In a heart-wrenching tale by Grimm, The Maiden with the Beard, a beautiful nun’s life is threatened by the untoward attentions of a king. In her despair the girl petitions God to save her life through disfigurement. Her pleas are immediately answered and she spontaneously grows a beard.And so begins the fairy tale Allerleirauh. A king’s daughter intent on thwarting the improper advances of her father, dons a protective cloak of hair. In fact an apt translation of the title Allerleirauh could be The Hirsute Maiden. Finding protection in a coat of animal pelts, the maiden is able to begin a coarse new life covered in fur. She is, in a word, Allerleirauh or rough all over.
At the heart of this tale is an improper attraction of a king for his daughter, caused by a sort of supernatural magnetism emanating from the girl’s beautiful golden tresses. Hair is the root of the problem and hair must therefore be the girl’s deliverance.
Hair-as-protection is a common theme in fairy tales, see Child of Mary and Genofeva, for two examples on this website. In folk tradition, a protagonist who must resort to shielding-by-hair is particularly vulnerable and often the victim of sexual predation. And like a modern-day account of such abuse, hush-ups and silence follow. In Allerleirauhthe hairy coat the daughter is forced to wear is an apt metaphor for a community covering-up a situation it would rather not acknowledge. Silence is often the preferred way of coping for an audience unwilling to take action.
Victims of abuse are often urged to remain silent, but their reticence is often vexing to an outsider. As one reader of this blog, Genie of the Shell, writes:
“But in other stories, the ones about abused young girls (The Six Swans, Allerleirauh, The Goose Girl, etc.), the girl is victimized until the point at which she is able or willing to reveal the secret of the abuse or injustice done to her. Then, after telling the secret aloud, she is saved. “
I like the point this reader brings up: it is only by naming our deepest secrets that we are freed from their terror.
However, once Allerleirauh is ensconced in her hirsute coat, she begins to take action. No longer providing simple coverage, her animal skin now seems to be more like a shaman’s cloak . Her subsequent actions of placing powerful objects of attraction at the bottom of a soup bowl suggest she is no longer a mere victim but rather an enchantress intent on binding her lover to her through magic. Rings are employed as powerful symbols of attraction in fairy tales. Exerting a mysterious influence that defies all logic, the power of a ring (and other similar magic objects) cannot be overlooked in a fairy tale. The resulting attachment is often so puzzling to an onlooker, that only some hidden object or charm can explain the enchantment. See the legends of Charlemagne for more on this subject.
From hirsute maiden to wife of the king, Allerleirauh overcomes every obstacle placed in her path. Some would say she resorts to tricks or magic to regain her station in life. Others would say that the strength of the victim to overcome such adversity is in itself a wondrous deed similar to enchantment. Still others would say Allerleirauh relies on the truth to shape her destiny.
Further reading: http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2010/08/fairy-tale-of-allerleirauh-of-cover-ups.html
Fairy Tale Detectives Heidi and Tom go bird-watching. Lucky for them, they live in an area with lots of birds and little detective work.
"Look at the cranes flying overhead!" remarks Heidi.
"Look at that heron sitting on a log!" replies Tom.
"Look at that family of swans!" Heidi and Tom enthuse.
The next day: "Heavens to Betsy, Heidi! We have to get to the bottom of this!"
"Goodness gracious, Tom, could the killer be the driver of that yellow Hummer with the swan carcass on its hood?"
"No, that swan carcass is much too old. I would guess that SUV has been driving around for years like that!" Tom replies.
"What about that woman in the red truck? Isn't that hood ornament plastered with swan feathers and blood?" Heidi asks.
"No, I think those feathers and blood are actually from that whooping crane we saw last week. You know, the only whooping crane ever seen in this neck of the woods in the last 50 years."
There's nothing else that can be done except for the two detectives to drive aimlessly around the countryside with their binoculars and spotting scope, hoping the culprit will somehow reveal him- or herself.
