This month: fairy tales from ancient Egypt!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Animal Prognosticators in Fairy Tales: The Goose Girl



The Future in Fairy Tales:

Grimm’s Fairy Tale No. 89: The Goose Girl


There once lived a queen who was no longer very young; her husband had died many years before, and this queen had a beautiful daughter. When the girl grew up, she was promised to a king’s son in a distant realm. When it came time for her to marry, the old woman packed up immense treasures: every manner of utensil, gold and silver, cups and gems. In short she included everything belonging to a royal dowry, because the queen loved her child dearly. She also gave the girl a lady-in-waiting to accompany her on her travels. This lady was to deliver the girl into the hands of her bridegroom. Each received a horse for the trip, but the horse of the king’s daughter was called Falada and could talk.

When the hour of departure arrived, the old mother entered the bedroom of her daughter, took a little knife and cut her finger until it bled. Then she held a white cloth underneath it and let three drops of blood fall, one after another. She gave the cloth to her daughter and said “Dear child, guard these drops well. You shall experience harm on your journey.”

So both sadly took leave of each other: the king’s daughter placed the cloth close to her breast, mounted the horse and rode out to her bridegroom. They had ridden an hour when the girl felt hot pangs of thirst and said to her lady-in-waiting : “Dismount and fetch me my cup that you have brought for me. Take water from the stream, I so long for a drink.”

“If you are thirsty,” the lady replied, “get off your horse, lay down at the water and drink. I don’t want to be your lady.”

The king’s daughter dismounted because she was very thirsty, bent over the water and drank from the stream, but was not allowed to use the golden cup. She said to herself “Dear God!” and the three droplets of blood responded: “If your mother only knew, her heart would break in two.” But the king’s bride was meek, she didn’t say anything, and mounted her horse again.

They rode endless miles and the day was hot. The sun was piercing and soon she was as thirsty as before. When they came to a river, she called to her lady-in-waiting , “Dismount and give me my golden cup to drink.” She had long forgotten the lady’s evil words. But she answered even more haughtily than before “If you want to drink, so drink alone. I do not want to be your lady!”

The king’s daughter dismounted from her horse because she was so thirsty, she bent over the flowing water and cried. “Dear God!” and the droplets of blood answered ““If your mother only knew, her heart would break in two.”And as she drank, the little cloth with the three droplets of blood fell from her breast and was swept away by the water, without her noticing anything in her distress. Her lady had seen it all and rejoiced that she now would have power over the bride. Because she had lost these three droplets of blood, she was now weak and powerless. When she wanted to mount her horse Falada, the lady-in-waiting said “I belong on Falada and you belong on my old nag!” So the girl had to submit. Then the lady-in-waiting ordered her with harsh words to take off her royal clothing and to put on the lady’s poorer dress. Finally she had to swear under the open sky that when they arrived at the king’s court she would not tell anyone what had transpired. If she had not taken this oath, she would have been killed immediately. But Falada saw it all and was wary.

The lady-in-waiting now mounted Falada and the true bride sat on the poor horse and they continued on in this way. Finally they arrived at the royal castle. There was enormous joy upon their arrival. The king’s son hastened to meet them, lifted the lady-in-waiting from the horse and thought she was his true bride. She was led up the steps while the true king’s daughter had to remain standing below. But the old king looked out of his window down to the courtyard below and saw how beautiful and delicate the girl was. He went to his royal chamber and inquired of the new bride about who had arrived with her and was standing below in the courtyard. “I took the girl standing below in the courtyard for company; give the girl some work so she doesn’t stand around idly.” But the old king did not have any work for her and did not know anything else except to say “I have a small boy who guards the geese. She can help him.” The boy was called Kurdchen or little Konrad. So the true bride was given the task of helping him tend the geese.

Soon the false bride spoke to the young king “Dear husband, I ask you to do me a favor.” He replied “I will do it gladly!” “Call the rawhider, and have him chop off the head of the horse I rode on, he annoyed me so on the journey.” But in reality she was fearful that the horse would tell how she had treated the king’s daughter. Now it happened that the dear and true Falada was to die. The rightful king’s daughter heard the news and she promised the rawhider a coin, if he would do her a service. In the city was an enormous, dark gate, through which she had to pass every evening and morning with the geese. “Under the dark gate, nail the head of my Falada so that I can see him still.” The rawhider promised to do what was asked, struck off the head and nailed it fast to the gloomy gate.

