, and flew to his mother's castle beyond the sea, and told her that next day his wife, the mother of his seven sons, was to be married to another. The mother changed twenty-four stalwart men into storks, the seven sons into swans, and cow-me-doo into a hawk, and the birds flew over the sea to Earl Mar's castle, seized the men and bound them to trees, and then seized the maiden and carried her away with them.—Tr.]

From Hesse, where it is also told of the cock and hen. These found a precious stone in the dirt, sold it to a jeweller, and bought a pot of grease with the proceeds, which they put on a shelf for winter. The hen, however, by degrees emptied it secretly, and when that came to light, the cock was quite furious, and pecked his hen to death. Afterwards, in great repentance and sorrow, he buried her, as in the story of the Death of the Hen (No. 80). There is also a story about the cock and the hen in Pomerania, where the children are named, Top-off, Half-done, and Upside-down,[3] see Firmenich's Völkerstimmen, pp. 91, 92. It is also told of the fox and cock, who found a honey-pot. The children at their christening received the significant names, Top-off, Half-done, Quite-done. See Müllenhoff, No. 28, The Fox and the Bear. In Norwegian in Asbjörnsen, No. 17, there is also The Bear and the Fox. In it the names are, Just-begun, Half-eaten, and Cleaned-out. The negro story of the Hen and Cat, No. 2, has a similar incident.

From Hesse. According to another story, the poor man goes into a forest and is about to hang himself because he cannot support his children. Then comes a black carriage with four black horses; a beautiful maiden dressed in black, alights from it, and tells him that in a thicket in front of his house, he will find a bag of money, and, in return for that, he must give her what is concealed in his house. The man consents, and finds the money, but the thing which is concealed is his yet unborn child. When it is born, the maiden comes and wants to carry it away, but as the mother begs so hard, the maiden leaves it until its twelfth year. Then she takes it away to a black castle, which is furnished magnificently, and the child may go into every part of it except one chamber. For four years the girl is obedient, then she can no longer resist the torment of curiosity, and peeps into the chamber through a crack.

She sees four black maidens, who absorbed in reading, appear alarmed at the instant, but her foster-mother comes out, and says, "I must drive thee away; what wilt thou lose most willingly?" "Speech," replies the girl. She gives her such a blow on the mouth that the blood streams out, and drives her forth. She has to pass the night under a tree, and next morning the King's son finds her there, takes her away with him, and against his mother's will, marries the dumb beauty. When the first child comes into the world, the wicked mother-in-law takes it and throws it into the water, sprinkles the sick Queen with blood, and gives out that she has devoured her own child. Thus it happens twice more, and then the innocent Queen, who cannot defend herself, is to be burnt. She is already standing in the fire when the black carriage comes; the maiden steps out of it, and goes through the flames, which instantly sink down and are extinguished; reaches the Queen, smites her on the mouth, and thus restores her speech; the other three maidens bring the three children whom they have rescued from the water, the treachery comes to light, and the wicked stepmother is put into a barrel filled with snakes and poisonous adders, and rolled down a hill.

Allied to this are the Poor Man's Daughter, in Meier, No. 36, a Norwegian story in Asbjörnsen, No. 8, and Graamantel, a Swedish one (see further on). The legend of St. Ottilia has some resemblance to it, as told by Frau Naubert in her Volksmärchen, (Part I.) In the Pentamerone (1. 8) a goat's face is given as a punishment.

In Wendish compare The Virgin Mary as Godmother, Haupt and Schmaler, No. 16, p. 179; in Wallachian, The Walled-up Mother, of Schott, No. 2. The root-idea of many doors which may be opened and one which may not, often re-appears and with various introductions, as in Fitcher's Vogel (No. 46). As regards each apostle being placed in a shining dwelling, compare the Hymn in praise of St. Anno, verse 720, where it is said that the bishops were sitting together in heaven like stars. It is an old incident that maidens who are robbed of their clothes should cover themselves with their long hair. It is related of St. Agnes in the Bibl. maxima 27, 82b; of St. Magdalen, by Petrarch, in Latin verse, and there is a picture of the latter in the Magasin pittoresque, 1. 21. In an old Spanish romance a King's daughter sits in an oak, and her long hair covers the whole tree. (Diez's Ancient Spanish Romances, 177. Geibel's Volkslieder und Bomanzen der Spanier, pp. 151, 152).