Finally after a week:
"Goodness gracious, Tom. This sign says the swan-slayer has turned himself in and got the $5000.00 reward!" "Our work on this fairy tale mystery is done, Heidi. And we can continue to believe that people, in the end, will do the right thing!"
(Illustration Tatjana Hauptmann, Das Grosse Maerchenbuch, Diogenes Verlag)
Grimm’s Fairy Tale No. 65:
There once lived a king, whose wife had golden hair. She was so beautiful that her equal could not be found in all the world. When she lay ill and knew she would soon die, she called the king and said to him
“When you wish to marry again after my death, do not choose anyone who is not as beautiful as I am and who does not have golden hair like I have; this you must promise me.” When the king had promised it to her, she closed her eyes and died.
For a long time the king was inconsolable and didn’t think about taking a second wife. But finally one of his advisors spoke “Nothing else can be done. The king must marry again so that we have a queen.” Messengers were now sent out far and wide to find a bride who equaled the beauty of the dead queen. But no one in the entire world could be found. Even if she could have been found, there was no one who had such beautiful hair. The messengers returned without having accomplished anything.
Now the king had a daughter who was as beautiful as her dead mother and also had beautiful golden hair. When she was grown, the king gazed upon her and saw that she was similar to his deceased wife in every way and suddenly felt a burning love for her.
He spoke to his advisors “I will marry my daughter because she is the image of my deceased wife and otherwise I will not be able to find a bride her equal.”
When the advisors heard this, they were terrified and said “God has forbidden that a father marry his daughter. Nothing good can spring from this sin and the kingdom shall fall into ruin.” The daughter was even more terrified when she heard the decision of her father. But she held out hope that he would be dissuaded from his intent. She said to him “Before I fulfill your wish, I must first have three dresses. One, as golden as the sun. One as silver as the moon. And one that shines like the stars. Moreover I shall require a coat made from thousands of little pieces of fur and pelt. Every animal in your kingdom must provide a piece of his hide.” She thought to herself “It is quite impossible to do this and I will then bring my father away from his evil thoughts.” But the king did not relent and the cleverest maidens in his kingdom had to weave three dresses: one as golden as the sun, another as silver as the moon and another as shiny as the stars. His hunters had to catch all the animals in his entire kingdom and have a piece of their hide pulled off; from this, a coat was made from the thousands of little pieces of their rough skins. Finally it was all finished. The king had his servants bring him the coat, spread it before his daughter and said “Tomorrow will be the wedding.”
When the king’s daughter saw there was no more hope of turning her father’s heart, she decided to flee. In the night when everyone slept, she got up and took three things from her treasures: a golden ring, a golden spinning wheel and a golden bobbin; she placed the three dresses of the sun, moon and stars into a nutshell, put on the coat made of many hides and blackened her face and hands with soot. Then she commended herself to God and went out. She walked the entire night until she came to an enormous forest. And because she was tired, she crawled into a hollow tree trunk and fell asleep.
The sun went up and she kept on sleeping. She was still sleeping and half the day had passed. Now it happened that the king who owned the forest was hunting there. When his hounds came running up to the tree, they sniffed around it and barked. The king said to his hunters “Go see, what kind of wild animal is hidden there.” The hunters followed the command and when they returned they said “A strange animal is lying in the hollow tree, the likes of which we have never seen before. There are thousands of pieces of fur on his skin. But the animal itself is lying there sleeping.”
The king said “See if you can catch it alive. Then tie it to the wagon and bring it along.” When the hunters touched the maiden, she awoke full of fear and called out “I am a poor child, abandoned by my father and mother. Have pity on me and take me with you.” They replied “A l l e r l e I r a u h, you are good enough for the kitchen. Come along, you can sweep the ashes.” So they placed her on the wagon and drove home to the king’s castle. Once there they gave her a little stall under the stairs where the light of day did not penetrate. They said “You rough little animal, here you can live and sleep.” When she was sent into the kitchen, she had to carry wood and water, make the fire and pluck the feathers from the fowl, prepare the vegetables, sweep the ash and do every manner of lowly work.
