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
Jorinda and Joringel
by the Grimm Brothers
There was once an old castle in the midst of a large and dense
forest, and in it an old woman who was a witch dwelt all alone. In
the day-time she changed herself into a cat or a screech-owl, but
in the evening she took her proper shape again as a human being.
She could lure wild beasts and birds to her, and then she killed
and boiled and roasted them. If anyone came within one hundred
paces of the castle he was obliged to stand still, and could not
stir from the place until she bade him be free. But whenever an
innocent maiden came within this circle, she changed her into a
bird, and shut her up in a wicker-work cage, and carried the cage
into a room in the castle. She had about seven thousand cages of
rare birds in the castle.
Now, there was once a maiden who was called Jorinda, who was
fairer than all other girls. She and a handsome youth named
Joringel had promised to marry each other. They were still in the
days of betrothal, and their greatest happiness was being
together. One day in order that they might be able to talk
together in peace they went for a walk in the forest.
"Take care," said Joringel, "that you do not go too near the
It was a beautiful evening. The sun shone brightly between the
trunks of the trees into the dark green of the forest, and the
turtle-doves sang mournfully upon the beech trees.
Jorinda wept now and then. She sat down in the sunshine and was
sorrowful. Joringel was sorrowful too. They were as sad as if they
were about to die. Then they looked around them, and were quite at
a loss, for they did not know by which way they should go home.
The sun was still half above the mountain and half under. Joringel
looked through the bushes, and saw the old walls of the castle
close at hand. He was horror-stricken and filled with deadly fear.
Jorinda was singing,
"My little bird, with the necklace red,
Sings sorrow, sorrow, sorrow,
He sings that the dove must soon be dead,
Sings sorrow, sor - jug, jug, jug."
Joringel looked for Jorinda. She was changed into a nightingale,
and sang, jug, jug, jug. A screech-owl with glowing eyes flew
three times round about her, and three times cried, to-whoo,
Joringel could not move. He stood there like a stone, and could
neither weep nor speak, nor move hand or foot. The sun had now
set. The owl flew into the thicket, and directly afterwards there
came out of it a crooked old woman, yellow and lean, with large
red eyes and a hooked nose, the point of which reached to her
chin. She muttered to herself, caught the nightingale, and took it
away in her hand. Joringel could neither speak nor move from the
spot. The nightingale was gone.
At last the woman came back, and said in a hollow voice, "Greet
you, Zachiel. If the moon shines on the cage, Zachiel, let him
loose at once."
Then Joringel was freed. He fell on his knees before the woman and
begged that she would give him back his Jorinda, but she said that
he should never have her again, and went away. He called, he wept,
he lamented, but all in vain, "Hooh, what is to become of me?"
Joringel went away, and at last came to a strange village, where
he kept sheep for a long time. He often walked round and round the
castle, but not too near to it. At last he dreamt one night that
he found a blood-red flower, in the middle of which was a
beautiful large pearl, that he picked the flower and went with it
to the castle, and that everything he touched with the flower was
freed from enchantment. He also dreamt that by means of it he
recovered his Jorinda. In the morning, when he awoke, he began to
seek over hill and dale for such a flower. He sought until the
ninth day, and then, early in the morning, he found the blood-red
flower. In the middle of it there was a large dew-drop, as big as
the finest pearl.
Day and night he journeyed with this flower to the castle. When he
was within a hundred paces of it he was not held fast, but walked
on to the door. Joringel was full of joy. He touched the door with
the flower, and it sprang open. He walked in through the
courtyard, and listened for the sound of the birds. At last he
heard it. He went on and found the room from whence it came, and
there the witch was feeding the birds in the seven thousand cages.
When she saw
Joringel she was angry, very angry, and scolded and spat poison
and gall at him, but she could not come within two paces of him.
He did not take any notice of her, but went and looked at the
cages with the birds. But there were many hundred nightingales,
how was he to find his Jorinda again. Just then he saw the old
woman quietly take away a cage with a bird in it, and go towards
Swiftly he sprang towards her, touched the cage with the flower,
and also the old woman. She could now no longer bewitch anyone.
And Jorinda was standing there, clasping him round the neck, and
she was as beautiful as ever. Then all the other birds were turned
into maidens again, and he went home with his Jorinda, and they
lived happily together for a long time.