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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rapunzel, Grimm's Fairy Tale No. 12


The Fairy Tale of Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm

There once lived a man and his wife who yearned for a child of their own. But their longing remained fruitless. At long last, the wife began to entertain hopes that God would fulfill her wish. The couple had a small window in the back of their house from which they could see a splendid garden full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs. But this garden was enclosed by a high wall and no one dared enter because it belonged to a sorceress. She had enormous power and was feared throughout the entire world. One day, the woman stood at the window and looked down into the garden. She saw a vegetable bed planted with the loveliest Rapunzel: it looked so fresh and green that she felt an enormous desire and great craving to eat some Rapunzel. Each day her appetite increased and because she knew that she could not get any, her countenance fell and she became pale and miserable. Her husband became frightened and asked “What is wrong dear wife?” “Oh,” she replied, “if I don’t get any Rapunzel from the garden behind our house, I will die.” The man, who loved her dearly, thought “before I let my wife die, I will fetch her some Rapunzel, cost what it may.” In the evening twilight he climbed over the wall into the garden of the sorceress, quickly cut a handful of Rapunzel and brought it to his wife. She immediately made a salad and ate greedily. But it tasted oh so good that the next day she had three times the yearning. To have any peace at all her husband would have to climb into the garden once again. At dusk he made his way. But when he climbed down the garden wall, he received a terrible shock, for he saw the sorceress standing before him. “How dare you,” she said her face filled with rage, “climb into my garden and like a thief steal my Rapunzel? You shall live to regret it.” “Ach,” he replied “Temper justice with mercy! I only acted out of dire need: my wife saw your Rapunzel from the window and was seized by such a powerful craving that she would perish if she did not get some of it to eat.” The sorceress’s wrath abated somewhat and she replied “If things are as you say, I will allow you to take some Rapunzel, as much as you desire, but under one condition: you must give me the child that your wife shall bear. The child will do well and I will care for it like a mother.” The husband in his terror promised everything and when his wife lay in childbed, the sorceress appeared immediately, named the child Rapunzel and quickly snatched it away.

Rapunzel was the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old, the sorceress locked her in a tower in the forest. It had neither stair nor door, only at the top was a very small window. When the sorceress wished entrance, she stood at the bottom and called

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair.”

Rapunzel had long, gorgeous hair, as fine as spun gold. When she heard the voice of the sorceress, she untied her plaits, bound them round a window hook and then her hair fell down twenty ell and the sorceress climbed up.

After a few years, the king’s son was riding through the forest and passed the tower. He heard a song so lovely that he stopped and listened. It was Rapunzel who in her solitude passed the time sounding her sweet voice. The prince wanted to climb up to her. He looked for a door to the tower but there was none. He rode home but the song had touched his heart so deeply that he went out to the woods every day and listened. When he was once standing behind a tree he saw the sorceress come and heard how she called

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair.”

Rapunzel lowered her plaited hair and the sorceress climbed up to her. “If that is the ladder which you climb to get in, I will try my luck, too.” And the next day, when it began to get dark, he went to the tower and cried

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair.”

Immediately the hair was lowered and the prince climbed up.

At first Rapunzel was violently frightened that a man, such as she had never seen before, had come to her. But the prince began to speak cheerily and said that her song had moved his heart. He had no peace and had to see her for himself. Rapunzel lost her fear and when he asked whether she would take him as husband and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought “He will love me more than old Mistress Gotel does.” She said yes and placed her hand in his. She replied“I will happily go with you but I don’t know how I can get down. Each time you come, bring a strand of silk and I will weave a ladder. When it is finished, I will climb down and you will take me away on your horse.” They arranged that he would come to her every evening, because the old woman visited during the day. The sorceress noticed nothing until Rapunzel chanced to say “Tell me Mistress Gotel, how is it that you are much harder to pull up than the young king’s son, who will be with me in a moment.” “Ach, you godless child,” the sorceress cried. “What must I hear from your lips. I thought I had kept you separate from the world and still you lied to me!” In her rage she grabbed the beautiful hair of Rapunzel, beat her a few times with her left hand and grabbed scissors in her right. Snip - snap, her hair was cut off and the beautiful plaits lay on the ground. She was so merciless that she cast poor Rapunzel out into the wilderness, where she was forced into a miserable and wretched life.

The same day that she banished Rapunzel, the sorceress tied the severed plaits to the window hooks and when the prince came and called

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair”

she lowered the hair. The prince climbed up. But he did not find his dear one, Rapunzel, but rather the sorceress, who greeted him with evil and malice in her gaze. “Aha,” she cried scornfully, “You want to fetch your dear wife, but the pretty bird no longer sits in the nest. She sings no more. The cat caught her and will now catch you and scratch out your eyes. Rapunzel is lost to you, you will never see her again.” The prince was gripped by such pain that in his despair he jumped from the tower: his life was spared, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes. He wandered through the woods blind, ate only roots and berries and did nothing but lament the loss of his dearest wife. Thus he roamed several years in misery until finally reaching the wilderness where Rapunzel lived in wretchedness with the twins she had borne, a boy and a girl. He heard a voice thatt sounded so sweetly familiar: he went toward it and as he approached, Rapunzel recognized him and flung her arms round his neck and cried. As two tears fell into his eyes, they became clear again and he could see as before. He led them back to his kingdom, where he was received with joy and they lived a long time thereafter cheerful and gay.

For further reading:
http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/reading-rapunzel_08.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/reading-rapunzel_09.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/fairy-tale-factum_08.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/reading-rapunzel_08.html

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Serpent: Symbol of Knowledge and Sexuality

Fairy Tale Factum

Snake images appear in the mythology of ancient cultures across pre-Christian Europe. Serpent symbols have been found carved on Pictish stones in Scotland and in ancient Rome, girls took gifts of barley cake to the sacred serpent to assure their own reproductive powers and the fertility of the earth. In some ancient cultures snakes were worshipped (See 2. Kings 18.4 King Hezekiah breaking the bronze serpent of Moses). In others, myths speak of a snake maiden having the power to confer sovereignty on the king (early Arthurian Romance). Since early myths were first oral traditions and written down much later, often by persons critiquing rather explaining the cult, a precise understanding of the snake’s significance is difficult to fully reconstruct. Recurrent themes seem to suggest that the serpent represented both esoteric knowledge and a divine sexual power. To counter these pagan beliefs, the Bible makes it perfectly clear that it was a snake that led to the downfall of man, linking the serpent forever with Satan and evil. Clement of Alexandria (2nd – 3rd century A.D.) described the snake that tempted Eve as having a female head. Thus, it was a temptress that brought sin and misery into the world and the snake has had a bad reputation ever since.
The Snake Maiden told below has the pagan element of a kindly attitude toward the serpent; snake veneration may even be at its core. But the Christian notion of the need to redeem sinful and pagan practices of the past is evident in this story. The maiden must be freed from the curse of her hideous condition, resulting in physical transformation and spiritual redemption. But perhaps respect for the snake and old traditions had its merits. Fear and loathing of snakes is not necessarily a good thing.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Grimm's Saga 13. The Snake Maiden

Translation: Copyright FairyTaleChannel.org
(Please read, enjoy, link to or pass this story on to friends. Please do not plagiarize, copy or pilfer. Thanks!)

