Monday, June 27, 2016

Grimm Reviews – “Maid Maleen”

“Maid Maleen”

There once was a princess named Maid Maleen who was in love with a prince, but her father wanted to marry her to someone else. She said she wouldn’t marry anyone else, so he built a tower into which no sunlight could enter. He put in seven years’ worth of food and drink, and locked her and her waiting woman in.

Seven years later, when their food and drink ran out, Maid Maleen and her waiting woman took a butter knife and worked some of the stones loose. When they finally broke free from the tower, they found that her father’s castle was in ruins and the surrounding towns had been destroyed.

The two wandered looking for food and work, and eventually made it to another castle where they became scullions in the kitchen.

The Prince of this castle was the one who had loved Maid Maleen. His father had chosen a very ugly woman to be his bride. She was in the castle, but so ashamed of her ugliness that she never left her room and Maid Maleen had to take her her meals.

On the wedding day, the bride was so worried the people would laugh at her ugliness, that she hatched a plan. She told Maid Maleen that she had hurt her foot and would not be able to walk to the church, so she told Maid Maleen to put on her dress and be a stand in bride. At first Maid Maleen refused, but when the bride said, “Do it, or die,” she didn’t have a choice.

As the Prince led her through the town, she sang odd little songs. When the Prince asked her what she was singing, she always said, “It’s nothing.” At the church door, the Prince took a necklace and put it around her neck. They were married, and when they returned to the palace, she went to the bride’s room and took off the dress and jewels, but kept the necklace.

When the ugly bride went to the Prince that night, she wore a veil so he couldn’t see her. He asked her what she had sung at the various points as they walked. The ugly bride went and found Maid Maleen for all the answers. When she finally lifted her veil, the Prince was shocked. She explained what she had done, and the Prince wanted to see the scullery maid.

The ugly bride went out and tried to have Maid Maleen executed, but she screamed and the Prince came to her rescue. He saw the necklace and knew her to be his “real” bride. She also told him that she was Maid Maleen, and they lived happily ever after. The ugly bride was executed.


So Maid Maleen and her waiting woman just sat in a dark tower for seven years before thinking of trying to escape?

I don’t really have much more to say about this one. It does seem like your standard fairy tale; princess locked in a tower, stuff happens, meets her prince and they live happily ever after.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Grimm Reviews – “The Singing Bone”

“The Singing Bone”

A fearsome wild boar terrorized a kingdom, and the king offered his daughter as reward to whoever could bring the boar in. Two poor brothers decided to set out. The elder, and clever one, was to set out in the evening, while the younger and good hearted one set out in the morning.

When the younger brother entered the forest, a fairy came to him because his heart was so pure and gave him a spear that would keep the boar from harming him. The younger brother soon found the boar who charged him and ran onto his spear and died.

The younger brother then found his older brother at a party dancing and drinking to build up his courage. When the older brother saw what his younger brother had done, he became jealous, but hid it and had the younger brother join them to rest and regain his strength.

That evening, they went for a walk and the older brother hit the younger in the head and threw him over a bridge to make sure he was dead. He then went back, grabbed the boar, and took it get the princess.

Some years later, a herdsman saw a white bone under the bridge, and figured it would make a mouthpiece for his horn. But the first time the herdsman tried it, the bone sang the story of the brother’s betrayal. The herdsman then took his horn to the king. The king had the area under the bridge searched and the skeleton of the younger brother was found. The older brother was drowned, and the younger was given a proper burial.


Are fairies in the habit of just handing out weapons to people they find in the woods? I wonder how the older brother was as a husband. Did he and the princess have a love of the ages, or was he a brute and she happy to see him go? Given odd customs of ye olden days, would the marriage have been annulled and have her married to the bones of the good brother?

I assume that this story predates the saying, “Dead men tell no tales.”

Monday, June 13, 2016

Grimm Reviews – “Old Hildebrand”

“Old Hildebrand”

There once was a parson who wished to spend a day with Hildebrand’s wife. The wife was also keen on this. So one day the parson told her to pretend to be sick for several days. When he gave his sermon for that week, the parson would tell of a place in a distant land where they sold laurel-leaves that would cure the sick.

The wife took to her bed, and on Sunday her husband heard about the laurel-leaves. As soon as he had set off to get the laurel-leaves for his “sick” wife, she and the parson were together.

As Hildebrand traveled, he met an egg-merchant who asked where he was going in such a hurry and peasant explained about his sick wife. But the egg-merchant knew what was really going on.

So the egg-merchant had Hildebrand climb into his egg basket and carried him home, where he saw that his wife had killed all the animals and was making merry with the parson.

The egg-merchant asked to spend the night because he was tired of carrying his eggs home. He went in and set his basket down, and soon the parson and the wife were singing. And then the egg-merchant and Hildebrand joined in, and Hildebrand drove the parson from his home.


Either Hildebrand was rather small to fit in an egg basket and have someone carry him, or the egg-merchant was rather strong. And what happened with the wife? Did the shame of being found out change her so she became a good wife, or did Hildebrand kick her out too? How did she expect to get away with killing all their animals?