Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Pink

It would be way too easy to find a romantic fairy tale to commemorate Valentine's Day, so here's one that's related in color scheme as well-the Grimms' "The Pink." A beautiful tale with elements similar to Snow White, but with a bittersweet ending (you can reference this tale when people accuse fairy tales of being too simplistically perfect).

There was a Queen who longed for children. She prayed every morning, and one day an angel answered her prayers-she would have a son with the power of wishing. The Queen took her little boy every day to bathe him in a fountain. One day she fell asleep with the boy in her lap, and the old cook took the child and sprinkled a chicken's blood on the Queen's lap. The cook ran to the King and claimed the Queen had allowed the boy to be carried off by a wild animal. The King, furious, ordered his wife to be shut up in a tower for seven years with no food or water, and wither away as punishment. But kind angels, in the form of doves, brought her food and water each day.

The cook realized he could be in danger if he stayed, and took the boy away and ordered him to wish for a castle. To give him companionship, he told the boy to wish for a beautiful maiden for himself, and as soon as he did, there stood a maiden "more beautiful than any painter could paint." The children played together and the cook go hunting. But the cook, realizing the boy might wish to see his parents, ordered the maiden to kill the Prince and bring him his heart and tongue.

The next day, though, the boy was still alive. When the cook demanded why she hadn't killed him, the maiden responded that she didn't see why the boy, who had done nothing wrong, should be killed. The cook threatened to kill her if she didn't obey. The next morning the maiden gave the cook the heart and tongue of a hind, and told the Prince to hide under the bed covers. As the cook entered, the Prince revealed himself and wished that the cook, as punishment, would turn into a black poodle with a gold chain around his neck, forced to eat live coals until the flames poured out of his mouth.

The Prince stayed at the castle a while, but began to wonder about his mother. He wanted to go back to see if she was still alive. The maiden did not wish to leave him, but was also afraid to go to a strange new country. So the Prince wished that she should become a beautiful pink flower.
The Prince presented himself to his father as a huntsman, even though there had never been any game in the whole district. The Prince's wishing provided the hunting party with plenty of game, and this delighted the King, who ordered his son to sit next to him. The son missed his mother and wished someone would mention her-immediately the Lord High Marshal expressed concern about the Queen in the tower. The King did not want to hear about her who he believed had allowed his son to die.

The Prince stood and revealed to his father who he was, that his mother was innocent, and the treachery of the cook. He showed the court the black poodle, and then the cook in his real form-and he showed them the beautiful flower, and then the maiden, more beautiful than any painting.
The King ordered the Queen to be brought down from the tower. But when she reached the table, she would no longer eat or drink. She said, "The merciful God, who has preserved my life so long, will soon release me now." She died three days later, and the two white doves who had brought her food hovered over her grave.
The King punished the cook, ordering him to be torn into four quarters, but he was filled with grief and died shortly after.
"His son married the beautiful maiden he had brought home with him as a flower, and, for all I know, they may be living still."

No comments:

Post a Comment