For a long time Allerleirauh lived quite pitifully. Oh, you beautiful king’s daughter, what shall become of you! But it happened that a festival was celebrated in the castle. She spoke to the cook “May I go up and watch a little while? I will stand outside the door.” The cook replied “Yes, go ahead, but you must return in a half-hour and carry out the ashes.” She took her little oil lamp, went into her little stall and took off her coat of fur and washed the soot from her face and hands so that her full beauty came to light again. Then she opened up the nutshell and pulled out her dress, the one that shone like the sun. And when she had done all this, she went up to the celebration and all moved out of her way because no one knew her. Everyone thought that she was a king’s daughter. The king approached her, extended his hand out toward hers, and danced with her. He thought deep in his heart “I have never seen one more beautiful.” When the dance was over, they both bowed. When the king looked around, she had vanished. No one knew where she had gone. The guards standing before the castle, were called and questioned, but no one had seen her.
She had run back to her little stall, quickly removed her dress and blackened her face and hands. She put on her coat of pelts and fur again and once more she was Allerleirauh. When she returned to the kitchen and resumed her work of gathering up the ash, the cook said “Leave it be until morning. Cook me now a soup for the king, I want to go upstairs and watch a while.” But make sure you don’t let a single hair fall into the soup. If you do, you shan’t receive any more to eat!”
The cook left and Allerleirauh cooked the soup for the king and made a bread soup, as good as she could. When she was finished, she took from her little stall the golden ring and placed it in the bowl, in which the soup was prepared. When the dance was over, the king had his soup brought to him and ate it. It tasted so good he thought no one had ever made such good soup. But when he got to the bottom of the bowl, he saw a golden ring lying there and could not understand how it came to rest there. He commanded the cook to come before him. The cook was terrified when he heard the order and spoke to Allerleirauh “You must have let a hair fall into the soup. If it’s true, you shall be beaten.” When he came before the king, he asked who had cooked the soup. The cook replied “I cooked it.” But the king answered “That is not true, because it was a different kind and cooked much better than usual. The cook replied “I must admit I did not cook it, instead the rough little animal did it.” The king answered “Go and bring it to me.”
When Allerleirauh came, the king asked “Who are you?”
“I am a poor child, who no longer has a father or mother.”
He asked further “Why are you in my castle?”
The girl replied “I have no skills except for boots to be thrown at my head.”
He asked further “Where did you get the ring, which was in the soup?”
She replied “I know nothing about the ring.” So the king could not find out anything and sent the girl away again.
Some time passed and there was another celebration. Allerleirauh asked the cook as before for permission to gaze on the festivities. He replied “Yes, but come back again in a half hour’s time and cook a bread soup for the king, which he likes to eat.” She ran to her little stall, washed herself quickly and took the dress out of the nutshell, the one that was as silver as the moon, and put it on. Then she went up to the ball and looked like a king’s daughter. The king approached and was happy to see her again and because a dance was just starting, they danced together. But when the dance was over, she disappeared again so quickly that the king could not notice where she went. She jumped back into her little stall, turned herself into the rough little animal and went into the kitchen to cook bread soup. When the king was upstairs, the girl fetched the golden spinning wheel and placed it in the bowl so that the soup covered it. This was then brought to the king, who ate it and it tasted as good as before. He had the cook brought before him and he had to admit that Allerleirauh had cooked the soup. Allerleirauh came once again before the king but she answered, she was only there so that boots could be thrown at her head and that she knew nothing of the little golden spinning wheel.
