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Märchen

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The Fairy Tale and Folklore Collection.

The scents listed on this main page are sorted alphabetically, not by story. To see which story any scent corresponds to, hovering over the image reveals the title.

Clicking on a sub-category below will display scents exclusively associated with that tale, and also provides the text of the full story.

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  • Grief

    It is not well, therefore, to mourn long for the departed; else Grief, whose sole pleasure is in such mourning, will be quick to send fresh cause for tears.

    Inconsolable: lily of the valley, hyacinth, calamus, muguet, hydrangea, and elemi.

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  • Veritas

    Falsehood has no feet: now and again something that is false can start off successfully, but with time, Truth will always prevail.

    The essence of honesty, integrity, and veracity: frankincense, white carnation, angelica, chamomile, and heliotrope.

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Märchen - Beauty and the Beast

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The Fairy Tale and Folklore Collection.

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There was once a very rich merchant, who had six children, three boys and three girls. As he was himself a man of great sense, he spared no expense for their education. The three daughters were all handsome, but particularly the youngest; indeed, she was so very beautiful, that in her childhood every one called her the Little Beauty; and being equally lovely when she was grown up, nobody called her by any other name, which made her sisters very jealous of her. This youngest daughter was not only more handsome than her sisters, but also was better tempered. The two eldest were vain of their wealth and position. They gave themselves a thousand airs, and refused to visit other merchants’ daughters; nor would they condescend to be seen except with persons of quality. They went every day to balls, plays, and public walks, and always made game of their youngest sister for spending her time in reading or other useful employments. As it was well known that these young ladies would have large fortunes, many great merchants wished to get them for wives; but the two eldest always answered, that, for their parts, they had no thoughts of marrying any one below a duke or an earl at least. Beauty had quite as many offers as her sisters, but she always answered, with the greatest civility, that though she was much obliged to her lovers, she would rather live some years longer with her father, as she thought herself too young to marry.

It happened that, by some unlucky accident, the merchant suddenly lost all his fortune, and had nothing left but a small cottage in the country. Upon this he said to his daughters, while the tears ran down his cheeks, “My children, we must now go and dwell in the cottage, and try to get a living by labour, for we have no other means of support.” The two eldest replied that they did not know how to work, and would not leave town; for they had lovers enough who would be glad to marry them, though they had no longer any fortune. But in this they were mistaken; for when the lovers heard what had happened, they said, “The girls were so proud and ill-tempered, that all we wanted was their fortune: we are not sorry at all to see their pride brought down: let them show off their airs to their cows and sheep.” But everybody pitied poor Beauty, because she was so sweet-tempered and kind to all, and several gentlemen offered to marry her, though she had not a penny; but Beauty still refused, and said she could not think of leaving her poor father in this trouble. At first Beauty could not help sometimes crying in secret for the hardships she was now obliged to suffer; but in a very short time she said to herself, “All the crying in the world will do me no good, so I will try to be happy without a fortune.”

When they had removed to their cottage, the merchant and his three sons employed themselves in ploughing and sowing the fields, and working in the garden. Beauty also did her part, for she rose by four o′clock every morning, lighted the fires, cleaned the house, and got ready the breakfast for the whole family. At first she found all this very hard; but she soon grew quite used to it, and thought it no hardship; indeed, the work greatly benefited her health. When she had done, she used to amuse herself with reading, playing her music, or singing while she spun. But her two sisters were at a loss what to do to pass the time away: they had their breakfast in bed, and did not rise till ten o′clock. Then they commonly walked out, but always found themselves very soon tired; when they would often sit down under a shady tree, and grieve for the loss of their carriage and fine clothes, and say to each other, “What a mean-spirited poor stupid creature our young sister is, to be so content with this low way of life!” But their father thought differently: and loved and admired his youngest child more than ever.

After they had lived in this manner about a year, the merchant received a letter, which informed him that one of his richest ships, which he thought was lost, had just come into port. This news made the two eldest sisters almost mad with joy; for they thought they should now leave the cottage, and have all their finery again. When they found that their father must take a journey to the ship, the two eldest begged he would not fail to bring them back some new gowns, caps, rings, and all sorts of trinkets. But Beauty asked for nothing; for she thought in herself that all the ship was worth would hardly buy everything her sisters wished for.“Beauty,” said the merchant, “how comes it that you ask for nothing: what can I bring you, my child?”

“Since you are so kind as to think of me, dear father,” she answered, “I should be glad if you would bring me a rose, for we have none in our garden.” Now Beauty did not indeed wish for a rose, nor anything else, but she only said this that she might not affront her sisters; otherwise they would have said she wanted her father to praise her for desiring nothing. The merchant took his leave of them, and set out on his journey; but when he got to the ship, some persons went to law with him about the cargo, and after a deal of trouble he came back to his cottage as poor as he had left it. When he was within thirty miles of his home, and thinking of the joy of again meeting his children, he lost his way in the midst of a dense forest. It rained and snowed very hard, and, besides, the wind was so high as to throw him twice from his horse. Night came on, and he feared he should die of cold and hunger, or be torn to pieces by the wolves that he heard howling round him. All at once, he cast his eyes towards a long avenue, and saw at the end a light, but it seemed a great way off. He made the best of his way towards it, and found that it came from a splendid palace, the windows of which were all blazing with light. It had great bronze gates, standing wide open, and fine court-yards, through which the merchant passed; but not a living soul was to be seen. There were stables too, which his poor, starved horse, less scrupulous than himself, entered at once, and took a good meal of oats and hay. His master then tied him up, and walked towards the entrance hall, but still without seeing a single creature. He went on to a large dining-parlour, where he found a good fire, and a table covered with some very nice dishes, but only one plate with a knife and fork. As the snow and rain had wetted him to the skin, he went up to the fire to dry himself. “I hope,” said he, “the master of the house or his servants will excuse me, for it surely will not be long now before I see them.”He waited some time, but still nobody came: at last the clock struck eleven, and the merchant, being quite faint for the want of food, helped himself to a chicken, and to a few glasses of wine, yet all the time trembling with fear. He sat till the clock struck twelve, and then, taking courage, began to think he might as well look about him: so he opened a door at the end of the hall, and went through it into a very grand room, in which there was a fine bed; and as he was feeling very weary, he shut the door, took off his clothes, and got into it.

It was ten o′clock in the morning before he awoke, when he was amazed to see a handsome new suit of clothes laid ready for him, instead of his own, which were all torn and spoiled. “To be sure,” said he to himself, “this place belongs to some good fairy, who has taken pity on my ill luck.” He looked out of the window, and instead of the snow-covered wood, where he had lost himself the previous night, he saw the most charming arbours covered with all kinds of flowers. Returning to the hall where he had supped, he found a breakfast table, ready prepared. “Indeed, my good fairy,” said the merchant aloud, “I am vastly obliged to you for your kind care of me.” He then made a hearty breakfast, took his hat, and was going to the stable to pay his horse a visit; but as he passed under one of the arbours, which was loaded with roses, he thought of what Beauty had asked him to bring back to her, and so he took a bunch of roses to carry home. At the same moment he heard a loud noise, and saw coming towards him a beast, so frightful to look at that he was ready to faint with fear. “Ungrateful man!” said the beast in a terrible voice, “I have saved your life by admitting you into my palace, and in return you steal my roses, which I value more than anything I possess. But you shall atone for your fault: you shall die in a quarter of an hour.”

The merchant fell on his knees, and clasping his hands, said, “Sir, I humbly beg your pardon: I did not think it would offend you to gather a rose for one of my daughters, who had entreated me to bring her one home. Do not kill me, my lord!”

“I am not a lord, but a beast,” replied the monster; “I hate false compliments: so do not fancy that you can coax me by any such ways. You tell me that you have daughters; now I suffer you to escape, if one of them will come and die in your stead. If not, promise that you will yourself return in three months, to be dealt with as I may choose.”

The tender-hearted merchant had no thoughts of letting any one of his daughters die for his sake; but he knew that if he seemed to accept the beast“s terms, he should at least have the pleasure of seeing them once again. So he gave his promise, and was told he might then set off as soon as he liked. “But,”said the beast, “I do not wish you to go back empty-handed. Go to the room you slept in, and you will find a chest there; fill it with whatsoever you like best, and I will have it taken to your own house for you.”

When the beast had said this, he went away. The good merchant, left to himself, began to consider that as he must die…for he had no thought of breaking a promise, made even to a beast…he might as well have the comfort of leaving his children provided for. He returned to the room he had slept in, and found there heaps of gold pieces lying about. He filled the chest with them to the very brim, locked it, and, mounting his horse, left the palace as sorrowful as he had been glad when he first beheld it. The horse took a path across the forest of his own accord, and in a few hours they reached the merchant’house. His children came running round him, but, instead of kissing them with joy, he could not help weeping as he looked at them. He held in his hand the bunch of roses, which he gave to Beauty saying, “Take these roses, Beauty; but little do you think how dear they have cost your poor father;” and then he gave them an account of all that he had seen or heard in the palace of the beast.

The two eldest sisters now began to shed tears, and to lay the blame upon Beauty, who, they said, would be the cause of her father’ death. “See,” said they, “what happens from the pride of the little wretch; why did not she ask for such things as we did? But, to be sure, Miss must not be like other people; and though she will be the cause of her father’s death, yet she does not shed a tear.”

“It would be useless,”replied Beauty, “for my father shall not die. As the beast will accept of one of his daughters, I will give myself up, and be only too happy to prove my love for the best of fathers.”

“No, sister,”said the three brothers with one voice, “that cannot be; we will go in search of this monster, and either he or we will perish.”

“Do not hope to kill him,” said the merchant, “his power is far too great. But Beautyâ’s young life shall not be sacrificed: I am old, and cannot expect to live much longer; so I shall but give up a few years of my life, and shall only grieve for the sake of my children.”

“Never, father!” cried Beauty: “If you go back to the palace, you cannot hinder my going after you; though young, I am not over-fond of life; and I would much rather be eaten up by the monster, than die of grief for your loss.”

The merchant in vain tried to reason with Beauty, who still obstinately kept to her purpose; which, in truth, made her two sisters glad, for they were jealous of her, because everybody loved her.

The merchant was so grieved at the thoughts of losing his child, that he never once thought of the chest filled with gold, but at night, to his great surprise, he found it standing by his bedside. He said nothing about his riches to his eldest daughters, for he knew very well it would at once make them want to return to town; but he told Beauty his secret, and she then said, that while he was away, two gentlemen had been on a visit at their cottage, who had fallen in love with her two sisters. She entreated her father to marry them without delay, for she was so sweet-natured, she only wished them to be happy.

Three months went by, only too fast, and then the merchant and Beauty got ready to set out for the palace of the beast. Upon this, the two sisters rubbed their eyes with an onion, to make believe they were crying; both the merchant and his sons cried in earnest. Only Beauty shed no tears. They reached the palace in a very few hours, and the horse, without bidding, went into the same stable as before. The merchant and Beauty walked towards the large hall, where they found a table covered with every dainty, and two plates laid ready. The merchant had very little appetite; but Beauty, that she might the better hide her grief, placed herself at the table, and helped her father; she then began to eat herself, and thought all the time that, to be sure, the beast had a mind to fatten her before he ate her up, since he had provided such good cheer for her. When they had done their supper, they heard a great noise, and the good old man began to bid his poor child farewell, for he knew it was the beast coming to them. When Beauty first saw that frightful form, she was very much terrified, but tried to hide her fear. The creature walked up to her, and eyed her all over…then asked her in a dreadful voice if she had come quite of her own accord.

“Yes,” said Beauty.

“Then you are a good girl, and I am very much obliged to you.”

This was such an astonishingly civil answer that Beauty’s courage rose: but it sank again when the beast, addressing the merchant, desired him to leave the palace next morning, and never return to it again. “And so good night, merchant. And good night, Beauty.”

“Good night, beast,” she answered, as the monster shuffled out of the room.

“Ah! my dear child,” said the merchant, kissing his daughter, ’I am half dead already, at the thought of leaving you with this dreadful beast; you shall go back and let me stay in your place.”

“No,” said Beauty, boldly, “I will never agree to that; you must go home to-morrow morning.”;

They then wished each other good night, and went to bed, both of them thinking they should not be able to close their eyes; but as soon as ever they had lain down, they fell into a deep sleep, and did not awake till morning. Beauty dreamed that a lady came up to her, who said, “I am very much pleased, Beauty, with the goodness you have shown, in being willing to give your life to save that of your father. Do not be afraid of anything; you shall not go without a reward.”

As soon as Beauty awoke, she told her father this dream; but though it gave him some comfort, he was a long time before he could be persuaded to leave the palace. At last Beauty succeeded in getting him safely away.

When her father was out of sight, poor Beauty began to weep sorely; still, having naturally a courageous spirit, she soon resolved not to make her sad case still worse by sorrow, which she knew was vain, but to wait and be patient. She walked about to take a view of all the palace, and the elegance of every part of it much charmed her.

But what was her surprise, when she came to a door on which was written, BEAUTY’S ROOM! She opened it in haste, and her eyes were dazzled by the splendour and taste of the apartment. What made her wonder more than all the rest, was a large library filled with books, a harpsichord, and many pieces of music.“The beast surely does not mean to eat me up immediately,” said she, “since he takes care I shall not be at a loss how to amuse myself.” She opened the library and saw these verses written in letters of gold on the back of one of the books:

“Beauteous lady, dry your tears,
Here’s no cause for sighs or fears.
Command as freely as you may, For you command and I obey.”

“Alas!” said she, sighing; “I wish I could only command a sight of my poor father, and to know what he is doing at this moment.” Just then, by chance, she cast her eyes on a looking-glass that stood near her, and in it she saw a picture of her old home, and her father riding mournfully up to the door. Her sisters came out to meet him, and although they tried to look sorry, it was easy to see that in their hearts they were very glad. In a short time all this picture disappeared, but it caused Beauty to think that the beast, besides being very powerful, was also very kind. About the middle of the day she found a table laid ready for her, and a sweet concert of music played all the time she was dining, without her seeing anybody. But at supper, when she was going to seat herself at table, she heard the noise of the beast, and could not help trembling with fear.

“Beauty,” said he, “will you give me leave to see you sup?”

“That is as you please,”answered she, very much afraid.

“Not in the least,”said the beast; “you alone command in this place. If you should not like my company, you need only say so, and I will leave you that moment. But tell me, Beauty, do you not think me very ugly?”

“Why, yes,” said she, “for I cannot tell a falsehood; but then I think you are very good.”

“Am I?” sadly replied the beast; “yet, besides being ugly, I am also very stupid: I know well enough that I am but a beast.”

“Very stupid people,” said Beauty, “are never aware of it themselves.”

