The Brothers Grimm – Allerleirauh

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There was once upon a time a king who had a wife with golden hair,
And she was so beautiful that her equal was not to be found on earth.
It came to pass that she lay ill, and as she felt that she must soon
Die, she called the king and said, if you wish to marry again after
My death, take no one who is not quite as beautiful as I am, and who
Has not just such golden hair as I have, this you must promise me.
And after the king had promised her this she closed her eyes and
Died.


For a long time the king could not be comforted, and had no thought
Of taking another wife. At length his councillors said, this cannot
Go on. The king must marry again, that we may have a queen. And now
Messengers were sent about far and wide, to seek a bride who equalled
The late queen in beauty. In the whole world, however, none was to
Be found, and even if one had been found, still there would have been
No one who had such golden hair. So the messengers came home as they
Went.

Now the king had a daughter, who was just as beautiful as her dead
Mother, and had the same golden hair. When she was grown up the king
Looked at her one day, and saw that in every respect she was like his
Late wife, and suddenly felt a violent love for her. Then he spoke
To his councillors, I will marry my daughter, for she is the
Counterpart of my late wife, otherwise I can find no bride who
Resembles her. When the councillors heard that, they were shocked,
And said, God has forbidden a father to marry his daughter. No good
Can come from such a crime, and the kingdom will be involved in the
Ruin.


The daughter was still more shocked when she became aware of her
Father's resolution, but hoped to turn him from his design. Then she
Said to him, before I fulfil your wish, I must have three dresses,
One as golden as the sun, one as silvery as the moon, and one as
Bright as the stars, besides this, I wish for a mantle of a thousand
Different kinds of fur and peltry joined together, and one of every
Kind of animal in your kingdom must give a piece of his skin for it.
For she thought, to get that will be quite impossible, and thus I
Shall divert my father from his wicked intentions. The king,
However, did not give it up, and the cleverest maidens in his kingdom
Had to weave the three dresses, one as golden as the sun, one as
Silvery as the moon, and one as bright as the stars, and his huntsmen
Had to catch one of every kind of animal in the whole of his kingdom,
And take from it a piece of its skin, and out of these was made a
Mantle of a thousand different kinds of fur. At length, when all was
Ready, the king caused the mantle to be brought, spread it out before
Her, and said, the wedding shall be tomorrow.

When, therefore, the king's daughter saw that there was no longer any
Hope of turning her father's heart, she resolved to run away. In the
Night whilst every one was asleep, she got up, and took three
Different things from her treasures, a golden ring, a golden
Spinning-wheel, and a golden reel. The three dresses of the sun,
Moon, and stars she placed into a nutshell, put on her mantle of all
Kinds of fur, and blackened her face and hands with soot. Then she
Commended herself to God, and went away, and walked the whole night
Until she reached a great forest. And as she was tired, she got into
A hollow tree, and fell asleep.

The sun rose, and she slept on, and she was still sleeping when it
Was full day. Then it so happened that the king to whom this forest
Belonged, was hunting in it. When his dogs came to the tree, they
Sniffed, and ran barking round about it. The king said to the
Huntsmen, just see what kind of wild beast has hidden itself in
There. The huntsmen obeyed his order, and when they came back they
Said, a wondrous beast is lying in the hollow tree, we have never
Before seen one like it. Its skin is fur of a thousand different
Kinds, but it is lying asleep. Said the king, see if you can catch
It alive, and then fasten it to the carriage, and we will take it
With us. When the huntsmen laid hold of the maiden, she awoke full
Of terror, and cried to them, I am a poor child, deserted by father
And mother, have pity on me, and take me with you. Then said they,
Allerleirauh, you will be useful in the kitchen, come with us, and
You can sweep up the ashes
. So they put her in the carriage, and
Took her home to the royal palace. There they pointed out to her a
Closet under the stairs, where no daylight entered, and said, hairy
Animal, there you can live and sleep. Then she was sent into the
Kitchen, and there she carried wood and water, swept the hearth,
Plucked the fowls, picked the vegetables, raked the ashes, and did
All the dirty work.

Allerleirauh lived there for a long time in great wretchedness. Alas,
Fair princess, what is to become of you now. It happened, however,
That one day a feast was held in the palace, and she said to the
Cook, may I go upstairs for a while, and look on. I will place
Myself outside the door. The cook answered, yes, go, but you must be
Back here in half-an-hour to sweep the hearth.


Then she took her oil-lamp, went into her den, put off her dress of
Fur, and washed the soot off her face and hands, so that her full
Beauty once more came to light. And she opened the nut, and took out
Her dress which shone like the sun, and when she had done that she
Went up to the festival, and every one made way for her, for no one
Knew her, and thought no otherwise than that she was a king's
Daughter. The king came to meet her, gave his hand to her, and
Danced with her, and thought in his heart, my eyes have never yet
Seen any one so beautiful. When the dance was over she curtsied, and
When the king looked round again she had vanished, and none knew
Whither. The guards who stood outside the palace were called and
Questioned, but no one had seen her.

She had run into her little den, however, there quickly taken off her
Dress, made her face and hands black again, put on the mantle of fur,
And again was Allerleirauh. And now when she went into the kitchen,
And was about to get to her work and sweep up the ashes, the cook
Said, leave that alone till morning, and make me the soup for the
King, I, too, will go upstairs awhile, and take a look, but let no
Hairs fall in, or in future you shall have nothing to eat. So the
Cook went away, and Allerleirauh made the soup for the king, and made
Bread soup and the best she could, and when it was ready she fetched
Her golden ring from her little den, and put it in the bowl in which
The soup was served. When the dancing was over, the king had his
Soup brought and ate it, and he liked it so much that it seemed to
Him he had never tasted better. But when he came to the bottom of
The bowl, he saw a golden ring lying, and could not conceive how it
Could have got there. Then he ordered the cook to appear before him.
The cook was terrified when he heard the order, and said to
Allerleirauh, you have certainly let a hair fall into the soup, and
If you have, you shall be beaten for it.

When he came before the king the latter asked who had made the soup.
The cook replied, I made it. But the king said, that is not true,
For it was much better than usual, and cooked differently. He
Answered, I must acknowledge that I did not make it, it was made by
The hairy animal. The king said, go and bid it come up here.

When Allerleirauh came, the king said, who are you. I am a poor girl
Who no longer has any father or mother. He asked further, of what
Use are you in my palace. She answered, I am good for nothing but to
Have boots thrown at my head. He continued, where did you get the
Ring which was in the soup. She answered, I know nothing about the
Ring. So the king could learn nothing, and had to send her away
Again.


After a while, there was another festival, and then, as before,
Allerleirauh begged the cook for leave to go and look on. He
Answered, yes, but come back again in half-an-hour, and make the king
The bread soup which he so much likes. Then she ran into her den,
Washed herself quickly, and took out of the nut the dress which was
As silvery as the moon, and put it on. Then she went up and was like
A princess, and the king stepped forward to meet her, and rejoiced to
See her once more, and as the dance was just beginning they danced it
Together. But when it was ended, she again disappeared so quickly
That the king could not observe where she went. She, however, sprang
Into her den, and once more made herself a hairy animal, and went
Into the kitchen to prepare the bread soup. When the cook had gone
Upstairs, she fetched the little golden spinning-wheel, and put it in
The bowl so that the soup covered it. Then it was taken to the king,
Who ate it, and liked it as much as before, and had the cook brought,
Who this time likewise was forced to confess that Allerleirauh had
Prepared the soup. Allerleirauh again came before the king, but she
Answered that she was good for nothing else but to have boots thrown
At her head, and that she knew nothing at all about the little golden
Spinning-wheel.

When, for the third time, the king held a festival, all happened just
As it had done before. The cook said, fur-skin, you are a witch, and
Always put something in the soup which makes it so good that the king
Likes it better than that which I cook, but as she begged so hard, he
Let her go up at the appointed time. And now she put on the dress
Which shone like the stars, and thus entered the hall. Again the
King danced with the beautiful maiden, and thought that she never yet
Had been so beautiful.

And whilst she was dancing, he contrived, without her noticing it, to
Slip a golden ring on her finger, and he had given orders that the
Dance should last a very long time. When it was ended, he wanted to
Hold her fast by her hands, but she tore herself loose, and sprang
Away so quickly through the crowd that she vanished from his sight.
She ran as fast as she could into her den beneath the stairs, but as
She had been too long, and had stayed more than half-an-hour she
Could not take off her pretty dress, but only threw over it her
Mantle of fur, and in her haste she did not make herself quite black,
But one finger remained white. Then Allerleirauh ran into the
Kitchen, and cooked the bread soup for the king, and as the cook was
Away, put her golden reel into it.

When the king found the reel at the bottom of it, he caused
Allerleirauh to be summoned, and then he espied the white finger, and
Saw the ring which he had put on it during the dance. Then he
Grasped her by the hand, and held her fast, and when she wanted to
Release herself and run away, her mantle of fur opened a little, and
The star-dress shone forth. The king clutched the mantle and tore it
Off. Then her golden hair shone forth, and she stood there in full
Splendor, and could no longer hide herself. And when she had washed
The soot and ashes from her face, she was more beautiful than anyone
Who had ever been seen on earth. But the king said, you are my dear
Bride, and we will never more part from each other. Thereupon the
Marriage was solemnized, and they lived happily until their death
.

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