When the king prepared a feast for the third time, the same thing happened. The cook spoke “You are a witch, a rough little animal who always puts something in the soup so that it tastes so good and the king likes it better than what I cook.” But because the girl requested it, the cook gave her permission to watch the celebration for a certain amount of time. Now the child pulled on the dress that shone like the stars and entered the hall. The king danced again with the beautiful maiden and thought she had never been more beautiful. While they danced, he placed on her finger the golden ring, without her noticing it and he ordered the dance to be quite long. When it was over, he wanted to hold onto her hand firmly, but she tore loose and ran quickly among the guests and vanished before his eyes. She ran as fast as she could back to her little stall under the stairs and because she had stayed too long, far longer than half an hour, she could not take off the dress. Instead she threw the fur coat over it. In her haste, she could not entirely blacken herself. One finger remained white. Allerleirauh ran into the kitchen and cooked the king a bread soup and placed the golden bobbin in the bowl when the cook was gone. When the king saw the bobbin lying in the bottom of the bowl, he had Allerleirauh called. He saw the white skin on her finger and the ring he had placed there during the dance. He seized the hand and held it fast. When the maid wanted to free herself and jump away, the fur coat opened a bit and the dress of stars shone out. The king grabbed the coat and pulled it off. Her golden tresses now fell out and she stood there in full splendor and could no longer hide herself. When the soot and ash had been washed from her face, she was more beautiful than anyone else on earth. The king said “You are my dear bride and we shall never more leave each other.” The wedding was then celebrated and they lived happily until their death.
In August 2009 my husband and I visited one of the prettiest little patches of land (should I say water) near our farmhouse. Some see only a dismal pond, paved over by intersecting roads. But we see a marsh filled with waterfowl, waders and exotic birds. We like this swampy spot because it attracts a variety of wildlife, mainly cranes, herons, different duck species and egrets. On that particular August evening we felt ambitious and not only remembered to take our binoculars but also a spotting scope. The scope turned out to be entirely unneeded because the primary attraction that evening, a family of trumpeter swans (father, mother and two fledglings), was resting at the side of the road. But since we had dragged the scope along, we set it up cattycorner to the birds. The two elder birds soon lifted their heads and began a melancholic song. We watched for some moments in silence, completely engrossed. Lost in the moment, we didn't even notice when a huge yellow Hummer SUV pulled up alongside us. It rolled down the window and yelled out “Get a life!” The tires then screeched and we heard laughter as the vehicle sped off. We packed up the spotting scope and chuckled; we must have looked ridiculous using a telescope-like contraption when we could have driven the car right up to the birds.
But that’s not the end of the story. Several days later when we returned to this favorite spot, instead of finding the swan family, we found swan effigies, that is, numerous stuffed animals in swan shape, hand-drawn signs, pictures and photos at the spot the swans had once frequented. The posters reported that two swans had been killed, even suggesting the birds had been viciously murdered. A $5,000 reward was offered to find the swans’ slayer. It was believed the cygnets had first been lured into the road and then shot by someone. The next morning the adult male was found alive, however because of broken wings and severe injuries this third swan also had to be euthanized.
Township residents went into mourning for their swans and the authorities promised a prompt investigation that would surely lead to prosecution of the culprit(s). But amidst the outcry, some criticism could also be heard. One of the more interesting comments posted on the annarbor.com website was this by a contributor named Jordan: “Raise your fist in anger, but I'm going to say it: They're just swans. They're animals. Yes, it is sad that they won't be there anymore. And if the swans were maliciously killed by people, which seems to be the general, albeit unproven, consensus, then it was a disgusting act. But when I saw that a group had already managed to raise $5,000 for information on the "slaying of the swans," I couldn't really believe it.”
Jordan put it all in perspective: the local food bank was experiencing a critical shortage of food. As more and more people lost their jobs, they were relying on this support and local agencies had reported an increase in demand and ever-diminishing resources to meet the need. Now that was truly something you could get angry about. But the passionate and spontaneous response to an attack on birds was startling.
