Grimm's Household Tales with the
translated by Margaret Hunt
The Hazel Branch
ONE afternoon the Christ-child had
laid himself in his cradle-bed and had fallen asleep. Then his mother
came to him, looked at him full of gladness, and said, "Hast thou
laid thyself down to sleep, my child?" Sleep sweetly, and in the
meantime I will go into the wood, and fetch thee a handful of strawberries,
for I know that thou wilt be pleased with them when thou awakest."
In the wood outside, she found a spot with the most beautiful strawberries;
but as she was stooping down to gather one, an adder sprang up out of
the grass. She was alarmed, left the strawberries where they were, and
hastened away. The adder darted after her; but Our Lady, as you can readily
understand, knew what it was best to do. She hid herself behind a hazel-bush,
and stood there until the adder had crept away again. Then she gathered
the strawberries, and as she set out on her way home she said, "As
the hazel-bush has been my protection this time, it shall in future protect
others also." Therefore, from the most remote times, a green hazel-branch
has been the safest protection against adders, snakes, and everything
else which creeps on the earth.
THE END OF THE TALES AND LEGENDS
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Household Tales. Margaret Hunt, translator. London: George Bell, 1884, 1892. 2 volumes.