The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales |
This collection of "classics" certainly is a departure from the Disney versions. The tales are mostly very dark and pessimistic, as originally recorded by the Brothers. For the more "colourful" children's stories it is better to buy the specific tales from the bookstore instead of a collective book.
This story is available in the following languages
Brother and Sister
by the Grimm Brothers
took his little sister by the hand and said, "Since our mother
died we have had no happiness. Our step-mother beats us every day,
and if we come near her she kicks us away with her foot. Our meals
are the hard crusts of bread that are left over. And the little
dog under the table is better off, for she often throws it a
choice morsel. God pity us, if our mother only knew. Come, we will
go forth together into the wide world."
They walked the whole day over meadows, fields, and stony places.
And when it rained the little sister said, "Heaven and our hearts
are weeping together." In the evening they came to a large forest,
and they were so weary with sorrow and hunger and the long walk,
that they lay down in a hollow tree and fell asleep.
The next day when they awoke, the sun was already high in the sky,
and shone down hot into the tree. Then the brother said, "Sister,
I am thirsty. If I knew of a little brook I would go and just take
a drink. I think I hear one running."
The brother got up and took the little sister by the hand, and
they set off to find the brook. But the wicked step-mother was a
witch, and had seen how the two children had gone away, and had
crept after them secretly, as witches creep, and had bewitched all
the brooks in the forest.
Now when they found a little brook leaping brightly over the
stones, the brother was going to drink out of it, but the sister
heard how it said as it ran,
"Who drinks of me will be a tiger,
Who drinks of me will be a tiger."
Then the sister cried, "Pray, dear brother, do not drink, or you
will become a wild beast, and tear me to pieces." The brother did
not drink, although he was so thirsty, but said, "I will wait for
the next spring."
When they came to the next brook the sister heard this also say,
"Who drinks of me will be a wolf,
who drinks of me will be a wolf."
Then the sister cried out, "Pray, dear brother, do not drink, or
you will become a wolf, and devour me." The brother did not drink,
and said, "I will wait until we come to the next spring, but then
I must drink, say what you like. For my thirst is too great."
And when they came to the third brook the sister heard how it said
as it ran,
"Who drinks of me will be a roebuck,
who drinks of me will be a roebuck."
The sister said, "Oh, I pray you, dear brother, do not drink, or
you will become a roebuck, and run away from me." But the brother
had knelt down at once by the brook, and had bent down and drunk
some of the water, and as soon as the first drops touched his lips
he lay there in the form of a young roebuck.
And now the sister wept over her poor bewitched brother, and the
little roe wept also, and sat sorrowfully near to her. But at last
the girl said, "Be quiet, dear little roe, I will never, never
leave you." Then she untied her golden garter and put it round the
roebuck's neck, and she plucked rushes and wove them into a soft
cord. This she tied to the little animal and led it on, and she
walked deeper and deeper into the forest.
And when they had gone a very long way they came at last to a
little house, and the girl looked in. And as it was empty, she
thought, "We can stay here and live." Then she sought for leaves
and moss to make a soft bed for the roe. And every morning she
went out and gathered roots and berries and nuts for herself, and
brought tender grass for the roe, who ate out of her hand, and was
content and played round about her. In the evening, when the
sister was tired, and had said her prayer, she laid her head upon
the roebuck's back - that was her pillow, and she slept softly on
it. And if only the brother had had his human form it would have
been a delightful life.
For some time they were alone like this in the wilderness. But it
happened that the king of the country held a great hunt in the
forest. Then the blasts of the horns, the barking of dogs and the
merry shouts of the huntsmen rang through the trees, and the
roebuck heard all, and was only too anxious to be there.
"Oh," said he, to his sister, "let me be off to the hunt, I cannot
bear it any longer," and he begged so much that at last she
agreed. "But," said she to him, "come back to me in the evening. I
must shut my door for fear of the rough huntsmen, so knock and
say, 'My little sister, let me in,' that I may know you. And if
you do not say that, I shall not open the door."
Then the young roebuck sprang away. So happy was he and so merry
in the open air. The king and the huntsmen saw the lovely animal,
and started after him, but they could not catch him, and when they
thought that they surely had him, away he sprang through the
bushes and vanished. When it was dark he ran to the cottage,
knocked, and said, "My little sister, let me in." Then the door
was opened for him, and he jumped in, and rested himself the whole
night through upon his soft bed.
The next day the hunt began again, and when the roebuck once more
heard the bugle-horn, and the "ho, ho" of the huntsmen, he had no
peace, but said, "Sister, let me out, I must be off." His sister
opened the door for him, and said, "But you must be here again in
the evening and say your pass-word." When the king and his
huntsmen again saw the young roebuck with the golden collar, they
all chased him, but he was too quick and nimble for them. This
lasted the whole day, but by the evening the huntsmen had
surrounded him, and one of them wounded him a little in the foot,
so that he limped and ran slowly.
Then a hunter crept after him to the cottage and heard how he
said, "My little sister, let me in," and saw that the door was
opened for him, and was shut again at once. The huntsman took
notice of it all, and went to the king and told him what he had
seen and heard. Then the king said, "To-morrow we will hunt once
The little sister, however, was dreadfully frightened when she saw
that her fawn was hurt. She washed the blood off him, laid herbs
on the wound, and said, "Go to your bed, dear roe, that you may
get well again." But the wound was so slight that the roebuck,
next morning, did not feel it any more. And when he again heard
the sport outside, he said, "I cannot bear it, I must be there.
