Grimm Brother "The Goose-Girl"

An old queen, whose husband had been dead some years, had a beautiful
daughter. When she grew up, she was betrothed to a prince who lived a
great way off; and as the time drew near for her to be married, she got
ready to set off on her journey to his country. Then the queen, her
mother, packed up a great many costly things--jewels, and gold, and
silver, trinkets, fine dresses, and in short, everything that became a
royal bride; for she loved her child very dearly; and she gave her a
waiting-maid to ride with her, and give her into the bridegroom's hands;
and each had a horse for the journey. Now the princess' horse was called
Falada, and could speak.

When the time came for them to set out, the old queen went into her
bed-chamber, and took a little knife, and cut off a lock of her hair,
and gave it to her daughter, saying, "Take care of it, dear child; for
it is a charm that may be of use to you on the road." Then they took a
sorrowful leave of each other, and the princess put the lock of her
mother's hair into her bosom, got upon her horse, and set off on her
journey to her bridegroom's kingdom.

One day, as they were riding along by the side of a brook, the princess
began to feel very thirsty, and said to her maid, "Pray get down and
fetch me some water in my golden cup out of yonder brook, for I want to
drink." "Nay," said the maid, "if you are thirsty, get down yourself,
and lie down by the water and drink; I shall not be your waiting-maid
any longer." The princess was so thirsty that she got down, and knelt
over the little brook and drank, for she was frightened, and dared not
bring out her golden cup; and then she wept, and said, "Alas! what will
become of me?" And the lock of hair answered her, and said--

"Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,
Sadly, sadly her heart would rue it."

But the princess was very humble and meek, so she said nothing to her
maid's ill behavior, but got upon her horse again.

Then all rode further on their journey, till the day grew so warm, and
the sun so scorching, that the bride began to feel very thirsty again;
and at last, when they came to a river, she forgot her maid's rude
speech, and said, "Pray get down and fetch me some water to drink in my
golden cup." But the maid answered her, and even spoke more haughtily
than before, "Drink if you will, but I shall not be your waiting-maid."
Then the princess was so thirsty that she got off her horse and lay
down, and held her head over the running stream, and cried, and said,
"What will become of me?" And the lock of hair answered her again--

"Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,
Sadly, sadly her heart would rue it."

And as she leaned down to drink, the lock of hair fell from her bosom
and floated away with the water, without her seeing it, she was so much
frightened. But her maid saw it, and was very glad, for she knew the
charm, and saw that the poor bride would be in her power now that she
had lost the hair. So when the bride had finished drinking, and would
have got upon Falada again, the maid said, "I shall ride upon Falada,
and you may have my horse instead;" so she was forced to give up her
horse, and soon afterwards to take off her royal clothes, and put on her
maid's shabby ones.

At last, as they drew near the end of the journey, this treacherous
servant threatened to kill her mistress if she ever told anyone what had
happened. But Falada saw it all, and marked it well. Then the
waiting-maid got upon Falada, and the real bride was set upon the other
horse, and they went on in this way till at last they came to the royal
court. There was great joy at their coming, and the prince hurried to
meet them, and lifted the maid from her horse, thinking she was the one
who was to be his wife; and she was led upstairs to the royal chamber,
but the true princess was told to stay in the court below.

However, the old king happened to be looking out of the window, and saw
her in the yard below; and as she looked very pretty, and too delicate
for a waiting-maid, he went into the royal chamber to ask the bride whom
it was she had brought with her, that was thus left standing in the
court below. "I brought her with me for the sake of her company on the
road," said she. "Pray give the girl some work to do, that she may not
be idle." The old king could not for some time think of any work for
her, but at last he said, "I have a lad who takes care of my geese; she
may go and help him." Now the name of this lad, that the real bride was
to help in watching the king's geese, was Curdken.

Soon after, the false bride said to the prince, "Dear husband, pray do
me one piece of kindness." "That I will," said the prince. "Then tell
one of your slaughterers to cut off the head of the horse I rode upon,
for it was very unruly, and plagued me sadly on the road." But the truth
was, she was very much afraid lest Falada should speak, and tell all she
had done to the princess. She carried her point, and the faithful Falada
was killed; but when the true princess heard of it she wept, and begged
the man to nail up Falada's head against a large dark gate in the city
through which she had to pass every morning and evening, that there she
might still see him sometimes. Then the slaughterer said he would do as
she wished, so he cut off the head and nailed it fast under the dark
gate.

Early the next morning, as the princess and Curdken went out through the
gate, she said sorrowfully--

"Falada, Falada, there thou art hanging!"

and the head answered--

"Bride, bride, there thou are ganging!
Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,
Sadly, sadly her heart would rue it."

