The Grimm Brothers
There was once an old castle in the midst of a
large and dense forest, and in it an old woman who was a witch dwelt all
alone. In the day-time she changed herself into a cat or a screech-owl, but in
the evening she took her proper shape again as a human being. She could lure
wild beasts and birds to her, and then she killed and boiled and roasted them.
If anyone came within one hundred paces of the castle he was obliged to stand
still, and could not stir from the place until she bade him be free. But
whenever an innocent maiden came within this circle, she changed her into a
bird, and shut her up in a wicker-work cage, and carried the cage into a room
in the castle. She had about seven thousand cages of rare birds in the castle.
Now, there was once a maiden who was called Jorinda, who
was fairer than all other girls. She and a handsome youth named Joringel had
promised to marry each other. They were still in the days of betrothal, and
their greatest happiness was being together. One day in order that they might
be able to talk together in peace they went for a walk in the forest.
"Take care," said Joringel, "that you do not go too near
It was a beautiful evening. The sun shone brightly
between the trunks of the trees into the dark green of the forest, and the
turtle-doves sang mournfully upon the beech trees.
Jorinda wept now and then. She sat down in the sunshine
and was sorrowful. Joringel was sorrowful too. They were as sad as if they
were about to die. Then they looked around them, and were quite at a loss, for
they did not know by which way they should go home. The sun was still half
above the mountain and half under. Joringel looked through the bushes, and saw
the old walls of the castle close at hand. He was horror-stricken and filled
with deadly fear. Jorinda was singing,
"My little bird, with the
Sings sorrow, sorrow, sorrow,
He sings that the dove must soon be dead,
Sings sorrow, sor - jug, jug, jug."
Joringel looked for Jorinda. She was changed into a
nightingale, and sang, jug, jug, jug. A screech-owl with glowing eyes flew
three times round about her, and three times cried, to-whoo, to-whoo, to-whoo.
Joringel could not move. He stood there like a stone,
and could neither weep nor speak, nor move hand or foot. The sun had now set.
The owl flew into the thicket, and directly afterwards there came out of it a
crooked old woman, yellow and lean, with large red eyes and a hooked nose, the
point of which reached to her chin. She muttered to herself, caught the
nightingale, and took it away in her hand. Joringel could neither speak nor
move from the spot. The nightingale was gone.
At last the woman came back, and said in a hollow voice,
"Greet you, Zachiel. If the moon shines on the cage, Zachiel, let him loose at
Then Joringel was freed. He fell on his knees before the
woman and begged that she would give him back his Jorinda, but she said that
he should never have her again, and went away. He called, he wept, he
lamented, but all in vain, "Hooh, what is to become of me?"
Joringel went away, and at last came to a strange
village, where he kept sheep for a long time. He often walked round and round
the castle, but not too near to it. At last he dreamt one night that he found
a blood-red flower, in the middle of which was a beautiful large pearl, that
he picked the flower and went with it to the castle, and that everything he
touched with the flower was freed from enchantment. He also dreamt that by
means of it he recovered his Jorinda. In the morning, when he awoke, he began
to seek over hill and dale for such a flower. He sought until the ninth day,
and then, early in the morning, he found the blood-red flower. In the middle
of it there was a large dew-drop, as big as the finest pearl.
Day and night he journeyed with this flower to the
castle. When he was within a hundred paces of it he was not held fast, but
walked on to the door. Joringel was full of joy. He touched the door with the
flower, and it sprang open. He walked in through the courtyard, and listened
for the sound of the birds. At last he heard it. He went on and found the room
from whence it came, and there the witch was feeding the birds in the seven
When she saw Joringel she was angry, very angry, and
scolded and spat poison and gall at him, but she could not come within two
paces of him. He did not take any notice of her, but went and looked at the
cages with the birds. But there were many hundred nightingales, how was he to
find his Jorinda again. Just then he saw the old woman quietly take away a
cage with a bird in it, and go towards the door.
Swiftly he sprang towards her, touched the cage with the
flower, and also the old woman. She could now no longer bewitch anyone. And
Jorinda was standing there, clasping him round the neck, and she was as
beautiful as ever. Then all the other birds were turned into maidens again,
and he went home with his Jorinda, and they lived happily together for a long