Most people seemed to believe the swans were intentionally killed. Later the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported they hadn't died from gunshot wounds but rather from blunt trauma, consistent with having been hit by a car or truck. Regardless of how they received their injuries, the act was premeditated in the mind of the public. The outpouring of grief for the birds was swift. A makeshift shrine appeared on both sides of the road. People brought stuffed swan animals, posted pictures, wrote little prayers, and erected crosses. I guess I had always thought few people actually paid any attention to the birds. But as it turned out, I was only one of many swan-admirers. Many local residents had been following the swan family saga: they watched as the adults first built their nest in the marsh, they looked on as the parents patiently sat on their eggs, and when the eggs finally hatched they saw the nestlings’ heads peeking out from matted straw. Soon carloads of people were stopping to watch the swan family and some even photographed them on their way to work. The swans had become an important part of people's every-day routine, an important element of their landscape.
But what does all this have to do with fairy tales? Folk tradition often likens the swan to an immaculate or faultless person. In folklore the creature is often described as one without blemish, and is often associated with bards or poets. (How sinful then to kill such a creature!) According to myth, the swan portends its own death when it sings its famous swan song. German mythology is filled with swan lore, ascribing magical properties to them (see Swan Mythology on this website). When carefully read, many of the fairy tales presented on this website seem to offer a distinct "fairy tale attitude" toward the natural world and toward animals in particular. A good example of these "fairy tale values" is provided by the stories The Little Ringed Snake and The Fairy Tale of Horse and Fox. Here an inherent respect for animals is evident. This appreciation of nature, some would even say fervent love of the landscape and all it contains, is matter-of-fact in fairy tales. Often there is an invisible inter-connectedness between people, place and thing, which is the whole point of the story. These unseen links are often interpreted as mere dramatic devices, a bit of curious magic or silly enchantment, but actually reflect a much deeper fairy tale ethos (perhaps one might even call it "moral imagination").
Here is one example of what I mean: In popular German folklore, the snake often represents a house spirit or ancestral ghost. Jakob Grimm has suggested these spirits were probably linked to popular notions about ancestors or even ancestor worship. House-snake-as-ancestral ghost would have been understood by the original audience of the tale (just like today most Americans would readily know what is meant the words cellphone or McMansion). Similar to a Tomte, this spirit lived alongside the family, frequently enjoying a separate parallel existence but not perceived by all family members. (In the tale of the Little Ringed Snake, the creature appears as companion to a lonely child but the mother is unaware of its existence). Folk belief emphasized that such beings were actually the heart of the household. Should this creature be harmed, the family, its security and livelihood would also be threatened. In the world of the fairy tale, a thoughtless act of violence toward a helpless being is tantamount to bringing about one's own sudden (and usually dramatic) demise.
So a year later what is the status of the swan controversy? No swan-killers were ever identified. The little shrine at the side of the road has vanished. And I wrote out a check to the local breakfast program for the homeless.
Grimm’s Fairy Tale No. 105, The Little Ringed Snake Version II
An orphan child sat at the city wall spinning. The girl saw a little snake sliding on its belly along the stone wall. Quickly the child spread out her blue-silk kerchief, a thing little snakes love with all their heart (and the only thing to which they are irresistibly drawn). As soon as the creature saw the cloth, it turned around and slithered toward that patch of blue carrying a small golden crown, which it placed there. Then the little snake wriggled away. The girl picked up the glittering crown and saw it was spun from the finest and most delicate golden thread. Soon the snake returned a second time: but when it no longer saw the crown, it crept away along the city wall. It beat its head against the stone until it no longer had the strength to continue. Finally it lay there dead. If the girl had left the crown lying in its place, the little snake surely would have brought even more treasures to her from out of its crevice.
To read more fairy tales, click on the link below:
(Illustration by Tomi Ungerer, Das Grosse Liederbuch)
Fairy Tale of the Little Ringed Snake, Grimm's Fairy Tale No. 105 Version I
There once lived a little child and every day its mother gave it a small bowl with milk and broken pieces of bread. The child always took the little bowl and went out into the yard, sat down and ate.
But when the child began to eat, a house snake would often creep out of a crack in the wall. It lowered its little head and lapped up the child’s milk, eating right along. The child was pleased with its companion and if it sat alone with its little bowl and the snake did not appear immediately, it cried out:
“Snake, come fast, come swift, Come here you little thing, Take from me these crumbs, And lick the milk refreshing.”