At which kindly speech the beast looked pleased, and replied, not without an awkward sort of politeness, “Pray do not let me detain you from supper, and be sure that you are well served. All you see is your own, and I should be deeply grieved if you wanted for any thing.”

“You are very kind…so kind that I almost forgot you are so ugly,” said Beauty, earnestly.

“Ah! yes,” answered the beast, with a great sigh; “I hope I am good-tempered, but still I am only a monster.”

“There is many a monster who wears the form of a man; it is better of the two to have the heart of a man and the form of a monster.”

“I would thank you, Beauty, for this speech, but I am too senseless to say anything that would please you,” returned the beast in a melancholy voice; and altogether he seemed so gentle and so unhappy, that Beauty, who had the tenderest heart in the world, felt her fear of him gradually vanish.

She ate her supper with a good appetite, and conversed in her own sensible and charming way, till at last, when the beast rose to depart, he terrified her more than ever by saying abruptly, in his gruff voice,“Beauty, will you marry me!”

Now Beauty, frightened as she was, would speak only the exact truth; besides, her father had told her that the beast liked only to have the truth spoken to him. So she answered, in a very firm tone,“No, beast.”

He did not go into a passion, or do anything but sigh deeply, and depart.

When Beauty found herself alone, she began to feel pity for the poor beast. “Oh!” said she, “what a sad thing it is that he should be so very frightful, since he is so good-tempered!”

Beauty lived three months in this palace very well pleased. The beast came to see her every night, and talked with her while she supped; and though what he said was not very clever, yet, as she saw in him every day some new goodness, instead of dreading the time of his coming, she soon began continually looking at her watch, to see if it were nine o′clock; for that was the hour when he never failed to visit her. One thing only vexed her, which was that every night before he went away, he always made it a rule to ask her if she would be his wife, and seemed very much grieved at her steadfastly replying “No.” At last, one night, she said to him, “You wound me greatly, beast, by forcing me to refuse you so often; I wish I could take such a liking to you as to agree to marry you: but I must tell you plainly, that I do not think it will ever happen. I shall always be your friend; so try to let that content you.”

“I must,” sighed the beast, “for I know well enough how frightful I am; but I love you better than myself. Yet I think I am very lucky in your being pleased to stay with me: now promise me, Beauty, that you will never leave me.”

Beauty would almost have agreed to this, so sorry was she for him, but she had that day seen in her magic glass, which she looked at constantly, that her father was dying of grief for her sake.

“Alas!” she said, “I long so much to see my father, that if you do not give me leave to visit him, I shall break my heart.”

“I would rather break mine, Beauty,” answered the beast; “I will send you to your father’cottage: you shall stay there, and your poor beast shall die of sorrow.”

“No,” said Beauty, crying, “I love you too well to be the cause of your death; I promise to return in a week. You have shown me that my sisters are married, and my brothers are gone for soldiers, so that my father is left all alone. Let me stay a week with him.”

“You shall find yourself with him to-morrow morning,” replied the beast; “but mind, do not forget your promise. When you wish to return, you have nothing to do but to put your ring on a table when you go to bed. Good-bye, Beauty!” The beast sighed as he said these words, and Beauty went to bed very sorry to see him so much grieved. When she awoke in the morning, she found herself in her father’s cottage. She rang a bell that was at her bedside, and a servant entered; but as soon as she saw Beauty, the woman gave a loud shriek; upon which the merchant ran upstairs, and when he beheld his daughter he ran to her, and kissed her a hundred times. At last Beauty began to remember that she had brought no clothes with her to put on; but the servant told her she had just found in the next room a large chest full of dresses, trimmed all over with gold, and adorned with pearls and diamonds.

Beauty, in her own mind, thanked the beast for his kindness, and put on the plainest gown she could find among them all. She then desired the servant to lay the rest aside, for she intended to give them to her sisters; but, as soon as she had spoken these words, the chest was gone out of sight in a moment. Her father then suggested, perhaps the beast chose for her to keep them all for herself: and as soon as he had said this, they saw the chest standing again in the same place. While Beauty was dressing herself, a servant brought word to her that her sisters were come with their husbands to pay her a visit. They both lived unhappily with the gentlemen they had married. The husband of the eldest was very handsome, but was so proud of this, that he thought of nothing else from morning till night, and did not care a pin for the beauty of his wife. The second had married a man of great learning; but he made no use of it, except to torment and affront all his friends, and his wife more than any of them. The two sisters were ready to burst with spite when they saw Beauty dressed like a princess, and looking so very charming. All the kindness that she showed them was of no use; for they were vexed more than ever when she told them how happy she lived at the palace of the beast. The spiteful creatures went by themselves into the garden, where they cried to think of her good fortune.

“Why should the little wretch be better off than we?” said they. “We are much handsomer than she is.”

“Sister!” said the eldest, “a thought has just come into my head: let us try to keep her here longer than the week for which the beast gave her leave; and then he will be so angry, that perhaps when she goes back to him he will eat her up in a moment.”

“That is well thought of,” answered the other, “but to do this, we must pretend to be very kind.”

They then went to join her in the cottage, where they showed her so much false love, that Beauty could not help crying for joy.

When the week was ended, the two sisters began to pretend such grief at the thought of her leaving them, that she agreed to stay a week more: but all that time Beauty could not help fretting for the sorrow that she knew her absence would give her poor beast; for she tenderly loved him, and much wished for his company again. Among all the grand and clever people she saw, she found nobody who was half so sensible, so affectionate, so thoughtful, or so kind. The tenth night of her being at the cottage, she dreamed she was in the garden of the palace, that the beast lay dying on a grass-plot, and with his last breath put her in mind of her promise, and laid his death to her forsaking him. Beauty awoke in a great fright, and burst into tears. “;Am not I wicked,” said she, “to behave so ill to a beast who has shown me so much kindness? Why will not I marry him? I am sure I should be more happy with him than my sisters are with their husbands. He shall not be wretched any longer on my account; for I should do nothing but blame myself all the rest of my life.”

She then rose, put her ring on the table, got into bed again, and soon fell asleep. In the morning she with joy found herself in the palace of the beast. She dressed herself very carefully, that she might please him the better, and thought she had never known a day pass away so slowly. At last the clock struck nine, but the beast did not come. Beauty, dreading lest she might truly have caused his death, ran from room to room, calling out, “Beast, dear beast;” but there was no answer. At last she remembered her dream, rushed to the grass-plot, and there saw him lying apparently dead beside the fountain. Forgetting all his ugliness, she threw herself upon his body, and, finding his heart still beat, she fetched some water and sprinkled it over him, weeping and sobbing the while.

The beast opened his eyes: “You forgot your promise, Beauty, and so I determined to die; for I could not live without you. I have starved myself to death, but I shall die content since I have seen your face once more.”

“No, dear beast,” cried Beauty, passionately, “you shall not die; you shall live to be my husband. I thought it was only friendship I felt for you, but now I know it was love.”

The moment Beauty had spoken these words, the palace was suddenly lighted up, and all kinds of rejoicings were heard around them, none which she noticed, but hung over her dear beast with the utmost tenderness. At last, unable to restrain herself, she dropped her head over her hands, covered her eyes, and cried for joy; and, when she looked up again, the beast was gone. In his stead she saw at her feet a handsome, graceful young prince, who thanked her with the tenderest expressions for having freed him from enchantment.

“But where is my poor beast? I only want him and nobody else,” sobbed Beauty.

“I am he,” replied the Prince. “A wicked fairy condemned me to this form, and forbade me to show that I had any wit or sense, till a beautiful lady should consent to marry me. You alone, dearest Beauty, judged me neither by my looks nor by my talents, but by my heart alone. Take it then, and all that I have besides, for all is yours.”

Beauty, full of surprise, but very happy, suffered the prince to lead her to his palace, where she found her father and sisters, who had been brought there by the fairy-lady whom she had seen in a dream the first night she came.

“Beauty,” said the fairy, “you have chosen well, and you have your reward, for a true heart is better than either good looks or clever brains. As for you, ladies,” and she turned to the two elder sisters, “I know all your ill deeds, but I have no worse punishment for you than to see your sister happy. You shall stand as statues at the door of her palace, and when you repent of and have amended your faults, you shall become women again. But, to tell you the truth, I very much fear you will remain statues for ever.”

Traditional French fairy tale. Compiled by Walter Crane, The Fairy Book.


  • Belle Vinu

    There was once a very rich merchant, who had six children, three boys and three girls. As he was himself a man of great sense, he spared no expense for their education. The three daughters were all handsome, but particularly the youngest; indeed, she was so very beautiful, that in her childhood every one called her the Little Beauty; and being equally lovely when she was grown up, nobody called her by any other name, which made her sisters very jealous of her. This youngest daughter was not only more handsome than her sisters, but also was better tempered. The two eldest were vain of their wealth and position. They gave themselves a thousand airs, and refused to visit other merchants’ daughters; nor would they condescend to be seen except with persons of quality. They went every day to balls, plays, and public walks, and always made game of their youngest sister for spending her time in reading or other useful employments. As it was well known that these young ladies would have large fortunes, many great merchants wished to get them for wives; but the two eldest always answered, that, for their parts, they had no thoughts of marrying any one below a duke or an earl at least. Beauty had quite as many offers as her sisters, but she always answered, with the greatest civility, that though she was much obliged to her lovers, she would rather live some years longer with her father, as she thought herself too young to marry.

    It happened that, by some unlucky accident, the merchant suddenly lost all his fortune, and had nothing left but a small cottage in the country. Upon this he said to his daughters, while the tears ran down his cheeks, “My children, we must now go and dwell in the cottage, and try to get a living by labour, for we have no other means of support.” The two eldest replied that they did not know how to work, and would not leave town; for they had lovers enough who would be glad to marry them, though they had no longer any fortune. But in this they were mistaken; for when the lovers heard what had happened, they said, “The girls were so proud and ill-tempered, that all we wanted was their fortune: we are not sorry at all to see their pride brought down: let them show off their airs to their cows and sheep.” But everybody pitied poor Beauty, because she was so sweet-tempered and kind to all, and several gentlemen offered to marry her, though she had not a penny; but Beauty still refused, and said she could not think of leaving her poor father in this trouble. At first Beauty could not help sometimes crying in secret for the hardships she was now obliged to suffer; but in a very short time she said to herself, “All the crying in the world will do me no good, so I will try to be happy without a fortune.”

    Red sandalwood, vanilla, rosewood, osmanthus, and white peach.

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  • The Rose

    When they found that their father must take a journey to the ship, the two eldest begged he would not fail to bring them back some new gowns, caps, rings, and all sorts of trinkets. But Beauty asked for nothing; for she thought in herself that all the ship was worth would hardly buy everything her sisters wished for. “Beauty,” said the merchant, “how comes it that you ask for nothing: what can I bring you, my child?”

    “Since you are so kind as to think of me, dear father,” she answered, “I should be glad if you would bring me a rose, for we have none in our garden.” Now Beauty did not indeed wish for a rose, nor anything else, but she only said this that she might not affront her sisters; otherwise they would have said she wanted her father to praise her for desiring nothing.

    The promise of a rose: red rose petals, fresh sap, and the sharp green scent of stem and leaf.

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Märchen - Egle, the Queen of the Serpents

Märchen
The Fairy Tale and Folklore Collection.

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Presented in an amber apothecary vial.


In another time, long ago lived an old man and his wife. Both of them had twelve sons and three daughters. The youngest being named Egle. On a warm summer evening all three girls decided to go swimming. After splashing about with each other and bathing they climbed onto the riverbank to dress and groom their hair. But the youngest, Egle, only stared for a serpent had slithered into the sleeve of her blouse. What was she to do? The eldest girl grabbed Egle’s blouse. She threw the blouse down and jumped on it, anything to get rid of the serpent. But the serpent turned to the youngest, Egle, and spoke to her in a man’s voice:

Egle, promise to become my bride and I will gladly come out.

Egle began to cry how could she marry a serpent? Through her tears she answered:

Please give me back my blouse and return from whence you came, in peace.

But the serpent would not listen:

Promise to become my bride and I will gladly come out.

There was nothing else she could do; she promised the serpent to become his bride.

After three days the family saw that every serpent in the land had come to their farm, bringing with them a wagon. The whole family was scared, while all the serpents began to slither around in wild abandon. One of the serpents entered the house to meet with the old man, Egle’s father, and to discuss the terms of the union. At first the old man hemmed and hawed, refusing to believe that this could be happening; but when all the serpents in the land have gathered in one man’s farm it does not matter how one feels, so he promised to give his youngest and most beautiful daughter over to the serpents. But the old man held treachery in his heart. He asked the serpents to wait a little while; as quickly as he could he ran to the local wise woman and told her everything. The wise woman said:

It is easy to trick a serpent, instead of your daughter give him a goose and send the wedding presents.

The old man did as the wise woman advised. He dressed a white goose in Egle’s clothing, and together father and ‘daughter’ climbed into a wagon and began their journey. A short while later they heard a coo-coo bird in a birch tree, singing:

Coo-coo, coo-coo, you have been tricked. Instead of a bride, he has given you a white goose. Coo-coo, coo-coo!

The serpents returned to the farm, and angrily threw the goose out of the wagon and demanded the bride. The parents, on the advice of the wise woman, dressed a white sheep up. Again the coo-coo bird sang:

Coo-coo, coo-coo, you have been tricked. Instead of a bride, he has given you a white sheep. Coo-coo, coo-coo!

The serpents return to the farm in great anger and again demanded the bride. This time the family gave the serpents a white cow. The coo-coo bird tells the serpents of the father’s deception and again the serpents return -but this time in a towering rage. The serpents threatened famine for the disrespect shown by the parents. Inside the house, Egle cried. She was dressed as was appropriate for a bride and was given over to the serpents. While taking Egle to her future husband the serpents heard the coo-coo bird sing out:

Drive, hurry, the groom awaits his bride!

Eventually Egle and all her chaperones came to the sea. There she met a handsome young man who was waiting for her by the beach. He told her that he was the serpent that had crawled into her sleeve of her blouse. Soon, they all moved to a nearby island, and from there they descended underground, under the sea. There could be found a lavishly decorated palace of amber. It was here that the wedding was held, and for three weeks they drank, danced and feasted.

The serpent’s palace was filled with guests, and Egle finally calmed down, became happier and completely forgot her homeland.

Nine years went by and Egle gave birth to three sons, Azuolas, Uosis and Berzas, and a daughter, Drebule, who was the youngest. One day while playing the eldest son asked Egle:

Dearest Mother, where do your parents live? Let’s go and visit them.

It was then that Egle remembered her homeland. She remembered her parents, brothers, and sisters. And she began to wonder if life was good to them; are they healthy? It had been a long time and maybe they were all dead. Egle desperately wanted to see her homeland. It had been many years since she saw that land of her birth; she yearned to see it again. Her husband, the serpent, did not even want to listen to her entreaties.