This story is generally told in other places with new, or differently arranged, trials of courage, and is allied to the sagas Brother Lustig and Spielhansl, Nos. 81, 82. Parzival goes in an enchanted bed through the castle, 566, 567, in the same way as the youth who had no fear. The root of this is a Mecklenburgh story. The game of skittles played with dead men's bones, is inserted from a story from the district of Schwalm,[4] in Hesse. In another from Zwehrn it is related that ghosts come and invite the youth to play a game with nine bones and a dead man's head, which he fearlessly accepts, but in which he loses all his money. At midnight the spectres disappear of their own accord. From this also is taken the incident of the corpse being brought in, which he warms in bed. It contains, however, no further trials, and it lacks the jesting conclusion, which, on the other hand, appears in a third Hessian story, where the youth is a tailor, and his master's wife pours a bucket of cold water over him as he is lying in bed. In a fourth tale, this great bravery is ascribed to a youth from the Tyrol. He takes counsel with his father as to what trade will be most profitable for him, and at last resolves to learn how to fear. A new feature in this is, that a spirit comes in by night who is entirely covered with knives, and orders the Tyrolese youth to sit down and have his beard shaved by him, as in the story Stumme Liebe, by Musäus, 4. 65–82; and a similar incident is told by Cl. Brentano in his notes on Die Gründung Prags. The youth does it without fear, but the ghost when he has shaved him wants to cut his throat as well, but at that very moment the clock strikes twelve, and the ghost disappears. In this part there is a connection with the story of the youth who kills the dragon and cuts out its tongue, by means of which he afterwards makes himself known to be the victor, and wins the King's daughter, as is fully detailed in the story of The Gold Children (No. 85). A fifth story from Zwehrn deserves to be given here at full length.

A certain man once lived in the world whose father was a smith, who carried the youth to the grave-yard and to every place where it was terrible, but he never knew what fear was. Then his father said, "When once thou goest out into the world thou wilt soon learn it." He went out, and it chanced that he arrived in a village by night, and as all the houses were shut, he lay down beneath the gallows. And as he saw a man hanging there, he spoke to him, and said, "Why art thou hanging there?" Then the man who was hanging, answered, "I am innocent. The schoolmaster stole the little bell of the alms-bag, and denounced me as the thief. If thou wilt help me to a decent burial, I will present thee with a staff, with which thou canst drive away all spirits. The schoolmaster has concealed the little bell under a great stone in his cellar." When the youth heard that, he got up, went into the village to the schoolmaster's house and knocked. The schoolmaster got up, but would not open his door, because he was afraid, but the other cried, "If thou dost not open the door, I will break it open." So the schoolmaster opened it, and the youth instantly seized him just as he was, in his shirt, took him on his back, and carried him to the judge's house. Then he cried aloud, "Open your door, I am bringing a thief." When the judge came out, the youth said, "Take down from the gallows the poor sinner outside; he is innocent, and hang up this one in his stead; he stole the little bell from the alms-bag, and it is lying in his cellar, under a great stone." The judge sent thither and the little bell was found, so the schoolmaster was forced to confess the theft. Then the judge pronounced the sentence, that the innocent man should be taken down from the gallows, and honourably buried, and that the thief should be hanged in his place.

The next night when the innocent man was already lying in a Christian grave, the young smith went out once more. Then the spirit came, and presented him with the staff which he had promised him. Said the smith, "Now I will go out into the world, and look for the "Scare-me-well."

It so happened that he arrived in a town where there was a bewitched castle, which no one ever dared to enter. When the King heard that a man had arrived who was afraid of nothing, he caused him to be summoned, and said, "If thou wilt deliver this castle for me, I will make thee so rich that thou shalt know no end to thy possessions." "Oh, yes," answered he, "I'll do it willingly, only some one must show me the way to the castle." Said the King, "I have no keys to it." "I don't want any," he replied, "I will contrive to get inside." Then was he taken thither, and when he reached the first gate, he struck it with his staff, and it sprang open instantly, and behind it lay the keys of the whole castle. He opened the first inside door, and as it opened, the spirits came against him. One of them had horns, another spat fire, and all were black as coal. Then he said, "What queer folks are these! They might be the devil himself! They may all go home with me, and mend my father's fire for him." And when they rushed forward against him, he took his staff, and smote them all together, six of them at a time, and seized them, and pushed them into a room where they could no longer stir. Then he took the keys in his hand again, and opened the second door. There stood a coffin, and a dead man lay in it, and on the ground beside it, was a great black poodle which had a burning chain round its neck. So he went up to it, and struck the coffin with his staff, and said, "Why art thou lying in there, old charcoal-burner?" The dead body rose up, and wanted to terrify him, but he cried, "Out with thee at once." And as the dead man did not come immediately, he seized him, and thrust him among the rest. Then he returned and caught hold of the burning chain, and wound it round himself, crying, "Away with thee!" But the black dog defended itself, and spat fire. Then said he, "If thou canst do that, there is all the more reason for taking thee with me. Thou also shalt help my father to light his fire." But before he was aware, the dog was gone, and he was most likely the devil.

Now he had still one little key for the last door. As he opened that, twelve black spirits which had horns and breathed fire rushed on him, but he struck them with his staff, dragged them out, and threw them into a water-cistern, the cover of which he shut fast.

