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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Future in Fairy Tales: the Prophesiers



The Future in Fairy Tales
The Prophesiers: Newsy Norns and Wee Wives


In ancient Germanic mythology, prophesy and magic were most often associated with women. Illustrious seers went by various names; they were often called the Three Fates, the Goddesses of Destiny or Norns. In Scandinavian mythology, their number was usually three (but we also find them in groups of twelve or other numbers in fairy tales). The three sisters of fate were named Urd (The Past), Verdandi (The Present) and Skuld (The Future). Legend has it that they lived near the Urd Fountain, a deep spring which flowed over the root of the Tree of Life and formed a lake around it. Beautiful, brilliant white swans swam on this lake. The Norns never ceased dipping their silver horns, which the gods themselves had given them, into the water of the spring to drench the roots of the Tree of Life so that it never withered.
In Fairy Tales, Norns often appear at the birth of a child, bestowing gifts of fortune or a curse, often tied to premature death. Perhaps the two most famous tales with an appearance of a prophesying Norn are Sleeping Beauty and The Doomed Prince (be sure to hit the links at the right for examples of these prophesiers: Norns, Sleeping Beauty and Doomed Prince, where they are Hathors.) Two other fairy tales posted on this website Godfather Death and Godmother Death feature deities that have a distinct Norn-likeness.
Many tales reflect the cultural importance attached to seers and their visions. A fairy tale protagonist often derives his success in life from the foresight conveyed to him either in the form of an apparition, auditory revelation or some other sensory or extra-sensory experience. Visions (or prior knowledge obtained in many different ways) seem to be something most fairy tale characters welcome, but not all can experience. A seer, who has supernatural or even semi-divine qualities, may even bestow the vision as a gift upon the seeker. The recipient then assumes protégée status. Why a certain person is selected is never fully revealed. It is interesting to compare and contrast the varieties of revelatory experience as described in the Icelandic tales and the Legend of St. Meinrad. The legend suggests that Meinrad has the ability to see the future because of his godly life. Through prayer, meditation, and an existence entirely devoted to the love of God, St. Meinrad has achieved enlightenment. However, his unique powers are fostered by isolation from community. In Icelandic sagas, the opposite is the case, the seers are elevated members within a social framework and the strong bonds among clans and persons are reflected in the narrative. Prophetic ability among these seers seems to be innate. One can only surmise that the first hermits and contemplatives who deviated from tradition and sought a life outside of a strong community were probably perceived as true revolutionaries. Both Christian legends and pre-Christian fairy tales stress the importance of accepting one’s destiny. It is important to love your life, embrace your fate and become what you are. The fairy tale frequently describes such identity-shaping transformations, sometimes even involving acceptance of the final metamorphosis, death itself. Abnegation might actually be seen as the ultimate form of self-realization (and not to be confused with self-loathing in any of its loathly forms).

The following tales involve further permutations of the Norn-function:
(Germanic tribes did not have priests or druids, instead they had Wise Women, Weisse Frauen, who appeared in white linen robes to their people and acted as seers in times of war and peace. The most famous of all was Velleda, who lived near the Rhine River. At a time of immense danger for the Roman army, she foretold the fall of the Roman Empire. Not only did the capital city burn, but huge campaigns were launched against the Romans. )

The Acorn Stone
The Roman Field Marshal Drufus had penetrated Germany as far as the Elbe River. He stood thoughtfully on its banks, contemplating his next move, when a giant woman in white robe appeared to him. She was the most famous of all Germanic seers, who also appeared during battles and urged sons, husbands and lovers to fight honorably. She called to him “Where are you going Young Drufus, who cannot be satisfied? You want to have all of our lands, but fate does not will it! Flee! Flee! You stand at your life’s end!” Because of this apparition, Drufus retreated. He fell with his horse and broke his leg. Carried by his companions to Mainz, he died immediately. He was thus considered to be the founder of the City of Mainz. He was beloved by his legions. They therefore built a monument to honor his remains and it is called the Acorn Stone. It rises up from the ground and appears as a dark-gray, round, tower-like mass. The markings have long vanished, the height and shape of the stone have suffered many changes. Only the iron-hard core remains, which testifies to the human skill and artistry of the Romans.

And in this Saga of the Brothers Grimm, a farmer ignores a Wee Wife’s gift of second sight, with dire consequences:

Grimm's Saga 47
The Wee Mossy Wife


In 1635 a farmer by the name of Hans Krepel lived near Saalfeld. One day in the afternoon he went out to the heath to cut wood, where he met a wee mossy wife. She spoke to him: “Father, when you stop chopping wood for the day, carve three crosses in the trunk of the last tree you fell. Luck will be with you.” After these words, the mossy wife went on her way. The farmer, a coarse and crude fellow, thought to himself “What good is such blabber to me and what do I care about such bogies?” He refrained from carving the three crosses and instead went home that night. The next day just when he was about to go back to the wood to continue chopping, the wee mossy wife returned and spoke: “Ach you man! Didn’t you carve the three crosses yesterday? That would have helped both you and me, for this afternoon the wild huntsman shall chase us and at night we shall have no rest and he will kill us in a gruesome fashion. We shan’t have any peace from him if we cannot sit on such carved tree trunks. He can’t do anything to us when we sit there, then we are safe.” The farmer answered: “Haha, what good would the crosses be? I’m not going to carve any just to please you.” The wee mossy wife was seized by such a rage that she assailed the farmer and pressed him fiercely, a man otherwise strong of nature, until he became quite ill and wretched. Since that time he carefully follows the advice he receives. He has never ceased carving crosses in wood and has never again encountered anything so frightful.


War and Peace
In the year 1644, on the 18th of August, the Prince Elector Johann Georg I moved his army past the city of Chemnitz. There, his men captured a wild little wife in the thicket of the area. She was only one ell high but otherwise had a human shape. Her face, hands and feet were smooth, but the rest of her body was rough. The wee wife began to speak: “I prophesy and bring peace to all the land.” The Prince Elector ordered that the wee wife be released, because twenty-five years earlier a wee husband had been found with the same shape. He foreboded unrest and war for all the land.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Legend of Saint Meinrad and his Ravens


‘Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. (Othello)

In this legend from Switzerland, a saint acquires the gift of second sight through prayer and meditation.

In ancient times, when St. Gall, St. Columba and St. Fridolin roamed the earth, they eventually arrived in Switzerland, where they found the Helvetii, the first inhabitants of Switzerland. There are many stories about these saints, but the miracles they performed were often only witnessed by the stone cliffs, ancient trees, babbling streams or wild animals they encountered. Still they toiled on, leaving behind many chapels, churches and cloisters. A long time ago, a God-fearing hermit took up residence in one of the saints’ abandoned abodes he found in ruins on Etzelberg Mountain. This is where the Alps begin and where the Helvetii built their pole-dwellings. The hermit’s name was Meinrad and he was of Hollenzollern lineage.

One day he sat in his small chapel reading a book. Deep in thought he turned his gaze to the blue lake lying below him. He looked out over the valley; the numerous fruit trees surrounding the cloister had burst into bloom and a large hawk circled high above the nearby Santis Mountain.

Now Meinrad loved his solitary life on snow-capped Etzelberg Mountain. But soon the people living in the valley below heard of his piety. More and more began making the journey up the steep path to his dwelling, but this disturbed the hermit’s meditations.

One day, when people once again had climbed the arduous path they no longer found the recluse. He had departed beyond the wild Sihlbach forest stream and had penetrated deep, deep inside the wilderness, where only wild animals lived. But he was not afraid. On his way he found a fir tree with a nest. The mother bird flew round 'bout his head, but he took the baby birds from the nest, placed one on each shoulder and continued on his way. He walked until he came to a spring, with bubbling water as fresh and cold as the ice around him. Here he built a hut and a chapel. He stayed at this lonely and desolate spot and now lived once more in complete isolation in the wilderness.

Day and night he lay prostrate on the floor of his hut in deep prayer and meditation, while the two raven babies played and frolicked outside his dwelling. At night when the fog enveloped the mountain side, creaking noises could be heard coming from the forest, the voice of bear and wolf sometimes penetrated the walls and often frightful spooks could be heard raging around the chapel at night. But he was not afraid, because the angels always came and helped him and comforted him.

After many years of living in the wilderness, pilgrims once again began to come to him, drawn by stories of his holy life. Finally two robbers crept in secretly toward St. Meinrad’s chapel. They thought they might find valuables in his hut and relieve the Saint of such articles that were of no use to him. But the Saint saw the thieves coming toward him in a vision and so he prepared a meal for them.

When they finally arrived, he extended a warm welcome and gave them as much food and drink as they wished. But falling into a rage in the face of such meekness, the thieves overcame him. They beat him with their clubs until he was dead. The two large ravens of St. Meinrad descended on the thieves, flattering about and scratching them with their talons; they soon became frightened for their lives. Thinking it best to light a candle near the Saint’s feet, they stooped over to find one already lit.