Then they went out of the city, driving the geese. And when they came to
the meadow, the princess sat down upon a bank there and let down her
waving locks of hair, which were all of pure gold; and when Curdken saw
it glitter in the sun, he ran up, and would have pulled some of the
locks out; but she cried--

"Blow, breezes, blow!
Let Curdken's hat go!
Blow breezes, blow!
Let him after it go!

"O'er hills, dales, and rocks,
Away be it whirl'd,
Till the golden locks
Are all comb'd and curl'd!"

Then there came a wind, so strong that it blew off Curdken's hat, and
away it flew over the hills, and he after it; till, by the time he came
back, she had done combing and curling her hair, and put it up again
safely. Then he was very angry and sulky, and would not speak to her at
all; but they watched the geese until it grew dark in the evening, and
then drove them homewards.

The next morning, as they were going through the dark gate, the poor
girl looked up at Falada's head, and cried--

"Falada, Falada, there thou art hanging!"

and it answered--

"Bride, bride, there thou are ganging!
Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,
Sadly, sadly her heart would rue it."

Then she drove on the geese and sat down again in the meadow, and began
to comb out her hair as before, and Curdken ran up to her, and wanted to
take of it; but she cried out quickly--

"Blow, breezes, blow!
Let Curdken's hat go!
Blow breezes, blow!
Let him after it go!
O'er hills, dales, and rocks,
Away be it whirl'd,
Till the golden locks
Are all comb'd and curl'd!"

Then the wind came and blew off his hat, and off it flew a great
distance over the hills and far away, so that he had to run after it:
and when he came back, she had done up her hair again, and all was safe.
So they watched the geese till it grew dark.

In the evening, after they came home, Curdken went to the old king, and
said, "I cannot have that strange girl to help me to keep the geese any
longer."

"Why?" inquired the king.

"Because she does nothing but tease me all day long."

Then the king made him tell him all that had passed.

And Curdken said, "When we go in the morning through the dark gate with
our flock of geese, she weeps, and talks with the head of a horse that
hangs upon the wall, and says--

"Falada, Falada, there thou art hanging!"

and the head answers--

"Bride, bride, there thou are ganging!
Alas! alas! if thy mother knew it,
Sadly, sadly her heart would rue it."

And Curdken went on telling the king what had happened upon the meadow
where the geese fed; and how his hat was blown away, and he was forced
to run after it, and leave his flock. But the old king told him to go
out again as usual the next day: and when morning came, he placed
himself behind the dark gate, and heard how the princess spoke, and how
Falada answered; and then he went into the field and hid himself in a
bush by the meadow's side, and soon saw with his own eyes how they drove
the flock of geese, and how, after a little time, she let down her hair
that glittered in the sun; and then he heard her say--

"Blow, breezes, blow!
Let Curdken's hat go!
Blow breezes, blow!
Let him after it go!
O'er hills, dales, and rocks,
Away be it whirl'd,
Till the golden locks
Are all comb'd and curl'd!"

And soon came a gale of wind, and carried away Curdken's hat, while the
girl went on combing and curling her hair.

All this the old king saw; so he went home without being seen; and when
the goose-girl came back in the evening, he called her aside, and asked
her why she did so; but she burst into tears, and said, "That I must not
tell you or any man, or I shall lose my life."

But the old king begged so hard that she had no peace till she had told
him all, word for word: and it was very lucky for her that she did so,
for the king ordered royal clothes to be put upon her, and he gazed with
wonder, she was so beautiful.

Then he called his son, and told him that he had only the false bride,
for that she was merely a waiting-maid, while the true one stood by.

And the young king rejoiced when he saw her beauty, and heard how meek
and patient she had been; and without saying anything, he ordered a
great feast to be prepared for all his court.

The bridegroom sat at the top, with the false princess on one side, and
the true one on the other; but nobody knew her, for she was quite
dazzling to their eyes, and was not at all like the little goose-girl,
now that she had on her brilliant dress.

When they had eaten and drunk, and were very merry, the old king told
all the story, as one that he had once heard of, and asked the true
waiting-maid what she thought ought to be done to anyone who would
behave thus.

"Nothing better," said this false bride, "than that she should be thrown
into a cask stuck around with sharp nails, and that two white horses
should be put to it, and should drag it from street to street till she
is dead."

"Thou art she!" said the old king; "and since thou hast judged thyself,
it shall be so done to thee."

Then the young king was married to his true wife, and they reigned over
the kingdom in peace and happiness all their lives.