"I have laid them to rest," said he, well pleased, "but it has made me warm; I should like a drink after it." So he went into the cellar, tapped some of the old wine which was there, and enjoyed himself. But the King said, "I should just like to know how he has got on," and sent his confessor thither, for no one else dared to trust himself in that bewitched castle. When the confessor, who was crooked and hump-backed, came to the castle and knocked the young smith opened the door for him, but when he saw him in all his deformity, and in his black gown, he cried, "After all, there is another of them left. What dost thou want, thou crooked old devil?" and he locked him up too.

So the King waited one day longer, but as the confessor did not return at all, he sent a number of warriors who were to make their way into the castle by force. The smith said, "Here are some men coming, so I will gladly let them in." They asked him why he had shut up the King's confessor? "Eh! what!" said he. "But how could I know that he was the confessor? And why did he come here in his black gown?" Then the soldiers asked him what they were to say to the King. "That he may come here himself," he replied, "and that the castle is cleared."

When the King heard that, he came full of joy, and found great possessions in jewels, silver-work, and old wine, all of which were once more in his power.

Then he ordered a coat to be made for the young smith, which was entirely of gold. "No," said the smith, "I will not have that; it is the coat of a fool," and threw it away, and said, "But I will not leave the castle until the King has shown me the Scare-me-well; for that I must really get to know." Then the King had a white linen blouse made for him, and in order to do him some good in spite of himself he had a number of pieces of gold sewn inside it. But the young smith said, "That is too heavy for me!" and threw it away, put on his old blouse, and said, "But before I go home to my father I must just see the Scare-me-well." Then he took his staff, and went to the King, who led him up to a cannon. The young smith looked at it well and went round about it, and asked what kind of a thing that was? Said the King, "Stand a little aside," and ordered the cannon to be charged and fired off. When the young smith heard the violent report, he cried, "That was the Scare-me-well, now I have seen it!" and went home quite content.

A sixth story is from the neighbourhood of Paderborn. Hans continually tells his father that he is afraid of nothing in the world. The father wishes to break him of this, and orders his two daughters to hide themselves at night in the charnel-house, and then he will send out Hans, and they, wrapped in white sheets, are to pelt him with bones, which will soon terrify him. At eleven o'clock the father says, "I have the tooth-ache so badly; Hans, go and fetch me a dead man's bone; but take care of thyself, the bone-house may be haunted." When he gets there, the sisters pelt him with dead men's bones. "Who is throwing things at me?" cries Hans. "If thou dost it again, thou shalt just see!" They pelt him again, and he seizes them, and wrings their necks. Then he takes a bone, and goes home with it. "How hast thou fared, Hans?" says the father. "Well: but there were two white things there, which threw things at me; however, I have wrung their necks." "Alack," cries the father, "they were thy two sisters; go away at once, or thou too, wilt have to die." Hans goes his way into the wide world, and says everywhere, "I am called Hans Fear-naught." He has to watch three nights in a castle, and thus free it from ghosts. The King gives him a soldier as a companion. Hans begs for two bottles of wine and a horsewhip. At night it becomes so cold that the two can bear it no longer. The soldier goes out and is about to light a fire in the stove, when the ghosts wring his neck. Hans stays in the room and warms himself with wine. Then there is a knock. Hans cries, "Come in, if thou hast a head." No one comes, but there is another knock, and then Hans cries, "Come in, even if thou hast no head." Then there is a crackling sound in the beam above, Hans looks up, and sees a mouse-hole; a pot full of tow falls down, and a poodle-dog is formed from this, which grows visibly, and at last becomes a tall man, whose head, however, is not at the top of his body, but under his arm. Hans says to him, "Put thy head on, and we will have a game at cards." The monster obeys, and they play together. Hans loses a thousand thalers, which he promises to pay the next night. Then, however, all happens as on the previous night. A soldier who has once more been given to Hans as a companion is cold, and goes out to light a fire. As he is stooping, his head is cut off. Hans again hears the knocking, and cries, "Come in, either with or without thy head." The ghost comes in with his head under his arm, but has to put it on in order to be able to play again. Hans wins two thousand thalers from the ghost, which he promises to bring the following night. This last night begins in the same way, the soldier who leaves the room in order to light the fire, is thrust into the stove by the spirits, and is suffocated inside it; the powerful spirit goes to Hans, gives him the thousand thalers he owes him, and tells him he is to take himself off at once, or it will cost him his life, for all the spirits are coming to a great meeting. But Hans will not go, and says, "I will soon show you all the door." The two struggle with each other to see which shall give way, until at last they agree to count three, and that the one who can then first thrust his finger into the key-hole shall stay. Hans counts, and the ghost gets his finger in first, on which Hans fetches a morsel of wood and a hammer, and wedges it tightly in, and then takes his horsewhip and beats him so violently, that the ghost promises never to let either himself or any of his spirits be seen in the castle again, if he may be allowed to remain in the little flower-garden behind the castle. Hans consents to that, and sets him free, on which the ghost and all the spirit-folk run instantly into the garden. The King causes a high wall to be built round it, the castle is delivered, and Hans receives the King's daughter to wife. This story appears again with characteristic variations in Wolf's Hausmärchen, p. 328-408; in Zingerle, p. 281-290; in Pröhle's, Kinder und Volksmärchen, No. 33. In Netherlandish there is The Bold Soldier, in Wolf's Niederländische Sagen, p. 517. In Swedish, there is Molbech's Graakappen, No. 14. In Danish, Molbech's De Modige Svend, No. 29.