Around the year 1520 near Basel, Switzerland a man lived by the name of Leonhard, also known as Lienimann, a tailor’s son. He was a foolish and simple man, and words fell heavily over his lips for he stammered. Once this man Leonhard was once walking along the deep gorge called the Schlaufgewoelbe, or the underground corridor, which ran from Augst to Basel and he was able to go much further than it had ever been possible for a man to go. He told of both strange and horrifying things. For he told the story, and there are still people today who have heard from his own mouth, how he took with him a consecrated wax candle and lit it, and entered the cave squint-eyed, with the candle flickering before him. First, he came through an iron gate and then he entered an enormous vault, from which he reached an even larger arched chamber. Finally he walked through endlessly beautiful and cheerfully verdant gardens. But at the center stood a wonderful and sturdily constructed castle, or perhaps it was the hunting lodge of a prince. Inside there was a beautiful maiden with human form down to her navel. On her head she wore a crown of gold and her hair hung loosely over her shoulders. But instead of legs, she had the form of an ugly snake. The same maiden led the lad by the hand to an iron box, on which sat two black dogs barking, so that no one could approach the box. But the maiden quieted the dogs and bridled them so he could approach without any hindrance. Then, she removed a ring of keys, which she wore round her neck, opened the box and removed several pieces of silver and other brightly shining coins. From among these coins the maiden, with her peculiar gentleness, took not a few of these treasures and presented them to the young man. These he brought with him out of the gorge. Many years later he showed these treasures to all who asked. The maiden swore she sprang from a royal line and race, but had been cursed and transformed into a monster. Nothing could save her except being kissed three times by a youth, whose chastity was certain and spirit undefiled; then she could regain her prior shape and form. She would relinquish to her savior the entire treasure, which had been kept hidden at that place for so many years. The youth told how he had already kissed the maiden twice, but both times she had made such a frightful grimace, probably from the immense joy of unexpected redemption, that he became fearful and thought otherwise. She would surely tear to him to shreds and so he did not dare kiss her a third time but hastened away from that place. Afterward, it happened that he was taken away by persons of ill repute and spent his entire life in a whorehouse. Besmirched and imbruted, he could never again find the entrance to the Schlaufhoehle. And this often brought him to tears.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Grimm's Saga 268: More than a fashion faux pas: white dress and black gloves

268. Mistress Berta or the Woman in White
A woman in white appears in castles of many royal families, especially at Neuhaus in Bohemia, Berlin, Darmstadt and Karlsruhe, wherever the blood of an ancient family has mingled with her own race through marriage. She is gentle, harming no one and when encountered, she bows her head and says nothing. Her visit portends the imminent death of a loved one but may also foretell a happy event: as long as she is not wearing black gloves. She carries a ring of keys and wears a bonnet with white veil. Some folk say her name was Perchta von Rosenberg and she lived in Neuhaus in Bohemia. She was married to Johann von Lichtenstein, a mean, mulish man. After her husband’s death she lived as a widow in Neuhaus and began to build a castle to the great distress of her subjects, who had to work like slaves. While they were working, she called to them and urged them to work diligently: “When the castle is finished I shall give you and yours a sweet porridge,” for this is how old folk spoke when they invited someone as guest to dinner. In the autumn after the building was complete, she not only kept her word, but also established the custom that throughout the ages the Rosenbergs would always give their people such a meal. And this tradition continued. If there was a lapse, she would appear with a stern countenance. It was said that sometimes at night she would visit the nursery of a princely house, while the nursemaid slept. She rocked the children in their cradle or carefully carried them to and fro. Once an unknowing maid woke up alarmed and asked “What are you doing with that child?” and scolded her severely. Mistress Berta replied “I am not a stranger in this house like you are, I belong to this house. This child has sprung from my own blood, from my children’s children. But because you have not shown the honor due me, I will never more return here.”



Fairy Tale Factum:

According to Jakob Grimm, Perchta (Berchta or Berta) is mentioned in Old High German in the 10th century as a white-clad Germanic goddess. She is known in the upper regions of Germany from Alsace to Austria and is associated with ancient hunting cultures and with spinning and weaving. She thus shares many similarities with Frau Holle (see Christmas Tales). In Christian traditions she is often associated with St. Lucia and her festival day is January 6. Her name means the Shining One. Wise folk in fairy tales do not provoke the wrath of Mistress Berta and make sure they eat the traditional meal of porridge on her feast day.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sparks of Light on a Halberd Foretell Discord



Fairy Tale Factum:
This story mentions two types of shafted weapons that were used primarily in the Middle Ages. The German Hellebarde (English: Halberd)) and the Partisan, a subsequent form of the halberd. Early forms of the halberd were a combination of spear for military purposes and farm implement for work in the fields. The farmer in the story is carrying this type of combination tool, referred to first as a hay- or pitchfork and then as a partisan. The Swiss Guard, the oldest army in the world, still uses the Hellebarde to guard the Vatican.

Grimm's Saga 280:

The following story is told about the ancient Castle Lichtenberg in Hanau, perched on a tall cliff in Lower Elsass, an hour’s journey from Ingweiler:
When a storm or violent weather advances, one can see many small blue lights on the rooftops and spires of the castle, even on the tips of halberds. The lights have been seen for many years and according to some folk, this is how the old castle comes by its name.

Two farmers went out walking from the village Langenstein (close to Kirchhain in Upper Hesse) and walked toward Embsdorf with their pitchforks on their shoulders. On the way, one of the farmers saw a little light on the partisan of his comrade, who removed it from his shoulder and laughing, swept the eery glow away with his fingers so that it disappeared. After they had walked another hundred steps, the little light was once more at the prior spot and was brushed away again. But a few moments later it returned. The other farmer pushed it away with several harsh words, wiping it roughly once more and then it did not return. Eight days later at the same spot where the one farmer had brushed away the light for the third time, these two farmers met again. Normally they were old friends, but they became irritated with each other and their angry words led to blows. The one farmer stabbed the other to death.


More fairy tale factum:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/03/vernal-equinox.html

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Foreseeing the Coming Calamity: Das Wafeln





Grimm's Saga 281: The Phantom Ship

People who live on the Baltic Sea believe they can often foresee a shipwreck or stranding because the ship appears as a phantom several days or weeks before it sinks, at the very spot of its future demise. In the dark of night all parts of the ship, hull, rigging, mast and sail appear enveloped in fire. This they call wafeln. Men who will drown wafle as do houses that will burn and cities that will fall . On Sundays you can often hear the bells of sunken cities ringing, as they lie beneath the waves.


Fairytale Factum:
Wafeln probably comes from the Anglo-Saxon word wafian or the Old Norse vafra. It means to move unsteadily or flicker. Wafeln describes a swaying motion similar to undulating waves; the object seen is often enveloped in an eery light. According to folk tradition, Wafeln portends coming calamity to those who can perceive it. Waffle, waver and waft probably derive from this word.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A farmer ignores a wee wife’s gift of second sight.

The Wild Huntsman

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.


Read more fairy tales about the wee mossy folk:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/01/wee-moss-folk.html

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Friday, January 11, 2008

The Wee Mossy Folk: Excerpt Grimm's Saga 48









Wee folk dwell on the heath, in the woods in dark places but also in underground holes. They make a soft bed on lichens and their clothing is green moss bound round about their bodies. This is so well known that wood carvers have made many images of them. This mossy folk are pursued by the wild huntsman, who often hunts on the heath. Many inhabitants have been heard to say: “The wild huntsman was on the chase again last night. Oh how it rumbled and rustled, creaked and groaned!” (Excerpt No. 48)


The Zeitel Moss

There is a deep wood on the Fichtel Mountain between Wunsiedel and Weissenstadt. It is called Zeitel Moss and there is a large pool in that place. Many dwarves and mountain ghosts live there. Once a man rode out in the evening through the woods and saw two children sitting close together. He warned them to go home and not to linger as night approached. But these two began to laugh quite loudly. The man rode on, and when he had gone some distance he met these same children, who were laughing again. (No. 46)



In this saga, a wee wife foretells war or peace.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.

