One day an old man and his wife sat in front of a wretched looking hut and sought to relax awhile from their work.
“I had a bad dream,” the grandmother said. “I had my hair powdered with snow, but the sun came out and melted it. My dress was made from a spider’s web, but when I passed through some bushes, the thorns tore it apart. My shoes were made of glass, but then I tripped over a stone, and they went ‘clink’ and broke in two.
“At noon I saw a beautiful bird as white as snow sitting on a branch. When the bird finished its song, it flapped its wings and flew ahead of me. I followed it until I came to a little house that was made of bread.
“I went downstairs into the cellar, where I found a very old woman who was bobbing her head. I asked her, “‘Does my husband live in this house?’ ‘Oh you poor child,’ she responded, ‘you’ve stumbled on a murderers’ den.’
“At nightfall the devil came home.
“When this monster came, he cut a piece of flesh from my own thigh, but I withstood the pain without uttering a sound. He went into the stable, cut out the eyes of all the cows and sheep, and threw them in my face.
“He threw me down, dragged me along by my hair, cut my head off on the block, and chopped me into pieces, so that my blood flowed on the floor. He saw that a gold ring was still on my finger, and since he had trouble pulling it off, he took a hatchet and chopped it off.
“You went out to look for me but found nothing except my bones, which you took away from the gallows and buried in a grave.”
“That’s all fine and good,” the old man answered. “I dreamed there was a fountain at the marketplace that used to gush with wine, and it ran dry!”
1. Written in March 2020
2. Part of The New Brothers Grimm project
3. Assembled from Tale 192: The Master Thief; Tale 29: The Devil With The Three Golden Hairs; Tale 84: Hans Gets Married; Tale 15: Hansel And Gretel; Tale 40: The Robber Bridegroom; Tale 242: The Robber And His Sons; Tale 32: Clever Hans; Tale 46: Fitcher’s Bird; Tale 232: The Crows; Tale 4: A Tale About The Boy Who Went Forth To Learn What Fear Was