Besides these, a similar character appears in an Icelandic story. Hreidmar is also apparently a stupid fellow of this kind, who wishes for once to know what rage is, and does get to know it. Goethe has written most thoughtfully about this story; see his Works, 1833, xlvi. 274. Works of the Scandinavian Literature Society, 1816-17, p. 208, and following.

From the Maine district. In Pomerania, it is said to be related of a child which, during its mother's absence, has been devoured by the children's ghost, which corresponds with Knecht Ruprecht. But the stones which he swallows with the child make the ghost so heavy that he falls down on the ground, and the child springs out again unhurt. It occurs in Alsace, see Stöber's Volksbüchlein, p. 100. Boner (No. 33) tells the story quite simply. The mother warns her kid against the wolf, which it refuses to admit when it comes with its voice disguised. The story is still more abridged in an old poem (Reinhart Fuchs, 346),in which, however, the kid recognizes the wolf through a chink. So too in Burkard Waldis (Frankfurt, 1563, Fab. 24), and in Hulderich Wolgemuth's Erneuerter Æsopus (Frankf. 1623). A life-like story comes to us from Transylvania, see Haltrich, No. 33. In Lafontaine (iv. i. 15) the fable is as simple as in Corrozet, but the former mentions the incident of the white paw which, as in our story, the little kid asks to see; and we remember a fragment of a complete French story. The wolf goes to the miller, stretches out his grey paw, and says,

"Meunier, meunier, trempe-moi ma patte dans ta farine blanche."

"Non, non! Non, non!"

"Alors je te mange."

On this the miller does it from fear.

The Nereid, Psamathe, sent the wolf to the flocks of Peleus and Telamon; the wolf devoured them one and all, and was then turned to stone, just as in our story, stones were sewn into him. But the saga of the wolf being turned to stone has a deeper foundation.

From Zwehrn. There is another story from the Paderborn district. At the bidding of an old woman, a poor peasant invites the first person whom he meets on the road, who is a stranger to him, to stand as godfather. It so happens that this is the King, who therefore holds the child at the christening, and gives him the name of Roland. The Queen has been confined at the same time, and her child called Joseph. When a year has passed by, the King sends for the little Roland, and adopts him as his child. Roland and Joseph grow together, and look on each other as brothers. When they are twenty years of age, the King one day rides away and leaves them the keys of all the rooms, all of which they may open but one. Roland, however, is so curious that on the third day he persuades Joseph to go into the forbidden room with him. It is entirely hung with cloth, but when Roland lifts this up he beholds the portrait of a wonderfully beautiful maiden, and faints at the sight; Joseph carries him out. Roland is restored to consciousness, but from that hour is sick with love, and knows no rest until they both go to the kingdom where the King's daughter lives. She is shut up in a tower for seven years. In the evening she is taken in a closed carriage to her parents, and early in the morning before daybreak back again to the tower. Roland and Joseph cannot see her even once, and have to go home as they came. Then their father gives them four ships; three furnished with cannon, and one with the most beautiful wares. They sail thither, and give out that they are merchants, and Joseph begs the King to make a law that only one person at a time may go on board his ship, as it would otherwise be too much crowded. This is done, and now the King himself comes on board the ship, and after him the Queen, and they buy largely. And as all the things are so beautiful, their daughter is to see them too. But no sooner has she stepped on board than the anchor is raised, and the lovely bride carried away. The King sends a ship to bring her back again, but that is sunk by the cannon. During the voyage Joseph is one night on the watch, and hears a murmuring, and a voice which cries, "Do you know any news?" "News enough," answers another, "the King's beautiful daughter is stolen away, and is here in this ship; but whosoever intends to have her for his wife must first find some one who will cut the black horse's head off." This alarms Joseph, and the next night, when Roland is going to keep watch, Joseph begs him to sleep instead, and give up the watch to him. Then he again hears the voices. "Do you know any news?" "News enough; the King's daughter is stolen away, and is shut up here in the ship; but whosoever intends to have her to wife, can only succeed if any one can be found who, when the bridegroom is drinking the bride's health, will strike away the glass from his lips so that the fragments fly round about. He, however, who speaks of this will be turned into stone to the height of his heart." Joseph is on the watch on the third night also, and then he hears, "The bridegroom cannot obtain the bride unless some one can be found to cut off the seven heads of the dragon which will be thrust in through the window on the night of the marriage. He, however, who speaks of this will be stone to his head." On the following day they arrive; the King comes to meet them with his people, and brings with him a white horse for Joseph, and a black one for Roland. Joseph mounts his, and cuts the black one's head off. All are astonished and excited, and ask the cause, but he replies, "I may and dare not tell you." In the same way also at the wedding-feast, when Roland is about to drink his bride's health, Joseph strikes the glass away from his lips so that the fragments fly about. At last at night when Roland and his bride are already asleep, Joseph walks with his drawn sword backwards and forwards in the room before the window. Suddenly something begins to roar and bellow, and a dragon thrusts in his seven heads. He cuts them off at one blow, and the blood spirts into the room and fills his boots. The watch hearing the noise, summon the King, who comes, and when he opens the door the blood streams out to meet him, and he sees Joseph with drawn sword. "Alas, what hast thou done, my son?" he cries. Then Joseph cannot do otherwise than tell him all, and is immediately encased in stone, so that no one can see anything of him but his head, which seems to be asleep. In the course of a year the young Queen brings a son into the world, and then she dreams on three successive nights that if Joseph is smeared with the blood of the child he will be set free. She relates her dream to Roland, who summons together all the counsellors of the kingdom, who say that indeed he must sacrifice his child for the sake of his friend. So the child is christened, and then its head is cut off. Joseph is smeared with the blood of the child, the stone disappears forthwith, and he stands up and says, "Alas, dear brother, why hast thou awakened me? I have slept so sweetly." They tell him all that has passed, and then Joseph says, "Now I must help thee once more," and ties up the dead child in a linen cloth, and goes away with him. When he has already wandered about for three-quarters of a year, and troubled at heart that he can find no help, seats himself beneath a tree, an aged man comes and gives him two small bottles wherein are the water of life, and the water of beauty. Joseph now carries the child home, but is forced to beg, as he has nothing left. After a quarter of a year, he reaches his father's castle, and then he sits down on the bridge and rubs the child first with the water of life, which restores it to life, and then with the water of beauty, which makes it more fresh and beautiful than all others. Thereupon he takes it to its parents, who rejoice over it with all their hearts. There is a third variant in Wolfs Hausmärchen, p. 383.