More fairy tales of the Wee Mossy Folk:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/01/farmer-tries-to-ignore-wee-wifes-gift.html

More fairy tales:

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Carefully aimed bolts of lightning determine fate and a ghostly woman in white haunts the castle.


Ghost of Boyne Castle, Part II
See Part I below.


In 1592 a young prince went out riding with a hunting party in pursuit of a stag. In the heat of the chase he became separated from his knights and after riding many hours alone, arrived at Boyne Castle, tired and hungry. It was early afternoon and he stood in the shade of a tall linden tree. As he rested, he gazed at the lonely castle. Would anyone be living there,” he thought. A bright ray of sun shone on the castle wall and he followed the sunbeam with his gaze upward to the top-most window. There he could see the figure of a woman dressed in white. He waved to the woman and hoped some refreshment would be offered.

He circled the castle looking for entrance. When he crossed the bridge and entered the castle yard, he found a table spread with the finest foods imaginable. At the head of the table sat the beautiful lady of the house, dressed in a radiant white gown.

“Thank you gentle woman for this refreshment. I am in sore need of sustenance,” he said. And she motioned silently with her hand that he should take what he required. He ate eagerly and his speech was merry. Soon he was in very good spirits indeed.

While the young man was eating he thought how mild and lovely the maiden looked. Her properties were vast, her table rich. Surely she would make a wonderful bride. The thought no sooner entered his mind than the maid’s countenance became dark and sad. A servant came to clear the table and the young prince said to him: “I will return with my hunting party three days hence and then I will ask for your mistress’s hand.” The servant looked at him sadly and said. “You shall never marry though your heart be true.”

Without giving a reply the young prince jumped to his horse, bade a hasty farewell and called over his shoulder “Three days hence, look for me, I shall stand under the linden tree.”

Off he rode and was as good as his promise. In three days time, the hunting horn was heard in the valley announcing the arrival of a large procession of knights. It was afternoon and a mighty storm threatened. Thunder could be heard coming closer and closer, and heavy black clouds filled the sky. The prince searched for the linden tree but the landscape looked different now. The castle seemed dark and abandoned. At last he found a dead tree, where the linden had been three days before. The prince stood below, gazing up at the castle wall and the top-most window. He saw a faint figure at the window and he called up “Three days hence and look at me, as I stand under the linden tree.”
His knights urged him to leave the desolate place, as a fierce storm was moving in. Lightning struck on all sides and the spot where the prince stood was bare and exposed. The knights ran to seek cover as a loud clap of thunder was heard. As they turned back to look at the prince they saw the lightning strike him and he was dead.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Carefully aimed bolts of lightning determine fate and a ghostly woman in white haunts the castle.

Grimm's Saga No. 10 The Ghost of Boyne Castle

In olden times, three sisters lived together at Boyne Castle. One night the youngest dreamt it was God’s will that one of the three should be killed in a storm. In the morning, she told her sisters about the dream and when it was mid-day clouds filled the heavens, looming larger and blacker. By evening a mighty thunderstorm darkened the sky. Soon it was completely black. Thunder could be heard coming closer and closer. Lightning struck from all sides like fire and the oldest sister said: “I shall follow God’s will, for I am the one for whom death was foretold.” She carried a stool outside and sat there a day and a night waiting for lightning to strike her. But it didn’t. On the second day, the second sister went outside and said “I shall follow God’s will, for I am the one for whom death was foretold.” She sat all the second day and second night, but the lightning did not harm her either. But the weather also did not improve. Then the third sister spoke on the third day: “Now I see it is God’s will that I should be the one to die.” She called the priest, who administered the Blessed Sacrament, she wrote out her last will and testament and ordered that on the day of her death the entire community should be given a hearty meal with wine. After she had done all this, she went out reconciled. She sat down and after a few moments, lightning struck her down and she was dead.

Some time later, when the castle had been abandoned, she often appeared as a benevolent ghost. Once a poor shepherd had lost all of his possessions. The next day his very last possession was to be seized. This shepherd was grazing his animals by Boyne Castle. He saw in the bright sunshine a snow-white woman standing at the castle door. She had spread out a white cloth and in it lay clumps, which sparkled in the sunlight. The shepherd was amazed to find a maiden in such a lonely place. He walked toward her and said “Oh, what beautiful things are lying there!” He took a few in his hand, gazed at them and put them back on the cloth. She looked at him kindly but with sadness in her smile and said nothing. The shepherd became frightened and withdrew without looking back, driving his herd away with him. But a few of the clumps had fallen into his shoes when he stood there. On the way home, they pressed him so that he sat down, took off his shoes and wanted to shake them out . Five or six gold pieces fell into his hand. The shepherd hurried back to Boyne Castle, but the woman in white had vanished with all of the clumps. But with these gold pieces he was able to clear all of his debts and set up his household again.

Many treasures lie hidden in the castle. One man was lucky and found a compartment within the wall; he pulled it out and found it was full of gold. Once a widow had only one cow and goat and because bright nettles grew there, she went to cut some for her cattle. But when she had picked a bouquet, she slipped and fell down a deep crevasse. She screamed and called for help but there was no one in such a remote place. That evening, her children who were frightened came searching for her and they heard her voice. Lowering a rope, they pulled her up and she told them how she had fallen down below onto a metal screen but behind the screen she had seen a table loaded full of riches and silver.


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Thursday, January 3, 2008

St. Mary of Egypt and the Legend of the Virgin Mary

The theme of penance and Mary of Egypt....
The legend of the Virgin Mary shares themes associated with Mary of Egypt, patron saint of repentant sinners. Mary of Egypt was a penitent living in the wilderness and was widely venerated during the Middle Ages. Miraculously she was able to nourish herself on plants, nuts and berries. After a harsh life in the wilderness had destroyed her clothing, the only protection from the elements was her long golden hair. The solitude of the desert was the only place she could properly atone for her sins.

War or Peace Predicted by the Wee Wife

ln Saga 169, those who have the power to portend good and evil live among us.

Grimm's Saga 169. 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.

The ghosts of the past year still haunt familiar places in Saga 167.
Saga 167. The Stone Table at Bingenheim
In olden times it was the Count of a region who meted out justice in a "Zent" or lower court. Here noblemen and landowners met three times each year and the count presided. In the Hessian town of Bingenheim near Wetterau the trials were held in front of the guildhall under the linden tree. This is because many fine noblemen had settled near the Fulda borderland. A stone table stood under the linden tree and it is said that the table had been brought down from the forest of the high mountain near Staden. The stone table of justice had been moved to this spot but it was a mystery how. Years before the Zent Court was held, the place was populated by wild people. You can still see their handprints in the stone. Three stone seats with deep impressions can be seen near the linden tree. In the summer of 1604 , three white figures were observed as they wandered through the town in bright daylight.

To read more fairy tales about the wee mossy folk;

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/01/farmer-tries-to-ignore-wee-wifes-gift.html

Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com
Please read and enjoy this article.Pass on to friends or link to.
Please do not plagiarize, copy or pilfer. Thanks and enjoy!

Table of Content

This site contains translations for the following Brother Grimm Fairy Tales and Legends
If you cannot find via the label link, scroll down:

Fairy Tales for Christmas Tide
No. 5 Frau Holla is Stirring
No. 6 Frau Holla’s Bath
No. 7 Frau Holla and True Eckart
No. 314 True Eckart
No. 8 Frau Holla and the Farmer
No. 117 Christmas Eve

Sterntaler

The Virgin Mary and Her Child

More Tales of the Virgin Mary, Christ Child, the Winter Season and Heaven

No. 200 The Golden Key
No. 7 The Cup of the Mother of God
No. 9 The Heavenly Wedding
No. 10 The Hazel Branch

Christmas Stories with Augury:
No. 116 The Lover Invited to Dinner

The Christmas Saints:
No. 180 Eve’s Unequal Children (December 24th Feast Day of Adam and Eve)
No. 3 The Virgin Mary and Her Child
Saint Joseph in the Forest

Tuesday, January 1, 2008



Happy New Year!

