When People told themselves their past with stories,
explained their present with stories,
foretold the future with stories,
the best place by the fire was kept for ...

~The Goose-Girl~

There was once upon a time an old queen whose
husband had been dead for many years, and she
had a beautiful daughter. When the princess grew
up she was betrothed to a prince who lived at a great
distance. When the time came for her to be married,
and she had to journey forth into the distant kingdom,
the aged queen packed up for her many costly vessels
of silver and gold, and trinkets also of gold and silver,
and cups and jewels, in short, everything which
appertained to a royal dowry, for she loved
her child with all her heart.

She likewise sent her maid-in-waiting, who was to
ride with her, and hand her over to the bridegroom,
and each had a horse for the journey, but the horse
of the king's daughter was called Falada, and could speak.
So when the hour of parting had come, the aged
mother went into her bedroom, took a small knife
and cut her finger with it until it bled.
Then she held a white handkerchief to it into which
she let three drops of blood fall, gave it to her
daughter and said, dear child, preserve this carefully,
it will be of service to you on your way.

by Willy Pogany 
So they took a sorrowful leave of each other, the
princess put the piece of cloth in her bosom,
mounted her horse, and then went away to her
bridegroom. After she had ridden for a while she felt
a burning thirst, and said to her waiting-maid, dismount,
and take my cup which you have brought with you
for me, and get me some water from the stream,
for I should like to drink. If you are thirsty,
said the waiting-maid, get off your horse yourself,
and lie down and drink out of the water,
I don't choose to be your servant.

So in her great thirst the princess alighted,
bent down over the water in the stream and drank,
and was not allowed to drink out of the golden cup.
Then she said, ah, heaven, and the three drops of
blood answered, if this your mother knew,
her heart would break in two. But the king's daughter
was humble, said nothing, and mounted her horse again.

She rode some miles further, but the day was warm,
the sun scorched her, and she was thirsty once more,
and when they came to a stream of water,
she again cried to her waiting-maid, dismount,
and give me some water in my golden cup,
for she had long ago forgotten the girl's ill words.
But the waiting-maid said still more haughtily,
if you wish to drink, get it yourself,
I don't choose to be your maid. Then in her great
thirst the king's daughter alighted, bent over the
flowing stream, wept and said, ah, heaven,
and the drops of blood again replied, if this your
mother knew, her heart would break in two.

And as she was thus drinking and leaning right
over the stream, the handkerchief with the three
drops of blood fell out of her bosom, and floated
away with the water without her observing it,
so great was her trouble. The waiting-maid, however,
had seen it, and she rejoiced to think that she had now
power over the bride, for since the princess had lost the
drops of blood, she had become weak and powerless.

So now when she wanted to mount her horse again,
the one that was called Falada, the waiting-maid said,
Falada is more suitable for me, and my nag will do
for you, and the princess had to be content with that.
Then the waiting-maid, with many hard words,
bade the princess exchange her royal apparel for her
own shabby clothes, and at length she was compelled
to swear by the clear sky above her, that she would
not say one word of this to anyone at the royal court,
and if she had not taken this oath she would have been
killed on the spot. But Falada saw all this,
and observed it well. 
The waiting-maid now mounted Falada, and the true
bride the bad horse, and thus they traveled onwards,
until at length they entered the royal palace.
There were great rejoicings over her arrival, and the prince sprang forward to meet her, lifted the waiting-maid from
her horse, and thought she was his consort.

She was conducted upstairs, but the real princess
was left standing below. Then the old king looked
out of the window and saw her standing in the courtyard,
and noticed how dainty and delicate and beautiful
she was, and instantly went to the royal apartment,
and asked the bride about the girl she had with her
who was standing down below in the courtyard,
and who she was. I picked her up on my way for a
companion, give the girl something to work at,
that she may not stand idle.

But the old king had no work for her, and knew of none,
so he said, I have a little boy who tends the geese,
she may help him. The boy was called Conrad, and
the true bride had to help him to tend the geese.
Soon afterwards the false bride said to the young king,
dearest husband, I beg you to do me a favor.
He answered, I will do so most willingly.
Then send for the knacker, and have the head
of the horse on which I rode here cut off, for it vexed
me on the way. In reality, she was afraid that the horse
might tell how she had behaved to the king's daughter.

by Willy Planck

Then she succeeded in making the king promise that
it should be done, and the faithful Falada was to die,
this came to the ears of the real princess,
and she secretly promised to pay the knacker a piece
of gold if he would perform a small service for her.
There was a great dark-looking gateway in the town,
through which morning and evening she had to pass
with the geese, would he be so goood as to nail up
Falada's head on it, so that she might see him again,
more than once. The knacker's man promised to do that,
and cut off the head, and nailed it fast beneath the dark gateway.

Early in the morning, when she and Conrad drove out
their flock beneath this gateway, she said in passing,
alas, Falada, hanging there.

