Grimm’s Saga No. 31
The Wee Folk’s Wedding Feast
Wee folk lived in Eilenburg Castle in Saxony. Once these fairy folk wanted to celebrate a wedding feast and so it happened that they crept through every key hole and window crack of the great house. They jumped down onto the smooth wooden floor like little peas being poured onto a threshing mat. But the old duke, who was sleeping in the room in his high four-poster bed, awoke. He was exceedingly amazed when he gazed upon the wee folk assembling in his chamber. One of them approached, wearing a costume like a herald. Using fitting words, he invited the duke to participate in the feast.
“But one thing we ask,” he added. “Only you may attend the celebration, none of your household may gaze upon the party, and may not in stealth take even one peek.”
The old duke responded courteously: “Because my sleep has already been disturbed, I will stay with you.” A delicate little wife was brought before him, small lamp carriers positioned themselves on either side and the sweet sounds of music started up. The duke had trouble keeping up with the little wife while dancing. The fairy sprang and jumped so sprightly and finally whirled around so swiftly, that he could hardly catch his breath. But in the middle of this cheerful dance suddenly everything fell quiet. The music stopped and the entire lot scurried through door cracks, mouse holes and every other escape hatch. But bride and groom, heralds and dancers all looked up at an opening high up in the ceiling of the room. There they discovered the face of the old duchess, peering down on the merry scene. With that they all bowed before the duke and the herald, who had invited him, stepped forward once more and thanked him for his kind hospitality.
“But because our joy and our wedding have been interrupted by another human’s eyes gazing upon us, from now on your descendants shall not count more than seven Eilenburgs at one time.”
And then they all scurried out one after another from that place. Soon it was quiet and the old duke found himself alone in his dark room. The enchantment has lasted to the present day and always when there are six living knights of Eilenburg, one dies before the seventh is born.