May 2008 bring joy to you all!

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Designing your own New Year's celebration:

1. Ringing of bells to signify the ending of the New Year

2. Singing a song or reciting an appropriate verse

3. Opening the front door to let in the New Year (and close)

4. Toasting to commemorate events in the past year

5. Toasting to mark hopes for the New Year

6. New Year's resolutions

7. Opening the back door to let the old year out

8. Ringing of bells to celebrate the New Year

We must learn to trust the future…..
but for those who are curious about what the future has in store…

Augury for the 21st century (adapted by the fairytalechannel.org editorial staff)


Weather augury to foresee the New Year’s weather patterns.
The weather on December 31st forecasts the trend for the entire month of January and so on, see table below:
December 31st : Weather for month of January
January 1st : Weather for month of February
January 2nd : Weather for month of March
January 3rd : Weather for month of April
January 4th : Weather for month of May
January 5th : Weather for month of June
January 6th : Weather for month of July
January 7th : Weather for month of August
January 8th :Weather for month of September
January 9th :Weather for month of October
January 10th : Weather for month of November
January 11th : Weather for month of December


Example: If the weather on December 31st is mild most of the day but a winter storm hits an hour before midnight: expect a January with wildly fluctuating weather, but the predominate theme for January weather is mild with surges of excess.

Coin toss to predict a year of failure or success.
(If you don’t like the first outcome, you can always take the average of several tosses).

Bread under the pillow to predict one’s future true love.
Buy a perfectly shaped roll, carve out an emblem or face with a knife, place under pillow and sleep on it New Year’s Eve. In the morning, try to determine whose face the roll most closely resembles. A perfectly smashed roll means there is little hope of marriage during the new year.

Customs to follow on January 1st and month of January:
Extend good wishes for the New Year to friends and family (a phone call, card, or personal greeting).
Make resolutions for the New Year, think about things you would like to change, self-improvement, goals, hopes or aspirations for the New Year. Think about your blessings and joys. Write all this down on a piece of paper and put it in a safe spot. (Read your list again Next New Year’s Eve.).

The custom of giving New Year’s gifts is outmoded but should be revived. This is a great time to give small tokens of appreciation, not fancy or expensive gifts. For example: a jar of home-made jam, honey from a local farmer, a loaf of freshly made bread, a small New Year’s wreath you have made yourself with fresh greens from the yard or a card you made especially for the person. If all this seems too involved, a simple E-mail message is also quite nice!

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fairy Tales express some of our most deep-seated yearnings: knowledge of the future, especially at the New Year

Today's highlights:

Stories about the New Year
Folk traditions to predict the future.
Designing your own New Year's celebration based on folk traditions.
New Year's Resolutions

Fairy Tale Justice
In these stories, characters are driven by a desire to know the future. There are many folk sayings and proverbs warning that it's not such a great idea to see too far ahead. In fact, much is to be said about ignoring the future altogether so as not to lose sight of the present. "Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once." (William Shakespeare) or "Hardly anyone knows how much is gained by ignoring the future." (Bernard de Fontenelle) or "Neither in the life of the individual nor in that of mankind is it desirable to know the future." (Jakob Burckhardt)

The fairy tale follows this sentiment but for the strong of heart or socially deviant there are certain rules to augur the future successfully. It is usually the breaking of these rules that leads to the destruction of the fairy tale character.

Divining the future in fairy tales & literature

There are various ways to divine the future in a fairy tale: dreams can reveal an answer to a question, signs or auguries can be interpreted or a medium can be consulted to communicate with a ghost or spirit. An early account of communicating with a ghost is told in 1 Samuel 28. Often the person most anxious to know the future is undone by the information received. The story of Saul and the "woman of spirits" is a good example. See the link for the entire Biblical story.
Link: http://www.bartleby.com

Friday, December 28, 2007

In these Fairy Tales, folk traditions are followed to predict the New Year

Frau Holla's predictions are kind to the diligent and sincere:
5. Frau Holla zieht umher
5. Frau Holla is stirring....
Frau Holla begins her wanderings on Christmas Eve, for this is when goodwives bind new scraps of cotton or flax around their spindles. The spindles are then left out over night. If Frau Holla sees them, she says:
"So many a hair,
So many a good year."
Frau Holla repeats this every evening until New Year's or Three Kings' Day. Then she must return to her Horselberg; but when she returns if she finds flax on the spindle she becomes very angry and says:
"So many a hair,
So many a bad year.
"That is why every evening when work is done the maidservants carefully remove from their spindles whatever they have not spun so that the spindles are bare and no evil befalls them. But it's even better if they are able to spin off all the bound batting before the end of the day.
In these tales, superstitious maids use breadcrusts and dreams to predict their fortunes in the New Year...
In the early morning on Christmas Eve Day, superstitious maids buy a roll in the baker's shop for a Pfennig and always a bun with an end piece that is closed off. They cut off a bit of the crust, tie it under their right arm and work diligently the entire day. Afterward when they go to bed, they place the crust under their pillow on Christmas Eve and say:"Now I lay down to sleep with bread by me,If only my true love came and ate with me!"At midnight some of the bread crust should be gnawed and in the morning you can tell whether or not the maid will marry her true love during the year. If the bread was left untouched, there is little hope. It also supposedly happened (in 1657 in Leipzig) that two slept in one bed. One had such a bread crust under her pillow, the other not. The other one heard a creaking and gnawing and was afraid and shook her bedfellow until she awoke from her dreams. When they looked at the bread in the morning, the form of a cross had been eaten out of it. The woman soon found a soldier as husband.An old woman in Saale Fields says that others take a vessel with water and measure out the water with a certain small measuring cup, pouring it into another vessel. They do this endless times to see whether in the repeat measurements they find more water than the first time. From this they tell whether the following year will increase their possessions and goods. If they find the one and same measure, they believe their fate will stand still and bring neither fortune nor misfortune. But if in the end there is less water, they believe that their prosperity will decline. The Saale Field woman had the second thing happen to her.Others take a bowl of peas and a ball of twine, bind the twine fast to the bowl and wind the ball until it can run no more than before. Now they let go it, releasing one yard or six. They now hang the contraption out of the window and move it from one side to another on the outer walls and say: "Listen, listen!" From the side area they should hear the voice, to whom they must come to free and to live with. Others reach their hands out of the door and when they pull their hands back in, have several hairs from their future true love.
Secrets, magic and knives may pose risks to those seeking to identify their future true loves:
Nr. 116 Der Liebhaber zum Essen eingeladen
The lover invited to dinner and augury to foretell one's fortunes in the New Year

There once lived a woman who earned her living as a tax collector. Secretly this woman had fallen in love with her bookkeeper. She wanted to win his heart through magic and so she had a fresh loaf of bread baked on Holy Christmas Eve. She then stuck two knives into the loaf, cross-wise while murmuring quite a few words of incantation. The bookkeeper came to her from his sleep, completely unclothed, sat down at the table and looked at her severely. She stood up and ran away but the bookkeeper pulled both knives out of the bead and hurled them after her and almost wounded her. Afterward, he returned home; her aunt, who was present in the chamber, was so violently frightened that she lay in bed for several weeks unable to move. The following day the bookkeeper was heard to inquire of the household servants: he would like to know the woman who had scared him so in the past night. He was so tired that he could hardly speak, he should have escaped easily but could not defend himself; he tried, but pray as he would, he was instead driven out into the night.The same old woman, who told this tale, added: On Christmas Eve in Coburg several young noble women kept something back from their dinner meal and got up at midnight and sat down at the table. Soon, their dearest came, each one brought a knife and wanted to sit down beside their girl. The noble women were frightened and fled; but one took the knife and threw it back. She turned around and looked at him and picked up the knife. Another time, instead of the invited swains, the physical incarnation of death came into the room and placed an hour glass next to one of the girls, who then died during the year.In Silesia three ladies of the court sat down at a covered table on Christmas Eve and waited for their future true loves. For each a place had been set at the table. They had appeared in response to an invitation, but only two came and they sat down next to two ladies. The third did not appear. But the one who was left out became sad and impatient and finally got up after waiting in vain. When she went to the window and looked out, she viewed a coffin across the way, a young woman was lying within, who looked just like her. The young lady became ill immediately and died soon thereafter. According to oral tradition, the death chest comes into the room, the girl approaches it, the boards of the chest open up and the maid falls dead inside.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The First Adam and Eve

And Adam looked through the crack and saw that it was God.

