Kickoff written by Public Domain Stories


Brothers Grimm - Translation Lucy Crane (1886)

There was once a woman who was a witch, and she had two daughters, one ugly and wicked, whom she loved the best, because she was her very own daughter, and one pretty and good, whom she hated because she was her step-daughter. One day the step-daughter put on a pretty apron, which the other daughter liked so much that she became envious, and said to her mother that she must and should have the apron.

"Be content, my child," said the old woman, "thou shalt have it. Thy step-sister has long deserved death, and to-night, while she is asleep, I shall come and cut off her head. Take care to lie at the farthest side of the bed, and push her to the outside."

And it would have been all over with the poor girl, if she had not been standing in a corner near and heard it all. She did not dare to go outside the door the whole day long, and when bed-time came the other one got into bed first, so as to lie on the farthest side; but when she had gone to sleep, the step-daughter pushed her towards the
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outside, and took the inside place next the wall. In the night the old woman came sneaking; in her right hand she held an axe, and with her left she felt for the one who was lying outside, and then she heaved up the axe with both hands, and hewed the head off her only daughter.

When she had gone away, the other girl got up and went to her sweetheart's, who was called Roland, and knocked at his door. When he came to her, she said,

"Listen, dear Roland, we must flee away in all haste; my step-mother meant to put me to death, but she has killed her only child instead. When the day breaks, and she sees what she has done, we are lost."

"But I advise you," said Roland, "to bring away her magic wand with you; otherwise we cannot escape her when she comes after to overtake us." So the maiden fetched the magic wand, and she took up the head of her step-sister and let drop three drops of blood on the ground,—one by the bed, one in the kitchen, and one on the steps. Then she hastened back to her
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When the old witch got up in the morning, she called out to her daughter, to give her the apron, but no daughter came. Then she cried out, "Where art thou?"

"Here, at the steps, sweeping!" answered one of the drops of blood.

The old woman went out, but she saw nobody at the steps, and cried again, "Where art thou?"

"Here in the kitchen warming myself," cried the second drop of blood.

So she went into the kitchen and found no one. Then she cried again, "Where art thou?"

"Oh, here in bed fast asleep!" cried the third drop of blood.

Then the mother went into the room, and up to the bed, and there lay her only child, whose head she had cut off herself. The witch fell into a great fury, rushed to the window, for from it she could see far and wide, and she caught sight of her step-daughter, hastening away with her dear Roland.

"It will be no good to you," cried she, "if you get ever so far away, you cannot escape me." Then she put on her boots, which took her an hour's walk
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at every stride, and it was not long before she had overtaken them. But the maiden, when she saw the old woman striding up, changed, by means of the magic wand, her dear Roland into a lake, and herself into a duck swimming upon it. The witch stood on the bank and threw in crumbs of bread, and took great pains to decoy the duck towards her, but the duck would not be decoyed, and the old woman was obliged to go back in the evening disappointed. Then the maiden and her dear Roland took again their natural shapes, and travelled on the whole night through until daybreak. Then the maiden changed herself into a beautiful flower, standing in the middle of a hedge of thorns, and her dear Roland into a fiddle-player. It was not long before the witch came striding up, and she said to the musician,

"Dear musician, will you be so kind as to reach that pretty flower for me?"

"Oh yes," said he, "I will strike up a tune to it."

Then as she crept quickly up to the hedge to...
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