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Grimm's Saga Nr. 9 Die Springwurzel / The Springroot
In ancient times a shepherd tended his flock peacefully on the Koeterberg Mountain. One day he was in the meadow when he turned around and suddenly a magnificent queen stood before him. She spoke: “Take this spring root and follow me.” The spring root is found by following a green woodpecker (magpie or hoopoe) to his nest. Blocking off his nest with a wedge of wood, the bird, when he notices the obstruction, flies away and knows where to find the wonderful root, which men look for in vain. He brings it back in his bill and uses it to open his nest. When he holds the root in his bill above the wooden wedge, it slips out as if driven by a hard knock. If you hide and make a loud noise, the bird is startled and drops the root (but if you place a white or red cloth below the nest, the bird throws the root onto the cloth as soon as he has used it.) The shepherd had such a spring root and so he left his animals to wander freely and followed the woman. She led him into the mountain and then deep inside a cave. As the two approached a door or a closed off passage, each time the shepherd held up his root. Immediately the door opened with a loud groan. They continued on their way until they were almost at the center of the mountain. There sat two maidens who were busily at work spinning. The Evil One was also present, but he was without power and sat bound underneath the table where the two women sat. Around them were baskets of gold and shiny precious gems stacked up and the king’s daughter spoke to the shepherd, who stood and gazed lustfully at the treasures. “Take as much as you want.” Without hesitating, he reached into the baskets and filled his pockets to the brim. And when he turned to depart, richly laden, she spoke: “But don’t forget the best!” He thought she meant nothing else but the treasure and that he had already supplied himself well. But she meant the spring-wort. As he emerged into the daylight without the root, which he had left on the table, the door slammed shut hard on his heels but without injuring him for he could easily have lost his life. He happily brought enormous riches home but he could never again find the entrance to the mountain.
To read about the magical powers of toadstools, click on the link:
Or about the strange power of birds' nests: