Kickoff written by Public Domain Stories

The Raven

Brothers Grimm - Translation Lucy Crane (1886)

There was once a Queen and she had a little daughter, who was as yet a babe in arms; and once the child was so restless that the mother could get no peace, do what she would; so she lost patience, and seeing a flight of ravens passing over the castle, she opened the window and said to her child,

"Oh, that thou wert a raven and couldst fly away, that I might be at peace."

No sooner had she uttered the words, than the child was indeed changed into a raven, and fluttered from her arms out of the window. And she flew into a dark wood and stayed there a long time, and her parents knew nothing of her. Once a man was passing through the wood, and he heard the raven cry, and he followed the voice; and when he came near it said,

"I was born a King's daughter, and have been bewitched, but thou canst set me free."

"What shall I do?" asked the man.

"Go deeper into the wood," said she, "and thou shalt find a house and an old woman sitting in it: she will offer thee meat and drink, but thou must
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take none; if thou eatest or drinkest thou fallest into a deep sleep, and canst not set me free at all. In the garden behind the house is a big heap of tan, stand upon that and wait for me. Three days, at about the middle of the day, shall I come to thee in a car drawn by four white horses the first time, by four red ones the second time, and lastly by four black ones; and if thou art not waking but sleeping, thou failest to set me free."
The man promised to do all she said.

"But ah!" cried she, "I know quite well I shall not be set free of thee; something thou wilt surely take from the old woman."

But the man promised yet once more that certainly he would not touch the meat or the drink. But when he came to the house the old woman came up to him.

"My poor man," said she to him, "you are quite tired out, come and be refreshed, and eat and drink."

"No," said the man, "I will eat and drink nothing."

But she left him no peace, saying,
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"Even if you eat nothing, take a draught out
of this cup once and away."

So he was over-persuaded, and he drank.

In the afternoon, about two o'clock, he went out into the garden to stand upon the tan-heap and wait for the raven.

As he stood there he felt all at once so tired, that he could bear it no longer, and laid himself down for a little; but not to sleep. But no sooner was he stretched at length than his eyes closed of themselves, and he fell asleep, and slept so sound, as if nothing in the world could awaken him.

At two o'clock came the raven in the car drawn by four white horses, but she was sad, knowing already that the man would be asleep, and so, when she came into the garden, there he lay sure enough. And she got out of the car and shook him and called to him, but he did not wake. The next day at noon the old woman came and brought him meat and drink, but he would take none. But she left him no peace, and persuaded him until he took a draught out of the cup. About two
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o'clock he went into the garden to stand upon the tan-heap, and to wait for the raven, but he was overcome with so great a weariness that his limbs would no longer hold him up; and whether he would or no he had to lie down, and he fell into a deep sleep.

And when the raven came up with her four red horses, she was sad, knowing already that the man would be asleep. And she went up to him, and there he lay, and nothing would wake him.

The next day the old woman came and asked what was the matter with him, and if he wanted to die, that he would neither eat nor drink; but he answered,

"I neither can nor will eat and drink."

But she brought the dishes of food and the cup of wine, and placed them before him, and when the smell came in his nostrils he could not refrain, but took a deep draught. When the hour drew near, he went into the garden and stood on the tan-heap to wait for the king's daughter;
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