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The Pink

from Grimms' Fairy Tales





There was once upon a time a queen to whom God had given no children.
Every morning she went into the garden and prayed to God in heaven to
bestow on her a son or a daughter. Then an angel from heaven came to her
and said: 'Be at rest, you shall have a son with the power of wishing,
so that whatsoever in the world he wishes for, that shall he have.' Then
she went to the king, and told him the joyful tidings, and when the time
was come she gave birth to a son, and the king was filled with gladness.

Every morning she went with the child to the garden where the wild
beasts were kept, and washed herself there in a clear stream. It
happened once when the child was a little older, that it was lying in
her arms and she fell asleep. Then came the old cook, who knew that the
child had the power of wishing, and stole it away, and he took a hen,
and cut it in pieces, and dropped some of its blood on the queen's apron
and on her dress. Then he carried the child away to a secret place,
where a nurse was obliged to suckle it, and he ran to the king and
accused the queen of having allowed her child to be taken from her by
the wild beasts. When the king saw the blood on her apron, he believed
this, fell into such a passion that he ordered a high tower to be built,
in which neither sun nor moon could be seen and had his wife put into
it, and walled up. Here she was to stay for seven years without meat
or drink, and die of hunger. But God sent two angels from heaven in the
shape of white doves, which flew to her twice a day, and carried her
food until the seven years were over.

The cook, however, thought to himself: 'If the child has the power of
wishing, and I am here, he might very easily get me into trouble.' So
he left the palace and went to the boy, who was already big enough to
speak, and said to him: 'Wish for a beautiful palace for yourself with
a garden, and all else that pertains to it.' Scarcely were the words out
of the boy's mouth, when everything was there that he had wished for.
After a while the cook said to him: 'It is not well for you to be so
alone, wish for a pretty girl as a companion.' Then the king's son
wished for one, and she immediately stood before him, and was more
beautiful than any painter could have painted her. The two played
together, and loved each other with all their hearts, and the old cook
went out hunting like a nobleman. The thought occurred to him, however,
that the king's son might some day wish to be with his father, and thus
bring him into great peril. So he went out and took the maiden aside,
and said: 'Tonight when the boy is asleep, go to his bed and plunge this
knife into his heart, and bring me his heart and tongue, and if you do
not do it, you shall lose your life.' Thereupon he went away, and when
he returned next day she had not done it, and said: 'Why should I shed
the blood of an innocent boy who has never harmed anyone?' The cook once
more said: 'If you do not do it, it shall cost you your own life.' When
he had gone away, she had a little hind brought to her, and ordered her
to be killed, and took her heart and tongue, and laid them on a plate,
and when she saw the old man coming, she said to the boy: 'Lie down in
your bed, and draw the clothes over you.' Then the wicked wretch came in
and said: 'Where are the boy's heart and tongue?' The girl reached the
plate to him, but the king's son threw off the quilt, and said: 'You old
sinner, why did you want to kill me? Now will I pronounce thy sentence.
You shall become a black poodle and have a gold collar round your neck,
and shall eat burning coals, till the flames burst forth from your
throat.' And when he had spoken these words, the old man was changed
into a poodle dog, and had a gold collar round his neck, and the cooks
were ordered to bring up some live coals, and these he ate, until the
flames broke forth from his throat. The king's son remained there a
short while longer, and he thought of his mother, and wondered if she
were still alive. At length he said to the maiden: 'I will go home to my

own country; if you will go with me, I will provide for you.' 'Ah,'
she replied, 'the way is so long, and what shall I do in a strange land
where I am unknown?' As she did not seem quite willing, and as they
could not be parted from each other, he wished that she might be changed
into a beautiful pink, and took her with him. Then he went away to his
own country, and the poodle had to run after him. He went to the tower
in which his mother was confined, and as it was so high, he wished for
a ladder which would reach up to the very top. Then he mounted up and
looked inside, and cried: 'Beloved mother, Lady Queen, are you still
alive, or are you dead?' She answered: 'I have just eaten, and am still
satisfied,' for she thought the angels were there. Said he: 'I am your
dear son, whom the wild beasts were said to have torn from your arms;
but I am alive still, and will soon set you free.' Then he descended
again, and went to his father, and caused himself to be announced as a
strange huntsman, and asked if he could offer him service. The king said
yes, if he was skilful and could get game for him, he should come to
him, but that deer had never taken up their quarters in any part of the
district or country. Then the huntsman promised to procure as much game
for him as he could possibly use at the royal table. So he summoned all
the huntsmen together, and bade them go out into the forest with him.
And he went with them and made them form a great circle, open at one end
where he stationed himself, and began to wish. Two hundred deer and more
came running inside the circle at once, and the huntsmen shot them.
Then they were all placed on sixty country carts, and driven home to the
king, and for once he was able to deck his table with game, after having
had none at all for years.

Now the king felt great joy at this, and commanded that his entire
household should eat with him next day, and made a great feast. When
they were all assembled together, he said to the huntsman: 'As you are
so clever, you shall sit by me.' He replied: 'Lord King, your majesty
must excuse me, I am a poor huntsman.' But the king insisted on it,
and said: 'You shall sit by me,' until he did it. Whilst he was sitting
there, he thought of his dearest mother, and wished that one of the
king's principal servants would begin to speak of her, and would ask how
it was faring with the queen in the tower, and if she were alive still,
or had perished. Hardly had he formed the wish than the marshal began,
and said: 'Your majesty, we live joyously here, but how is the queen
living in the tower? Is she still alive, or has she died?' But the king
replied: 'She let my dear son be torn to pieces by wild beasts; I will
not have her named.' Then the huntsman arose and said: 'Gracious lord
father she is alive still, and I am her son, and I was not carried away
by wild beasts, but by that wretch the old cook, who tore me from her
arms when she was asleep, and sprinkled her apron with the blood of a
chicken.' Thereupon he took the dog with the golden collar, and said:
'That is the wretch!' and caused live coals to be brought, and these the
dog was compelled to devour before the sight of all, until flames burst
forth from its throat. On this the huntsman asked the king if he would
like to see the dog in his true shape, and wished him back into the form
of the cook, in the which he stood immediately, with his white apron,
and his knife by his side. When the king saw him he fell into a passion,
and ordered him to be cast into the deepest dungeon. Then the huntsman
spoke further and said: 'Father, will you see the maiden who brought me
up so tenderly and who was afterwards to murder me, but did not do it,
though her own life depended on it?' The king replied: 'Yes, I would
like to see her.' The son said: 'Most gracious father, I will show her
to you in the form of a beautiful flower,' and he thrust his hand into
his pocket and brought forth the pink, and placed it on the royal table,
and it was so beautiful that the king had never seen one to equal it.
Then the son said: 'Now will I show her to you in her own form,' and
wished that she might become a maiden, and she stood there looking so
beautiful that no painter could have made her look more so.

And the king sent two waiting-maids and two attendants into the tower,
to fetch the queen and bring her to the royal table. But when she was
led in she ate nothing, and said: 'The gracious and merciful God who has
supported me in the tower, will soon set me free.' She lived three days
more, and then died happily, and when she was buried, the two white
doves which had brought her food to the tower, and were angels of
heaven, followed her body and seated themselves on her grave. The aged
king ordered the cook to be torn in four pieces, but grief consumed the
king's own heart, and he soon died. His son married the beautiful maiden
whom he had brought with him as a flower in his pocket, and whether they
are still alive or not, is known to God.





Next: Clever Elsie

Previous: Snowdrop



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