It is evidently the saga of the faithful friends, Amicus and Amelius. The one while appearing to wrong the other, in reality gives his life for him; on the other hand, the latter sacrifices his own children in order to bring his friend back to existence, though, by a miracle, these are preserved. The counterpart of the voluntary sacrifice of a pure virgin's life (in Der arme Heinrich) is to be found in the story of Hildebrand, the faithful master of Dieterich; and the story of the Child Oney may be said to form a connecting link between them. Compare The Two Brothers (No. 60), Der arme Heinrich, p. 187, and following, and further indications in Athis, p. 46. The fate which in Hartmann's poem is announced by the physician, is here declared by the ravens—birds of destiny. The bridal-shirt[5] (a woven one, as it is called, in the language of the people, in contradistinction to one which is cut out) which consumes with fire whosoever puts it on, resembles the garment which Dejanira sends to Hercules, and Medea to Glauce. In our story it has apparently so happened that a witch for some reason or other desires to destroy the young King. In the corresponding, but still very individual Italian story (Pentam. iv. 9), it is probably the father of the stolen bride who sends misfortune after them by his curses. A Russian story in Dieterich, p. 38, should be compared, and the Negro story in Kölle (see further on).

A ship is similarly equipped, in the poem of Gudrun (1060 and following) on the voyage when Horand has to fetch Hilda.

From the neighbourhood of Paderborn. The amusing trick by which the peasant transfers the beating to the sentinel and the Jew, is similarly related of Tamerlane's fool Nasureddin (Flögel's Geschichte der Hofnarren, p. 178), and likewise of the Pfaffe von Kalenherg, see the preface to Hagen's Narrenbuch, pp. 272-277, and in Flögel, p. 255. It is also told in Sacchetti's 195th story of a countryman who brings back to a King of France his lost hawk. Bertoldo amplifies something of the same kind. The peasant in his story is to have a beating, but he entreats that the head shall be spared. He therefore does not receive the beating, but those who follow him, for he is the head or leader. Bertoldino also appeases the frogs by throwing gold pieces at them. See Hagen's preface to Morolf, pp. 18, 19.

From Lorsch near Worms. It seems as if the story were not quite perfect; a reason ought to be given why the musician, who, like Orpheus, can entice animals to follow him, treats them so deceitfully. There is a similar story in Transylvania, as Haltrich remarks (No. 50).

From Zwehrn, but there the incident of the maiden noticing the twelve children's shirts and inquiring about her brothers, is wanting. We find it in another, otherwise meagre story, likewise from Hesse. There is a similar incident in The Six Swans (No. 49), from German Bohemia. In Wigalois a red standard denotes a combat for life and death (6153). Compare in the Pentamerone, The Seven Doves (iv. 8). In Norwegian, Asbjoörnsen, p. 209. Also the Lithuanian story in the report of the meetings ot the Viennese Academic der Wissenschaften, xi. 209-212.

