The Old Woman in the Wood

Authored by:Brothers Grimm
Chapter 1 / 1

The Old Woman in the Wood

When a poor servant girl was traveling through a large forest with the family she was working for, bandits sprang from the undergrowth and killed everything they could find. With the exception of the girl, who fled the carriage in terror and hid behind a tree, everyone died at the same time. She came outside and saw the terrible catastrophe after the thieves fled with their loot.

“What can a helpless young girl like me do at this point?”, she said while starting to sob loudly, “Since no one lives in the woods and I have no idea how to leave it, I can only starve to death.”

She wandered about looking for a path but came up empty-handed. As soon as dusk fell, she took a seat beneath a tree, submitted to God's care, and made a commitment to remain there while waiting, letting whatever might occur.

But after she had been sitting there for a bit, a white pigeon flew over to her holding a tiny golden key. "Do you see that enormous tree? Therein is a little lock that unlocks with the small key, and inside thou wilt find food sufficient, and thou shalt not be hungry anymore," it stated, placing a small key in her palm.

She then proceeded to the tree and unlocked it, discovering milk in a small bowl and white bread to put into it so she could eat as much as she wanted. Once she was finished, she declared, "I'm so exhausted I could just go to bed, it's time for the chickens to come home to roost."

When the bird returned to her the next time, it carried a new golden key in its beak and instructed her saying "Open the nearby tree and thou canst locate a place to sleep". after opening it, she discovered a lovely white bed, then she asked God to keep her safe over the night and settled down to rest.

The third time when the dove arrived, it carried a small key and stated, "Thou wilt have clothing, once you open that tree over there ." And once she opened it, she saw attire covered with gold and gems that was more magnificent than anything fit for a the monarch's daughter. She stayed there for a while, and the pigeon brought her everything she needed every single day. It was a peaceful living.

But once, the bird came and asked, "Wilt thou do what I ask you to for me?" "Genuinely, with all my heart," the girl affirmed. The little pigeon then said, "I will lead thee to a modest house; go into it. Inside, an elderly woman will be sat by the fire and will greet you with 'Good-day.'" However, do not respond to her no matter what and let her to proceed as she pleases; instead, pass to the right of her. There is a door further on that you must open in order to enter a room with a variety of rings of all shapes and sizes lying there. You must leave the magnificent ones with sparkling stones where they are and quickly find the plain one, which must also be there, and them please deliver it to me as soon as thou canst.

The girl arrived at the entrance of the small house after going there. A stern-looking old woman who greeted her with "Good-day, my child" sat nearby. The girl opened the door without responding to her. The elderly woman yelled, "Whither away," then grabbed her by the robe and tried to hold her firmly, declaring, "This is my house; nobody is allowed in there if I decide not let it." However, the girl kept quiet as she walked away from her and entered the room.

When she entered the room, she saw a huge number of rings on the surface of the table, which sparkled and shined in front of her eyes. She flipped them over and tried to find the simple one, but she was unable to. As she searched, she noticed the elderly woman sneaking away and trying to flee with the birdcage she was holding. She pursued her and got the birdcage from her hands. When she lifted the cage and peered inside, she saw a bird inside with the plain ring on its beak.

When she got the ring she happily ran back and waited for the small white dove to come and retrieve the ring, but it did not. She then decided to continue waiting for the bird while leaning against a tree, and when she did so, it appeared as though the tree was very soft and letting its limbs fall. Suddenly, Suddenly, two arms appeared from the branches surrounding her. When she turned to face the tree, she saw a lovely man hugging and kissing her.

He said “ You saved me from the old woman's evil witchcraft enchantment. She had transformed me into a tree, each day for only two hours I was a white dove. I was unable to return to my human shape, as long as she held the ring,". Then the magic was removed from his attendants and his horses, who had also been transformed into trees, and they stood beside him. Because he was the son of the king, he brought them to his realm where they got married and lived happily ever after.


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