The snake came slithering out and enjoyed the refreshing milk. It also showed its gratitude by bringing the child secret treasures, all manner of pretty things, sparkling stones, pearls and golden toys. But the snake only drank the milk and left the crumbs alone.
Once the child took its little spoon and rapped the snake’s little head and said “You silly thing, you must eat the crumbs too!” When the mother, who was standing in the kitchen, heard the child talking and when she saw that it was hitting a snake with its spoon, she ran out with a piece of firewood and killed the goodly animal.
From that time forward there was a change in the child. The child had grown big and strong as long as the snake had eaten beside it. But now it lost its rosy cheeks and became thin. It wasn’t long until the bird of death appeared at the child’s window one night and began to cry. And the robin gathered leaves and twigs and wove a funeral wreath and soon thereafter the child lay on the bier.
In the year 1686, on June 8, two persons of noble birth made their way to Chur, Switzerland. On the road they found a small infant lying near a bush. It was swaddled in linen. One nobleman took pity on the child and ordered his manservant to climb down from the carriage and pick up the babe so that it could be taken to the next village and arrangements made for its care. When the servant had dismounted, he seized hold of the child and wanted to lift it up, but found he didn’t have the strength to do it. The two noblemen sitting in the carriage were amazed and ordered the other servant to help him. But the men using both their hands could not budge the child from the spot where it lay. After some time had passed and the servants were tired of lifting and pulling, the child began to speak and said: “Leave me lying here. You won’t be able to move me from this spot on the earth. But I want to tell you, this will be a delicious and fruitful year, but few people will experience it.” As soon as the child had spoken these words, it vanished. Both noblemen and their servants appeared before the city council in Chur and had their sworn statements entered in the public record.
A man from Schwyz called Stoeffacher lived near Steinen, the fortress. Here he built a very fine house. One day Grissler rode by, the magistrate of the Kingdom of Handen in Uri and Schwyz. He called out to Stoeffacher and asked him whose fine little house it was. The man replied: “It is your grace and my land in fee.” The man did not dare say it was his own. Grissler said nothing and rode home.Now Stoeffacher was a smart and intelligent man. He also had a pious and wise wife. And so he took the matter to heart and believed the magistrate would soon take all of their earthly possessions. His wife, seeing how her husband despaired, asked him to tell her everything. She said “Go and tell your friends, they will give you wise council.” So quickly three men were called together, one from Uri, one from Schwyz and one from Unterwaldner (the one whose father had been made blind). In secret these three men swore the first oath marking the beginning of the eternal Swiss confederacy. This oath elevated the rule of law and justice, suppressed unfairness and punished evil deeds. That is why God blessed the men with good fortune. But if they wanted to carry out attacks, they would assemble at Mittenstein, at the end as it is called in Bettlin, where they met to confer in Ruetli.
Wee folk lived in Eilenburg Castle in Saxony. Once these fairy folk wanted to celebrate a wedding feast and so it happened that they crept through every key hole and window crack of the great house. They jumped down onto the smooth wooden floor like little peas being poured onto a threshing mat. But the old duke, who was sleeping in the room in his high four-poster bed, awoke. He was exceedingly amazed when he gazed upon the wee folk assembling in his chamber. One of them approached, wearing a costume like a herald. Using fitting words, he invited the duke to participate in the feast.
“But one thing we ask,” he added. “Only you may attend the celebration, none of your household may gaze upon the party, and may not in stealth take even one peek.”
The old duke responded courteously: “Because my sleep has already been disturbed, I will stay with you.” A delicate little wife was brought before him, small lamp carriers positioned themselves on either side and the sweet sounds of music started up. The duke had trouble keeping up with the little wife while dancing. The fairy sprang and jumped so sprightly and finally whirled around so swiftly, that he could hardly catch his breath. But in the middle of this cheerful dance suddenly everything fell quiet. The music stopped and the entire lot scurried through door cracks, mouse holes and every other escape hatch. But bride and groom, heralds and dancers all looked up at an opening high up in the ceiling of the room. There they discovered the face of the old duchess, peering down on the merry scene. With that they all bowed before the duke and the herald, who had invited him, stepped forward once more and thanked him for his kind hospitality.
