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 Cat in the Willow Tree

There once lived a farm boy in Strassleben
who told the following story:

In his village there was a certain maid,
who had lost her wits to dancing mania.
Often no one knew where her dancing took her,
she seemed to lose her senses completely and then
vanish. She would only return home after some time
had lapsed. Once, this same farm boy and other workers
decided to follow the maid. When once again on
Sunday the girl began to dance and amuse herself in
the company of the workers, she suddenly departed.

But they all crept after her in stealth.
She left the inn and went out into the field and ran
off without looking around, straight to a hollow
willow tree, in which she hid herself.

The workers followed, curious to see whether she
would remain some time in the willow.
They waited at a place where they could stand well-hidden.
After a short time they noticed that a cat jumped out
of the willow and crossed the field back to Langendorf.
Now the fieldhands approached the willow; there they
saw the maid, or better said her body, leaning against
the tree completely rigid. They could not bring her back
to life however fiercely they shook her body.

They were overcome with terrible dread;
they left her body standing and returned home.
After some time they could see the cat creeping back
through the field and then it slipped silently into the
willow and vanished. Some moments later the maid
emerged from the willow and returned to the village.

by The Brothers Grimm

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