Fine, he said, go and visit but first spin this tuft of silk, and he showed her the spindle.

Egle was at the spindle. She spun during the day, she spun all night. Spin, spin but it would not be spun. She saw that she had been tricked. Spin, spin but it will never be spun. Egle went to an old woman who lived nearby, a known soceress. Egle lamented:

Grandmother, dear heart, teach me how to get that tuft of silk spun.

The old woman told her what to do and what was needed for the task:

Throw it into a fire when next it is kindled, elseways you shall not be able to spin the silk.

Having returned home, Egle threw the silk into a bread oven, recently fired up. The silk went up in flames and in the centre of the oven where the silk once was there was a toad. The toad was creating silk, from its body. Having woven the silk, Egle returned to her husband pleading to allow at least a few days for a visit with her parents. Now, her husband drew out from beneath his bench a pair of metal boots:

When you wear these down, then you shall travel.

She put on the boots and walked, stomped, and even dragged along the stone floor, but the boots were thick, hard and were not at all worn down. Walk or do not walk the shoes will forever last. Going back to the sorceress, she pleaded for more help. The old woman said:

Take them to a blacksmith and ask that he wear them down in his furnace.

And Egle did as she was instructed. The boots were heated well and within three days, Egle had worn them down.

Having worn the boots down she approaches her husband so that he may allow her to visit her homeland.

Fine, said the serpent, but for the journey you must bake at least a rabbit-pie for what shall you give to your brothers and their children?

In the meanwhile the serpent ordered that all the cooking utensils be hidden so that Egle not be able to bake the pies. Egle began to think how shall she bring in water without a bucket and make the dough without a bowl. Again, she returns to the old lady for advice. Grandmother says:

Spread out the sifted leavening, immerse the sieve into water, and within it mix the dough.

Egle did as she was instructed; she mixed, baked and had the pies ready. Now, she bid a farewell to her husband and went out with the children to her homeland. The serpent lead them part of the way, and got them across the sea and said that she be no longer than nine days in her homeland and that she is to return at the end of those nine days.

When you return go alone, just you and the children and when you approach the beach then call for me:

Zilvine, Zilvineli,
If alive, may the sea foam milk
If dead, may the sea foam blood…

And if you see coming towards you foaming milk then know that I am still alive, but if blood comes then I have reached my end. While you, my children, let not the secret out, do not let anyone know how to call for me.

Having said that, he bid farewell to his family and wished for them a swift return.

Returning to her homeland, Egle felt great joy. All her relatives and in-laws and neighbours gathered round. One after another asked many questions, how did she find living with the serpent to be. She just kept describing the many aspects of her life. Everyone offered their hospitality, their food and good talk. She was in such great spirits that she did not even feel the nine days pass.

At this time Egle’s parents, brothers and sisters began to wonder how to keep their youngest amongst their midst. They all decided -they must question the children, how their mother having arrived at the beach would call for her husband. So that they could go down to the seashore, call for the serpent and kill him.

Having agreed upon this, they called upon Egle’s eldest, Azuolas and praised him. They cornered him and questioned him but he said that he did not know. Having failed they threatened the child to not tell his mother of their actions. The second day they led out Uosis, then Berzas, but from them too the adults could not get the secret. Finally they took Drubele, Egle’s youngest, outside. At first she did as her brothers, claiming to not know the secret. But the sight of rod frightened her, she told all.

Then all twelve brothers took their scythes with them and went towards the sea. Standing at the shore they called:

Zilvine, Zilvineli
If alive, may the sea foam milk
If dead, may the sea foam blood…

When he swam up, then all the brothers fell to chopping the serpent to pieces. Then, returning home, they kept the secret of their deeds from Egle.

Nine days passed. Egle, bidding farewell to all the family and friends, went off to the sea and called for her serpent.

The sea shook and floating towards Egle was foam of blood. And she heard the voice of her beloved husband.

Your twelve brothers with their scythes cut me down, my call was given to them by our Drebule, our most beloved daughter!

With great sorrow and thundering anger Egle turned to her children and said to Drebule:

May you turn into a willow,
May you shiver day and night,
May the rain cleanse your mouth,
May the wind comb your hair!

To her sons:

Stand, my sons, strong as trees,
I, your mother, will remain a fir.

As she commanded so it came to be: and now the oak, ash and birch are the strongest of our trees, while the willow to this day will shake at the slightest whisper of a wind for she quaked before her uncles and gave away her true father.

Traditional Lithuanian fairy tale. Translation by Danute Bindokiene, Lietuviu Literaturos Skaitymai. AukÅ¡tesniajai Lituanistinei Mokyklai. Chicago: Kristijono Donelaicio Lituanistiniu Mokykla Leidinys, 1976.


  • Egle

    2.00 out of 5

    In another time, long ago lived an old man and his wife. Both of them had twelve sons and three daughters. The youngest being named Egle. On a warm summer evening all three girls decided to go swimming. After splashing about with each other and bathing they climbed onto the riverbank to dress and groom their hair. But the youngest, Egle, only stared for a serpent had slithered into the sleeve of her blouse. What was she to do? The eldest girl grabbed Egle’s blouse. She threw the blouse down and jumped on it, anything to get rid of the serpent. But the serpent turned to the youngest, Egle, and spoke to her in a man’s voice:

    Egle, promise to become my bride and I will gladly come out.
    Egle began to cry how could she marry a serpent? Through her tears she answered:
    Please give me back my blouse and return from whence you came, in peace.

    But the serpent would not listen:
    Promise to become my bride and I will gladly come out.
    There was nothing else she could do; she promised the serpent to become his bride.

    Ocean water, hyacinth petals, star jasmine, and fir.

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  • The Sea Foams Blood

    When you return go alone, just you and the children and when you approach the beach then call for me:

    Zilvine, Zilvineli,
    If alive, may the sea foam milk
    If dead, may the sea foam blood…

    And if you see coming towards you foaming milk then know that I am still alive, but if blood comes then I have reached my end. While you, my children, let not the secret out, do not let anyone know how to call for me.

    Blood rising through an ocean wave.

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  • The Sea Foams Milk

    When you return go alone, just you and the children and when you approach the beach then call for me:

    Zilvine, Zilvineli,
    If alive, may the sea foam milk
    If dead, may the sea foam blood…

    And if you see coming towards you foaming milk then know that I am still alive, but if blood comes then I have reached my end. While you, my children, let not the secret out, do not let anyone know how to call for me.

    Milk cresting on an ocean wave.

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Märchen - Godfather Death

Märchen
The Fairy Tale and Folklore Collection.

PERFUME OIL BLENDS
$17.50 per 5ml bottle.
Presented in an amber apothecary vial.

A poor man had twelve children and was forced to work night and day to give them even bread. When therefore the thirteenth came into the world, he knew not what to do in his trouble, but ran out into the great highway, and resolved to ask the first person whom he met to be godfather. The first to meet him was the good God who already knew what filled his heart, and said to him, “Poor man, I pity thee. I will hold thy child at its christening, and will take charge of it and make it happy on earth.” The man said, “Who art thou?” “I am God.” “Then I do not desire to have thee for a godfather,” said the man; “thou givest to the rich, and leavest the poor to hunger.” Thus spoke the man, for he did not know how wisely God apportions riches and poverty. He turned therefore away from the Lord, and went farther. Then the Devil came to him and said, “What seekest thou? If thou wilt take me as a godfather for thy child, I will give him gold in plenty and all the joys of the world as well.” The man asked, “Who art thou?” “I am the Devil.” “Then I do not desire to have thee for godfather,” said the man; “thou deceivest men and leadest them astray.” He went onwards, and then came Death striding up to him with withered legs, and said, “Take me as godfather.” The man asked, “Who art thou?” “I am Death, and I make all equal.” Then said the man, “Thou art the right one, thou takest the rich as well as the poor, without distinction; thou shalt be godfather.” Death answered, “I will make thy child rich and famous, for he who has me for a friend can lack nothing.” The man said, “Next Sunday is the christening; be there at the right time.” Death appeared as he had promised, and stood godfather quite in the usual way.

When the boy had grown up, his godfather one day appeared and bade him go with him. He led him forth into a forest, and showed him a herb which grew there, and said, “Now shalt thou receive thy godfather’s present. I make thee a celebrated physician. When thou art called to a patient, I will always appear to thee. If I stand by the head of the sick man, thou mayst say with confidence that thou wilt make him well again, and if thou givest him of this herb he will recover; but if I stand by the patient’s feet, he is mine, and thou must say that all remedies are in vain, and that no physician in the world could save him. But beware of using the herb against my will, or it might fare ill with thee.”

It was not long before the youth was the most famous physician in the whole world. “He had only to look at the patient and he knew his condition at once, and if he would recover, or must needs die.” So they said of him, and from far and wide people came to him, sent for him when they had any one ill, and gave him so much money that he soon became a rich man. Now it so befell that the King became ill, and the physician was summoned, and was to say if recovery were possible. But when he came to the bed, Death was standing by the feet of the sick man, and the herb did not grow which could save him. “If I could but cheat Death for once,” thought the physician, “he is sure to take it ill if I do, but, as I am his godson, he will shut one eye; I will risk it.” He therefore took up the sick man, and laid him the other way, so that now Death was standing by his head. Then he gave the King some of the herb, and he recovered and grew healthy again. But Death came to the physician, looking very black and angry, threatened him with his finger, and said, “Thou hast overreached me; this time I will pardon it, as thou art my godson; but if thou venturest it again, it will cost thee thy neck, for I will take thee thyself away with me.”

Soon afterwards the King’s daughter fell into a severe illness. She was his only child, and he wept day and night, so that he began to lose the sight of his eyes, and he caused it to be made known that whosoever rescued her from death should be her husband and inherit the crown. When the physician came to the sick girl’s bed, he saw Death by her feet. He ought to have remembered the warning given by his godfather, but he was so infatuated by the great beauty of the King’s daughter, and the happiness of becoming her husband, that he flung all thought to the winds. He did not see that Death was casting angry glances on him, that he was raising his hand in the air, and threatening him with his withered fist. He raised up the sick girl, and placed her head where her feet had lain. Then he gave her some of the herb, and instantly her cheeks flushed red, and life stirred afresh in her.

When Death saw that for a second time he was defrauded of his own property, he walked up to the physician with long strides, and said, “All is over with thee, and now the lot falls on thee,” and seized him so firmly with his ice-cold hand, that he could not resist, and led him into a cave below the earth. There he saw how thousands and thousands of candles were burning in countless rows, some large, others half-sized, others small. Every instant some were extinguished, and others again burnt up, so that the flames seemed to leap hither and thither in perpetual change. “See,” said Death, “these are the lights of men’s lives. The large ones belong to children, the half-sized ones to married people in their prime, the little ones belong to old people; but children and young folks likewise have often only a tiny candle.” “Show me the light of my life,” said the physician, and he thought that it would be still very tall. Death pointed to a little end which was just threatening to go out, and said, “Behold, it is there.” “Ah, dear godfather,” said the horrified physician, “light a new one for me, do it for love of me, that I may enjoy my life, be King, and the husband of the King’s beautiful daughter.” “I cannot,” answered Death, “one must go out before a new one is lighted.” “Then place the old one on a new one, that will go on burning at once when the old one has come to an end,” pleaded the physician. Death behaved as if he were going to fulfill his wish, and took hold of a tall new candle; but as he desired to revenge himself, he purposely made a mistake in fixing it, and the little piece fell down and was extinguished. Immediately the physician fell on the ground, and now he himself was in the hands of Death.

Compiled by the Brothers Grimm in Household Tales. Translation by Margaret Hunt. London: George Bell, 1884, 1892.


  • Godfather Death

    He went onwards, and then came Death striding up to him with withered legs, and said, “Take me as godfather.” The man asked, “Who art thou?” “I am Death, and I make all equal.” Then said the man, “Thou art the right one, thou takest the rich as well as the poor, without distinction; thou shalt be godfather.” Death answered, “I will make thy child rich and famous, for he who has me for a friend can lack nothing.” The man said, “Next Sunday is the christening; be there at the right time.” Death appeared as he had promised, and stood godfather quite in the usual way.

    Olibanum, elemi, Bulgarian rose, yew, and oppoponax.

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  • The Lights of Men’s Lives

    When Death saw that for a second time he was defrauded of his own property, he walked up to the physician with long strides, and said, “All is over with thee, and now the lot falls on thee,” and seized him so firmly with his ice-cold hand, that he could not resist, and led him into a cave below the earth. There he saw how thousands and thousands of candles were burning in countless rows, some large, others half-sized, others small. Every instant some were extinguished, and others again burnt up, so that the flames seemed to leap hither and thither in perpetual change. “See,” said Death, “these are the lights of men’s lives. The large ones belong to children, the half-sized ones to married people in their prime, the little ones belong to old people; but children and young folks likewise have often only a tiny candle.” “Show me the light of my life,” said the physician, and he thought that it would be still very tall. Death pointed to a little end which was just threatening to go out, and said, “Behold, it is there.”

    The wax and smoke of millions upon millions of candles illuminating the walls of Death’s shadowy cave: some tall, straight, and strong, blazing with the fire of life, others dim and guttering.

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  • Thy Godfather’s Present

    When the boy had grown up, his godfather one day appeared and bade him go with him. He led him forth into a forest, and showed him a herb which grew there, and said, “Now shalt thou receive thy godfather’s present. I make thee a celebrated physician. When thou art called to a patient, I will always appear to thee. If I stand by the head of the sick man, thou mayst say with confidence that thou wilt make him well again, and if thou givest him of this herb he will recover; but if I stand by the patient’s feet, he is mine, and thou must say that all remedies are in vain, and that no physician in the world could save him. But beware of using the herb against my will, or it might fare ill with thee.”

    A bruised purple bundle of herbs with hyssop and life-everlasting.

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Märchen - Prunella

Märchen
The Fairy Tale and Folklore Collection.

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$17.50 per 5ml bottle.
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There was once upon a time a woman who had an only daughter. When the child was about seven years old she used to pass every day, on her way to school, an orchard where there was a wild plum tree, with delicious ripe plums hanging from the branches. Each morning the child would pick one, and put it into her pocket to eat at school. For this reason she was called Prunella. Now, the orchard belonged to a witch. One day the witch noticed the child gathering a plum, as she passed along the road. Prunella did it quite innocently, not knowing that she was doing wrong in taking the fruit that hung close to the roadside. But the witch was furious, and next day hid herself behind the hedge, and when Prunella came past, and put out her hand to pluck the fruit, she jumped out and seized her by the arm.