Then the head answered, alas, young queen, how ill you fare.
If this your mother knew, her heart would break in two.

Then they went still further out of the town, and drove
their geese into the country. And when they had
come to the meadow, she sat down and unbound her
hair which was like pure gold, and Conrad saw it
and delighted in its brightness, and wanted to pluck
out a few hairs. Then she said, blow, blow, thou gentle
wind, I say, blow Conrad's little hat away, and make
him chase it here and there, until I have braided all
my hair, and bound it up again.

And there came such a violent wind that it blew
Conrad's hat far away across country, and he was
forced to run after it. When he came back she had finished combing her hair and was putting it up again,
and he could not get any of it. Then Conrad was angry,
and would not speak to her, and thus they watched
the geese until the evening, and then they went home.
Next day when they were driving the geese out through
the dark gateway, the maiden said,
alas, Falada, hanging there.

Falada answered, alas, young queen, how ill you fare.
If this your mother knew, her heart would break in two.

And she sat down again in the field and began to
comb out her hair, and Conrad ran and tried to
clutch it, so she said in haste, blow, blow, thou
gentle wind, I say, blow Conrad's little hat away,
and make him chase it here and there, until I have
braided all my hair, and bound it up again.

Then the wind blew, and blew his little hat off his
head and far away, and Conrad was forced to run
after it, and when he came back, her hair had been
put up a long time, and he could get none of it, and
so they looked after their geese till evening came.

But in the evening after they had got home,
Conrad went to the old king, and said, I won't tend
the geese with that girl any longer.
Why not, inquired the aged king. Oh, because she
vexes me the whole day long. Then the aged king
commanded him to relate what it was that she did to
him. And Conrad said, in the morning when we pass
beneath the dark gateway with the block,
there is a horse's head on the wall, and she says to it,
alas, Falada, hanging there.

And the head replies, alas, young queen how ill you fare.
If this your mother knew, her heart would break in two.

And Conrad went on to relate what happened on the goose pasture, and how when there he had to chase his hat.

The aged king commanded him to drive his block out
again next day, and as soon as morning came,
he placed himself behind the dark gateway, and heard
how the maiden spoke to the head of Falada,
and then he too went into the country,
and hid himself in the thicket in the meadow.
There he soon saw with his own eyes the goose-girl
and the goose-boy bringing their flock, and how after
a while she sat down and unplaited her hair,
which shone with radiance. And soon she said,
blow, blow, thou gentle wind, I say, blow Conrad's
little hat away, and make him chase it here and there,
until I have braided all my hair, and bound it up again.

Then came a blast of wind and carried off Conrad's hat,
so that he had to run far away, while the maiden
quietly went on combing and plaiting her hair,
all of which the king observed. Then, quite unseen,
he went away, and when the goose-girl came home
in the evening, he called her aside, and asked why
she did all these things. I may not tell that,
and I dare not lament my sorrows to any human being,
for I have sworn not to do so by the heaven which is
above me, if I had not done that, I should have lost my life.

He urged her and left her no peace, but he could
draw nothing from her. Then said he, if you will
not tell me anything, tell your sorrows to the iron-stove
there, and he went away. Then she crept into the
iron-stove, and began to weep and lament, and emptied
her whole heart, and said, here am I deserted by the
whole world, and yet I am a king's daughter,
and a false waiting-maid has by force brought me to
such a pass that I have been compelled to put off
my royal apparel, and she has taken my place with
my bridegroom, and I have to perform menial service
as a goose-girl if this my mother knew,
her heart would break in two.

The aged king, however, was standing outside by
the pipe of the stove, and was listening to what she
said, and heard it. Then he came back again, and bade
her come out of the stove. And royal garments were
placed on her, and it was marvellous how beautiful
she was. The aged king summoned his son, and
revealed to him that he had got the false bride who
was only a waiting-maid, but that the true one was
standing there, as the former goose-girl.
The young king rejoiced with all his heart when he
saw her beauty and youth, and a great feast was made
ready to which all the people and all good friends
were invited.

At the head of the table sat the bridegroom
with the king's daughter at one side of him, and the
waiting-maid on the other, but the waiting-maid
was blinded, and did not recognize the princess in
her dazzling array. When they had eaten and drunk,
and were merry, the aged king asked the waiting-maid
as a riddle, what punishment a person deserved who
had behaved in such and such a way to her master,
and at the same time related the whole story, and asked
what sentence such a person merited.
Then the false bride said, she deserves no better fate
than to be stripped entirely naked, and put in a barrel
which is studded inside with pointed nails, and two
white horses should be harnessed to it, which will drag her
along through one street after another, till she is dead.

It is you, said the aged king, and you have pronounced
your own sentence, and thus shall it be done unto you.
And when the sentence had been carried out, the young king married his true bride, and both of them reigned over their kingdom in peace and happiness.

by The Brothers Grimm

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