Falada – The Goose Girl (Part 1)

“The Goose Girl” is one of the Brothers Grimm tales published in 1815 as part of their “Children’s and Household Tales”.  The story is of a princess betrayed by her maid while she is on the journey to marry her prince, and the loyalty of her horse Falada. The Goose Girl is lesser known among the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales; nevertheless, it has been adapted into many films, novels and even anime.

Falada – The Goose Girl (Part 1)

Falada - Goose Girl (FI)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.

Falada - Goose Girl (FI)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.

Curdken – The Goose Girl (Part 2) will appear online next week (15 August 2016)

 


I put contact lenses in my dog's eyes. They had little pictures of cats on them. Then I took one out and he ran around in circles.”
Steven Wright