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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Ghost in the Glass


Grimm’s Fairy Tale No. 99: The Ghost in the Glass (Also known as The Spirit in the Bottle or The Genie in the Bottle)


There once lived a poor woodcutter, who worked from morning until late at night. When he had finally saved some money, he said to his son “You are my only child. I want to use the money I have earned with the sour sweat of my brow for your education. You should learn something honest and decent so you can support me in my old age. The time will come when my limbs become stiff and I will have to sit at home and cannot work.”

The youth went to a school of higher learning and studied so diligently that all his teachers praised him. There he stayed for some time. But when he had learned his way through quite a number of subjects he realized he still had not mastered everything there was to know. The little bit that his father in poverty had put aside was all spent, so he returned home. “Ach,” the father said distressed “I cannot give you any more money. In these lean times I cannot even earn my daily bread.”

“Dear father,” the son replied. "Don’t worry about it. If it is God’s will, things will go well for me. I will make the best of it.”

When the father went out into the forest to earn something, his son said “I will go with you and help you.” 

“Yes, my son,” the father replied, “but it will be difficult for you, you are not used to hard work, you won’t be able to manage. I only have one axe and not enough money left  to buy another.” 

"Then go to the neighbor,” the son replied. “He will loan you his axe until I have earned enough to buy my own.”

The father borrowed an axe from his neighbor and the next morning at the break of day, they went out together into the forest. The son helped his father and was happy and joyful. When the sun stood high overhead in the sky, the father said “We shall rest now and have lunch. Afterward, we will continue.” 

The son took his bread in his hand and said “You rest, father. I am not tired. I will walk a bit in the forest and look for bird’s nests.” 

“Oh, you fool,” the father replied. “Why would you want to run around idly in the forest? Afterward you will only be tired and won’t be able to lift your arms; stay here and sit with me.”

But the son went out into the forest, ate his bread, was very happy and looked behind the green branches to see if he could find a nest. He went back and forth until finally he came to a large, menacing oak tree, which must have been many hundreds of years old for it would have taken more than five men holding hands to circle it’s girth. He stopped and gazed at the tree thinking “Many a bird must have built its nest in such a tree.” 

Suddenly he thought he heard a voice. He listened and finally could hear a low, muffled sound “Let me out, let me out!” He looked around but could find nothing. Finally he thought the voice was coming from below the earth. He called out “Where are you?” The voice replied “I am stuck here under the roots of the oak tree. Let me out, let me out!” 

The student began to dig below the tree and search around the tree roots until he finally found a small hollow in which there was a glass bottle. He raised it in the air and held it up against the light. There he saw a little thing, it had the shape of a frog. It jumped back and forth in the glass. “Let me out, let me out!” it cried again. 

The student, who didn’t think any harm would come by it, removed the cork from the bottle. Immediately a spirit emerged and began to grow. It grew so quickly that it soon became a frightful fellow, as big as half the tree where the student stood. “Do you know what your reward shall be for letting me out?” “No,” replied the student without fear, “How should I know that?” “I will tell you,” the spirit called out, “I will have to break your neck!” “You should have told me beforehand,” the student replied. “I would have let you stay stuck where you were. My head might be able to withstand you, but more people will have to be asked about this matter.”

“More people, ha!” the spirit cried out “You shall get what you deserve!” Do you think I stayed locked in there for so long out of charity? No it was my punishment. I am the powerful Mercurius. I must break the neck of whoever releases me.” 

“Wait,” replied the student. “Slow down, haste makes waste! First I must know that you really were sitting in that small bottle and that you are a true spirit. If you can go inside again, then I’ll believe it. Then you can do with me as you will.” 

The spirit replied scornfully “That is not much to ask and easier to do,” he said as he pulled himself together becoming as thin and small as he was before. He went through the same opening and crept through the neck of the bottle. He was barely inside when the student popped the cork back on the top and threw the bottle under the oak roots back to its prior place. The spirit had been deceived.

Now the student wanted to return to his father but the spirit called out mournfully “Ach, let me out, let me out.”
“No,” answered the student. “I won’t do it a second time. I won’t release the thing that threatened my life once before.”
“If you release me,” the spirit cried, “I will give you so much that you have plenty all the days of your life!” “No,”replied the student. “You are lying to fool me as you did the first time.”

“Don’t throw away your luck,” the spirit replied. “I won’t do anything to you, but will reward you richly.”