‘Ah! you little thief!’ she exclaimed. ‘I have caught you at last. Now you will have to pay for your misdeeds.’

The poor child, half dead with fright, implored the old woman to forgive her, assuring her that she did not know she had done wrong, and promising never to do it again. But the witch had no pity, and she dragged Prunella into her house, where she kept her till the time should come when she could have her revenge.

As the years passed Prunella grew up into a very beautiful girl. Now her beauty and goodness, instead of softening the witch’s heart, aroused her hatred and jealousy.

One day she called Prunella to her, and said: ‘Take this basket, go to the well, and bring it back to me filled with water. If you don’t I will kill you.’

The girl took the basket, went and let it down into the well again and again. But her work was lost labour. Each time, as she drew up the basket, the water streamed out of it. At last, in despair, she gave it up, and leaning against the well she began to cry bitterly, when suddenly she heard a voice at her side saying ‘Prunella, why are you crying?’

Turning round she beheld a handsome youth, who looked kindly at her, as if he were sorry for her trouble.

‘Who are you,’ she asked, ‘and how do you know my name?’

‘I am the son of the witch,’ he replied, ‘and my name is Bensiabel. I know that she is determined that you shall die, but I promise you that she shall not carry out her wicked plan. Will you give me a kiss, if I fill your basket?’

‘No,’ said Prunella, ‘I will not give you a kiss, because you are the son of a witch.’

‘Very well,’ replied the youth sadly. ‘Give me your basket and I will fill it for you.’ And he dipped it into the well, and the water stayed in it. Then the girl returned to the house, carrying the basket filled with water. When the witch saw it, she became white with rage, and exclaimed ‘Bensiabel must have helped you.’ And Prunella looked down, and said nothing.

‘Well, we shall see who will win in the end,’ said the witch, in a great rage.

The following day she called the girl to her and said: ‘Take this sack of wheat. I am going out for a little; by the time I return I shall expect you to have made it into bread. If you have not done it I will kill you.’ Having said this she left the room, closing and locking the door behind her.

Poor Prunella did not know what to do. It was impossible for her to grind the wheat, prepare the dough, and bake the bread, all in the short time that the witch would be away. At first she set to work bravely, but when she saw how hopeless her task was, she threw herself on a chair, and began to weep bitterly. She was roused from her despair by hearing Bensiabel’s voice at her side saying: ‘Prunella, Prunella, do not weep like that. If you will give me a kiss I will make the bread, and you will be saved.’

‘I will not kiss the son of a witch,’ replied Prunella.

But Bensiabel took the wheat from her, and ground it, and made the dough, and when the witch returned the bread was ready baked in the oven.

Turning to the girl, with fury in her voice, she said: ‘Bensiabel must have been here and helped you;’ and Prunella looked down, and said nothing.

‘We shall see who will win in the end,’ said the witch, and her eyes blazed with anger.

Next day she called the girl to her and said: ‘Go to my sister, who lives across the mountains. She will give you a casket, which you must bring back to me.’ This she said knowing that her sister, who was a still more cruel and wicked witch than herself, would never allow the girl to return, but would imprison her and starve her to death. But Prunella did not suspect anything, and set out quite cheerfully. On the way she met Bensiabel.

‘Where are you going, Prunella?’ he asked.

‘I am going to the sister of my mistress, from whom I am to fetch a casket.’

‘Oh poor, poor girl!’ said Bensiabel. ‘You are being sent straight to your death. Give me a kiss, and I will save you.’

But again Prunella answered as before, ‘I will not kiss the son of a witch.’

‘Nevertheless, I will save your life,’ said Bensiabel, ‘for I love you better than myself. Take this flagon of oil, this loaf of bread, this piece of rope, and this broom. When you reach the witch’s house, oil the hinges of the door with the contents of the flagon, and throw the loaf of bread to the great fierce mastiff, who will come to meet you. When you have passed the dog, you will see in the courtyard a miserable woman trying in vain to let down a bucket into the well with her plaited hair. You must give her the rope. In the kitchen you will find a still more miserable woman trying to clean the hearth with her tongue; to her you must give the broom. You will see the casket on the top of a cupboard, take it as quickly as you can, and leave the house without a moment’s delay. If you do all this exactly as I have told you, you will not be killed.’

So Prunella, having listened carefully to his instructions, did just what he had told her. She reached the house, oiled the hinges of the door, threw the loaf to the dog, gave the poor woman at the well the rope, and the woman in the kitchen the broom, caught up the casket from the top of the cupboard, and fled with it out of the house. But the witch heard her as she ran away, and rushing to the window called out to the woman in the kitchen: ‘Kill that thief, I tell you!’

But the woman replied: ‘I will not kill her, for she has given me a broom, whereas you forced me to clean the hearth with my tongue.’

Then the witch called out in fury to the woman at the well: ‘Take the girl, I tell you, and fling her into the water, and drown her!’

But the woman answered: ‘No, I will not drown her, for she gave me this rope, whereas you forced me to use my hair to let down the bucket to draw water.’

Then the witch shouted to the dog to seize the girl and hold her fast; but the dog answered: ‘No, I will not seize her, for she gave me a loaf of bread, whereas you let me starve with hunger.’

The witch was so angry that she nearly choked, as she called out: ‘Door, bang upon her, and keep her a prisoner.’

But the door answered: ‘I won’t, for she has oiled my hinges, so that they move quite easily, whereas you left them all rough and rusty.’

And so Prunella escaped, and, with the casket under her arm, reached the house of her mistress, who, as you may believe, was as angry as she was surprised to see the girl standing before her, looking more beautiful than ever. Her eyes flashed, as in furious tones she asked her, ‘Did you meet Bensiabel?’

But Prunella looked down, and said nothing.

‘We shall see,’ said the witch, ‘who will win in the end. Listen, there are three cocks in the hen-house; one is yellow, one black, and the third is white. If one of them crows during the night you must tell me which one it is. Woe to you if you make a mistake. I will gobble you up in one mouthful.’

Now Bensiabel was in the room next to the one where Prunella slept. At midnight she awoke hearing a cock crow.

‘Which one was that?’ shouted the witch.

Then, trembling, Prunella knocked on the wall and whispered: ‘Bensiabel, Bensiabel, tell me, which cock crowed?’

‘Will you give me a kiss if I tell you?’ he whispered back through the wall.

But she answered ‘No.’

Then he whispered back to her: ‘Nevertheless, I will tell you. It was the yellow cock that crowed.’

The witch, who had noticed the delay in Prunella’s answer, approached her door calling angrily: ‘Answer at once, or I will kill you.’

So Prunella answered: ‘It was the yellow cock that crowed.’

And the witch stamped her foot and gnashed her teeth.

Soon after another cock crowed. ‘Tell me now which one it is,’ called the witch. And, prompted by Bensiabel, Prunella answered: ‘That is the black cock.’

A few minutes after the crowing was heard again, and the voice of the witch demanding ‘Which one was that?’

And again Prunella implored Bensiabel to help her. But this time he hesitated, for he hoped that Prunella might forget that he was a witch’s son, and promise to give him a kiss. And as he hesitated he heard an agonised cry from the girl: ‘Bensiabel, Bensiabel, save me! The witch is coming, she is close to me, I hear the gnashing of her teeth!’

With a bound Bensiabel opened his door and flung himself against the witch. He pulled her back with such force that she stumbled, and falling headlong, dropped down dead at the foot of the stairs.

Then, at last, Prunella was touched by Bensiabel’s goodness and kindness to her, and she became his wife, and they lived happily ever after.

Traditional Italian fairy tale. Compiled by Andrew Lang, The Gray Fairy Book.


  • Bensiabel

    As the years passed Prunella grew up into a very beautiful girl. Now her beauty and goodness, instead of softening the witch’s heart, aroused her hatred and jealousy.

    One day she called Prunella to her, and said: ‘Take this basket, go to the well, and bring it back to me filled with water. If you don’t I will kill you.’

    The girl took the basket, went and let it down into the well again and again. But her work was lost labour. Each time, as she drew up the basket, the water streamed out of it. At last, in despair, she gave it up, and leaning against the well she began to cry bitterly, when suddenly she heard a voice at her side saying ‘Prunella, why are you crying?’

    Turning round she beheld a handsome youth, who looked kindly at her, as if he were sorry for her trouble.

    ‘Who are you,’ she asked, ‘and how do you know my name?’

    ‘I am the son of the witch,’ he replied, ‘and my name is Bensiabel. I know that she is determined that you shall die, but I promise you that she shall not carry out her wicked plan. Will you give me a kiss, if I fill your basket?’

    ‘No,’ said Prunella, ‘I will not give you a kiss, because you are the son of a witch.’

    ‘Very well,’ replied the youth sadly. ‘Give me your basket and I will fill it for you.’ And he dipped it into the well, and the water stayed in it. Then the girl returned to the house, carrying the basket filled with water. When the witch saw it, she became white with rage, and exclaimed ‘Bensiabel must have helped you.’ And Prunella looked down, and said nothing.

    Plum juice, lilac, leather, and a smattering of herbs.

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  • Prunella

    5.00 out of 5

    There was once upon a time a woman who had an only daughter. When the child was about seven years old she used to pass every day, on her way to school, an orchard where there was a wild plum tree, with delicious ripe plums hanging from the branches. Each morning the child would pick one, and put it into her pocket to eat at school. For this reason she was called Prunella. Now, the orchard belonged to a witch. One day the witch noticed the child gathering a plum, as she passed along the road. Prunella did it quite innocently, not knowing that she was doing wrong in taking the fruit that hung close to the roadside. But the witch was furious, and next day hid herself behind the hedge, and when Prunella came past, and put out her hand to pluck the fruit, she jumped out and seized her by the arm.

    'Ah! you little thief!' she exclaimed. 'I have caught you at last. Now you will have to pay for your misdeeds.'

    Ripe purple plums, wildflowers, and cream.

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Märchen - Rapunzel

Märchen
The Fairy Tale and Folklore Collection.

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$17.50 per 5ml bottle.
Presented in an amber apothecary vial.


Once upon a time there lived a man and his wife who were very unhappy because they had no children. These good people had a little window at the back of their house, which looked into the most lovely garden, full of all manner of beautiful flowers and vegetables; but the garden was surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to enter it, for it belonged to a witch of great power, who was feared by the whole world. One day the woman stood at the window overlooking the garden, and saw there a bed full of the finest rampion: the leaves looked so fresh and green that she longed to eat them. The desire grew day by day, and just because she knew she couldn’t possibly get any, she pined away and became quite pale and wretched. Then her husband grew alarmed and said:

`What ails you, dear wife?’

`Oh,’ she answered, `if I don’t get some rampion to eat out of the garden behind the house, I know I shall die.’

The man, who loved her dearly, thought to himself, `Come! rather than let your wife die you shall fetch her some rampion, no matter the cost.’ So at dusk he climbed over the wall into the witch’s garden, and, hastily gathering a handful of rampion leaves, he returned with them to his wife. She made them into a salad, which tasted so good that her longing for the forbidden food was greater than ever. If she were to know any peace of mind, there was nothing for it but that her husband should climb over the garden wall again, and fetch her some more. So at dusk over he got, but when he reached the other side he drew back in terror, for there, standing before him, was the old witch.

`How dare you,’ she said, with a wrathful glance, `climb into my garden and steal my rampion like a common thief? You shall suffer for your foolhardiness.’

`Oh!’ he implored, `pardon my presumption; necessity alone drove me to the deed. My wife saw your rampion from her window, and conceived such a desire for it that she would certainly have died if her wish had not been gratified.’ Then the Witch’s anger was a little appeased, and she said:

`If it’s as you say, you may take as much rampion away with you as you like, but on one condition only — that you give me the child your wife will shortly bring into the world. All shall go well with it, and I will look after it like a mother.’

The man in his terror agreed to everything she asked, and as soon as the child was born the Witch appeared, and having given it the name of Rapunzel, which is the same as rampion, she carried it off with her.

Rapunzel was the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old the Witch shut her up in a tower, in the middle of a great wood, and the tower had neither stairs nor doors, only high up at the very top a small window. When the old Witch wanted to get in she stood underneath and called out:

`Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your golden hair,’

for Rapunzel had wonderful long hair, and it was as fine as spun gold. Whenever she heard the Witch’s voice she unloosed her plaits, and let her hair fall down out of the window about twenty yards below, and the old Witch climbed up by it.

After they had lived like this for a few years, it happened one day that a Prince was riding through the wood and passed by the tower. As he drew near it he heard someone singing so sweetly that he stood still spell-bound, and listened. It was Rapunzel in her loneliness trying to while away the time by letting her sweet voice ring out into the wood. The Prince longed to see the owner of the voice, but he sought in vain for a door in the tower. He rode home, but he was so haunted by the song he had heard that he returned every day to the wood and listened. One day, when he was standing thus behind a tree, he saw the old Witch approach and heard her call out:

`Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your golden hair.’

Then Rapunzel let down her plaits, and the Witch climbed up by them.

`So that’s the staircase, is it?’ said the Prince. `Then I too will climb it and try my luck.’

So on the following day, at dusk, he went to the foot of the tower and cried:

`Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your golden hair,’

and as soon as she had let it down the Prince climbed up.

At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man came in, for she had never seen one before; but the Prince spoke to her so kindly, and told her at once that his heart had been so touched by her singing, that he felt he should know no peace of mind till he had seen her. Very soon Rapunzel forgot her fear, and when he asked her to marry him she consented at once. `For,’ she thought, `he is young and handsome, and I’ll certainly be happier with him than with the old Witch.’ So she put her hand in his and said:

`Yes, I will gladly go with you, only how am I to get down out of the tower? Every time you come to see me you must bring a skein of silk with you, and I will make a ladder of them, and when it is finished I will climb down by it, and you will take me away on your horse.’

They arranged that till the ladder was ready, he was to come to her every evening, because the old woman was with her during the day. The old Witch, of course, knew nothing of what was going on, till one day Rapunzel, not thinking of what she was about, turned to the Witch and said:

`How is it, good mother, that you are so much harder to pull up than the young Prince? He is always with me in a moment.’

`Oh! you wicked child,’ cried the Witch. `What is this I hear? I thought I had hidden you safely from the whole world, and in spite of it you have managed to deceive me.’

In her wrath she seized Rapunzel’s beautiful hair, wound it round and round her left hand, and then grasping a pair of scissors in her right, snip snap, off it came, and the beautiful plaits lay on the ground. And, worse than this, she was so hard-hearted that she took Rapunzel to a lonely desert place, and there left her to live in loneliness and misery.

But on the evening of the day in which she had driven poor Rapunzel away, the Witch fastened the plaits on to a hook in the window, and when the Prince came and called out:

`Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your golden hair,’

she let them down, and the Prince climbed up as usual, but instead of his beloved Rapunzel he found the old Witch, who fixed her evil, glittering eyes on him, and cried mockingly:

`Ah, ah! you thought to find your lady love, but the pretty bird has flown and its song is dumb; the cat caught it, and will scratch out your eyes too. Rapunzel is lost to you for ever–you will never see her more.’

The Prince was beside himself with grief, and in his despair he jumped right down from the tower, and, though he escaped with his life, the thorns among which he fell pierced his eyes out. Then he wandered, blind and miserable, through the wood, eating nothing but roots and berries, and weeping and lamenting the loss of his lovely bride. So he wandered about for some years, as wretched and unhappy as he could well be, and at last he came to the desert place where Rapunzel was living. Of a sudden he heard a voice which seemed strangely familiar to him. He walked eagerly in the direction of the sound, and when he was quite close, Rapunzel recognised him and fell on his neck and wept. But two of her tears touched his eyes, and in a moment they became quite clear again, and he saw as well as he had ever done. Then he led her to his kingdom, where they were received and welcomed with great joy, and they lived happily ever after.

Traditional German fairy tale. Compiled by Andrew Lang, The Red Fairy Book.


  • Rapunzel

    Rapunzel was the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old the Witch shut her up in a tower, in the middle of a great wood, and the tower had neither stairs nor doors, only high up at the very top a small window. When the old Witch wanted to get in she stood underneath and called out:

    `Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
    Let down your golden hair,’

    for Rapunzel had wonderful long hair, and it was as fine as spun gold. Whenever she heard the Witch’s voice she unloosed her plaits, and let her hair fall down out of the window about twenty yards below, and the old Witch climbed up by it.

    Angel’s trumpet, bois de rose, orris, and wild lettuce.

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  • The Witch’s Garden

    `What ails you, dear wife?’

    `Oh,’ she answered, `if I don’t get some rampion to eat out of the garden behind the house, I know I shall die.’

    The man, who loved her dearly, thought to himself, `Come! rather than let your wife die you shall fetch her some rampion, no matter the cost.’ So at dusk he climbed over the wall into the witch’s garden, and, hastily gathering a handful of rampion leaves, he returned with them to his wife. She made them into a salad, which tasted so good that her longing for the forbidden food was greater than ever. If she were to know any peace of mind, there was nothing for it but that her husband should climb over the garden wall again, and fetch her some more. So at dusk over he got, but when he reached the other side he drew back in terror, for there, standing before him, was the old witch.

    Morning glory vines twisting around a patch of rampion, carrot, and parsley, with monkshood, hemlock, elfwort, sage, wormwood, and mandrake.

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  • Thorns

    `Ah, ah! you thought to find your lady love, but the pretty bird has flown and its song is dumb; the cat caught it, and will scratch out your eyes too. Rapunzel is lost to you for ever–you will never see her more.’

    The Prince was beside himself with grief, and in his despair he jumped right down from the tower, and, though he escaped with his life, the thorns among which he fell pierced his eyes out. Then he wandered, blind and miserable, through the wood, eating nothing but roots and berries, and weeping and lamenting the loss of his lovely bride.

    Thorn-spiked vines, blood, and tears.

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Märchen - Rumpelstilzchen

Märchen
The Fairy Tale and Folklore Collection.

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There was once a miller who was very poor, but he had a beautiful daughter. Now, it happened that he came to speak to the king, and, to give himself importance, he said to him, “I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold.”

The king said to the miller, “That is a talent that pleases me well; if she be as skilful as you say, bring her to-morrow to the palace, and I will put her to the proof.”

When the maiden was brought to him, he led her to a room full of straw, gave her a wheel and spindle, and said, “Now set to work, and if by the morrow this straw be not spun into gold, you shall die.” He locked the door, and left the maiden alone.

The poor girl sat down disconsolate, and could not for her life think what she was to do; for she knew not–how could she?–the way to spin straw into gold; and her distress increased so much that at last she began to weep. All at once the door opened, and a little man entered, and said, “Good evening, my pretty miller’s daughter why are you weeping so bitterly?”

“Ah!” answered the maiden, “I must spin straw into gold, and know not how to do it.”

The little man said, “What will you give me if I do it for you?”

“My neckerchief,” said the maiden.

He took the kerchief, sat down before the wheel, and grind, grind, grind–three times did he grind–and the spindle was full: then he put another thread on, and grind, grind, grind, the second was full; so he spun on till morning; when all the straw was spun, and all the spindles were full of gold.

The king came at sunrise, and was greatly astonished and overjoyed at the sight; but it only made his heart the more greedy of gold. He put the miller’s daughter into another much larger room, full of straw, and ordered her to spin it all in one night, if life were dear to her. The poor helpless maiden began to weep, when once more the door flew open, the little man appeared, and said, “What will you give me if I spin this straw into gold?”

“My ring from my finger,” answered the maiden.

The little man took the ring, began to turn the wheel, and, by the morning, all the straw was spun into shining gold.

The king was highly delighted when he saw it, but was not yet satisfied with the quantity of gold; so he put the damsel into a still larger room, full of straw, and said, “Spin this during the night; and if you do it, you shall be my wife.” “For,” he thought, “if she’s only a miller’s daughter I shall never find a richer wife in the whole world.”

As soon as the damsel was alone, the little man came the third time, and said, “What will you give me if I again spin all this straw for you?”

“I have nothing more to give you,” answered the girl.

“Then promise, if you become queen, to give me your first child.”

“Who knows how that may be, or how things may turn out between now and then?” thought the girl, but in her perplexity she could not help herself: so she promised the little man what he desired, and he spun all the straw into gold.

When the king came in the morning, and saw that his orders had been obeyed, he married the maiden, and the beautiful miller’s daughter became a queen. After a year had passed she brought a lovely baby into the world, but quite forgot the little man, till he walked suddenly into her chamber, and said, “Give me what you promised me.” The queen was frightened, and offered the dwarf all the riches of the kingdom if he would only leave her her child; but he answered, “No; something living is dearer to me than all the treasures of the world.”

Then the queen began to grieve and to weep so bitterly, that the little man took pity upon her and said, “I will give you three days; if in that time you can find out my name, you shall keep the child.”

All night long the queen thought over every name she had ever heard, and sent a messenger through the kingdom, to inquire what names were usually given to people in that country. When, next day, the little man came again, she began with Caspar, Melchoir, Balthazar, and repeated, each after each, all the names she knew or had heard of; but at each one the little man said, “That is not my name.”

The second day she again sent round about in all directions, to ask how the people were called, and repeated to the little man the strangest names she could hear of or imagine: to each he answered always, “That is not my name.”

The third day the messenger returned and said, “I have not been able to find a single new name; but as I came over a high mountain by a wood, where the fox and the hare bid each other good-night, I saw a little house, and before the house was burning a little fire, and round the fire danced a very funny little man, who hopped upon one leg, and cried out: –

“To-day I brew, to-morrow I bake,
Next day the queen’s child I shall take;
How glad I am that nobody knows;
My name is Rumpelstilzchen!”

You may guess how joyful the queen was at hearing this; and when, soon after, the little man entered and said, “Queen, what is my name?” she asked him mischievously, “Is your name Kunz?”

“No.”

“Is your name Carl?”

“No.”

“Are you not sometimes called Rumpelstilzchen?”

“A witch has told you that–a witch has told you!” shrieked the poor little man, and stamped so furiously with his right foot that it sunk into the earth up to the hip; then he seized his left foot with both hands with such violence, that he tore himself right in two.

Traditional German fairy tale. Compiled by Dinah Maria Mulock, The Fairy Book.


  • Rumpelstilzchen

    I have not been able to find a single new name; but as I came over a high mountain by a wood, where the fox and the hare bid each other good-night, I saw a little house, and before the house was burning a little fire, and round the fire danced a very funny little man, who hopped upon one leg, and cried out: –

    ‘To-day I brew, to-morrow I bake,
    Next day the queen’s child I shall take;
    How glad I am that nobody knows;
    My name is Rumpelstilzchen!”

    Firewood and ash with an oddly otherworldly blend of patchouli, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, tonka, vetiver, and myrrh.

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  • The Miller’s Daughter

    There was once a miller who was very poor, but he had a beautiful daughter. Now, it happened that he came to speak to the king, and, to give himself importance, he said to him, “I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold.”

    The king said to the miller, “That is a talent that pleases me well; if she be as skilful as you say, bring her to-morrow to the palace, and I will put her to the proof.”

    When the maiden was brought to him, he led her to a room full of straw, gave her a wheel and spindle, and said, “Now set to work, and if by the morrow this straw be not spun into gold, you shall die.” He locked the door, and left the maiden alone.

    Spun gold, tear-soaked straw, and rose-infused amber.

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Märchen - Toads and Diamonds

Märchen
The Fairy Tale and Folklore Collection.

PERFUME OIL BLENDS
$17.50 per 5ml bottle.
Presented in an amber apothecary vial.


There once upon a time a widow who had two daughters. The eldest was so much like her in the face and humor that whoever looked upon the daughter saw the mother. They were both so disagreeable and so proud that there was no living with them.

The youngest, who was the very picture of her father for courtesy and sweetness of temper, was withal one of the most beautiful girls ever seen. As people naturally love their own likeness, this mother even doted on her eldest daughter and at the same time had a horrible aversion for the youngest–she made her eat in the kitchen and work continually.

Among other things, this poor child was forced twice a day to draw water above a mile and a-half off the house, and bring home a pitcher full of it. One day, as she was at this fountain, there came to her a poor woman, who begged of her to let her drink.

“Oh! ay, with all my heart, Goody,” said this pretty little girl; and rinsing immediately the pitcher, she took up some water from the clearest place of the fountain, and gave it to her, holding up the pitcher all the while, that she might drink the easier.

The good woman, having drunk, said to her:

You are so very pretty, my dear, so good and so mannerly, that I cannot help giving you a gift.” For this was a fairy, who had taken the form of a poor country woman, to see how far the civility and good manners of this pretty girl would go. “I will give you for a gift,” continued the Fairy, “that, at every word you speak, there shall come out of your mouth either a flower or a jewel.”

When this pretty girl came home her mother scolded her for staying so long at the fountain.

“I beg your pardon, mamma,” said the poor girl, “for not making more haste.”

And in speaking these words there came out of her mouth two roses, two pearls, and two diamonds.

“What is it I see there?” said the mother, quite astonished. “I think I see pearls and diamonds come out of the girl’s mouth! How happens this, child?”

This was the first time she had ever called her child.

The poor creature told her frankly all the matter, not without dropping out infinite numbers of diamonds.

“In good faith,” cried the mother, “I must send my child thither. Come hither, Fanny; look what comes out of thy sister’s mouth when she speaks. Wouldst not thou be glad, my dear, to have the same gift given thee? Thou hast nothing else to do but go and draw water out of the fountain, and when a certain poor woman asks you to let her drink, to give it to her very civilly.”

“It would be a very fine sight indeed,” said this ill- bred minx, “to see me go draw water.”

“You shall go, hussy!” said the mother; “and this minute.”

So away she went, but grumbling all the way, taking with her the best silver tankard in the house.

She was no sooner at the fountain than she saw coming out of the wood a lady most gloriously dressed, who came up to her, and asked to drink. This was, you must know, the very fairy who appeared to her sister, but now had taken the air and dress of a princess, to see how far this girl’s rudeness would go.

“Am I come hither,” said the proud, saucy one, “to serve you with water, pray? I suppose the silver tankard was brought purely for your ladyship, was it? However, you may drink out of it, if you have a fancy.”

“You are not over and above mannerly,” answered the Fairy, without putting herself in a passion. “Well, then, since you have so little breeding, and are so disobliging, I give you for a gift that at every word you speak there shall come out of your mouth a snake or a toad.”

So soon as her mother saw her coming she cried out:

“Well, daughter?”

“Well, mother?” answered the pert hussy, throwing out of her mouth two vipers and two toads.

“Oh! mercy,” cried the mother; “what is it I see? Oh! it is that wretch her sister who has occasioned all this; but she shall pay for it”; and immediately she ran to beat her. The poor child fled away from her, and went to hide herself in the forest, not far from thence.

The King’s son, then on his return from hunting, met her, and seeing her so very pretty, asked her what she did there alone and why she cried.

“Alas! sir, my mamma has turned me out of doors.”

The King’s son, who saw five or six pearls and as many diamonds come out of her mouth, desired her to tell him how that happened. She thereupon told him the whole story; and so the King’s son fell in love with her, and, considering himself that such a gift was worth more than any marriage portion, conducted her to the palace of the King his father, and there married her.

As for the sister, she made herself so much hated that her own mother turned her off; and the miserable wretch, having wandered about a good while without finding anybody to take her in, went to a corner of the wood, and there died.

French fairy tale by Charles Perrault. Compiled and translated by Andrew Lang, The Blue Fairy Book.


  • Roses, Pearls and Diamonds

    The youngest, who was the very picture of her father for courtesy and sweetness of temper, was withal one of the most beautiful girls ever seen. As people naturally love their own likeness, this mother even doted on her eldest daughter and at the same time had a horrible aversion for the youngest–she made her eat in the kitchen and work continually.

    Among other things, this poor child was forced twice a day to draw water above a mile and a-half off the house, and bring home a pitcher full of it. One day, as she was at this fountain, there came to her a poor woman, who begged of her to let her drink. 

    “Oh! ay, with all my heart, Goody,” said this pretty little girl; and rinsing immediately the pitcher, she took up some water from the clearest place of the fountain, and gave it to her, holding up the pitcher all the while, that she might drink the easier. 

    The good woman, having drunk, said to her: 

    You are so very pretty, my dear, so good and so mannerly, that I cannot help giving you a gift.” For this was a fairy, who had taken the form of a poor country woman, to see how far the civility and good manners of this pretty girl would go. “I will give you for a gift,” continued the Fairy, “that, at every word you speak, there shall come out of your mouth either a flower or a jewel.” 

    When this pretty girl came home her mother scolded her for staying so long at the fountain. 

    “I beg your pardon, mamma,” said the poor girl, “for not making more haste.” 

    And in speaking these words there came out of her mouth two roses, two pearls, and two diamonds.

    Red roses, dazzling crystalline musks, and pearlescent coconut-tinged orris.

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Märchen - Vasilissa the Beautiful

Märchen
The Fairy Tale and Folklore Collection.

PERFUME OIL BLENDS
$17.50 per 5ml bottle.
Presented in an amber apothecary vial.


