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The Robber Bridegroom
fairytales by Grimm brothers
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The Robber Bridegroom ~fairytales by Grimm brothers A princess was pledged to marry a prince, and he asked her many times to come once and visit him in his castle. But since the way to the castle led through a large forest, she continually refused because she feared she might lose her way. If that was her concern, the prince told her, he would readily help her by tying a ribbon on each tree so that she could easily find her way. Nevertheless, she tried to postpone the trip for some time since she inwardly dreaded it. Finally, she couldn’t make any more excuses and had to set out one day on the journey. It took her the entire day to walk through a long, long forest. When she finally arrived at a large house, everything was quiet inside, and only an old woman sat in front of the door. “Can you tell me whether the prince, my bridegroom, lives here?” “It’s good, my child, that you have come now,” responded the woman, “because the prince is not at home. Before your arrival I had to fetch water and pour it into a large kettle. They want to kill you, and afterward they’ll cook and eat you.” Just as she was saying this the prince could be seen returning from a robbery with his villainous band of robbers. Fortunately, the old woman took pity on the princess because of her youth and beauty, and before anyone had noticed her, she said: “Quick, go down into the cellar and hide yourself behind the large barrel!” No sooner did the princess dash down into the cellar than the robbers also went down there, dragging an old woman whom they had captured. The princess saw clearly that it was her grandmother, for she could see everything that happened from her corner without being noticed. The robbers grabbed hold of the old grandmother, killed her, and pulled off all the rings from her fingers, one after the other. However, the gold ring on one of her fingers wouldn’t come off. So one of the robbers took a hatchet and chopped off the finger, but the finger sprang behind the barrel and fell right into the princess’s lap. After the robbers had searched in vain for the finger a long time, one of them spoke out: “Has anyone looked behind the large barrel?” “It’s better if we continue searching when there’s more light,” another said. “Early tomorrow morning we’ll continue looking. Then we’ll soon find the ring.” Soon thereafter the robbers lay down to sleep in the cellar, and as they were sleeping and snoring, the bride came out from behind the barrel. The robbers were lying there all in a row, and she had to step over the sleeping men until she came to the door. She cautiously entered the rooms in between, and she was constantly afraid that she might wake someone, but fortunately nothing happened, and once she reached the outside door and was in the forest again, she followed the ribbons, for the moon shone brightly up to the time that she managed to reach her home. She told her father everything that had happened to her, and he immediately gave orders for an entire regiment to surround the castle as soon as the bridegroom was to arrive. The soldiers did as he ordered. Then the bridegroom came the same day and asked right away why the princess had not come to him as she had promised to do. Then she said: “I had such a dreadful dream. I dreamt I came to a house where an old woman was sitting in front of the door, and she said to me: ‘What a good thing it is, my child, that you have come now because nobody is home, and I must tell you, I had to carry water to a large kettle. They want to kill you and then boil and eat you.’ And as she was speaking, the robbers came home. Then, before anyone could notice, the old woman said: ‘Quick, go down into the cellar and hide behind the large barrel.’ No sooner did I hide behind the barrel than the robbers came down the cellar stairs and dragged an old woman with them. Then they grabbed hold of her and murdered her. After they had murdered the old woman, they pulled off all the rings from her fingers, one after another. But they couldn’t pull off the gold ring from one of the fingers. So one of the robbers grabbed a hatchet and chopped off the finger, which flew into the air and fell behind the barrel right into my lap, and here is the finger!” Upon saying this, the princess suddenly drew the finger from her pocket. When the bridegroom heard and saw all this, he became chalk white from fright. He immediately thought of fleeing and jumped through the window. However, there were guards standing beneath the window. They caught the bridegroom and his entire band of robbers. All of them were executed as payment for their villainy.

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