This story may not be suitable for children
The Goose Girl
here lived once an old Queen, whose husband had been dead many years.
She had a beautiful daughter who was promised in marriage to a King's son living a great way off. When the wedding drew near, she got together furniture and cups and jewels and adornments, both of gold and silver, everything proper for the dowry of a royal Princess, for she loved her daughter dearly. She gave her also a waiting gentlewoman; and they were each to have a horse for the journey, and the Princess's horse was named Falada, and he could speak. When the time for parting came, the old Queen cut her own finger so that it bled; and she held beneath it a white napkin, and on it fell three drops of blood; and she gave it to her daughter, bidding her take care of it, for it would be needful to her on the way. Then they took leave of each other, and the Princess put the napkin in her bosom, got on her horse, and set out to go to the bridegroom. After she had ridden an hou,r she felt very thirsty, and she said to the waiting-woman:
"Get down, and fill my cup that you carry with water from the brook."
"Get down yourself," said the waiting-woman, "and if you are thirsty stoop down and drink; I will not be your slave."
And the Princess had to get down and drink,
and could not have her gold cup. "Oh dear!"
she said. And the three drops of blood heard her, and said:
"If your mother knew of this it would break her
"Oh!" she answered the bride, "I
only brought her with me for company; give the maid something to do,
that she may not be forever standing idle."
And when they came into the meadows she sat
down and undid her hair, which was all of gold, and when Conrad saw
how it glistened he wanted to pull out a few hairs for himself. And
The next morning, as they passed under the
gateway, the Princess said:
Then Conrad related all that happened at the
gate and in the fields. The old King told him to go to drive the geese
the next morning as usual and he himself went behind the gate and
listened to what the maiden spoke to Falada; and then he followed
them in to the fields and hid himself. And after a while he saw the
girl make her hair all loose, and how it gleamed and shone. Soon she
said the verses, and there came a gust of wind and away went Conrad's
hat, and he after it, while the maiden combed and bound up her hair;
and the old King saw all that went on. When the goose-girl came back
in the evening he sent for her, and asked her the reason of her doing
Now the old King was standing outside by the
oven door listening, and he heard all she said, and he called to her
and told her to come out of the oven. And he caused royal clothing
to be put upon her, and called his son and proved to him that he had
the wrong bride, for she was really only a waiting-woman, and that
the true bride was she who had been the goose-girl. The Prince was
glad at heart when he saw her beauty and gentleness; and a great feast
was made ready, and all the court people and good friends were bidden
to it. The bridegroom sat in the midst, with the Princess on one side
and the waiting-woman on the other; and the false bride did not know
the true one, because she was dazzled with her glittering braveries.
Then the old King gave the waiting-woman a question to answer, as
to what such a person deserved who had deceived her masters in such
and such a manner, telling the whole story, and ending by asking:
"Now what doom does one deserve?"