180 Die ungleichen Kinder Evas
No. 180 Eve’s unequal children

When Adam and Eve were driven out of paradise, they had to build a house on unfertile ground and eat their bread with the sweat still clinging to their brows. Adam tended the field and Eve spun wool. Eve bore a child every year, but the children were not equal. Some were beautiful, others ugly. After some time had passed, God sent an angel to the couple and let them know that He was coming and wanted to look at their household. Eve, was happy that God was so gracious, busily cleaned her house, decorated it with flowers and spread rushes on the clay floor. Then she fetched the children, but only the pretty ones. She washed and bathed them, combed their hair, dressed them in freshly washed clothes and warned them to act properly and behave modestly in the presence of God. They should bow politely before Him, offer their hand and answer His questions simply and understandably. But the ugly children were not to show themselves. One hid behind the hay, the other under the roof, the third in the straw, the fourth in the oven, the fifth in the cellar, the sixth under a sled runner, the seventh under a wine barrel, the eighth under an old fur, the ninth and tenth under the cloth, from which Eve made clothes for her children and the eleventh and twelfth under the leather, from which she made their shoes. Everything was just finished when there was a knock at the door. Adam looked through the crack and saw that it was God. Respectfully he opened the door and the Heavenly Father entered. There stood the beautiful children in a row, bowed, offered Him their hands and knelt down. And God began blessing them. He placed His hands on the first child and said, “You will become a mighty king”. To the second “You will become a prince,” to the third “You will become a count,” to the fourth “You will become a knight,” to the fifth “You will become a nobleman,” to the sixth “You will become a buerger,” to the seventh “You will become a merchant,” to the eighth “You will become a scholar.” He dispensed to them all his rich blessings. When Eve saw that God was so mild and gracious, she thought “I also want to bring my plain children. Maybe God will also give his blessing.” She ran and fetched them from the hay, straw, oven and wherever they were hidden. The entire flock came, rough, dirty, grimy and sooty. God laughed and looked at them all and said “I want to bless them, too.” He placed his hands on the first child and said “You shall become a farmer,” to the second “You shall become a fisher,” to the third “You shall become a blacksmith,” to the fourth “You shall become a tanner,” to the fifth “You shall become a weaver,” to the sixth “You shall become a shoemaker,” to the seventh “You shall become a tailor,” to the eighth “You shall become a potter,” to the ninth “You shall become a wagon driver,” to the ninth “You shall become a shipman,” to the eleventh “You shall become a messenger,” to the twelfth “You shall become a servant your life long.” When Eve heard this she said “God, why do you divide your blessings so unequally? These are all my children, and I have borne each and every one of them: your grace should touch them all equally.” But God said “Eve, you don’t understand. It is right and distresses me that I see the entire world filled with your children: if they were all princes and nobles, who would plant, thresh, grind and bake the corn? Who would forge, weave, work the wood, build, dig, sew and mow? Each should have his trade, so that the one sustains the other and all are nourished, like the limbs on a body.” Eve responded “Oh God, forgive me, I was too rash when I went on. Your will be done also with my children.”


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Adam and Eve

And Adam looked through a crack and said that it was God.

Nr. 180 Die ungleichen Kinder Evas
No. 180 Eve’s unequal children

When Adam and Eve were driven out of paradise, they had to build a house on unfertile ground and eat their bread with the sweat still clinging to their brows. Adam tended the field and Eve spun wool. Eve bore a child every year, but the children were not equal. Some were beautiful, others ugly. After some time had passed, God sent an angel to the couple and let them know that He was coming and wanted to look in on their household. Eve, who was happy that God was so gracious, busily cleaned her house, decorated it with flowers and spread rushes on the clay floor. Then she fetched the children, but only the pretty ones. She washed and bathed them, combed their hair, dressed them in freshly washed clothes and warned them to act properly and behave modestly in the presence of God. They should bow politely before Him, offer their hand and answer His questions simply and understandably. But the ugly children were not to show themselves. One hid behind the hay, the other under the roof, the third in the straw, the fourth in the oven, the fifth in the cellar, the sixth under a sled runner, the seventh under a wine barrel, the eighth under an old fur, the ninth and tenth under the cloth, from which Eve made clothes for her children and the eleventh and twelfth under the leather, from which she made their shoes. Everything was just finished when there was a knock at the door. Adam looked through a crack and said that it was God. Respectfully he opened the door and the Heavenly Father entered. There stood the beautiful children in a row, bowed, offered Him their hands and knelt down. And God began blessing them. He placed His hands on the first child and said, “You will become a mighty king”. To the second “You will become a prince,” to the third “You will become a count,” to the fourth “You will become a knight,” to the fifth “You will become a nobleman,” to the sixth “You will become a buerger,” to the seventh “You will become a merchant,” to the eighth “You will become a scholar.” He bestowed all his rich blessings. When Eve saw that God was so mild and gracious, she thought “I also want to bring my plain children. Maybe God will also give his blessing.” She ran and fetched them from the hay, straw, oven and wherever they were hidden. The entire flock came, rough, dirty, grimy and sooty. God laughed and looked at them all and said “I want to bless them, too.” He placed his hands on the first child and said “You shall become a farmer,” to the second “You shall become a fisher,” to the third “You shall become a blacksmith,” to the fourth “You shall become a tanner,” to the fifth “You shall become a weaver,” to the sixth “You shall become a shoemaker,” to the seventh “You shall become a tailor,” to the eighth “You shall become a potter,” to the ninth “You shall become a wagon driver,” to the ninth “You shall become a shipman,” to the eleventh “You shall become a messenger,” to the twelfth “You shall become a servant your life long.” When Eve heard this she said “God, why do you divide your blessings so unequally? These are all my children, and I have borne each and every one of them: your grace should touch them all equally.” But God said “Eve, you don’t understand. It is right and distresses me that I see the entire world filled with your children: if they were all princes and nobles, who would plant, thresh, grind and bake the corn? Who would forge, weave, work the wood, build, dig, sew and mow? Each should have his trade, so that the one sustains the other and all are nourished, like the limbs on a body.” Eve responded “Oh God, forgive me, I was too rash when I went on. Your will be done also with my children.”


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Pass on to friends or link to.
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In these Christmas stories, knives are hurled and a coffin appears.

Nr. 116 Der Liebhaber zum Essen eingeladen
The lover invited to dinner and Christmas Eve augury

There once lived a woman who earned her living as a tax collector. Secretly this woman had fallen in love with her bookkeeper. She wanted to win his heart through magic and so she had a fresh loaf of bread baked on Holy Christmas Eve. She then stuck two knives into the loaf, cross-wise while murmuring quite a few words of incantation. The bookkeeper came to her from his sleep, completely unclothed, sat down at the table and looked at her severely. She stood up and ran away but the bookkeeper pulled both knives out of the bead and hurled them after her and almost wounded her. Afterward, he returned home; her aunt, who was present in the chamber, was so violently frightened that she lay in bed for several weeks unable to move. The following day the bookkeeper was heard to inquire of the household servants: he would like to know the woman who had scared him so in the past night. He was so tired that he could hardly speak, he should have escaped easily but could not defend himself; he tried, but pray as he would, he was instead driven out into the night.

The same old woman, who told this tale, added: On Christmas Eve in Coburg several young noble women kept something back from their dinner meal and got up at midnight and sat down at the table. Soon, their dearest came, each one brought a knife and wanted to sit down beside their girl. The noble women were frightened and fled; but one took the knife and threw it back. She turned around and looked at him and picked up the knife. Another time, instead of the invited swains, the physical incarnation of death came into the room and placed an hour glass next to one of the girls, who then died during the year.

In Silesia three ladies of the court sat down at a covered table on Christmas Eve and waited for their future true loves. For each a place had been set at the table. They had appeared in response to an invitation, but only two came and they sat down next to two ladies. The third did not appear. But the one who was left out became sad and impatient and finally got up after waiting in vain. When she went to the window and looked out, she viewed a coffin across the way, a young woman was lying within, who looked just like her. The young lady became ill immediately and died soon thereafter. According to oral tradition, the death chest comes into the room, the girl approaches it, the boards of the chest open up and the maid falls dead inside.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More tales of the Virgin Mary, Christ Child, the Winter Season and Heaven

200. Der goldene Schluessel
200. The golden key.

Once, when a deep snow lay on the ground in winter, a poor young boy had to go out and fetch wood on a sled. When he had found and gathered the wood and loaded it on to the sled, he did not want to return immediately to his house because he was frozen through. Instead he made a fire to warm himself a bit. He scraped the snow away from the ground and when he had cleared the earth he found a golden key. Now this boy believed that where you find a key, there must also be the matching lock and so he dug in the earth and found a small iron box. “If only the key would fit inside,” he thought, “there are certainly precious things in this little chest.” He looked but could not find a key hole. Finally he discovered a hole but it was so tiny that he could hardly see it at all. He tried and the key fit happily inside. He turned the key around in the lock but now we must wait until the key is completely turned and the lid opened. Then we will find out what wonderful things are hidden in the chest.



Nr. 7 Muttergottesglaeschen
No. 7 The cup of the Mother of God

There was once a driver who drove his wagon into the ditch. The wagon was heavily laden with wine and stuck so fast that he could not free it from the mud, try as he may. Just at that moment the Mother of God was walking down the road and when she saw the trouble of the poor man, she spoke to him: “I am tired and thirsty, give me a glass of your wine and I will free the wagon.”
“Gladly,” the driver answered, “but I have no glass to give you any wine”.
The Mother of God broke off a white flower with a red stripe, which is called field bindweed and looks very much like a glass. She gave it to the driver. He filled it with wine and the Mother of God drank it and in that moment the wagon was free and the driver could continue on his journey. Today the little flower is still called the cup of the Mother of God.


Nr. 9 Die himmlische Hochzeit
No. 9 The heavenly wedding

Once a poor farm boy heard in church what the vicar said “whoever wants to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, must always take the straight and narrow path.” He got up and walked in a straight line all the time, without changing, through mountain and valley. Finally, his path led him to a large city and in the center he came upon a church, where the service was just being held. As he now gazed upon all the majesty he believed he had reached heaven. He sat down and rejoiced greatly. When the church service was over and the verger told him to leave he answered, “No, I will never leave, I am so happy that I am finally in heaven.” The verger went to the vicar and said there was a child in church, who didn’t want to leave because he believed he was in heaven. The vicar spoke “If he believes it, we will leave it at that.” He went to the boy and asked him if he wanted to work. “Yes,” answered the boy, he was used to working, but he was not going to leave heaven ever again. He stayed in the church and when he saw how the people came, knelt and prayed before the Mother of God with the Christ Child, which was carved out of wood, he thought, “This is the dear God himself,” and he spoke, “Oh my dear God, how thin you are! The people are letting you starve: I will bring you half of my food every day.” From then on he brought the statue half of his food and the statue began to enjoy the food. After a few weeks the people noticed that the statue was gaining weight, becoming heavier and stronger and they were very surprised. The vicar could not understand it and stayed in church and followed the boy. He saw how the lad brought his bread to the Mother of God and shared it with her and how she took the food.

After some time, the boy became sick and could not leave his bed for eight days; but when he could get up again, the first thing he did was to bring food to the Mother of God. The vicar followed him and listened as he said “Dear God, please don’t be angry that it’s been so long since I brought you something: I was sick and could not get out of bed.” The statue answered him and said: “I saw your good will; that is enough; next Sunday you will accompany me to the wedding.” The boy rejoiced and told the vicar, who asked him to go to the statue and ask if he could come along too. “No,” the statue responded, “only you alone may come.” The vicar wanted to prepare the boy for the wedding and give him dinner, but the boy was already satisfied; and the next Sunday, when he received his dinner, he fell over and was dead and passed on to the eternal wedding.

Nr. 10 The hazel branch

One afternoon the Christ Child lay down in his cradle and when he was asleep, his mother come and watched him full of joy. She spoke “Have you fallen asleep, my child? Sleep softly, I want to go into the forest and pick a handful of strawberries for you; I know you will enjoy them when you wake up.” Outside in the wood she found a place with the most beautiful strawberries. When she bent over to pick them, an adder jumped up out of the grass. She was startled, left the berries and hurried away. The adder shot after her, but the Mother of God, as you can well imagine, knew what to do and hid behind a hazel bush and stayed there until the adder had slithered away. She then went back to collect the berries and when she was on her way home, she spoke “As the hazel bush has been my protection now, so shall it protect others in the future.” For this reason since ancient times a green hazel branch is the most certain protection against adders, snakes and everything else that creeps on the earth.



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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Now only the forbidden door was left unopened and the child felt such a huge desire to know what was hidden behind it. The girl spoke to the angels: “I won’t open the door completely and I don’t want to go inside, but I do want to open it so that we can see just a little bit through the crack.”

The Virgin Mary and Her Child

There was once a woodcutter, who lived with his wife outside of a deep forest. He had only one child, a little girl three years old. They were so poor, they had neither crust nor crumb nor did they know what they would feed the child. One morning, the wordcutter went into the forest burdened with worry. As he chopped his wood, at once a beautiful and tall woman stood before him. She had a crown of twinkling stars on her head and spoke to him: “I am the Virgin Mary, the mother of the Baby Jesus: you are poor and needy. Bring me your child. I will take it with me, be its mother and care for it.”
The woodcutter obeyed, fetched his child and gave it to the Virgin Mary, who took it with her to heaven. There the child prospered, ate sugar-cake and drank sweet milk. Its clothes were made of gold and angels were the child’s playmates. When the girl turned fourteen, the Virgin Mary called her and spoke “Dear child, I have a long journey ahead of me. Take the keys to the thirteen doors of the Kingdom of Heaven: you may open up twelve of them and view the splendor within. But the thirtheenth door, to which this small key belongs, is prohibited: take care, that you do not open it, otherwise you will become unhappy.” The girl promised to be obedient, and when the Virgin Mary had departed, she began to view the rooms of the kingdom of heaven: each day she opened one door, until she had gone around to all twelve. Behind each door sat an apostle, who was enveloped by an enormous brilliance and the child delighted in the splendor and magnificence. The angels, who always accompanied the girl, rejoiced with the child. Now only the forbidden door was left unopened and the child felt such a huge desire to know what was hidden behind it. The girl spoke to the angels: “I won’t open the door completely and I don’t want to go inside, but I do want to open it so that we can see just a little bit through the crack.” “Oh no,” said the angels. “That would be a sin: the Virgin Mary forbids it and it could easily result in your unhappiness.” The child was silent but the desire in its heart would not diminish. The desire gnawed and pecked and would not leave the child in peace. When the angels had all left, the child thought “now I am entirely alone and can look inside. No one will even know that I did it.” The girl took out the key and felt it’s cold metal in the palm of her hand, she then placed it in the latch. And when she had inserted it, the lock turned over. The door sprang open and inside the child saw the Trinity seated in fire and brilliance. The girl stood still for a while and considered everything with astonishment, then held out her finger a bit and touched the brilliant glow. Her entire finger became golden. The child immediately was gripped by fear, slammed the door shut and ran away. The terror would not subside and try as she may, her heart raced and raced and would not be calm: the gold stayed on her finger and would not wash off, no matter how much she washed or rubbed.

