The True Bride
Apparently, someone has made a movie of this story. I’m going to have to track it down. Where would I look for such a thing? I’ll find it.
Once upon a time a girl lived with her step-mother who was never pleased with anything the girl did. One day she assigned her the task of collecting twelve pounds of feathers. The girl knew that this was impossible because twelve pounds of feathers are quite a bit of feathers. Everything the girl had just a little pile of feathers collected she was stamp her hands down or blow out and the feathers would all fly away. She would then have to collect them again. Finally, the girl put her head down on the table and cried. She called out to ask if there were anybody who cared about her at all.
She was surprised to hear a voice. The voice belonged to an old woman. The old woman asked her what was wrong. The girl told her of the impossible task. The old woman told her to lie down and get some rest and she would take care of the feathers. When the girl awoke, all the feathers were collected in great heaps and the rest of the house was clean as well. The step-mother came home and was surprised. She thought that she must give the girl more difficult work to do.
The next day the step-mother told the girl to empty out the garden pond using only a spoon with holes in it. Once again, the task was impossible. Once again, the old woman appeared and asked her what was wrong. The old woman told the girl to take a nap and she would take care of it. The entire pond rose up as a mist and moved elsewhere. All that was left were the flapping fish at the bottom. The step-mother told the girl the pond should have been moved sooner.
The next day was the most impossible task yet. The step-mother told the girl to build her a castle out in the field and it had to be ready by that evening. There were great stones there, but they were too large for the girl to move. She was once again upset, but, once again, the old woman appeared and asked her what was wrong. The girl told her of the third impossible task. The old woman told her to take a nap under the tree and she would take care of it and if she desired she could live in the castle herself. When the girl awoke there was a castle, and not only was there a castle, it was furnished with all of the finest things.
The step-mother could not find anything wrong with the castle. She searched every inch of it to find something the girl must have forgotten. She finally asked to see the cellar because if there weren’t great casks of wine down there, the girl was going to be sorry. The door to the cellar was heavy. As the step-mother descended into the cellar the door slammed shut and there was a great noise. The girl opened the cellar and saw her step-mother dead at the bottom. She now lived in the castle alone.
Soon, men heard of her great wealth and came to court her. None of them really tickled her fancy until one man showed up. He knew the way to her heart and they decided that they must be married. He asked her to wait under a lime tree while he rode home to get his father’s permission for them to marry. He would be back shortly.
The girl waited. He didn’t come. The next day came and he wasn’t there. Then the next day passed and he wasn’t there. She determined that something must have befallen him so she packed a bag with three beautiful dresses. One had stars all over it, the next had moons, and the third had suns. She went out to seek her beloved. When she didn’t find him she took a job shepherding. She buried her dresses underneath a rock.
The prince of the land was to be married and there was a great procession. When the girl looked up to see who the prince was, it was none other than her beloved, but he did not appear to recognize her. The girl felt awful. She put on her dress with the suns and went to the castle as there was celebration for the wedding. She dazzled the prince in her dress, but he still did not know who she was. She went back the next night in her dress with the moons. The prince was still entranced but didn’t know who she was. The next night she went back in her dress of stars, which was the most dazzling out of them all. The prince had been waiting for her arrival. He told her that he felt like he knew her. She kissed him and he remembered everything. They ran away back to her castle, where a priest was waiting to marry them.
Maybe I’m just a skeptic, but this guy kind of sounds like a player. Sure, he forgot her, that’s awfully convenient. Usually when we read a story like this the prince has been enchanted away from his “true love.” There is absolutely no mention of enchantment in this story. This dude was just a jerk.
Hey, guess what, in this story, they’re not married. The woman rescues her man, but they’re not married yet. That’s different. Usually, the woman rescuing the man means they’re married already.
Lime trees generally only grow in more tropical environments. I could be totally wrong on that, but I think I’m right. It’s a citrus fruit and citrus fruit likes warmer environments. That means this story was not set in Germany; Germany gets pretty cold from what I know. This story probably takes place Mediterranean-ish.
Ok, I was right, but I was also wrong about the lime tree thing. I was right because citrus lime trees do only grow in tropical-ish environments. I was wrong because the lime tree referred to in this story was most likely a Linden tree. Basically people call the linden tree a lime tree because someone screwed up how they pronounced “lind” and everyone started calling it “lime,” even though it’s not a lime tree at all. A linden tree is a regular old tree that doesn’t bear fruit and drops its leaves in the autumn.
So the step-mother is dead. It was probably an accident, but where did the body go? This girl lived in this castle by herself right? How did she dispose of the body? Did she call on some people and be like, “Hey, my step-mom fell down the stairs; she’s dead,” and they just showed up to take her to the graveyard? Wouldn’t anybody else suspect foul-play? I’m kind of wondering if the girl just lived with a decomposing body in her basement. I know that sounds creepy, but the story never says what happened.
We have the great number three, again. We have three tasks, again. We have three dresses to rival the sun, the moon, and the stars, again. That’s the whole three degrees of glory thing going on. We have a woman rescuing her man, again.
There are many common elements in this story. This story doesn’t seem as nice as other similar stories though. The step-mom is dead in the basement, the prince seems like a class-A, herpes carrying jerk. The themes are similar. A woman should do anything to keep her man. If you’re a jerk of a step-parent you might end up dead in the basement. Here’s a good one, don’t think something is impossible.
I read somewhere that Benedict Cumberbatch likes the quote, “Nothing is impossible.” Right on, Benedict. I know I totally sound like I’m from the 90s right now. It’s just my frame of mind right now, go with it. I also happen to really, really like that quote. It seems very similar to another quote I like, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” This girl, was an abused and neglected step-child, she probably even had red hair, but because she kept moving forward and was determined, she ended up with this awesome life. She tried these impossible tasks knowing that they were impossible, but she tried anyway. You know what, she freaking did it. She did it. She had some help of course, but she totally did it. You go girl, seriously. Then she gets to choose her man, which was pretty much unheard of for the time period. Then when that man disappears, she’s like, “No way, honey, he’s mine,” and she goes off to search for him.
The point of all of this is that she did a lot. She rose up in life when no one, least of all her step-mother, would have ever envisioned that she could. They were probably all thinking she was going to end up on a street corner. She made a very good life for herself.
Even though this story is a bit darker than its companions in ways, I liked it. I like how this girl took charge of her life after growing up in an abusive household. High-five unnamed girl!
12 pounds of feathers, abusive household, build castle in a day, dress of moons, dress of stars, dress of suns, empty out a pond, evil step-mother, grimm’s fairy tales, grimm’s fairy tales The True Bride, lime tree, old woman, old woman grants wishes, spoon with a hold in it, the trude bride, The True Bride
Grimm’s Fairy Tales