The student mulled it over, “I’ll take up the wager. Perhaps he will really keep his word and I don’t think he can harm me.” He removed the cork and the ghost emerged again, grew in size and ballooned into a large giant. “Now you shall reap your reward,” the ghost said and he gave the student a small cloth, the size of a small bandage. “When you rub a wound with the tip of this cloth, it will be healed. If, on the other hand, you touch steel or iron with the other end, it will become pure silver.”

“I’ll have to try that,” the student said. He went to a tree, cut the bark with his axe and rubbed it with the end of the bandage. Immediately the wood closed, grew together and was healed. “I see the things you said are correct,” the student said to the spirit. “We can now part ways.” The ghost thanked him for redeeming him and the student thanked the ghost for his gift and returned to his father.

“Where have you been?” the father asked “Why did you forget your work? I always told you that you would never amount to anything."
“Be of good cheer, father, I will make it up to you.”
“Yes, make it up,” the father replied angrily. “How do you propose doing that?”

“Watch, father. I will chop down the tree, so that it crashes to the ground.” He then took the bandage, rubbed his axe with it and struck a mighty blow. But because the iron had turned to silver, the blade bent upward. “Oh father. You have given me a bad axe, it is now bent.” The father became frightened and said “What have you done! Now I will have to pay for the axe and I don’t know where I shall get the money! That’s some benefit I have reaped from your labors!”

“Don’t be angry,” the son replied. “I will pay for the axe.”
“Oh you blockhead!” the father cried. “How will you pay for the axe. You have nothing but what I give you; the only thing in your head are student schemes! You don’t understand a thing about chopping wood.”

After a while the student spoke: “Father, I can’t work anymore. Let’s call it quits.”
“What is the matter with you,” the father replied. “Do you think I want to go home and twiddle my thumbs? I still have to work, but you can leave.”
“Father, I am in these woods for the first time. I don’t know the way back alone, please come with me.” Because his anger had subsided, the father finally relented and went home.

“Go and sell the ruined axe and see what you get for it. The remainder I will have to earn to pay the neighbor.” The son took the axe and went to the city to a goldsmith. The goldsmith tested it, placed it on a scale and said “It is worth four-hundred talers but I don’t have so much cash with me.” The student spoke “Give me what you have, the rest I shall loan you.” The goldsmith gave him three-hundred talers and owed him one-hundred. The student went home and said “Father I have the money. Go and ask the neighbor how much he wants for his axe.”
“I already know the answer” the old man replied. “He wants one-taler and six groschen.”

“So give him two talers and twelve groschen, that is twice as much and plenty enough. You see, I have the money,” and he gave his father one-hundred talers.  “You shall never lack anything again and shall live your life in comfort.”
“My God,” the old man replied. “How did you acquire such riches?” The son told him everything that had happened and how he had entrusted himself to luck to snag such riches. With the remaining money he returned to school and continued learning. And because he could heal every wound with his bandage, he became the most famous doctor in the world.


Reading the Fairy Tale The Ghost in the Glass


However far-fetched it might seem, the claim that this fairy tale has been thousands of years in the making is probably not an overstatement. We find clues to bolster this notion in three rather puzzling words: Mercurius, the name of the spirit in the glass, and the words dangerous oak describing the enormous and forbidding tree, which is the scene of enchantment in this tale.

First let’s take a look at the dangerous oak tree in the narrative. The ancient forests of Germany purportedly produced many incredible oaks and some of them were true giants. Thomas Pakenham in his book “Remarkable Trees of the World” cites an historical description of such a tree, quoting a 16th century writer who says of its enormity that it was “130 feet from the ground to the nearest bow” and another German tree had “a girth of over 90 feet”. Sadly, no trees of this stature have survived to this day, but we do have fragmented references in folklore and oral tradition attesting to the ancient notoriety of such trees. They are still described as “menacing, eerie, sinister” because they allegedly mark the spot where, according to Pakenham, pagan shrines once stood and “the dark rites of Woton” were performed. Pakenham goes on to explain that the so-called Feme-Eiche (Feme-Oak), which can still be seen today at Erle/Germany, was made a secret court of justice in the 13th century to try opponents of the king, but by the 19th century the practice had lapsed. One can only imagine the verdicts pronounced in the shadows of this oak!

