Grimm's Household Tales with the
translated by Margaret Hunt
THERE was once a cook named Grethel,
who wore shoes with red rosettes, and when she walked out with them on,
she turned herself this way and that, and thought, "You certainly
are a pretty girl!" And when she came home she drank, in her gladness
of heart, a draught of wine, and as wine excites a desire to eat, she
tasted the best of whatever she was cooking until she was satisfied, and
said, "The cook must know what the food is like."
Then she went and put the fowls down again to the fire, basted them, and drove the spit merrily round. But as the roast meat smelt so good, Grethel thought, "Something might be wrong, it ought to be tasted!" She touched it with her finger, and said, "Ah! how good fowls are! It certainly is a sin and a shame that they are not eaten directly!" She ran to the window, to see if the master was not coming with his guest, but she saw no one, and went back to the fowls and thought, "One of the wings is burning! I had better take it off and eat it." So she cut it off, ate it, and enjoyed it, and when she had done, she thought, "the other must go down too, or else master will observe that something is missing." When the two wings were eaten, she went and looked for her master, and did not see him. It suddenly occurred to her, "Who knows? They are perhaps not coming at all, and have turned in somewhere." Then she said, "Hallo, Grethel, enjoy yourself, one fowl has been cut into, take another drink, and eat it up entirely; when it is eaten you will have some peace, why should God's good gifts be spoilt?" So she ran into the cellar again, took an enormous drink and ate up the one chicken in great glee. When one of the chickens was swallowed down, and still her master did not come, Grethel looked at the other and said, "Where one is, the other should be likewise, the two go together; what's right for the one is right for the other; I think if I were to take another draught it would do me no harm." So she took another hearty drink, and let the second chicken rejoin the first.
While she was just in the best of the eating, her master
came and cried, hurry up, "Haste thee, Grethel, the guest is coming
directly after me!" "Yes, sir, I will soon serve up," answered
Grethel. Meantime the master looked to see that the table was properly
laid, and took the great knife, wherewith he was going to carve the chickens,
and sharpened it on the steps. Presently the guest came, and knocked politely
and courteously at the house-door. Grethel ran, and looked to see who
was there, and when she saw the guest, she put her finger to her lips
and said, "Hush! hush! get away as quickly as you can, if my master
catches you it will be the worse for you; he certainly did ask you to
supper, but his intention is to cut off your two ears. Just listen how
he is sharpening the knife for it!" The guest heard the sharpening,
and hurried down the steps again as fast as he could. Grethel was not
idle; she ran screaming to her master, and cried, "You have invited
a fine guest!" "Eh, why, Grethel? What do you mean by that?"
"Yes," said she, "he has taken the chickens which I was
just going to serve up, off the dish, and has run away with them!"
"That's a nice trick!" said her master, and lamented the fine
chickens. "If he had but left me one, so that something remained
for me to eat." He called to him to stop, but the guest pretended
not to hear. Then he ran after him with the knife still in his hand, crying,
"Just one, just one," meaning that the guest should leave him
just one chicken, and not take both. The guest, however, thought no otherwise
than that he was to give up one of his ears, and ran as if fire were burning
under him, in order to take them both home with him.
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Household Tales. Margaret Hunt, translator. London: George Bell, 1884, 1892. 2 volumes.
From a book, which in Northern Germany is certainly rare, Ovum paschale, oder neugefärbte Oster Ayr (newly-dyed Easter eggs) (Salzburg, 1700, quarto, pp. 23-26); and from a Meistersong in a MS. in the Berlin Library, German MSS., fol. 23, No. 51 (formerly in the possession of Arnim), with the title, Inn des Marners Hoff-thon die vernascht maid, and beginning, "Vor kurzen Jarenn sase ein perckrichter im Johanisthal." In Hans Sachs (2. 4, 217b, Kempt: edit.) Die vernascht Köchin. Compare Hagen's Gesammtabenteuer. No. xxxvii. and notes vol. 2. See Pauli's Schimpf und Ernst, folio 65. We believe that we have also heard the story by word of mouth.