Saturday, July 12, 2014

Grimm: Allerleirauh

This story is part of the Brothers Grimm (Hunt) unit. Story source: Household Tales by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Margaret Hunt (1884).

(illustration by Otto Ubbelohde)


Allerleirauh

THERE was once on a time a King who had a wife with golden hair, and she was so beautiful that her equal was not to be found on earth. It came to pass that she lay ill, and as she felt that she must soon die, she called the King and said, "If thou wishest to marry again after my death, take no one who is not quite as beautiful as I am and who has not just such golden hair as I have: this thou must promise me." And after the King had promised her this, she closed her eyes and died.

For a long time, the King could not be comforted and had no thought of taking another wife. At length his councillors said, "There is no help for it; the King must marry again that we may have a Queen."

And now messengers were sent about, far and wide, to seek a bride who equalled the late Queen in beauty. In the whole world, however, none was to be found, and even if one had been found, still there would have been no one who had such golden hair. So the messengers came home as they went.

Now the King had a daughter who was just as beautiful as her dead mother and had the same golden hair. When she was grown up, the King looked at her one day, and saw that in every respect she was like his late wife, and suddenly felt a violent love for her.

Then he spake to his councillors, "I will marry my daughter, for she is the counterpart of my late wife; otherwise I can find no bride who resembles her."

When the councillors heard that, they were shocked and said, "God has forbidden a father to marry his daughter; no good can come from such a crime, and the kingdom will be involved in the ruin."

The daughter was still more shocked when she became aware of her father's resolution, but hoped to turn him from his design. Then she said to him, "Before I fulfil your wish, I must have three dresses: one as golden as the sun, one as silvery as the moon, and one as bright as the stars; besides this, I wish for a mantle of a thousand different kinds of fur and hair joined together, and one of every kind of animal in your kingdom must give a piece of his skin for it."

But she thought, "To get that will be quite impossible, and thus I shall divert my father from his wicked intentions."

The King, however, did not give it up, and the cleverest maidens in his kingdom had to weave the three dresses — one as golden as the sun, one as silvery as the moon, and one as bright as the stars — and his huntsmen had to catch one of every kind of animal in the whole of his kingdom, and take from it a piece of its skin, and out of these was made a mantle of a thousand different kinds of fur.

At length, when all was ready, the King caused the mantle to be brought, spread it out before her, and said, "The wedding shall be tomorrow."

When, therefore, the King's daughter saw that there was no longer any hope of turning her father's heart, she resolved to run away from him. In the night, whilst everyone was asleep, she got up and took three different things from her treasures: a golden ring, a golden spinning-wheel, and a golden reel. The three dresses of the sun, moon, and stars she put into a nutshell, put on her mantle of all kinds of fur, and blackened her face and hands with soot. Then she commended herself to God, and went away, and walked the whole night until she reached a great forest. And as she was tired, she got into a hollow tree and fell asleep.


(700 words)




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