In the morning, when she and Kurdchen passed under the gate, driving the geese before them, she spoke:

“Oh you, Falada, hanging there,

And the head responded,

“O you young princess, walking by,
If your mother only knew,
Her heart would break in two.”

She withdrew far from the city and drove the geese into the field. And when she arrived in the meadow, she sat down and untied her tresses that glistened like pure gold.
Kurdchen saw it all, was enamored by how her hair sparkled and wanted to pull out a few strands for himself. She spoke:


“Blow, blow little breeze,
Take from Kurdchen his little hat,
Make him chase and follow that,
Until I have plaited and braided
And bound up my tresses.”

The wind blew off the little hat from Kurdchen’s head, so that he had to chase after it. When he returned, she had long finished plaiting her hair and he couldn’t snatch a single hair. So the two guarded the geese until it was evening.

But in the evening, when they returned home, Kurdchen went to the old king and said “I don’t want to guard the geese with the maid.” “Why not?” the old king asked. “Oh, she angers me the entire day.” The old king ordered him to tell him everything that happened with her. Kurdchen said “In the morning, when we pass through the gloomy gate with the flock, there hangs the head of an old nag, with whom she speaks:

“Oh you, Falada, hanging there,

And the head responds,

“O you young princess, walking by,
If your mother only knew,
Her heart would break in two.”

Kurdchen continued to tell what happened out in the goose meadow, how he had to chase his hat in the wind.

The old king ordered him to go out the next day. And when it was morning, he himself sat behind the gate and listened to how she talked to the head of Falada. Then he went out to the field and hid behind a bush. He now saw with his own eyes how the goose girl and the goose boy drove the flock out, how after a while she sat down, undid her hair, and her tresses glistened like gold. She spoke:

“Blow, blow little breeze,
Take from Kurdchen his little hat,
Make him chase and follow that,
Until I have plaited and braided
And bound up my tresses.

A burst of wind seized Kurdchen’s hat so that he had to run. While the maid combed and plaited her tresses, the old king observed it all. He returned unnoticed and in the evening when the goose girl came home, he called her aside and asked why she acted so. “I cannot tell you, and can tell no one of my pain, for I swore under the free sky, and I would otherwise have lost my life.” He urged her and would not leave her in peace, but could not find out anything. He said, “If you won’t tell me, so tell the iron stove of your misery,” and went away. She crept into the iron oven and began to cry, poured out her heart and said “Here I sit abandoned by the world, and I am a king’s daughter and the false lady-in-waiting has forced me under violence to take off my royal clothing. She took my place with my groom and I must do work as a goose girl. If my mother knew, her heart would break in two.” The old king stood outside at the stove pipe and listened and heard what she said. He came in and told her to come out of the oven. She put on her royal clothing and it was a miracle to see how beautiful she was. The old king called his son and revealed to him that he had the false bride. She was just a lady-in-waiting , the true bride now stood before him, the former goose girl. They young king was filled with joy when he gazed upon her beauty and virtue. A feast was prepared and all people in the kingdom and good friends were invited. At the head of the table sat the bridegroom, the king’s daughter on one side and the lady-in-waiting on the other. But the lady-in-waiting no longer recognized the princess in her radiant finery. When everyone had eaten and drunk and were merry, the old king gave the lady-in-waiting a riddle to solve. What fate did a person deserve who had lied? He told her the entire tale and asked “Of what judgment is such a person worthy?” The false bride spoke “She is not worth anything better than to be stripped naked and placed in a barrel lined with nails. Two white horses must be harnessed and they shall pull the barrel up and down the lane until she is dead.”

“You are the person,” the old king said “and you have declared your own judgment, which we must now abide.” And when the judgment was executed, the young king married his rightful bride


For more fairy tales, click on the link:

Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com

To read more about fairy tale seers and prognosticators:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2010/03/reading-grimms-fairy-tale-crystal-ball.html

Please read and enjoy, do not copy or pilfer.

Thanks!

No comments: