12. December

Frau Holle/Mother Hulda
A Fairytale (collected) by Wilhem and Jacob Grimm

There was once a widow who had 2 daughters.
One of them was very diligent and kind and the other one lazy and ill-mannered.
The widow loved the lazy one more as she was her own child and let her step daughter do all the work.
Every day she would sit by the well and spin. One day she pricked her finger with the spindle so badly that that her blood spoiled the yarn. Attempting to wash it in the well, the spindle slipped through her fingers and fell into the well. She ran to the house crying and explained to her step-mother what had happened.

The old woman replied:” If you dropped the spindle, you will have to jump down and bring it back up”
The poor girl did as she was told and when she woke up from the fall she was in the middle of a beautiful meadow.

As she walked around this strange land she passed by an oven and heard the bread say:
“ Take us out, Take us out otherwise we will burn”
The girl did so and continued walking.

As she walked passed a big apple tree she suddenly heard the apples say

“Shake us off, Shake us off we are all ripe”
and so the girl shook the tree so that all the apples would fall off.

She piled them up and continued her walk, when she suddenly came to a small house.
In that house she saw a lady sitting by the window who had giant teeth.

When the girl got scared the old lady said:
“Why are you scared dear child, come and live with me. If you do your work diligently, you will like it here. You just need be careful to shake out my bed properly so that all the feathers fly. That’s when it snows on earth”


The girl agreed and did all her work diligently and always shook out the bed so that many feathers flew, and it snowed on earth.
She had a good life with Frau Holle but after some time she started to feel homesick.

The girl said to Frau Holle:
“I am yearning to go home. Even though my life is so much better here, I need to go back and be with my kind”


Frau Holle replied:
“I like that you are longing to go back home Child and because you were so diligent your reward shall be great”

She took the girl by her hand and led it to a grand gate. The Gate opened and as the girl walked through it a rain of gold covered her.

“That’s your reward because you have been so diligent”
Frau Holle said and gave her the spindle back.
The girl returned to earth and as she came nearer to the house a Cockerel sat on the well saying

“Kikeriki, our golden maiden is back home”

She returned to her mother’s house and was well received as she was covered in gold.
They wanted to know everything that had happened – so she told them.
The mother wanted her other daughter to have the same fortune, so she went to the well and started spinning.
As she didn’t have the patience, she pricked her finger with the spindle and also rammed her hand into a hedge of thorns so the spindle would get covered in blood.
She threw the spindle into the well and jumped right after it.
When she woke up she was lying on the beautiful meadow her sister had described and started walking.

As she walked around this strange land she too, passed the oven and heard the bread say:
“ Take us out, Take us out otherwise we will burn”
The girl replied:
“If I take you out, I will get dirty” and carried on walking.

As she walked passed the big apple tree she suddenly heard the apples say
“Shake us off, Shake us off we are all ripe”
The girl replied
“If I shake you off, one of you will fall on my head” and went along.

When she came to Frau Holles house she offered her services to her and worked diligently the very first day, as she thought of all the gold that awaited her.
Her enthusiasm however faded very quickly and on the 3rd day she didn’t even want to get out of bed.
She also didn’t shake Frau Holle’s bed, so it didn’t snow on earth.

Frau Holle grew tired of her laziness and sent the girl home.
The girl was happy as she was now expecting the goldrain to fall on her too.
Frau Holle lead her to the grand gate under which the girl stood with so much hope, when suddenly a rain of tar covered her.

“ This is your reward for your services”, Frau Holle said

When the girl came home the cockerel was sitting on the well and said

“Kikeriki, our dirty maiden is back home”

And the tar would cover her, until the end of her days.

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