In a certain Tsardom, across three times nine kingdoms, beyond high mountain chains, there once lived a merchant. He had been married for twelve years, but in that time there had been born to him only one child, a daughter, who from her cradle was called Vasilissa the Beautiful. When the little girl was eight years old the mother fell ill, and before many days it was plain to be seen that she must die. So she called her little daughter to her, and taking a tiny wooden doll from under the blanket of the bed, put it into her hands and said:

“My little Vasilissa, my dear daughter, listen to what I say, remember well my last words and fail not to carry out my wishes. I am dying, and with my blessing, I leave to thee this little doll. It is very precious for there is no other like it in the whole world. Carry it always about with thee in thy pocket and never show it to anyone. When evil threatens thee or sorrow befalls thee, go into a corner, take it from thy pocket and give it something to eat and drink. It will eat and drink a little, and then thou mayest tell it thy trouble and ask its advice, and it will tell thee how to act in thy time of need.” So saying, she kissed her little daughter on the forehead, blessed her, and shortly after died.

Little Vasilissa grieved greatly for her mother, and her sorrow was so deep that when the dark night came, she lay in her bed and wept and did not sleep. At length she be thought herself of the tiny doll, so she rose and took it from the pocket of her gown and finding a piece of wheat bread and a cup of kvass, she set them before it, and said: “There, my little doll, take it. Eat a little, and drink a little, and listen to my grief. My dear mother is dead and I am lonely for her.”

Then the doll’s eyes began to shine like fireflies, and suddenly it became alive. It ate a morsel of the bread and took a sip of the kvass, and when it had eaten and drunk, it said:

“Don’t weep, little Vasilissa. Grief is worst at night. Lie down, shut thine eyes, comfort thyself and go to sleep. The morning is wiser than the evening.” So Vasilissa the Beautiful lay down, comforted herself and went to sleep, and the next day her grieving was not so deep and her tears were less bitter.

Now after the death of his wife, the merchant sorrowed for many days as was right, but at the end of that time he began to desire to marry again and to look about him for a suitable wife. This was not difficult to find, for he had a fine house, with a stable of swift horses, besides being a good man who gave much to the poor. Of all the women he saw, however, the one who, to his mind, suited him best of all, was a widow of about his own age with two daughters of her own, and she, he thought, besides being a good housekeeper, would be a kind foster mother to his little Vasilissa.

So the merchant married the widow and brought her home as his wife, but the little girl soon found that her foster mother was very far from being what her father had thought. She was a cold, cruel woman, who had desired the merchant for the sake of his wealth, and had no love for his daughter. Vasilissa was the greatest beauty in the whole village, while her own daughters were as spare and homely as two crows, and because of this all three envied and hated her. They gave her all sorts of errands to run and difficult tasks to perform, in order that the toil might make her thin and worn and that her face might grow brown from sun and wind, and they treated her so cruelly as to leave few joys in life for her. But all this the little Vasilissa endured without complaint, and while the stepmother’s two daughters grew always thinner and uglier, in spite of the fact that they had no hard tasks to do, never went out in cold or rain, and sat always with their arms folded like ladies of a Court, she herself had cheeks like blood and milk and grew every day more and more beautiful.

Now the reason for this was the tiny doll, without whose help little Vasilissa could never have managed to do all the work that was laid upon her. Each night, when everyone else was sound asleep, she would get up from her bed, take the doll into a closet, and locking the door, give it something to eat and drink, and say: “There, my little doll, take it. Eat a little, drink a little, and listen to my grief. I live in my father’s house, but my spiteful stepmother wishes to drive me out of the white world. Tell me! How shall I act, and what shall I do?”

Then the little doll’s eyes would begin to shine like glow- worms, and it would become alive. It would eat a little food, and sip a little drink, and then it would comfort her and tell her how to act. While Vasilissa slept, it would get ready all her work for the next day, so that she had only to rest in the shade and gather flowers, for the doll would have the kitchen garden weeded, and the beds of cabbage watered, and plenty of fresh water brought from the well, and the stoves heated exactly right. And, besides this, the little doll told her how to make, from a certain herb, an ointment which prevented her from ever being sunburnt. So all the joy in life that came to Vasilissa came to her through the tiny doll that she always carried in her pocket.

Years passed, till Vasilissa grew up and became of an age when it is good to marry. All the young men in the village, high and low, rich and poor, asked for her hand, while not one of them stopped even to look at the stepmother’s two daughters, so ill-favored were they. This angered their mother still more against Vasilissa; she answered every gallant who came with the same words: “Never shall the younger be wed before the older ones!” and each time, when she had let a suitor out of the door, she would soothe her anger and hatred by beating her stepdaughter. So while Vasilissa grew each day more lovely and graceful, she was often miserable, and but for the little doll in her pocket, would have longed to leave the white world.

Now there came a time when it became necessary for the merchant to leave his home and to travel to a distant Tsardom. He bade farewell to his wife and her two daughters, kissed Vasilissa and gave her his blessing and departed, bidding them say a prayer each day for his safe return. Scarce was he out of sight of the village, however, when his wife sold his house, packed all his goods and moved with them to another dwelling far from the town, in a gloomy neighborhood on the edge of a wild forest. Here every day, while her two daughters were working indoors, the merchant’s wife would send Vasilissa on one errand or other into the forest, either to find a branch of a certain rare bush or to bring her flowers or berries.

Now deep in this forest, as the stepmother well knew, there was a green lawn and on the lawn stood a miserable little hut on hens’ legs, where lived a certain Baba Yaga, an old witch grandmother. She lived alone and none dared go near the hut, for she ate people as one eats chickens. The merchant’s wife sent Vasilissa into the forest each day, hoping she might meet the old witch and be devoured; but always the girl came home safe and sound, because the little doll showed her where the bush, the flowers and the berries grew, and did not let her go near the hut that stood on hens’ legs. And each time the stepmother hated her more and more because she came to no harm.

One autumn evening the merchant’s wife called the three girls to her and gave them each a task. One of her daughters she bade make a piece of lace, the other to knit a pair of hose, and to Vasilissa she gave a basket of flax to be spun. She bade each finish a certain amount. Then she put out all the fires in the house, leaving only a single candle lighted in the room where the three girls worked, and she herself went to sleep.

They worked an hour, they worked two hours, they worked three hours, when one of the elder daughters took up the tongs to straighten the wick of the candle. She pretended to do this awkwardly (as her mother had bidden her) and put the candle out, as if by accident.

“What are we to do now?” asked her sister. “The fires are all out, there is no other light in all the house, and our tasks are not done.”

“We must go and fetch fire,” said the first. “The only house near is a hut in the forest, where a Baba Yaga lives. One of us must go and borrow fire from her.”

“I have enough light from my steel pins,” said the one who was making the lace, “and I will not go.”

“And I have plenty of light from my silver needles,” said the other, who was knitting the hose, “and I will not go.

“Thou, Vasilissa,” they both said, “shalt go and fetch the fire, for thou hast neither steel pins nor silver needles and cannot see to spin thy flax!” They both rose up, pushed Vasilissa out of the house and locked the door, crying:

“Thou shalt not come in till thou hast fetched the fire.”

Vasilissa sat down on the doorstep, took the tiny doll from one pocket and from another the supper she had ready for it, put the food before it and said: “There, my little doll, take it. Eat a little and listen to my sorrow. I must go to the hut of the old Baba Yaga in the dark forest to borrow some fire and I fear she will eat me. Tell me! What shall I do?”

Then the doll’s eyes began to shine like two stars and it became alive. It ate a little and said: “Do not fear, little Vasilissa. Go where thou hast been sent. While I am with thee no harm shall come to thee from the old witch.” So Vasilissa put the doll back into her pocket, crossed herself and started out into the dark, wild forest.

Whether she walked a short way or a long way the telling is easy, but the journey was hard. The wood was very dark, and she could not help trembling from fear. Suddenly she heard the sound of a horse’s hoofs and a man on horseback galloped past her. He was dressed all in white, the horse under him was milk-white and the harness was white, and just as he passed her it became twilight.

She went a little further and again she heard the sound of a horse’s hoofs and there came another man on horseback galloping past her. He was dressed all in red, and the horse under him was blood-red and its harness was red, and just as he passed her the sun rose.

That whole day Vasilissa walked, for she had lost her way. She could find no path at all in the dark wood and she had no food to set before the little doll to make it alive.

But at evening she came all at once to the green lawn where the wretched little hut stood on its hens’ legs. The wall around the hut was made of human bones and on its top were skulls. There was a gate in the wall, whose hinges were the bones of human feet and whose locks were jaw-bones set with sharp teeth. The sight filled Vasilissa with horror and she stopped as still as a post buried in the ground.

As she stood there a third man on horseback came galloping up. His face was black, he was dressed all in black, and the horse he rode was coal-black. He galloped up to the gate of the hut and disappeared there as if he had sunk through the ground and at that moment the night came and the forest grew dark.

But it was not dark on the green lawn, for instantly the eyes of all the skulls on the wall were lighted up and shone till the place was as bright as day. When she saw this Vasilissa trembled so with fear that she could not run away.

Then suddenly the wood became full of a terrible noise; the trees began to groan, the branches to creak and the dry leaves to rustle, and the Baba Yaga came flying from the forest. She was riding in a great iron mortar and driving it with the pestle, and as she came she swept away her trail behind her with a kitchen broom.

She rode up to the gate and stopping, said:

Little House, little House, Stand the way thy mother placed thee, Turn thy back to the forest and thy face to me!

And the little hut turned facing her and stood still. Then smelling all around her, she cried: “Foo! Foo! I smell a smell that is Russian. Who is here?”

Vasilissa, in great fright, came nearer to the old woman and bowing very low, said: “It is only Vasilissa, grandmother. My stepmother’s daughters sent me to thee to borrow some fire.”

“Well,” said the old witch, “I know them. But if I give thee the fire thou shalt stay with me some time and do some work to pay for it. If not, thou shalt be eaten for my supper.” Then she turned to the gate and shouted: “Ho! Ye, my solid locks, unlock! Thou, my stout gate, open!” Instantly the locks unlocked, the gate opened of itself, and the Baba Yaga rode in whistling. Vasilissa entered behind her and immediately the gate shut again and the locks snapped tight.

When they had entered the hut the old witch threw her self down on the stove, stretched out her bony legs and said:

“Come, fetch and put on the table at once everything that is in the oven. I am hungry.” So Vasilissa ran and lighted a splinter of wood from one of the skulls on the wall and took the food from the oven and set it before her. There was enough cooked meat for three strong men. She brought also from the cellar kvass, honey, and red wine, and the Baba Yaga ate and drank the whole, leaving the girl only a little cabbage soup, a crust of bread and a morsel of suckling pig.

When her hunger was satisfied, the old witch, growing drowsy, lay down on the stove and said: “Listen to me well, and do what I bid thee. Tomorrow when I drive away, do thou clean the yard, sweep the floors and cook my supper. Then take a quarter of a measure of wheat from my store house and pick out of it all the black grains and the wild peas. Mind thou dost all that I have bade; if not, thou shalt be eaten for my supper.”

Presently the Baba Yaga turned toward the wall and began to snore and Vasilissa knew that she was fast asleep. Then she went into the corner, took the tiny doll from her pocket, put before it a bit of bread and a little cabbage soup that she had saved, burst into tears and said: “There, my little doll, take it. Eat a little, drink a little, and listen to my grief. Here I am in the house of the old witch and the gate in the wall is locked and I am afraid. She has given me a difficult task and if I do not do all she has bade, she will eat me tomorrow. Tell me: What shall I do?”

Then the eyes of the little doll began to shine like two candles. It ate a little of the bread and drank a little of the soup and said: “Do not be afraid, Vasilissa the Beautiful. Be comforted. Say thy prayers, and go to sleep. The morning is wiser than the evening.” So Vasilissa trusted the little doll and was comforted. She said her prayers, lay down on the floor and went fast asleep.

When she woke next morning, very early, it was still dark. She rose and looked out of the window, and she saw that the eyes of the skulls on the wall were growing dim. As she looked, the man dressed all in white, riding the milk-white horse, galloped swiftly around the corner of the hut, leaped the wall and disappeared, and as he went, it became quite light and the eyes of the skulls flickered and went out. The old witch was in the yard; now she began to whistle and the great iron mortar and pestle and the kitchen broom flew out of the hut to her. As she got into the mortar the man dressed all in red, mounted on the blood-red horse, galloped like the wind around the corner of the hut, leaped the wall and was gone, and at that moment the sun rose. Then the Baba Yaga shouted: “Ho! Ye, my solid locks, unlock! Thou, my stout gate, open!” And the locks unlocked and the gate opened and she rode away in the mortar, driving with the pestle and sweeping away her path behind her with the broom.

When Vasilissa found herself left alone, she examined the hut, wondering to find it filled with such an abundance of everything. Then she stood still, remembering all the work that she had been bidden to do and wondering what to begin first. But as she looked she rubbed her eyes, for the yard was already neatly cleaned and the floors were nicely swept, and the little doll was sitting in the storehouse picking the last black grains and wild peas out of the quarter- measure of wheat.

Vasilissa ran and took the little doll in her arms. “My dearest little doll!” she cried. “Thou hast saved me from my trouble! Now I have only to cook the Baba Yaga’s supper, since all the rest of the tasks are done!”

“Cook it, with God’s help,” said the doll, “and then rest, and may the cooking of it make thee healthy!” And so saying it crept into her pocket and became again only a little wooden doll.

So Vasilissa rested all day and was refreshed; and when it grew toward evening she laid the table for the old witch’s supper, and sat looking out of the window, waiting for her coming. After awhile she heard the sound of a horse’s hoofs and the man in black, on the coal-black horse, galloped up to the wall gate and disappeared like a great dark shadow, and instantly it became quite dark and the eyes of all the skulls began to glitter and shine.

Then all at once the trees of the forest began to creak and groan and the leaves and the bushes to moan and sigh, and the Baba Yaga came riding out of the dark wood in the huge iron mortar, driving with the pestle and sweeping out the trail behind her with the kitchen broom. Vasilissa let her in; and the witch, smelling all around her, asked:

“Well, hast thou done perfectly all the tasks I gave thee to do, or am I to eat thee for my supper?”

“Be so good as to look for thyself, grandmother,” answered Vasilissa.

The Baba Yaga went all about the place, tapping with her iron pestle, and carefully examining everything. But so well had the little doll done its work that, try as hard as she might, she could not find anything to complain of. There was not a weed left in the yard, nor a speck of dust on the floors, nor a single black grain or wild pea in the wheat.

The old witch was greatly angered, but was obliged to pretend to be pleased. “Well,” she said, “thou hast done all well.” Then, clapping her hands, she shouted: “Ho! my faithful servants! Friends of my heart! Haste and grind my wheat!” Immediately three pairs of hands appeared, seized the measure of wheat and carried it away.