They shall not find it so easy to catch me."
The sister cried, and said, "This time they will kill you, and
here am I alone in the forest and forsaken by all the world. I
will not let you out."
"Then you will have me die of grief," answered the roe. "When I
hear the bugle-horns I feel as if I must jump out of my skin."
Then the sister could not do otherwise, but opened the door for
him with a heavy heart, and the roebuck, full of health and joy,
bounded into the forest. When the king saw him, he said to his
huntsmen, "Now chase him all day long till night-fall, but take
care that no one does him any harm." As soon as the sun had set,
the king said to the huntsman, "Now come and show me the cottage
in the wood." And when he was at the door, he knocked and called
out, "Dear little sister, let me in."
Then the door opened, and the king walked in, and there stood a
maiden more lovely than any he had ever seen. The maiden was
frightened when she saw, not her little roe, but a man come in who
wore a golden crown upon his head. But the king looked kindly at
her, stretched out his hand, and said, "Will you go with me to my
palace and be my dear wife."
"Yes, indeed," answered the maiden, "but the little roe must go
with me, I cannot leave him."
The king said, "It shall stay with you as long as you live, and
shall want nothing." Just then he came running in, and the sister
again tied him with the cord of rushes, took it in her own hand,
and went away with the king from the cottage. The king took the
lovely maiden upon his horse and carried her to his palace, where
the wedding was held with great pomp. She was now the queen, and
they lived for a long time happily together. The roebuck was
tended and cherished, and ran about in the palace-garden.
But the wicked step-mother, because of whom the children had gone
out into the world, had never thought but that the sister had been
torn to pieces by the wild beasts in the wood, and that the
brother had been shot for a roebuck by the huntsmen. Now when she
heard that they were so happy, and so well off, envy and jealousy
rose in her heart and left her no peace, and she thought of
nothing but how she could bring them again to misfortune.
Her own daughter, who was ugly as night, and had only one eye,
reproached her and said, "A queen, that ought to have been my
"Just be quiet," answered the old woman, and comforted her by
saying, "when the time comes I shall be ready."
As time went on the queen had a pretty little boy, and it happened
that the king was out hunting. So the old witch took the form of
the chamber maid, went into the room where the queen lay, and said
to her, "Come the bath is ready. It will do you good, and give you
fresh strength. Make haste before it gets cold." Her daughter also
was close by. So they carried the weakly queen into the bath-room,
and put her into the bath. Then they shut the door and ran away.
But in the bath-room they had made a fire of such hellish heat
that the beautiful young queen was soon suffocated.
When this was done the old woman took her daughter, put a nightcap
on her head, and laid her in bed in place of the queen. She gave
her too the shape and look of the queen, only she could not make
good the lost eye. But in order that the king might not see it,
she was to lie on the side on which she had no eye. In the evening
when he came home and heard that he had a son he was heartily
glad, and was going to the bed of his dear wife to see how she
was. But the old woman quickly called out, "For your life leave
the curtains closed. The queen ought not to see the light yet, and
must have rest." The king went away, and did not find out that a
false queen was lying in the bed.
But at midnight, when all slept, the nurse, who was sitting in the
nursery by the cradle, and who was the only person awake, saw the
door open and the true queen walk in. She took the child out of
the cradle, laid it on her arm, and suckled it. Then she shook up
its pillow, laid the child down again, and covered it with the
little quilt. And she did not forget the roebuck, but went into
the corner where it lay, and stroked its back. Then she went quite
silently out of the door again. The next morning the nurse asked
the guards whether anyone had come into the palace during the
night, but they answered, "No, we have seen no one." She came thus
many nights and never spoke a word. The nurse always saw her, but
she did not dare to tell anyone about it.
When some time had passed in this manner, the queen began to speak
in the night, and said,
"How fares my child,
How fares my roe?
Twice shall I come,
Then never more."
The nurse did not answer, but when the queen had gone again, went
to the king and told him all. The king said, "Ah, God. What is
this? To-morrow night I will watch by the child." In the evening
he went into the nursery, and at midnight the queen again appeared
"How fares my child,
How fares my roe?
Once will I come,
Then never more."
And she nursed the child as she was wont to do before she
disappeared. The king dared not speak to her, but on the next
night he watched again. Then she said,
"How fares my child,
How fares my roe?
This time I come,
Then never more."
Then the king could not restrain himself. He sprang towards her,
and said, "You can be none other than my dear wife." She answered,
"Yes, I am your dear wife," and at the same moment she received
life again, and by God's grace became fresh, rosy and full of
told the king the evil deed which the wicked witch and her
daughter had been guilty of towards her. The king ordered both to
be led before the judge, and the judgment was delivered against
them. The daughter was taken into the forest where she was torn to
pieces by wild beasts, but the witch was cast into the fire and
miserably burnt. And as soon as she was burnt to ashes, the
roebuck changed his shape, and received his human form again, so
the sister and brother lived happily together all their lives.