“But because our joy and our wedding have been interrupted by another human’s eyes gazing upon us, from now on your descendants shall not count more than seven Eilenburgs at one time.”
And then they all scurried out one after another from that place. Soon it was quiet and the old duke found himself alone in his dark room. The enchantment has lasted to the present day and always when there are six living knights of Eilenburg, one dies before the seventh is born. Copyright fairytalechannel.com
The Wild Fairies of WunderbergMountain, Grimm's Saga No. 50
Folks and farmers of Groedicher reported in 1753 that wild fairies of Wunderberg Mountain came down from the hills and visited young children, maids and lads alike. At first these wild fairies or Woods Wives of Wunderberg as they were called, offered the children pieces of bread when they grazed their cattle in the clearing near Glanegg.
Time and again the wild fairies visited this clearing in the meadow during the grain harvest. They came down from the hills early in the morning and in the evening when other people went home after work, these wives went out and entered Wunderberg without taking their evening meal.
Once it happened that a small chap sat on his horse next to Wunderberg Mountain and his horse was harnessed to the wagon his father was using for threshing the field. Once again the Wild Wives came down from the hill and wanted to carry the boy away using force. But the father, who knew the secrets and habits of these mountain fairies, rushed toward the women without fear and took the child from them with the words: “What audacity! What cheek! To visit my field so many times and now you even want to take away my little boy! What do you intend to do with him?” The fairies replied: “We will take better care of him and he will have it better with us! We will dote on the little fellow, nothing bad will befall him if he comes with us!” But the father would not let go of the child, and gripped him tightly in his hands. The wild women cried bitter tears but finally departed.
Once the wild women came out of the Wunderberg near the Grinding Mill or the Ball Mill, which was called Place of the Ball because it was close to the summit. They snatched a boy, who was grazing cattle in the meadow. This boy, whom everyone knew, was first seen again by woodcutters more than a year later. But now he was wearing a green shift and sat on a tree trunk. The next day his parents went out to find him, but it was all for naught. The child was never seen again.
It often happened that a wild fairy came out of the Wunderberg walking toward the village of Anif. This village lay one-half-hour away from Berg. Once there, the wild wife dug holes and storage caches in the mountain. She had extraordinarily long and beautiful hair, which almost touched her heels. A farmer from the village often saw this woman walking back and forth. He fell in love with her immediately, mainly because of her beautiful hair. He could not help himself from going to her, gazed upon her longingly with pleasure and finally, in his simple-mindedness, entered her little cave-hole without being shy at all. No one said anything or even mentioned how unseemly it was. But the second night the wild fairy asked the farmer if he didn’t have a wife of his own. The farmer lied about his wife and said no. But his true wife was wondering where her husband spent the nights and slept. She therefore followed him and found him sleeping in the meadow beside the wild fairy. “May God save your beautiful hair!” the woman said to the wild fairy. “What are you doing here with each other?” After saying these words the farmer’s wife left them, but the farmer was terrified. The wild fairy wife accused the man of unfaithfulness and said “If your wife had expressed hatred or anger toward me, you would now be unhappy and no longer able to depart from this spot. But because your wife wasn’t so angry, go home to her and love her and do not try again to come here. For it is written: “Each shall live faithfully with his wedded wife! Alas the power of these words has diminished over time along with the fortune of married couples! Now take this shoe full of gold, go home and never turn around again.” More tales about wild faeries: http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2009/08/french-tale-of-fairy-sisters-july.html http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/03/fairy-grotto-and-palm-sunday-fairy.html http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2010/07/mid-summer-revelry-of-fairy-folk.html And about gnomes: http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2010/05/ancient-tribe-of-swiss-gnomes-called.html