Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Robber Bridegroom

This lesser known Grimm fairy tale is very dark. I love hunting through my Grimm books to find treasures like this--Cinderella and Red Riding Hood and all the classics are wonderful but there are so many other fascinating tales.
Here is Wikipedia's summary, although read the full text if you can, it's so much better--

"A miller wished to marry his daughter off, and so when a rich suitor appeared, he betrothed her to him. One day the suitor complained that the daughter never visited him, told her that he lived in the forest, and overrode her reluctance by telling her he would leave a trail of ashes so she could find his home. She filled her pockets with peas and lentils and marked the trail with them as she followed the ashes.
They led her to a dark and silent house. A bird in a cage called out to warn her that she entered a murderer's house. An old woman in a cellar kitchen told her that the people there would kill and eat her unless the old woman protected her and hid her behind a barrel. A band of robbers arrived with a young woman, and they killed her and prepared to eat her. When one chopped off a finger to get at the golden ring on it, the finger and ring flew through the air and landed in the bodice of the hiding woman. The old woman discouraged them from searching, because the finger nor the ring were likely to run away: they'd find it in the morning.

The old woman drugged the robbers' wine. As soon as they fell asleep, the two living women fled. Wind had blown the ashes away, but the peas and lentils had sprung up into seedlings: the two followed the path of plants and reached the young woman's home.
When the wedding day arrived and the guests were telling stories, the young woman said that she would tell a dream she had had, and told of her visit to the robbers' den, her bridegroom punctuating it with "My darling, you only dreamed this." -- or the robber punctuating with exclamations that it was not so in the Mr. Fox variant -- until she produced the finger of the dead girl and showed it to the company.
The robber bridegroom and all his band were put to death."
Second image from Surlalune Fairy tales. First from here.

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