The Baba Yaga sat down to supper, and Vasilissa put before her all the food from the oven, with kvass, honey, and red wine. The old witch ate it, bones and all, almost to the last morsel, enough for four strong men, and then, growing drowsy, stretched her bony legs on the stove and said: “Tomorrow do as thou hast done today, and besides these tasks take from my storehouse a half-measure of poppy seeds and clean them one by one. Someone has mixed earth with them to do me a mischief and to anger me, and I will have them made perfectly clean.” So saying she turned to the wall and soon began to snore.

When she was fast asleep Vasilissa went into the corner, took the little doll from her pocket, set before it a part of the food that was left and asked its advice. And the doll, when it had become alive, and eaten a little food and sipped a little drink, said: “Don’t worry, beautiful Vasilissa! Be comforted. Do as thou didst last night: say thy prayers and go to sleep.” So Vasilissa was comforted. She said her prayers and went to sleep and did not wake till next morning when she heard the old witch in the yard whistling. She ran to the window just in time to see her take her place in the big iron mortar, and as she did so the man dressed all in red, riding on the blood red horse, leaped over the wall and was gone, just as the sun rose over the wild forest.

As it had happened on the first morning, so it happened now. When Vasilissa looked she found that the little doll had finished all the tasks excepting the cooking of the supper. The yard was swept and in order, the floors were as clean as new wood, and there was not a grain of earth left in the half-measure of poppy seeds. She rested and refreshed herself till the afternoon, when she cooked the supper, and when evening came she laid the table and sat down to wait for the old witch’s coming.

Soon the man in black, on the coal-black horse, galloped up to the gate, and the dark fell and the eyes of the skulls began to shine like day; then the ground began to quake, and the trees of the forest began to creak and the dry leaves to rustle, and the Baba Yaga came riding in her iron mortar, driving with her pestle and sweeping away her path with her broom.

When she came in she smelled around her and went all about the hut, tapping with the pestle; but pry and examine as she might, again she could see no reason to find fault and was angrier than ever. She clapped her hands and shouted:

“Ho! my trusty servants! Friends of my soul! Haste and press the oil out of my poppy seeds!” And instantly the three pairs of hands appeared, seized the measure of poppy seeds and carried it away.

Presently the old witch sat down to supper and Vasilissa brought all she had cooked, enough for five grown men, and set it before her, and brought beer and honey, and then she herself stood silently waiting. The Baba Yaga ate and drank it all, every morsel, leaving not so much as a crumb of bread; then she said snappishly: “Well, why dost thou say nothing, but stand there as if thou wast dumb?”

“I spoke not,” Vasilissa answered, “because I dared not. But if thou wilt allow me, grandmother, I wish to ask thee some questions.”

“Well,” said the old witch, “only remember that every question does not lead to good. If thou knowest overmuch, thou wilt grow old too soon. What wilt thou ask?”

“I would ask thee,” said Vasilissa, “of the men on horse back. When I came to thy hut, a rider passed me. He was dressed all in white and he rode a milk-white horse. Who was he?”

“That was my white, bright day,” answered the Baba Yaga angrily. “He is a servant of mine, but he cannot hurt thee. Ask me more.”

“Afterwards,” said Vasilissa, “a second rider overtook me. He was dressed in red and the horse he rode was blood- red. Who was he?”

“That was my servant, the round, red sun,” answered the Baba Yaga, “and he, too, cannot injure thee,” and she ground her teeth. “Ask me more.”

“A third rider,” said Vasilissa, “came galloping up to the gate. He was black, his clothes were black and the horse was coal-black. Who was he?”

“That was my servant, the black, dark night,” answered the old witch furiously; “but he also cannot harm thee. Ask me more.”

But Vasilissa, remembering what the Baba Yaga had said, that not every question led to good, was silent.

“Ask me more!” cried the old witch. “Why dost thou not ask me more? Ask me of the three pairs of hands that serve me!”

But Vasilissa saw how she snarled at her and she answered: “The three questions are enough for me. As thou hast said, grandmother, I would not, through knowing over much, become too soon old.”

“It is well for thee,” said the Baba Yaga, “that thou didst not ask of them, but only of what thou didst see outside of this hut. Hadst thou asked of them, my servants, the three pairs of hands would have seized thee also, as they did the wheat and poppy seeds, to be my food. Now I would ask a question in my turn: How is it that thou hast been able, in a little time, to do perfectly all the tasks I gave thee? Tell me!”

Vasilissa was so frightened to see how the old witch ground her teeth that she almost told her of the little doll; but she bethought herself just in time, and answered: “The blessing of my dead mother helps me.”

Then the Baba Yaga sprang up in a fury. “Get thee out of my house this moment!” she shrieked. “I want no one who bears a blessing to cross my threshold! Get thee gone!” Vasilissa ran to the yard, and behind her she heard the old witch shouting to the locks and the gate. The locks opened, the gate swung wide, and she ran out on to the lawn. The Baba Yaga seized from the wall one of the skulls with burning eyes and flung it after her. “There,” she howled, “is the fire for thy stepmother’s daughters. Take it. That is what they sent thee here for, and may they have joy of it!”

Vasilissa put the skull on the end of a stick and darted away through the forest, running as fast as she could, finding her path by the skull’s glowing eyes which went out only when morning came.

Whether she ran a long way or a short way, and whether the road was smooth or rough, towards evening of the next day, when the eyes in the skull were beginning to glimmer, she came out of the dark, wild forest to her stepmother’s house.

When she came near to the gate, she thought, “Surely, by this time they will have found some fire,” and threw the skull into the hedge; but it spoke to her, and said: “Do not throw me away, beautiful Vasilissa; bring me to thy stepmother.” So, looking at the house and seeing no spark of light in any of the windows, she took up the skull again and carried it with her.

Now since Vasilissa had gone, the stepmother and her two daughters had had neither fire nor light in all the house. When they struck flint and steel the tinder would not catch and the fire they brought from the neighbors would go out immediately as soon as they carried it over the threshold, so that they had been unable to light or warm themselves or to cook food to eat. Therefore now, for the first time in her life, Vasilissa found herself welcomed. They opened the door to her and the merchant’s wife was greatly rejoiced to find that the light in the skull did not go out as soon as it was brought in. “Maybe the witch’s fire will stay,” she said, and took the skull into the best room, set it on a candlestick and called her two daughters to admire it.

But the eyes of the skull suddenly began to glimmer and to glow like red coals, and wherever the three turned or ran the eyes followed them, growing larger and brighter till they flamed like two furnaces, and hotter and hotter till the merchant’s wife and her two wicked daughters took fire and were burned to ashes. Only Vasilissa the Beautiful was not touched.

In the morning Vasilissa dug a deep hole in the ground and buried the skull. Then she locked the house and set out to the village, where she went to live with an old woman who was poor and childless, and so she remained for many days, waiting for her father’s return from the far-distant Tsardom.

But, sitting lonely, time soon began to hang heavy on her hands. One day she said to the old woman: “It is dull for me, grandmother, to sit idly hour by hour. My hands want work to do. Go, therefore, and buy me some flax, the best and finest to be found anywhere, and at least I can spin.”

The old woman hastened and bought some flax of the best sort and Vasilissa sat down to work. So well did she spin that the thread came out as even and fine as a hair, and presently there was enough to begin to weave. But so fine was the thread that no frame could be found to weave it upon, nor would any weaver undertake to make one.

Then Vasilissa went into her closet, took the little doll from her pocket, set food and drink before it and asked its help. And after it had eaten a little and drunk a little, the doll became alive and said: “Bring me an old frame and an old basket and some hairs from a horse’s mane, and I will arrange everything for thee.” Vasilissa hastened to fetch all the doll had asked for and when evening came, said her prayers, went to sleep, and in the morning she found ready a frame, perfectly made, to weave her fine thread upon.

She wove one month, she wove two months-all the winter Vasilissa sat weaving, weaving her fine thread, till the whole piece of linen was done, of a texture so fine that it could be passed, like thread, through the eye of a needle. When the spring came she bleached it, so white that no snow could be compared with it. Then she said to the old woman: “Take thou the linen to the market, grandmothers and sell it, and the money shall suffice to pay for my food and lodging.” When the old woman examined the linen, however, she said:

“Never will I sell such cloth in the market place; no one should wear it except it be the Tsar himself, and tomorrow I shall carry it to the Palace.”

Next day, accordingly, the old woman went to the Tsar’s splendid Palace and fell to walking up and down before the windows. The servants came to ask her her errand but she answered them nothing, and kept walking up and down. At length the Tsar opened his window, and asked: “What dost thou want, old woman, that thou walkest here?”

“O Tsar’s Majesty” the old woman answered, “I have with me a marvelous piece of linen stuff, so wondrously woven that I will show it to none but thee.”

The Tsar bade them bring her before him and when he saw the linen he was struck with astonishment at its fineness and beauty. “What wilt thou take for it, old woman?” he asked.

“There is no price that can buy it, Little Father Tsar,” she answered; “but I have brought it to thee as a gift.” The Tsar could not thank the old woman enough. He took the linen and sent her to her house with many rich presents.

Seamstresses were called to make shirts for him out of the cloth; but when it had been cut up, so fine was it that no one of them was deft and skillful enough to sew it. The best seamstresses in all the Tsardom were summoned but none dared undertake it. So at last the Tsar sent for the old woman and said: “If thou didst know how to spin such thread and weave such linen, thou must also know how to sew me shirts from it.”

And the old woman answered: “O Tsar’s Majesty, it was not I who wove the linen; it is the work of my adopted daughter.”

“Take it, then,” the Tsar said, “and bid her do it for me.” The old woman brought the linen home and told Vasilissa the Tsar’s command: “Well I knew that the work would needs be done by my own hands,” said Vasilissa, and, locking herself in her own room, began to make the shirts. So fast and well did she work that soon a dozen were ready. Then the old woman carried them to the Tsar, while Vasilissa washed her face, dressed her hair, put on her best gown and sat down at the window to see what would happen. And presently a servant in the livery of the Palace came to the house and entering, said: “The Tsar, our lord, desires himself to see the clever needlewoman who has made his shirts and to reward her with his own hands.”

Vasilissa rose and went at once to the Palace, and as soon as the Tsar saw her, he fell in love with her with all his soul. He took her by her white hand and made her sit beside him. “Beautiful maiden,” he said, “never will I part from thee and thou shalt be my wife.”

So the Tsar and Vasilissa the Beautiful were married, and her father returned from the far-distant Tsardom, and he and the old woman lived always with her in the splendid Palace, in all joy and contentment. And as for the little wooden doll, she carried it about with her in her pocket all her life long.

Compiled by Wheeler, Post in Russian Wonder Tales. New York: The Century Company, 1912.


  • Baba Yaga

    Then suddenly the wood became full of a terrible noise; the trees began to groan, the branches to creak and the dry leaves to rustle, and the Baba Yaga came flying from the forest. She was riding in a great iron mortar and driving it with the pestle, and as she came she swept away her trail behind her with a kitchen broom.

    Spell-soaked herbs and flowers, cold iron, broom twigs, bundles of moss and patchouli root, and moth dust.

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  • Fire for Thy Stepmother’s Daughters

    Vasilissa ran to the yard, and behind her she heard the old witch shouting to the locks and the gate. The locks opened, the gate swung wide, and she ran out on to the lawn. The Baba Yaga seized from the wall one of the skulls with burning eyes and flung it after her. “There,” she howled, “is the fire for thy stepmother’s daughters. Take it. That is what they sent thee here for, and may they have joy of it!”

    Flaming coals, hellfire, and blackened bone.

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  • The Black Rider

    As she stood there a third man on horseback came galloping up. His face was black, he was dressed all in black, and the horse he rode was coal-black. He galloped up to the gate of the hut and disappeared there as if he had sunk through the ground and at that moment the night came and the forest grew dark.

    But it was not dark on the green lawn, for instantly the eyes of all the skulls on the wall were lighted up and shone till the place was as bright as day. When she saw this Vasilissa trembled so with fear that she could not run away.

    Black leather, oppoponax, tobacco, and black amber.

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  • The Chicken-Legged Hut

    But at evening she came all at once to the green lawn where the wretched little hut stood on its hens’ legs. The wall around the hut was made of human bones and on its top were skulls. There was a gate in the wall, whose hinges were the bones of human feet and whose locks were jaw-bones set with sharp teeth. The sight filled Vasilissa with horror and she stopped as still as a post buried in the ground.

    Creaky wood and sun-dried thatching, clacking bones, leering skulls, burnt herbs, and enormous magical chicken feet.

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  • The Little Wooden Doll

    “My little Vasilissa, my dear daughter, listen to what I say, remember well my last words and fail not to carry out my wishes. I am dying, and with my blessing, I leave to thee this little doll. It is very precious for there is no other like it in the whole world. Carry it always about with thee in thy pocket and never show it to anyone. When evil threatens thee or sorrow befalls thee, go into a corner, take it from thy pocket and give it something to eat and drink. It will eat and drink a little, and then thou mayest tell it thy trouble and ask its advice, and it will tell thee how to act in thy time of need.” So saying, she kissed her little daughter on the forehead, blessed her, and shortly after died.

    Little Vasilissa grieved greatly for her mother, and her sorrow was so deep that when the dark night came, she lay in her bed and wept and did not sleep. At length she be thought herself of the tiny doll, so she rose and took it from the pocket of her gown and finding a piece of wheat bread and a cup of kvass, she set them before it, and said: “There, my little doll, take it. Eat a little, and drink a little, and listen to my grief. My dear mother is dead and I am lonely for her.”

    Then the doll’s eyes began to shine like fireflies, and suddenly it became alive. It ate a morsel of the bread and took a sip of the kvass, and when it had eaten and drunk, it said:

    “Don’t weep, little Vasilissa. Grief is worst at night. Lie down, shut thine eyes, comfort thyself and go to sleep. The morning is wiser than the evening.” So Vasilissa the Beautiful lay down, comforted herself and went to sleep, and the next day her grieving was not so deep and her tears were less bitter.

    Gently carved wood warm with a maternal love that reaches beyond death: rose-infused amber and soft golden sandalwood.

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  • The Red Rider

    She went a little further and again she heard the sound of a horse’s hoofs and there came another man on horseback galloping past her. He was dressed all in red, and the horse under him was blood-red and its harness was red, and just as he passed her the sun rose.

    Red leather, red moss, and balsam.

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  • The White Rider

    The wood was very dark, and she could not help trembling from fear. Suddenly she heard the sound of a horse’s hoofs and a man on horseback galloped past her. He was dressed all in white, the horse under him was milk-white and the harness was white, and just as he passed her it became twilight.

    White leather and sandalwood.