A 17th century reference to a “deity-locked-inside-a-tree” can be found in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. In the following lines Prospero explains how the witch Sycorax imprisoned the spirit Ariel within the confines of a pine tree:

”And for thou wast a spirit too delicate 
To act her earthy and abhorr’d commands,
Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee,
By help of her more potent ministers,
And in her most unmitigable rage,
A dozen years; within which space she died,


Into a cloven pine, within which rift
Imprison’d, thou didst painfully remain 
And left thee there, where thou didst vent thy groans…” 

And in Goethe’s famous poem The Erlkoenig, the child-grabbing hobgoblin is probably a reference to a spirit inhabiting an Erle or Alder Tree, most likely another reference to popular folk tradition (although disputed, I think the claim is ludicrous that the word  Erlkoenig entered German literature as a result of a translation error, see the Wiki page on Erlking to read more). Jacob Grimm suggests as much by placing the origin of the word in the French aulne, aune, and German Erle and daemon).

These are all trees with strong personality (per Pakenham). Likewise the oak tree in our fairy tale, The Spirit in the Bottle, also conceals a forceful presence, nothing less than the God Mercurius. So who is this Mercurius and how does he get into a German fairy tale?

In short, the Romans brought their gods with them when they conquered Europe. Statues of the god Mercury dating from the 2nd and 4rd centuries have been found in present-day Switzerland (one such statue can be seen in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, CA), but these statutes still bear the Gallic name for the god (Cobannus, Deo Cobanno, or a variation Gobannus) . Gradually Latin displaced native languages in conquered regions, and Cobannus became Mercury (these two gods presumably merged into one because the Gallic deity was very similar in temperament or function to the Roman god Mercury). Over time the Gallic term disappeared altogether. As god of commerce and business, Mercury was a very popular figure. Edith Hamilton in Mythology describes Mercury as “the most entertaining of all the gods, the shrewdest and most resourceful.” He was Jupiter’s favorite companion. Graceful and swift, this god wore winged sandals and a winged hat. He was the gods’ cunning messenger and protector of traders and business people. He understood that speed was often a prerequisite for business success and the essence of his character seems to be he could be everywhere and anywhere at once (like the Internet?). In short, he was a god that any MBA could appreciate and all those who aspired to entrepreneurial verve revered him. How fitting that he should appear in a fairy tale about a parent’s concern for his child and musings about whether all the book-learning in the world can translate into practical business sense. Some themes, it appears, are timeless.

Photo of bronze statue of the God Cobannus, private collection S. While/L. Levy, New York, Height 17.2 cm. Inscription on the shield: To the King and the God Cobannus dedicated by Marcus Tutus Cassio. Late 2nd century B.C., from Helvetia Archaeologica, No. 37/2006 - 145

Mercurial = of or pertaining to the god or planet Mercury. Characteristics include: eloquence, ingenuity, aptitude for commerce. Present day usage especially:  lively, sprightly, ready-witted, but also volatile. Grimm notes that this god was among those who accepted (possibly demanded) human sacrifice, where many of the other gods were appeased with animal or vegetable offerings.

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The god Cobannus



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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Enchanted Maidens and the Changing Seasons of Our Lives


 A Lithuanian Fairy Tale of a King’s Son and an Enchanted Maiden

 (James Abbott McNeill Whistler, La Princesse du Pays de la Porcelaine, 1863-64)

And:
My favorite enchanted maiden:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl3iaTUQQvY


The Lithuanian Fairy Tale of a King’s Son and an Enchanted Maiden

There once lived a king,  who had three sons. He decided that they should all marry at once so he said to them “Children, you have come of age. You shall all marry at once! As soon as you ride out to your intended ones, I shall shoot off my blunderbuss.  Wherever the bullet flies, ride in that direction. The person who catches my bullet shall be your bride. That is maiden you shall bring home.”


The oldest son decided to ride out to his maiden. His father went out and shot his blunderbuss. The bullet sailed slowly through the air and the son rode after it. He arrived at a kingdom. There at the king’s court a princess stood on a flight of stairs. She caught the bullet in mid-air. This daughter was not particularly beautiful because she had pock marks. The son led her home. He now had a wife. And so the second son wanted to ride out. The father went outside again and shot his blunderbuss. The son rode out and arrived in a kingdom. Here the king’s daughter held the bullet in her hand. She was slightly more beautiful and the king’s son led her home. Now the second son also had a wife.


The third son also wanted to ride out. The father went outside and shot his blunderbuss. The son rode after the bullet and arrived in another kingdom and king’s court. There stood a green frog on the stairs and held the bullet in its mouth. The king’s son was frightened. But what could he do? His father had commanded that he bring back the one who caught the bullet. He took home the frog and placed it under his bed. There it hopped around and croaked. Shortly before the wedding the brides opened their windows. All manner of royal presents flew inside. When the frog opened its window, gifts of even rarer beauty arrived.