From Paderborn. It resembles Herr Korbes (No. 41) and the Town Musicians of Bremen (No. 27). In Pomerania it is united with the story of The Cat and the Mouse in Firmenich's Deutsche Mundarten, 91, 92.


[A very good story, The Giant and his Boy, which is told in Rae's White Sea Peninsula, ought to be given here. "A boy once served a giant who, wanting to try his strength, took him into the forest. The giant proposed that they should strike their heads against the fir-trees. The boy anticipating this, had made a hole in a tree and covered it with bark. They both ran, the boy burying his head in the tree while the giant only split the bark. 'Well,' said the giant, 'now I have found a boy who is strong.'

"Then the giant wished to try who could shout the loudest. The giant roared till the mountains trembled, and great rocks tumbled down. The boy cut a branch from a tree, saying he would bind it round the giant's head for fear it should burst when he shouted. The giant prayed him not to shout, and said they would try instead who could throw the farthest. He produced a great hammer which he threw so high in the air, that it appeared no larger than a fly. The boy said he was considering which sky to throw the hammer into, and the giant, fearing to lose his hammer, asked the boy not to throw at all.

"In the evening the giant asked him when he slept the soundest, and he answered, at midnight. At midnight the giant came and aimed heavy blows at the bed. In the morning when the boy, in reply to the giant's enquiries, said he had felt some chips falling on his face during the night, the giant thought he had better send him away. This he did, giving him as much money as he could carry."—Tr.]


From three stories current in Hesse. One of them from Zwehrn is without the introduction, where the dying mother promises her help to her child, but begins at once with the unhappy life of the step-child—the end also is different. After Cinderella has lived happily with the King for one year, he travels away and leaves all his keys with her, with the order not to open a certain room. "When he is gone however, she is persuaded by the false sister to open the forbidden room, wherein they find a well of blood. Into this the wicked sister afterwards throws her, when she is lying ill after the birth of a son. The sister lies down in the bed in her place, but the sentries hear the cry of lamentation, and save the real Queen and the false one is punished. This termination resembles that in the story of The little Brother and Sister (No. 11). A fourth from Mecklenburg has an ending which reminds us of the well-known saga of St. Genoveva. Aschenputtel has become Queen, and has taken her step-mother, who is a witch, and her wicked step-sister to live with her. When she gives birth to a son these two lay a dog beside her, and give the child to a gardener who is to kill it; and they do the same thing a second time, but the King loves her so much that he again says nothing about it. The third time they give the Queen and the child to the gardener who is to kill them, but he takes them into a cave in the forest. As the Queen from grief has no milk, she puts the child to a hind which is in the cave. The child grows, but he becomes wild, and has long hair, and seeks herbs in the forest for his mother. One day he goes to the palace and tells the King about his beautiful mother.[6] Being asked, "Where is thy beautiful mother, then?" he answers, "In a cave in the forest." "Then I will go there." "Yes, but take a mantle with thee, so that she may be able to dress herself." The King goes there, recognizes her though she is wasted away, and takes her home with him. On the way, two boys with golden hair meet him. "To whom do ye belong?" he asks. "To the gardener." The gardener comes and reveals that they are the King's children whom he had not killed but brought up in his house. The truth comes to light, and the witch and her daughter are punished. A fifth story from the Paderborn district begins thus: A beautiful Countess had a rose in one hand and a snowball in the other, and wished for a child as red as the rose, and as white as the snow. God grants her wish. Once, when she is standing by the window looking out, she is pushed out of it by the nurse. The godless woman, however, screams loudly, and pretends that the Countess has thrown herself out. Then she ensnares the Count by her beauty, and he marries her. She bears him two daughters, and the beautiful red and white step-child has to serve as scullion. She is not allowed to go to church because she has no clothes; then she weeps on her mother's grave, and her mother gives her a key, and bids her open a hollow tree; it opens like a wardrobe; and she finds in it clothes, soap with which to wash herself, and a prayer-book. A Count sees her, and in order to catch her, smears the threshold of the church with pitch. After this all developes itself as in the other stories. A sixth from the neighbourhood of Zittau is given in Büsching's Wochentliche Nachrichten, i. 139. Aschenputtel is a miller's daughter, and is likewise not allowed to go to church. There is nothing new in it, except that instead of a dove, a dog betrays the false bride, and barks,

"Wu, wu, wu,
Full of blood is the shoe!"

And to the true one :

"Wu, wu, wu,
How well fits the shoe!"