Now they were even more afraid. They realized they had murdered a saint and fled through the dark forest. But the ravens followed high over head, just above the tops of the fir trees. Finally the robbers came to the city of Zurich and hoped for protection there. Here they entered a tavern and wanted to laugh out in relief. But the raven pair flew through the open window, fell upon the two robbers and caused the other guests to take notice. It dawned on the other guests that these ravens were no other than the ravens of St. Meinrad, who lived in the dark wood high up on the mountain. The murderers realized that fleeing was of no use, they admitted their deed and were put to death. The villagers ascended the mountain and buried St. Meinrad in the wilderness where later Cloister Maria Einsiedeln was built. The ravens took up watch on a nearby fir tree, where they still reside today.


More fairy tales can be found at:


Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com


Fairy tales about prognostication and the future:

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


Or about a pagan religious tradition transformed into a Christian rite:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/08/fairy-tale-for-august-15-assumption-of.html

Or about Saint Dionysisus and King Dagobert:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2010/04/king-dagoberts-soul-sails-seas.html

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Of Preeners and Prognosticators: The Bird, Who Tells the Truth


The Bird, Who Tells the Truth, a Fairy Tale from the Rhaeto-Romansh Region of Switzerland

One morning a miller found a large and heavy chest resting on his millwheel. He quickly removed the heavy box and opened it. Inside he found three children, like wine and milk, each with a golden star on its forehead. They were two boys and one girl. Astonished the miller brought the children to his wife and because they had no children of their own, they took in these three and raised them. When the children had grown, the miller let the truth slip out and he revealed, he did not know where they came from. The two boys would not give the miller any rest. They urged him to reveal the person who knew of their parentage. After many hours of pleading and needling, the miller finally said: “The bird who tells the truth knows it and he lives in the castle!”

Now the youngest of the boys could no longer be kept at home. The next day he took the miller’s black horse and went out riding to find the bird who tells the truth. He rode many days and the youth did not return. The next spring, the older brother left home to look for his brother and the bird who tells the truth. He, too, did not return. Now it was the sister’s turn. Her name was Amalia and she, too, no longer wanted to stay at the mill. She took the white horse of the miller and rode out into the world to search for the bird who tells the truth. The miller and his wife cried bitter tears so that their eyes were quite red, for Amalia was beautiful and good, like an angel.

The maid bravely traversed the wide, dark wood until she met an old withered wife, who said to her “I know you want to find the bird who tells the truth and your two brothers. If you want to be successful in both things, you must never look back, regardless what happens!”

The maid gratefully promised she would not forget such wise counsel and continued riding. She came to a dark and deep sea, beside which lay a steep mountain. At the summit could be seen a large and beautiful castle. As quickly as she could, she jumped off her steed, took up her walking stick and began climbing the mountain. She heard calling after her: “Amalia! Amalia!” and a loud noise followed her. But Amalia never looked back. She continued on her way, walking ever more quickly. Finally she arrived at a castle made of beautiful green marble, with high towers and golden roof. But in front of the gate stood a fearsome wild man of the forest who grasped a fir tree in each hand. He guarded the entry and let no one enter. Amalia was quick as a weasel and ran through the legs of the wild man and entered the castle. Everywhere she looked there were rooms filled with gold, silver and glistening gems. But the most beautiful room was filled with cages containing every type of bird. Some were red, others white, yellow, green, black-brown, in short, they were of every color. When the maid entered the room, each bird called out to her “I am the bird who tells the truth! Take me, take me!”

In the corner sat a small bird, who said nothing. Amalia took this one. The gray bird was very happy and said: “I was not allowed to say that I am the bird who tells the truth, but you have found the right one! You must go into the rose garden, take the divining rod next to the clear spring in the middle of the garden. When we descend from the mountain, touch every stone you see with the rod!”

The maid found the rod in the garden and together with the bird, made her way down the mountain. Every stone she touched with the rod was transformed into a knight or lady. The two brothers of Amalia also emerged from two stones and with tears in their eyes, they now embraced their dear sister. The bird, however, warbled that they were all king’s children. Their uncle had placed them in a chest while their father was at war and the waves had carried them far away. The evil uncle had told the king, that his wife had instead bore three kittens.

Full of rage the brothers, accompanied by many knights and ladies, went to the realm of the king. There, the bird told the king the story of his children. Overcome with happiness, he embraced his children and released their mother from prison. They all sat down at a splendid table and celebrated a feast. But the uncle was torn into four pieces by four horses. Amalia became a fine and tender queen while her brothers became brave and goodly kings. This is the story of the bird who tells the truth!



To read more fairy tales, about seers and prognosticators, click on the link:


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


http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2010/02/legend-of-saint-meinrad-and-his-ravens.html

And a wonderful fairy tale about a horse that tells the truth:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2010/02/animal-prognosticators-in-fairy-tales.html


Hit the link Seers  in the right hand column of the first page of this blog for more fairy tales about discerning the future.

Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com

Please read and enjoy and pass on to friends.
Do not copy, plagiarize or pilfer, Thanks!

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!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grimm's Fairy Tale of the Crystal Ball


Grimm’s Fairy Tale No. 197: The Crystal Ball

There once lived a sorceress, she had three sons who were filled with brotherly love for each other. But the old woman did not trust any of them and thought they wanted to rob her of her powers. She turned the oldest son into an eagle. He had to sit high up on a rocky cliff and often could be seen circling the heavens, soaring up and down. She turned the second into a whale who lived deep in the ocean. You could only see him when he blew a mighty blast of water into the air. Both brothers took their human shape for only two hours each day. The third son fled in secret, because he feared the sorceress would also turn him into some wild beast, a bear or wolf perhaps. He had heard that an enchanted princess sat in the castle of the golden sun, waiting for her redemption. Each suitor had to risk his life and twentythree gallants had already died a miserable death. There was only one left and after him, no one else would come. Because his heart knew no fear, the youth made a decision to seek out the castle of the golden sun.

He had already been looking for some time and had not found it, when he lost his way in a deep forest and did not know which way out. At once he saw two giants in the distance, they waved at him with their hand and when he approached they said “We are fighting over a hat, and because we are both equally strong we cannot decide who should own it. One of us cannot overcome the other. You smaller people are smarter than we are. That is why, we will leave the decision up to you.”

“How could you fight over an old hat?” the youth said.

“You don’t know the qualities of this hat, it’s a wishing hat. Whoever wears it can wish to go wherever he wants. In that very moment, he will be there.”

“Give me the hat,” the youth replied. “I will walk a short distance, and when I call you, run a race. Whoever reaches me first, will own the hat.”

He put on the hat, walked away and thought about the king’s daughter, forgot the giants and continued walking. Once he sighed from the depths of his heart and said “Oh, I wish I were in the castle of the golden sun!” The words had barely passed over his lips and he stood on a large mountain before the gate of the castle.

He entered and went through all the rooms until he found the king’s daughter in the last one. But how frightened he was when he saw her: she had an ashen face full of wrinkles, cloudy eyes and red hair. “Are you the king’s daughter, whose beauty is famous throughout the land?” he cried.

“Oh,” replied the maid. “This is not my true form. The eyes of men can only see me in this frightful state. But so that you know how I look, gaze into the mirror and don’t be confused. I will show you my true image there.”

She gave him the mirror in hand and he saw the image of the most beautiful maiden in the world. He saw how the tears rolled down her cheeks in sadness. He spoke “How can you be redeemed?” I will not avoid any danger.”

She answered “Whoever finds the crystal ball and holds it before the sorceress, that person shall break her power and I can return to my true form. Oh,” she added, “so many have already died before you and I am fearful for your young blood, if you should place yourself in this great danger.”

“Nothing can stop me,” he said, “but tell me what I must do.”

“You should know everything,” the king’s daughter replied, “When you descend the mountain on which the castle stands, there will be a wild ox standing at the spring below. You must fight with him. And when you are able to kill him, a fire bird will rise out of his carcass. The bird carries a firey egg in its body and in the egg there is an egg yolk, which is the crystal ball. The bird will not let go of the egg until he is forced. But if it falls to the earth, it will ignite and burn everything nearby. The egg itself will melt, along with it the crystal ball and all your efforts will be for naught.”

The youth walked down to the spring where the ox snorted and bellowed. After a long battle, he stuck his sword in its side and the beast sank to the ground. At that moment the fire bird flew up and wanted to fly away, but the eagle, the brother of the youth who flew between the clouds, commenced the chase. It flew after him to the ocean and picked him with his beak so that in his need, the fire bird let the egg drop. But it didn’t fall into the ocean but onto a fisherman’s hut on shore. The hut immediately began to smoke and was about to burst into flames. But waves as big as the house rose up from the ocean, crashed down on the hut and extinguished the flames. The other brother, the whale, swam up to shore and blew water into the air. When the fire was extinguished, the youth looked for the egg and luckily found it. It had not yet melted but the shell was cracked because of the sudden cooling by cold water. He was able to remove the crystal ball without damaging it.

When the youth returned to the sorceress, she accused him and said “My power is destroyed and you are now the king of the castle of the golden sun. You can also return your brothers’ human forms.” The youth hastened to the king’s daughter and when he entered her room she stood before him in the full splendor of her beauty. Filled with joy, they both exchanged rings.
Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com

To read more about seers and prognosticators:

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