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  • Vasilissa

    “Take it, then,” the Tsar said, “and bid her do it for me.” The old woman brought the linen home and told Vasilissa the Tsar’s command: “Well I knew that the work would needs be done by my own hands,” said Vasilissa, and, locking herself in her own room, began to make the shirts. So fast and well did she work that soon a dozen were ready. Then the old woman carried them to the Tsar, while Vasilissa washed her face, dressed her hair, put on her best gown and sat down at the window to see what would happen. And presently a servant in the livery of the Palace came to the house and entering, said: “The Tsar, our lord, desires himself to see the clever needlewoman who has made his shirts and to reward her with his own hands.”

    Vasilissa rose and went at once to the Palace, and as soon as the Tsar saw her, he fell in love with her with all his soul. He took her by her white hand and made her sit beside him. “Beautiful maiden,” he said, “never will I part from thee and thou shalt be my wife.”

    So the Tsar and Vasilissa the Beautiful were married, and her father returned from the far-distant Tsardom, and he and the old woman lived always with her in the splendid Palace, in all joy and contentment. And as for the little wooden doll, she carried it about with her in her pocket all her life long.

    She herself had cheeks like blood and milk and grew every day more and more beautiful.

    Creamy skin musk and blushing pink musk with soft sandalwood, white amber, dutiful myrrh, and star jasmine.

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Märchen - The Elfin Hill

Märchen
The Fairy Tale and Folklore Collection.

PERFUME OIL BLENDS
$17.50 per 5ml bottle.
Presented in an amber apothecary vial.


A few large lizards were running nimbly about in the clefts of an old tree; they could understand one another very well, for they spoke the lizard language.

“What a buzzing and a rumbling there is in the elfin hill,” said one of the lizards; “I have not been able to close my eyes for two nights on account of the noise; I might just as well have had the toothache, for that always keeps me awake.”

“There is something going on within there,” said the other lizard; “they propped up the top of the hill with four red posts, till cock-crow this morning, so that it is thoroughly aired, and the elfin girls have learnt new dances; there is something.”

“I spoke about it to an earth-worm of my acquaintance,” said a third lizard; “the earth-worm had just come from the elfin hill, where he has been groping about in the earth day and night. He has heard a great deal; although he cannot see, poor miserable creature, yet he understands very well how to wriggle and lurk about. They expect friends in the elfin hill, grand company, too; but who they are the earth-worm would not say, or, perhaps, he really did not know. All the will-o’-the-wisps are ordered to be there to hold a torch dance, as it is called. The silver and gold which is plentiful in the hill will be polished and placed out in the moonlight.”

“Who can the strangers be?” asked the lizards; “what can the matter be? Hark, what a buzzing and humming there is!”

Just at this moment the elfin hill opened, and an old elfin maiden, hollow behind, came tripping out; she was the old elf king’s housekeeper, and a distant relative of the family; therefore she wore an amber heart on the middle of her forehead. Her feet moved very fast, “trip, trip;” good gracious, how she could trip right down to the sea to the night-raven.

“You are invited to the elf hill for this evening,” said she; “but will you do me a great favor and undertake the invitations? you ought to do something, for you have no housekeeping to attend to as I have. We are going to have some very grand people, conjurors, who have always something to say; and therefore the old elf king wishes to make a great display.”

“Who is to be invited?” asked the raven.

“All the world may come to the great ball, even human beings, if they can only talk in their sleep, or do something after our fashion. But for the feast the company must be carefully selected; we can only admit persons of high rank; I have had a dispute myself with the elf king, as he thought we could not admit ghosts. The merman and his daughter must be invited first, although it may not be agreeable to them to remain so long on dry land, but they shall have a wet stone to sit on, or perhaps something better; so I think they will not refuse this time. We must have all the old demons of the first class, with tails, and the hobgoblins and imps; and then I think we ought not to leave out the death-horse, or the grave-pig, or even the church dwarf, although they do belong to the clergy, and are not reckoned among our people; but that is merely their office, they are nearly related to us, and visit us very frequently.”

“Croak,” said the night-raven as he flew away with the invitations.

The elfin maidens we’re already dancing on the elf hill, and they danced in shawls woven from moonshine and mist, which look very pretty to those who like such things. The large hall within the elf hill was splendidly decorated; the floor had been washed with moonshine, and the walls had been rubbed with magic ointment, so that they glowed like tulip-leaves in the light. In the kitchen were frogs roasting on the spit, and dishes preparing of snail skins, with children’s fingers in them, salad of mushroom seed, hemlock, noses and marrow of mice, beer from the marsh woman’s brewery, and sparkling salt-petre wine from the grave cellars. These were all substantial food. Rusty nails and church-window glass formed the dessert. The old elf king had his gold crown polished up with powdered slate-pencil; it was like that used by the first form, and very difficult for an elf king to obtain. In the bedrooms, curtains were hung up and fastened with the slime of snails; there was, indeed, a buzzing and humming everywhere.

“Now we must fumigate the place with burnt horse-hair and pig’s bristles, and then I think I shall have done my part,” said the elf man-servant.

“Father, dear,” said the youngest daughter, “may I now hear who our high-born visitors are?”

“Well, I suppose I must tell you now,” he replied; “two of my daughters must prepare themselves to be married, for the marriages certainly will take place. The old goblin from Norway, who lives in the ancient Dovre mountains, and who possesses many castles built of rock and freestone, besides a gold mine, which is better than all, so it is thought, is coming with his two sons, who are both seeking a wife. The old goblin is a true-hearted, honest, old Norwegian graybeard; cheerful and straightforward. I knew him formerly, when we used to drink together to our good fellowship: he came here once to fetch his wife, she is dead now. She was the daughter of the king of the chalk-hills at Moen. They say he took his wife from chalk; I shall be delighted to see him again. It is said that the boys are ill-bred, forward lads, but perhaps that is not quite correct, and they will become better as they grow older. Let me see that you know how to teach them good manners.”

“And when are they coming?” asked the daughter.

“That depends upon wind and weather,” said the elf king; “they travel economically. They will come when there is the chance of a ship. I wanted them to come over to Sweden, but the old man was not inclined to take my advice. He does not go forward with the times, and that I do not like.”

Two will-o’-the-wisps came jumping in, one quicker than the other, so of course, one arrived first. “They are coming! they are coming!” he cried.

“Give me my crown,” said the elf king, “and let me stand in the moonshine.”

The daughters drew on their shawls and bowed down to the ground. There stood the old goblin from the Dovre mountains, with his crown of hardened ice and polished fir-cones. Besides this, he wore a bear-skin, and great, warm boots, while his sons went with their throats bare and wore no braces, for they were strong men.

“Is that a hill?” said the youngest of the boys, pointing to the elf hill, “we should call it a hole in Norway.”

“Boys,” said the old man, “a hole goes in, and a hill stands out; have you no eyes in your heads?”

Another thing they wondered at was, that they were able without trouble to understand the language.

“Take care,” said the old man, “or people will think you have not been well brought up.”

Then they entered the elfin hill, where the select and grand company were assembled, and so quickly had they appeared that they seemed to have been blown together. But for each guest the neatest and pleasantest arrangement had been made. The sea folks sat at table in great water-tubs, and they said it was just like being at home. All behaved themselves properly excepting the two young northern goblins; they put their legs on the table and thought they were all right.

“Feet off the table-cloth!” said the old goblin. They obeyed, but not immediately. Then they tickled the ladies who waited at table, with the fir-cones, which they carried in their pockets. They took off their boots, that they might be more at ease, and gave them to the ladies to hold. But their father, the old goblin, was very different; he talked pleasantly about the stately Norwegian rocks, and told fine tales of the waterfalls which dashed over them with a clattering noise like thunder or the sound of an organ, spreading their white foam on every side. He told of the salmon that leaps in the rushing waters, while the water-god plays on his golden harp. He spoke of the bright winter nights, when the sledge bells are ringing, and the boys run with burning torches across the smooth ice, which is so transparent that they can see the fishes dart forward beneath their feet. He described everything so clearly, that those who listened could see it all; they could see the saw-mills going, the men-servants and the maidens singing songs, and dancing a rattling dance,- when all at once the old goblin gave the old elfin maiden a kiss, such a tremendous kiss, and yet they were almost strangers to each other.

Then the elfin girls had to dance, first in the usual way, and then with stamping feet, which they performed very well; then followed the artistic and solo dance. Dear me, how they did throw their legs about! No one could tell where the dance begun, or where it ended, nor indeed which were legs and which were arms, for they were all flying about together, like the shavings in a saw-pit! And then they spun round so quickly that the death-horse and the grave-pig became sick and giddy, and were obliged to leave the table.

“Stop!” cried the old goblin,” is that the only house-keeping they can perform? Can they do anything more than dance and throw about their legs, and make a whirlwind?”

“You shall soon see what they can do,” said the elf king. And then he called his youngest daughter to him. She was slender and fair as moonlight, and the most graceful of all the sisters. She took a white chip in her mouth, and vanished instantly; this was her accomplishment. But the old goblin said he should not like his wife to have such an accomplishment, and thought his boys would have the same objection. Another daughter could make a figure like herself follow her, as if she had a shadow, which none of the goblin folk ever had. The third was of quite a different sort; she had learnt in the brew-house of the moor witch how to lard elfin puddings with glow-worms.

“She will make a good housewife,” said the old goblin, and then saluted her with his eyes instead of drinking her health; for he did not drink much.

Now came the fourth daughter, with a large harp to play upon; and when she struck the first chord, every one lifted up the left leg (for the goblins are left-legged), and at the second chord they found they must all do just what she wanted.

“That is a dangerous woman,” said the old goblin; and the two sons walked out of the hill; they had had enough of it. “And what can the next daughter do?” asked the old goblin.

“I have learnt everything that is Norwegian,” said she; “and I will never marry, unless I can go to Norway.”

Then her youngest sister whispered to the old goblin, “That is only because she has heard, in a Norwegian song, that when the world shall decay, the cliffs of Norway will remain standing like monuments; and she wants to get there, that she may be safe; for she is so afraid of sinking.”

“Ho! ho!” said the old goblin, “is that what she means? Well, what can the seventh and last do?”

“The sixth comes before the seventh,” said the elf king, for he could reckon; but the sixth would not come forward.

“I can only tell people the truth,” said she. “No one cares for me, nor troubles himself about me; and I have enough to do to sew my grave clothes.”

So the seventh and last came; and what could she do? Why, she could tell stories, as many as you liked, on any subject.

“Here are my five fingers,” said the old goblin; “now tell me a story for each of them.”

So she took him by the wrist, and he laughed till he nearly choked; and when she came to the fourth finger, there was a gold ring on it, as if it knew there was to be a betrothal. Then the old goblin said, “Hold fast what you have: this hand is yours; for I will have you for a wife myself.”

Then the elfin girl said that the stories about the ring-finger and little Peter Playman had not yet been told.

“We will hear them in the winter,” said the old goblin, “and also about the fir and the birch-trees, and the ghost stories, and of the tingling frost. You shall tell your tales, for no one over there can do it so well; and we will sit in the stone rooms, where the pine logs are burning, and drink mead out of the golden drinking-horn of the old Norwegian kings. The water-god has given me two; and when we sit there, Nix comes to pay us a visit, and will sing you all the songs of the mountain shepherdesses. How merry we shall be! The salmon will be leaping in the waterfalls, and dashing against the stone walls, but he will not be able to come in. It is indeed very pleasant to live in old Norway. But where are the lads?”

Where indeed were they? Why, running about the fields, and blowing out the will-o’-the-wisps, who so good-naturedly came and brought their torches.

“What tricks have you been playing?” said the old goblin. “I have taken a mother for you, and now you may take one of your aunts.”

But the youngsters said they would rather make a speech and drink to their good fellowship; they had no wish to marry. Then they made speeches and drank toasts, and tipped their glasses, to show that they were empty. Then they took off their coats, and lay down on the table to sleep; for they made themselves quite at home. But the old goblin danced about the room with his young bride, and exchanged boots with her, which is more fashionable than exchanging rings.

“The cock is crowing,” said the old elfin maiden who acted as housekeeper; now we must close the shutters, that the sun may not scorch us.”

Then the hill closed up. But the lizards continued to run up and down the riven tree; and one said to the other, “Oh, how much I was pleased with the old goblin!”

“The boys pleased me better,” said the earth-worm. But then the poor miserable creature could not see.

- Hans Christian Anderson.


  • Beer from the Marsh Woman’s Brewery

    In the kitchen were frogs roasting on the spit, and dishes preparing of snail skins, with children’s fingers in them, salad of mushroom seed, hemlock, noses and marrow of mice, beer from the marsh woman’s brewery, and sparkling salt-petre wine from the grave cellars.

    A beer flavored with marsh arrow grass, yew berries, purple foxglove, and giant hogweed.

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  • Old Demons of the First Class

    We must have all the old demons of the first class, with tails, and the hobgoblins and imps; and then I think we ought not to leave out the death-horse, or the grave-pig, or even the church dwarf, although they do belong to the clergy, and are not reckoned among our people; but that is merely their office, they are nearly related to us, and visit us very frequently. 

    Siberian musk, black clove, opoponax, tonka, black pepper, and neroli.

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  • The Grave-Pig

    We must have all the old demons of the first class, with tails, and the hobgoblins and imps; and then I think we ought not to leave out the death-horse, or the grave-pig, or even the church dwarf, although they do belong to the clergy, and are not reckoned among our people; but that is merely their office, they are nearly related to us, and visit us very frequently. 

    Fig, oakmoss, mushroom caps, and patchouli.

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  • The Night-Raven

    “You are invited to the elf hill for this evening,” said she; “but will you do me a great favor and undertake the invitations? you ought to do something, for you have no housekeeping to attend to as I have. We are going to have some very grand people, conjurors, who have always something to say; and therefore the old elf king wishes to make a great display…”

    “Croak,” said the night-raven as he flew away with the invitations.

    Indigo musk, wild plum, rose geranium, benzoin, night-blooming jasmine, and patchouli.

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  • The Old Goblin

    “Well, I suppose I must tell you now,” he replied; “two of my daughters must prepare themselves to be married, for the marriages certainly will take place. The old goblin from Norway, who lives in the ancient Dovre mountains, and who possesses many castles built of rock and freestone, besides a gold mine, which is better than all, so it is thought, is coming with his two sons, who are both seeking a wife. The old goblin is a true-hearted, honest, old Norwegian graybeard; cheerful and straightforward. I knew him formerly, when we used to drink together to our good fellowship: he came here once to fetch his wife, she is dead now. She was the daughter of the king of the chalk-hills at Moen. They say he took his wife from chalk; I shall be delighted to see him again. It is said that the boys are ill-bred, forward lads, but perhaps that is not quite correct, and they will become better as they grow older. Let me see that you know how to teach them good manners.” 

    A crown of hardened ice and polished fir-cones.

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