A seventh is found in Hagen's Erzählungen und Märchen, ii. 339. The rhymes run thus,


she sees from her window the musician turning a little reel; and while he is doing it the most delightful tones resound; she wants to see it, and asks to have one like it; but the goldsmiths are still less able to produce such a skilful piece of workmanship. And now the handsome musician offers her the little wheel and the reel if she will marry him, and, as her longing for both is so great, she says, yes. Soon, however, repentance comes, and her pride lets her have no rest. She wants to retract her promise, but the King forces her to keep it, and the wedding is celebrated. Then the musician conducts her to the wretched hut in the forest. The rest of the story agrees with ours, and makes it more complete. At the ball when the pan with the food falls down on the ground, she faints with terror. When she awakes, she is lying in a magnificent bed, and the handsome musician is a king. A fourth story has the following peculiarity. The King's daughter made it known that she would give her hand to him who could guess to what species of animal a skin which was stretched out with neither a head nor feet, belonged. It was that of a she-wolf. Thrushbeard learnt the secret, guessed wrongly with great persistence, and then came back disguised as a beggar to guess rightly. Compare No 2. in Pröhle's Kindermärchen. Also (4. 10) in the Pentamerone, Pride punished; in Norwegian, Hakon Borkenbart, Asbjörnsen, part 2.

Thrushbeard (Drosselbart) is also called "Crumb-beard" (Bröselbart), because the crumbs of bread remain sticking in his beard. A "Brochselhart" appears in a song of Nithard (Benecke's Beiträge, p. 291); perhaps it is Brochselhart. The two names are indeed almost convertible, for in Ulfilas a crumb is called drauhsna; we may however also derive Drosselbart from Drossel, Drüssel, Rüssel (snout), mouth, nose, or beak, which also would suit the story.


From various stories from Hesse, where this story is one of the best known of all, yet even in that district, where High German especially prevails, the Low German name of Sneewitchen is retained, or even corrupted into Schliwitchen. In the opening it is like the story of the Juniper-tree; and it is still more like it in another story where the Queen, whilst driving with the King in the sledge, peels an apple, and cuts her finger while doing it. Another beginning of the story is this. A Count and Countess were driving past three heaps of white snow, and the Count said, "How I wish I had a girl as white as this snow!" Soon they came to three pits filled with red blood, and again he spoke, and said, "I wish I had a girl with cheeks as red as this blood." Finally, three black ravens flew by, and he wished for "a girl with hair as black as those ravens." When they had driven a little farther they met a girl white as snow, red as blood, and with hair as black as the ravens, and this was Snow-white. The Count at once made her come into the carriage and loved her, but the Countess did not, and thought of nothing but how to get rid of her. At last she let her glove fall out and commanded Snow-white to find it again, but in the meantime made the coachman drive quickly away. And now Snow-white was alone and came to the dwarfs, &c. In a third story the only variation is that the Queen drives with Snow-white into the forest, and asks her to gather a nosegay of the beautiful roses there, and while she is doing it, drives away and leaves her alone. In a fourth, it is narrated that after Snow-white's death she is to be burnt by the dwarfs. They wrap her in a sheet, make a pile of wood under a tree, and suspend her over it by cords. Just as they are going to light the fire, the Prince comes, who has her taken down, and carries her away with him in his carriage. The motion of the carriage makes the bit of poisoned apple jump out of her throat and she comes to life. A fifth story has the following variations. A certain King loses his wife, by whom he has an only daughter, named Snow-white, and he takes another by whom he has three daughters. She, too, hates her step-child because of her wondrous beauty, and ill-treats her whenever she can. In a cave in the forest dwell seven dwarfs who kill every maiden who approaches them. The Queen knows this, and as she does not wish to kill Snow-white by direct means, she hopes to get rid of her by taking her to the entrance of their cave, and saying, "Go in there, and wait till I come back." Then she goes away and Snow-white fearlessly enters the cave. The dwarfs come and at first want to kill her, but as she is so beautiful, they let her live, and tell her that in return for this, she must keep house for them. Snow-white, however, has a dog called "Mirror," and now she is gone, it stays in the castle, and is full of grief. The Queen asks it,

"Mirror, mirror beneath the bench,
Look in this land, look in that land,
Who is the fairest in Engelland?"

The dog answers, "Snow-white with her seven dwarfs is much more beautiful than my lady Queen with her three daughters." Thus she becomes aware that Snow-white is still living, and makes a poisoned stay-lace. With this she goes to the cave and calls to Snow-white that she is to open the door to her. Snow-white will not do it, because the seven dwarfs have strictly forbidden her to let in any human being, and certainly not the stepmother, who has tried to destroy her. The Queen however tells Snow-white that she has no daughters now, for a knight has robbed her of them, and that she would like to live with her and dress her prettily. Snow-white pities her and lets her in, and then the Queen laces her with the poisoned stay-lace, and she falls down dead, whereupon the Queen goes away. But the seven dwarfs come and take a knife and cut the stay-lace in two, and Snow-white returns to life again. And now the Queen questions Mirror (the dog) under the bench, and it gives her the same answer. Then she makes a poisoned hair-ribbon, and goes with it, and speaks so movingly to Snow-white, that she again lets her in. The Queen binds the ribbon round Snow-white's hair, and she falls down dead. But the seven dwarfs see what has happened, cut off the hair-ribbon, and she is restored to life. The Queen questions the dog the third time, and receives the same answer. And now she goes with a poisoned apple, and in spite of all the warnings which Snow-white has had from the dwarfs, she is touched by her lamentations, opens the door, and eats some of the apple. Then she dies, and when the dwarfs come they can do nothing for her, and "Mirror," under the bench, tells the Queen that she is now the most beautiful. But the seven dwarfs make a silver coffin, put Snow-white into it, and place it on a tree in front of their cave. A Prince comes by, and asks the dwarfs to give him the coffin, and takes it with him, and when he gets home has her laid upon a bed and dressed as if she were alive, and loves her above measure. A servant has to wait on her continually; but one day he gets angry at having do to this, and says, "The dead maiden is just to be treated as if she were a living one," and gives her a blow on her back, on which the piece of apple comes out of her mouth, and Snow-white is once more alive. A Viennese version of this story gives the following incidents. There are three sisters; Snow-white is the prettiest and youngest. The other two hate her, and send her out into the world with a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water. Snow-white comes to the glass mountain, and keeps house for the dwarfs. And now, when the two sisters ask the mirror who is the fairest, it answers,

