There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for a child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her desire. These people had a little window at the back of their house from which a splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded by all the world.
The cock once said to the hen, “It is now the time when our nuts are ripe, so let us go to the hill together and for once eat our fill before the squirrel takes them all away.” “Yes,” replied the hen, “come, we will have some pleasure together.” Then they went away to the hill, and on it was a bright day they stayed till evening.
There were once on a time a king and a queen who lived happily together and had twelve children, but they were all boys. Then said the King to his wife, “If the thirteenth child which thou art about to bring into the world, is a girl, the twelve boys shall die, in order that her possessions may be great, and that the kingdom may fall to her alone.” He caused likewise twelve coffins to be made, which were already filled with shavings, and in each lay the little pillow for the dead, and he had them taken into a locked-up room, and then he gave the Queen the key of it, and bade her not to speak of this to any one.
There was once a wonderful musician, who went quite alone through a forest and thought of all manner of things, and when nothing was left for him to think about, he said to himself, “Time is beginning to pass heavily with me here in the forest, I will fetch hither a good companion for myself.” Then he took his fiddle from his back, and played so that it echoed through the trees. It was not long before a wolf came trotting through the thicket towards him.
A Special Note About This Story:
This story is one of several examples of bigotry in the Grimms’ collection of stories. The outrageous bigotry on display in the story is a frightening example of how long hatred against Jewish people had existed in the parts of Germany where this tale was told.
While it contains prejudice and absolutely calls into question the entire collective work of the Brothers Grimm, it is a story that should be understood and studied in the interests of keeping the historical record accurate. It is also worth studying the possible influence of stories like this one on the entire tradition of Western fairy tales. To think that this sort of thing is purely historical in nature is a mistake.
There was once on a time an old king who was ill, and thought to himself, “I am lying on what must be my death-bed.” Then said he, ” Tell Faithful John to come to me.” Faithful John was his favourite servant, and was so called, because he had for his whole life long been so true to him. When therefore he came beside the bed, the King said to him, “Most faithful John, I feel my end approaching, and have no anxiety except about my son. He is still of tender age, and cannot always know how to guide himself.