During the day, the frog was a frog. But at night, it slipped out of its skin and became a beautiful woman. There was no one more beautiful in all the world. And every night the little frog lay down in the bed and how happy the son was when it became a beautiful woman! But when daylight came, the son was sad, because he knew what he had to do. 

Finally he thought of a way out of his dilemma. He must burn the frog skin so he fetched coal to do it. In the evening when his wife had removed the frog skin, the king’s son threw it onto the fire and it burned. The wife noticed the smell and jumped up immediately. “Now you have destroyed me.” She sat down and wrote a letter to her oldest sister and said to him: “Go to the smithy and have him forge iron shoes and a sack. He shall give you a piece of iron that is as large as a slice of bread! Place this in the sack and take this letter to my sister! You will find a bed made there for you. As soon as you are there, lay down immediately and place the letter on your neck! If you do exactly as I say, you and I can be together again. Otherwise I will not be yours and you shall not be mine. You have caused the greatest torment for me.” And she flew out of the window.


The king’s son immediately went to the smithy. He made him iron shoes, a sack and a piece of iron as large as a slice of bread. Then he took the letter and went out. He wandered and wandered and finally reached a court. There was nothing there, not even a dog. He went into the house and found a bed made. He lay down immediately and placed the letter on his neck. It wasn’t long before the sister flew inside with the sound of thunder crashing all around.  She was spitting and sputtering and screamed: “Who smells like man flesh here? O, brother-in-law, it is you! You are good bird for me to rip to shreds!” But she took the letter from his neck and read it. “So,” she said. “Get up! Come over here. I will give you something to eat! You have come a long distance and are tired.”

He stood up immediately and said: “Here is your iron bread.”


She cut it into little pieces and he ate it. Then she said: “Go into the garden back and forth!” He did this and soon saw that his shoes had become tattered to bits. He went back inside the room. Immediately the thunder roared again as someone approached. She said “Where shall I hide you?” She hid him behind the oven. Then someone entered the room and said mournfully “What did the evil one do? What torment I have suffered!” The sister replied: “If you saw your husband, what would you do with him?” “I would cut him into little pieces.” Then she flew away.


He crept out from behind the oven and the sister said: “Now go to the smithy and have another pair of iron shoes and sack forged. I will give you another letter for my other sister. When you arrive there, you shall find another bed made. Lay down, cover yourself to your chin, and place the letter under your chin. He did everything as commanded, took the letter and departed. He wandered and wandered. Finally he reached a court. Again he found nothing. Then he went into the house, saw a bed made, lay down inside and placed the letter under his chin. It wasn’t long before someone approached amidst great roaring of thunder, entered the house, spit and sputtered and screamed “Who smells here like man flesh? Oh brother-in-law, I would like to tear you to bits! But then she took the letter, read it and said: “Get up, come here and eat! Do you have your bread? He gave her the sack. As soon as she touched it with her knife, the iron turned into bread. She cut it and ate it. Then she said: “Go out into the garden and walk back and forth!” He did this too. Then he saw how his shoes had become tattered to bits. He went back into the house and listened how someone approached. “Where shall I hide you?”” the sister asked. “Creep behind the bed!” He crept behind it. Someone entered the room and said: “If you only knew how I suffer!” But the sister said: “If you saw your husband, what would you do with him?” She answered “I would tear him into four pieces.” After uttering these words, she flew away and he crept from behind the bed.


Then the sister said to him: “Go to the smithy and have iron shoes and a sack made. I will give you a letter for my youngest sister. When you arrive at court, you shall find a bed made. Lay down to sleep and cover yourself. Place the letter on your breast!” He went to the smithy, who made him the iron shoes and sack and he departed. He wandered and wandered until he came to a court and found nothing there, not a single living being. He went inside the house. There he found a bed made. He lay down, covered himself and placed the letter on his breast. It wasn’t long until someone rushed inside the house, removed the letter from his breast, read it and said: “Get up and eat!” Once again she took his sack. As soon as placed her knife on the iron, it became bread. She cut it into pieces and he ate. “Now go into the garden and walk back and forth!” He went into the garden and wandered back and forth. There he saw that his shoes had become tattered to bits. He went back inside the house and while they spoke, someone again approached in a roaring buzz. She said “Where shall I hide you? Creep behind my skirt!”