"The fairest is on the Glass mountain,
And she dwells with the little dwarfs."

They send some one thither to poison Snow-white. See Richilda in Musäus, where the rhyme runs thus:

"Mirror white, mirror bright,
Mirror, let me have a sight,
Of the fairest girl in Brabant!"

It is also a genuine incident that, in the end, the dwarfs make steel slippers, heat them till they are red-hot, and put them on the feet of the stepmother, who is forced to dance in them until the floor smokes. In Wallachian, see The Magic Mirror, Schott, No.6. In the Pentamerone, the Kitchen-maid (2. 8).

There is a remarkable unison between this story and a Norse one, which has already become almost an historical saga. Snafridr, a most beautiful woman (qvenna friduzt), wife of Harald Harfager, dies, "and her countenance was not in the slightest degree altered, but she was just as rosy as if still in life. The King sat by the corpse and thought she would return to life, and thus he sat for three years." (Haraldssaga, chap. 25; Heimskringla, 1. 102). For the drops of blood upon the snow, compare the preface to Liebrecht's Translation of the Pentamerone, xxi. xxiii. The punishment of having to dance till dead occurs also in a Danish popular saga (Thiele, 1. 130), and the seven gold mountains in a Swedish popular song, in Geyer, 3, 72, 74; and in Firdusi (Görres, 1. 180), there is "on seven mountains must thou alight, where crowds upon crowds of frightful Deevs meet thee."

From Lower Hesse. Hans Sachs relates a very similar jest, (2. 4, 114, 115), Nuremberg edition, 2. 4. 227. Kempt. edit. St. Peter begs a gift of a trooper, who gives him all that he asks for, namely, three farthings. In recompense for his kindness, St. Peter presents him with a couple of wishing-dice. The trooper goes on his way delighted, and in the evening he sits down under an oak, throws his dice, wishes for a well-filled table, and enjoys himself. In the meantime a peasant comes up on an ass, and says that he has lodged St. Peter for the night, and in return for it he has this morning given him this ass, which is full of troopers; if anyone strikes it on the tail, a trooper falls down. He, however, has a dislike to troopers, for in the Bavarian war they reduced him to poverty. The trooper, on the contrary, is pleased with the ass; he offers the peasant his dice for it, and the exchange is made. The peasant goes away with the dice, and the trooper strikes the ass twice. Two troopers fall out, and with these he pursues the peasant and takes back the dice. He repairs to Sweden, where the King proclaims that whosoever shall prepare for him a royal supper without using coal, wood, or fire, shall in return for it have his daughter to wife. The trooper easily accomplishes it with his dice, but the King refuses to keep his word. The trooper secretly takes his ass away; the King hastens after him with all his court, but the trooper strikes the ass with his fist until a whole company or more of troopers stands before him. Then he throws the dice and wishes for a wall round about them. The King becomes alarmed, and gives him his daughter. The trooper prepares the wedding in the most exquisite manner, but

  1. Die Zwölf Jäger, No. 67, has many features in common with this story.—Tr.
  2. His death shocked her so much that her heart broke with a sound loud as that of a dry bough which is broken in two.
  3. It is a custom among village-folks when drinking tea together to turn their cups upside down when they are empty.—Tr.
  4. This district took its name from the river Schwalm, which rises in the Vogelsberg, in the N.E. of the Grand Duchy of Hesse, and joins the Edder near Altenberg, after a northward course of 35 miles.—Tr.
  5. A shirt without seams is probably what is meant. Such garments play a large part for good or for evil, in mythology. When Ragnar Lodbrog went on his last expedition to England, Aslanga his wife, who foreboded evil, gave him a shirt she had woven of fine grey silk in which no stitch had been put. He wore it instead of armour, and none could wound him, though at length he was captured. Finally, he was thrown into a pit full of snakes, none of which would touch him till the shirt was removed. See Ragnar Lodbrog's Saga, 16th chapter.—Tr.
  6. See "Valentine and Orson,"—Tr.