It was not long before the Virgin Mary returned from her journey. She called the girl and asked her for the keys to heaven. When she held up the key ring the Virgin Mary looked into her eyes and said “Did you open the 13th door too?” “No,” the girl responded. She placed her hand on the child’s heart and felt how it raced and raced and noticed that she had gone beyond her command and had indeed opened the door. She asked again “Are you sure you didn’t do it?” “No,” the girl said a second time. Then the Virgin Mary looked at her finger, which had become golden from touching the heavenly fire. She saw that the girl had sinned and asked a third time: “Did you do it?” “No,” the girl replied a third time. The Virgin Mary spoke “you have not obeyed me, and what’s more you have lied. You are not worthy to live in heaven.”

The girl sank into a deep sleep and when she awoke, she was lying below on earth, in the middle of a wilderness. She wanted to call out, but she could not bring forth any sound. She jumped up and wanted to run away, but wherever she turned, she was held back by a thick rose bush and the girl could not break through. There was an old hollow tree in the wilderness, where the girl was enclosed. The tree had to become her domicile. She crept inside when night fell and slept there. And when it stormed and rained she found protection inside: but this was a wretched existence and when she thought how beautiful it had been in heaven and remembered how the angels had played with her, the child cried bitter tears. Roots and wild berries were her only sustenance. The girl searched for these as far as she could go. In the fall, she collected fallen nuts and leaves and carried them to her cave. The nuts were her food in winter and when snow and ice came, she crept like some poor animal into the leaves so that she would not freeze. It was not long before she tore her clothes; one piece after another fell from her body. As soon as the sun shone warmly, the girl went out and sat in front of the tree and her long hair covered her on all sides like a coat. She sat there one year after another and felt the pain and misery of the world.

Once, when the trees stood in their green foliage again, the king of the land went out hunting in the forest and pursued a stag. Because the animal had fled into the bush, which enveloped the woods, he dismounted his horse, tore away the undergrowth and with his sword hacked out a path. When he had finally gotten through, he saw a beautiful maid sitting under the tree. She sat there and was covered from head to foot by her golden hair. He stood still and gazed upon her full of wonder. Finally he spoke and said “Who are you? Why are you sitting here in the wilderness?” The maid only nodded a bit with her head. The king picked her up in his arms, carried her to his horse and rode home. When he arrived at the royal castle, he had the finest clothes made for her and gave her everything in excess. And although she could not speak, she was still beautiful and charming so that she won his heart. It was not long before he married her.

About a year went by and the queen bore a son. In the night when she lay alone in her bed, the Virgin Mary appeared and spoke “Will you not say the truth and admit that you opened the forbidden door. If so, I will open your mouth and return to you the gift of speech: but if you persist in your sin and stubbornly continue to lie, I will take your new-born with me.” The queen was embarrassed to answer, she remained stubborn and said “No, I have not opened the forbidden door,” and the Virgin Mary took the newborn child from her arms and vanished. The next morning when the child could not be found, a murmur went through the castle. The queen was a child eater and had killed her own child. She heard it all but could not say anything in her defense. The king would not believe it because he loved her so.

After a year the queen bore another son. Once again at night the Virgin Mary appeared to her and said “Will you admit that you opened the forbidden door, I will return to you your child and release your tongue. If you stubbornly insist in your sin and lie, I will also take this newborn with me.” The queen spoke again “No, I have not opened the door.” And the Virgin took the child from her arms and returned to heaven. The next morning when it was discovered that this child had also vanished, the people were quite bold and said the queen had eaten it. They demanded the king’s council be called and that she should be executed. The king loved her so dearly that he would not believe and ordered the councils not to speak about it upon bodily pain to death.

The next year the queen bore a beautiful little girl. For the third time the Virgin Mary appeared and said “Follow me.” She took her by the hand and led her to heaven and showed her the two oldest children, who laughed and played with the terrestrial orb. When the queen rejoiced, the Virgin Mary spoke “Has your heart not yet softened? When you admit that you have opened the forbidden door, I will return both of your sons to you.” But the queen responded a third time “No, I have not opened the forbidden door.” The Virgin let her sink back to earth and took her third child too.

In the morning when it was heard, all the people cried out loudly “the Queen is a child eater, she must be condemned.” The King could no longer rebuke his council. A court was called to pass judgment over her and because she could not answer and defend herself, she was carried away and tied to a pole and the fire began to burn around. The hard ice of pride melted and her heart was moved by remorse and she thought “If I could only admit before my death that I opened the door.” Then her voice returned and she cried out “Yes, Maria, I did it!” And as soon as this was said the heavens began to rain and put out the flames and a light broke over her. The Virgin Mary came down from heaven with both little sons at her side and the newborn daughter in her arm. She spoke friendly to her: “Whoever is sorry for his sins and confesses them is forgiven” and gave her the three children, released her tongue and granted her happiness for her entire life.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

When the stars fell from heaven.

When the stars fell from heaven.

Sterntaler

There was once a small girl, whose father and mother were dead. The girl was so poor that she didn’t have a room to live in or a bed to sleep in and finally had no more than the clothes on her back and one little piece of bread in her hand, which a compassionate soul had given her. But the girl was good and pious. And because the child had been abandoned by the entire world, she went out in the fields in faith to meet dear God. The girl met a poor man, who said “Oh, give me something to eat, I am so hungry.” The girl gave him an entire piece of bread and said “God bless you and yours,” and continued walking. The girl came to a child who was crying and said “I am freezing and my head is so cold, give me something to cover it.” The girl took off her cap and gave it to the child. And after the girl had walked a while, it met another child who didn’t have a wrap and was freezing: the girl gave it her wrap; and then a bit further another child asked for the girl’s jacket, she also gave it to him. Finally it reached the forest and it was already dark. A child came and asked for her shirt and the pious girl thought “It is darkest night, no one will see you, you can give him your shirt,” and she took off her shirt and also gave it away. And as it stood there and had nothing left in the world, the stars fell from heaven and they were hard, shiny coins: and although the girl had just given away her little shift, she had a new one and this one was made of the finest linen. She collected the coins and was rich all the days of her life.

FairyTaleChannel.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Table of Content for Christmas Fairy Tales

Translations for the following fairy tales:
5. Frau Holla zieht umher ~~ Frau Holle is stirring
6. Frau Hollen Bath ~~ Frau Holle's bath
7. Frau Holla und der treue Eckart ~~ Frau Holla and True Eckart
8. Frau Holla und der Bauer ~~ Frau Holla and the farmer
117. Die Christnacht ~~ Christmas Eve

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fairy Tales

This website is devoted to all aspects of Fairy Tales and the translation of Fairy Tales and Saga, primarily from German. The Fairy Tales are grouped around specific themes: December/Christmas Themes, January/Discerning the Future, February/Stories Celebrating Love Won & Love Lost/Valentine's Day. Anyone interested in these stories and especially the translation of such tales is encouraged to add their comments. Please also add comments on stories from other cultural traditions that tie into a specific theme.


The fairy tale .... what is it?
Maerchen or Fairy Tale: a working definitionA fairy tale is a fictitious story, originally conveyed orally to a cohesive social group or community, bound together by language, custom or geography. Often fairy tales describe universal human experiences, core (religious) beliefs or the values of a social community. The problems of every day life are often explored: living within a family structure, finding a mate, securing status or riches, establishing oneself in life, life’s seasons and cycles . Main characteristics include fabulous or fantastic elements, a storyline that is played out independently from any specific time or place, an anti-hero or anti-heroine winning out against all odds (i.e., the youngest, smallest, dumbest, poorest succeeds over the oldest, tallest, smartest or richest). Fairy tale justice means the last shall be first and the first shall be last. As an oral tradition, the fairy tale often uses a narrative template with three-fold repetition. Only in the third segment is the adversary overcome, victory assured, success achieved.Often considered a form of literature suitable for children, fairy tales often contain explicit violence, sex and macabre events and are not always suited for younger readers.The Brother Grimm write in their Preface to the First Volume of fairy tales that “Fairy tales, sagas and history stand together and present us with the fresh and lively spirit of pre-historical times. …The fairy tale is more poetic, the saga is more historical in nature.”The saga is firmly anchored in a specific time, often a specific year, geographic region or city/town/place. Persons are mentioned by name, often a specific historical figure or king is mentioned. The saga often explains strange phenomena, unusual features in the landscape, the origin of an ethnic group or names long since forgotten but which were once of local significance. Sagas describe the memory of an historical event. History is explained by a community remembering its past and offering explanations for local custom and tradition. The saga is a means of connecting current circumstances to precise past reference points. Some of these reference points are authentic, others probably are completely invented.The saga in its purest form celebrates or commemorates a folk memory or tradition and has not been corrupted by current trends, commentaries or promotions.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fairy Tales for Christmas Tide

5. Frau Holla zieht umher
5. Frau Holla is stirring....

Frau Holla begins her wanderings on Christmas Eve, for this is when goodwives bind new scraps of cotton or flax around their spindles. The spindles are then left out over night. If Frau Holla sees them, she says:

"So many a hair
So many a good year."

Frau Holla repeats this every evening until New Year's or Three Kings' Day. Then she must return to her Horselberg; but when she returns if she finds flax on the spindle she becomes very angry and says:

"So many a hair
So many a bad year."

That is why every evening when work is done the maidservants carefully remove from their spindles whatever they have not spun so that the spindles are bare and no evil befalls them. But it's even better if they are able to spin off all the bound batting before the end of the day.


6. Frau Hollen Bad
6. Frau Holla's Bath

There is a place in Hessen called Meissner where there is a large moor or lake. Often the water is murky and the place is called Frau Holla's Bath. Old folks tell how they have seen Frau Holle bathing in the murky water at mid-day and then see her vanish. The hills and moors in the entire region are filled with ghosts; travelers or hunters often become confused, lured away or harmed.


7. Frau Holla und der treue Eckart
7. Frau Holla and True Eckart

There is a village in Thuringia named Schwarza or Darkish. On Christmas Eve Frau Holla moves about the village and in the front of the pack True Eckart walks, warning people to get out of the way so that they are not harmed. Once, a few farm boys had just purchased beer in the pub and they wanted to carry it home. Suddenly the ghostly parade appeared before them. The ghosts took up the entire width of the street so the village chaps with their jugs turned away and receded into a corner. No sooner done than several crones separated themselves from the procession, took the jugs and drank them empty. The boys held their tongues out of fear and did not know how they would be received at home when they returned with empty jugs. Finally, True Eckart came round the corner and said: "Good that you did not say peep; tell no one what happened. Your jugs will always be full of beer and they will never break." The boys did this and it was as True Eckart said. The jugs were never empty. The boys were able to follow the advice for three days. But finally, they could conceal their secret no longer and told their parents. Their luck ran out and the little jugs dried up. Others said this did not happen on Christmas Eve but at a different time.

314 Der getreue Eckart/Deutsche Sagen

This is what is said about True Eckart: that he sits in front of the Venusberg or Hoeselberg and warns anyone who wants to enter. Johann Kennerer, Pastor at Mansfeld, his age over eighty years, told the story of how in Eisleben and in the entire Mansfeld area a raging army passed by every year on the eve of the feast of Thorn's Day. People ran to see the spectacle and waited as if it was nothing other than a powerful Kaiser or King who was passing by. In front of the troop walked an old man with a white staff. He called himself True Eckart. This man told the people to get out of the way, also said to many they must return home or experience harm. Endless hordes followed this man, endless throngs followed and people were seen in their midst who had recently died in the places and some were seen, who were still living. One rode on a horse with two legs. Another was bound to a wheel and the wheel rolled on its own. A third man was seen running furiously with his legs over his shoulders. Another man did not have any head and a piece without any dimensions. This happened recently in Franken and you can often see this in Heidelberg on the Neckar. The raging army appears in wild, deserted places, in the air, in the dark, with hounds bellowing, blowing of hunting horns and bellowing of wild animals. Often you can see rabbits running ahead and hear pigs grunting.

8. Frau Hola und der Bauer
8. Frau Holla and the Farmer

Once, when Frau Holla went out, she met a farmer with an axe. She said that he should cut or hack out a path for her. The day laborer did as she commanded and when the work was finished she said "Gather up the chips and take them as my gratitude," then she went her way. To the man, this seemed a futile and useless reward so he left most of the chips lying on the ground. He took only one or three pieces with him out of boredom. When he came home and looked in his bag, the chips had changed to sparkling gold. He turned around at once to retrieve the others left lying; but no matter how hard he looked it was too late and nothing was left behind.


117. Die Christnacht
117. Christmas Eve

In the early morning on Christmas Eve Day, superstitious maids buy a roll in the baker's shop for a Pfennig and always a bun with an end piece that is closed off. They cut off a bit of the crust, tie it under their right arm and work diligently the entire day. Afterward when they go to bed, they place the crust under their pillow on Christmas Eve and say:

"Now I lay down to sleep with bread by me,
If only my true love came and ate with me!"

At midnight some of the bread crust should be gnawed and in the morning you can tell whether or not the maid will marry her true love during the year. If the bread was left untouched, there is little hope. It also supposedly happened (in 1657 in Leipzig) that two slept in one bed. One had such a bread crust under her pillow, the other not. The other one heard a creaking and gnawing and was afraid and shook her bedfellow until she awoke from her dreams. When they looked at the bread in the morning, the form of a cross had been eaten out of it. The woman soon found a soldier as husband.


An old woman in Saale Fields says that others take a vessel with water and measure out the water with a certain small measuring cup, pouring it into another vessel. They do this endless times to see whether in the repeat measurements they find more water than the first time. From this they tell whether the following year will increase their possessions and goods. If they find the one and same measure, they believe their fate will stand still and bring neither fortune nor misfortune. But if in the end there is less water, they believe that their prosperity will decline. The Saale Field woman had the second thing happen to her.


Others take a bowl of peas and a ball of twine, bind the twine fast to the bowl and wind the ball until it can run no more than before. Now they let go it, releasing one yard or six. They now hang the contraption out of the window and move it from one side to another on the outer walls and say: "Listen, listen!" From the side area they should hear the voice, to whom they must come to free and to live with. Others reach their hands out of the door and when they pull their hands back in, have several hairs from their future true love.