Immediately he crept behind it. His wife came happily into the room and the sister said: “If you saw your husband now, what would you do with him? “I would do nothing with him, nothing at all.” She immediately lifted her skirts and said “See, here is your husband.”
She welcomed and thanked him for redeeming her. They both returned to their homeland. When they reached the kingdom, they prepared the wedding feast. All three sons married at once and the father gave the youngest son the kingdom. His bride, the princess, had been enchanted before she was born. It was her fate to remain in frog form until her wedding day. If he had not burned her frog skin, she would have become a woman when she married.



Blondie: Maria/catches bullet


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoOG7LEyUJ0&feature=related


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Monday, July 1, 2013

Fairy Tale of Farmer Dilly and his Beautiful Garden



Farmer Dilly’s Garden


Farmer Dilly had a fair meadow, it was so lovely that farmers from far and wide admired it. Every spring his cherry trees were the first to burst into bloom and by mid-summer the boughs hung heavily with ripe fruits. And he had peach trees and nectarines, and all manner of flowers. But the prettiest part of the field held his vegetable garden, full of crisp little peas, turnips all in a row and clusters of vegetables hanging from the vine. 

Matron Melke liked to linger near Farmer Dilly’s garden fence, and peer across the wooden rails. “Oh, how I would like to taste just one of Farmer Dilly’s green peas,” she sighed. They are much greener and plumper than mine!”
And so one fair summer night she crept out across the meadow and traversed the wooden fence. She wriggled like a snake across the dark, moist ground of the garden and when she arrived at the peas she thought to herself “Now that I’m here, it would be a shame to try just one of these luscious little peas. And immediately she snapped off an entire branch, opened the first pod and gobbled up the succulent green peas. Then she wiggled back across the earth, climbed the fence and returned to her cottage. The next day she cooked the peas and made a hearty porridge. And the porridge was so succulent that her mouth watered the days after whenever she thought of it.  

But that night three sheep appeared in a dream. Each held up a hoof and admonished her:

“Pea-thief beware,
There is danger lurking there!”

After a fitful night, she woke the next morning and comforted herself, “Farmer Dilly hasn’t even missed his peas. Surely he won’t notice if I snitch a few of the other vegetables!”

And so that evening she slithered under the fence and headed directly for the turnip greens. After collecting enough for a meal, she slunk back home. The next day she prepared another scrumptious meal and when she had eaten her fill, she leaned back in her kitchen chair and murmured “I am content!” before dozing off.

Once again the three sheep appeared in a dream and holding their hooves in the air, warned her:

“Turnip-thief beware,
There is danger lurking there!”

When she awoke she scoffed at the sheep’s warning. “Perhaps I ate a bit too much last night and the hearty meal caused me to have such a strange dream! But surely there is no harm in it!”

But after a few days her desire for another delectable meal overpowered her better sense. She smacked her lips as she thought about the beautiful fruits she had seen in the garden. “Those apples, so red, so crisp, so perfectly shaped! Not a blemish on them!” And so that night she set out again to the corner of the garden where the fruit trees stood. She had no sooner twisted off the first fruit when Farmer Dilly himself appeared. He seemed much taller than she had remembered him. He stood menacingly while she squirmed under his gaze:

“Apple-thief beware,” he admonished,
“There is penance there!”

And punishment came swiftly. “Because you have loved this garden so well, you shall live in it always. You shall now guard my little plot and devour all those who threaten it. The mice you shall eat and the rat you shall bother. And you shall threaten all and be a belly-wriggler to the end of your days!”
And with that poor Matron Melke became a slinking snake who guarded Farmer Dilly’s garden till she finally found her rest under a stone, in the corner of the garden she loved so well.





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Thursday, June 6, 2013

I am the Baleful Head



 The Baleful Head, c. 1876, Edward Coley Burne-Jones

(Click on picture to enlarge)

I am the baleful head


The above picture captures Perseus and Andromeda standing over a well whose waters reflect back the image of Medusa. Medusa, once renowned as a beautiful maid, invoked the wrath of the goddess Minerva who was jealous of Medusa's beautiful tresses. The angered goddess transformed her ringlets into vipers and she became so cruel a monster that anyone gazing upon her was turned to stone. Edward Burne-Jones referred to her as The Baleful Head in his series of paintings depicting the legend.


I relate to the virulent Medusa, having experienced my own transformation into a Baleful Head after months of hospital visits. My own pate is now covered with grey Medusa-like ringlets (but I must say, after having being nearly bald, it’s a real improvement!) . I would like to point out this bright side to the Baleful Head


Finally, a perfect piece of music illuminating the transient nature of love, as so beautifully told in the Perseus and Andromeda myth:


vimeo.com/63810516


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Crystal Ball Gazing



Grimm’s Saga No. 119: Crystal Ball Gazing


 

A noble and beautiful maiden and a distinguished young man bore an intense love for each other; but because of the girl’s step-parents, they did not receive permission to marry. This caused them both to live in extreme sadness. It happened that an old woman, who had access to the house, came to the maiden and comforted her. She said, the one she loved would certainly become her own. The maiden, who heard these words gladly, asked how the woman could know this. “Oh, my young mistress,” the old woman said “I have received grace from God and know future things before they happen. That is why the chance that this could remain hidden from me is slight. To take away any doubt you may have, I will show you clearly in my crystal ball so that you shall praise my art. But we must choose a time when your parents are not at home; They should not witness this wonder!”

The maiden waited until her parents were visiting a neighboring estate and then she went to the teacher of her brother, Johann Ruest, who later became the famous poet. She told him of her intentions and begged him to accompany her and be present when she gazed into the crystal. The teacher tried to dissuade her from such an impertinent and sinful act, which could be the cause of great misfortune. But it was all for naught, she held fast to her plan. Finally the teacher let himself be persuaded by her incessant pleading and accompanied her. When they entered the chamber, the old woman was busy removing her utensils from a small basket. She was not happy that this man, Ruest, accompanied the maid and said, she could see in his eyes that he did not hold much of her art. Then she spread out on the table a blue silk cloth, on which were embroidered strange pictures of dragons, snakes and other animals. On this cloth she placed a green glass bowl and in this vessel she placed a gold-colored silk cloth. Finally she placed in this cloth a rather large crystal ball, but she covered it again with a white cloth.

The woman began making strange gesticulations, murmuring to herself and when this was over, she took the ball into her hand with great reverence, called the maid and her escort to the window and told them to gaze inside.

At first they saw nothing, but soon the bride was visible in the crystal, dressed in priceless finery; her costume was so magnificent, it was as if it were her wedding day. As beautiful as she appeared, she still looked troubled and sad. In fact her entire countenance had such a deathly pale hue, that one could not look at her without feeling pity. The maiden gazed at her own image with horror. Her terror became even greater when she saw her dear swain appear. He had a horrible and dreadful look on his face, and he was usually such a friendly man. This caused the girl to shake in fear. Her love was dressed as one returning from a trip, wearing boots and spurs, with a gray overcoat and golden buttons. Out of the folds of this garment he took two new and shining pistols, with one in each hand he pointed one at his own heart and the other he placed on the maiden’s temple. The onlookers were frozen in terror. Finally, trembling they stumbled out of the chamber and attempted to regain their composure.

Even the old woman, who had not been expecting the situation to end this way, was not feeling well. She rushed out and did not show herself for quite some time thereafter. But the frightful experience could not extinguish the maiden’s love for her swain, even though her stepparents held fast to their decision to deny their consent to her marriage. Finally with threats and force, the girl became engaged to a distinguished court official in the neighborhood. It was then that the maiden really began to suffer heartache. She spent her time sobbing and weeping and her true love was torn by wrenching despair.

In the meantime, the wedding date was set and because several members of the royal family were to be present, every detail of the wedding was to be much more splendid than any other wedding. When the day arrived, the maiden was to be picked up in pomp and ceremony by a splendid procession. The duchess sent her own carriage drawn by six steeds and several court servants and riders in accompaniment. Added to this pageantry were distinguished relatives and friends of the bride. The first lover had found this out in advance and because of his desperation, he decided not to relinquish his love to his rival. For this purpose, he had purchased a pair of good pistols and planned to kill his bride with one and himself with the other. There was a house about ten to twelve paces in front of the gate, which the bride had to pass. He decided this would be the place to perform the dreadful deed. When the entire parade of carriages and riders passed by, accompanied by a huge throng of people, he shot one pistol into the bride’s carriage. But he fired a bit prematurely and the bride was not touched by the bullet. The noble woman sitting next to her, however, had her headgear shot off. Because this woman fell unconscious and everyone hastened to help her, the culprit had time to flee through the back door of the house. Leaping across a rather wide body of water, he was able to make his escape. As soon as the terrified woman revived, the procession started anew and the wedding was celebrated in great ceremony. But the bride suffered from a sad heart, amplified by her memory of gazing into the crystal ball and this weighed down on her spirits. Her marriage was also unhappy, because her husband was a harsh and mean man. He gruesomely mistreated his sweet and virtuous wife, who nevertheless bore him a dear child.




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