Star Money

Once upon a time there was a girl whose father and mother were dead, and she was so poor that she no longer had anywhere to live or a bed to sleep in – nothing but the clothes she was wearing and a little bit of bread in her hand, which some charitable person had given to her. But she was good and honest.

As she was abandoned by all the world, she went forth into the open country, trusting in the good God to provide for her. A poor man met her, who said, “Give me something to eat, I am so hungry!” She gave him her whole piece of bread, saying, “May God bless it to your use,” and went onwards. Then along came a boy who moaned, “My head is so cold, give me something to cover it.” She took off her hood and gave it to him. When she had walked a little further, she met another child who had no jacket and was frozen cold. She gave the child her jacket. A little further on she met a child begging for a dress, so she gave her Dress away also.

At length it became dark and she walked into a forest, where she met yet another child, who asked for a shirt. The good poor girl thought to herself, “It is dark night and no one can see you, so you can give your undershirt away.” She took it off, and gave it away.

Now she didn’t have a single thing left. As she stood in the darkness without anything, some stars from heaven fell down, and they turned out to be hard, smooth, shiny coins, and a new shirt of the finest linen.

She gathered the coins into the front of the shirt, and was rich all the days of her life.


In a certain kingdom once lived a poor miller who had a very beautiful daughter. She was, moreover, exceedingly shrewd and clever; and the miller was so vain and proud of her, that he one day told the king of the land that his daughter could spin gold out of straw. now, thins king was very fond of money; and when he heard the miller’s boast, his avarice was excited, and he ordered the girl to be brought before him. Then he lead her to a chamber where there was a great quantity of straw, gave her a spinning wheel, and said, “All this must be spun into gold before morning, as you value your life.”

It was in vain that the poor maiden declared that she could do no such thing, the chamber was locked and she remained alone.

She sat in one corner of the room and began to lament her hard fate, when all of a sudden the door opened, and a droll looking little man hobbled in, and said, “Good morrow to you, my good lass, what are you weeping for?”

“Alas!” Answered she, “I must spin this straw into gold, and I know not how.” 

“What will you give me,” said the little man, “to do it for you?”

“My necklace,” replied the maiden.

He took her at her word and set himself down to the wheel; round about it merrily, and presently the work was done and the gold all spun.

When the king came and saw this, he was greatly astonished and pleased; but his heart grew still more greedy of gain, and he shut up the poor miller’s daughter again with a fresh task. Then she knew not what to do, and sat down once more to weep; but the little man presently opened the door, and said, “What will you give me to do your task?”

“The ring on my finger,” replied she. So her little friend took the ring, and began to work at the wheel, till by the morning all was finished again.

The king was vastly delighted to see all this glittering treasure; but still he was not satisfied, and took the miller’s daughter into a yet larger room, and said, “All this must be spun tonight; and if you succeed you shall be my queen.”

As soon as she was alone the dwarf came in, and said, “What will you give me to spin gold for you this third time?”

“I have nothing left,” said she.

“Then promise me,” said the little man, “your fist child when you are queen.”

“That may never be,” thought the miller’s daughter; and as she knew no other way to get her task done, she promised him what he asked, and he spun once more the whole heap of gold. The king came in the morning, and finding all he wanted, married her, and so the miller’s daughter really became a queen.

At the birth of her first little child the queen rejoiced very much, and forgot the little man and her promise; but one day he came into her chamber and reminded her of it. Then she grieved sorely at her misfortune, and offered him all the treasures of the kingdom in exchange; but in vain, till at last her tears softened him, and he said, “I will give you three days’ grace, and if during that time you tell me my name, you shall keep your child.”

Now the queen lay awake all night, thinking of all the odd names that she had ever heard, and dispatched messengers all over the land to inquire after new ones. The next day the little man came, and she began with Timothy, Benjamin, Jeremiah, and all the names she could remember; but to all of them he said, “That’s not my name.”

The second day she began with all the comical names she could hear of, Bandy-legs, Hunch-back, Crook-shanks, and so on, but the little gentleman still said to every one of them, “That’s not my name.”

The third day came back one of the messengers, and said, “I can hear of no one other name; but yesterday, as I was climbing a high hill among the trees of the forest where the fox and the hare bid each other good night, I saw a little hut, and before the hut burnt a fire, and round about the fire danced a funny little man upon one leg, and sung,

“Merrily the feast I’ll make,

Today I’ll brew, tomorrow bake;

Merrily I’ll dance and sing,

For next day will a stranger bring;

Little does my lady dream,

Rumpel-Stilts-Kin is my name!”

When the queen heard this, she jumped for joy, and as soon as her little visitor came and said, “Now lady, what is my name?”

“Is it John?” Asked she.


“Is it Tom?”


“Can your name be Rumpel-Stilts-Kin!”

“Some witch told you that! Some horrible witch told you that!” Cried the little man, and dashed his right foot in a rage so deep into the floor, that he was forced to lay hold of it with both hands and pull it out. Then he made the best of his way off, while everybody laughed at him for having had all his trouble for nothing.


Hansel and Gretel

A poor woodcutter lived with his two children, Hansel and Gretel, beside a large forest. The children’s mother had died but, after a time the woodcutter married again. 

There was never much to eat in the house, but then came the famine and there wasn’t even enough bread for the four of them.

One night, the woodcutter lay in bed, tossing and turning with worry. He sighed and said to his wife, “What will happen to us? How can we feed my poor children when we have barely enough for ourselves?”

His wife answered, “Listen. Tomorrow we’ll take the children deep into the forest and give them each a piece of bread. Then we’ll leave them there. They’ll never find the way home, and that way we won’t need to feed them.”

“No wife,” said the man, “I won’t do it. How could I leave my children alone in the woods? While animals would come and tear them to pieces.”

“You fool!” She said. “Then all four of us will starve.” And she gave him no peace until he agreed.

The children were too hungry to sleep, so they had overheard their stepmother. Gretel began crying and said, “Oh, Hansel. There’s no hope for us.”

“Don’t worry, Gretel,” said Hansel, “I’ll find a way.”

When the grown-ups were asleep, he got up, put in his jacket and crept outside. The moon was shining bright, and the pebbles on the ground glittered like silver coins, Hansel stuffed his pockets full of them. 

At day break, the stepmother came and woke the children. “Get up, you lazy children. We’re going to the forest for wood.” Then she handed them each a piece of bread and said, “ This is for your lunch. Don’t eat it too soon; there won’t be any more.” Gretel put the bread in her apron, because Hansel had his pockets full of pebbles.

Then they all set out for the forest. But Hansel kept stopping and looking back. Each time he turned, he took a shiny pebble from his pocket and dropped it on the ground.

When they came to the middle of the forest, their father said, “Start gathering wood, children, and I’ll make a fire to keep you warm.”

Hansel and Gretel gathered twigs till they had a good pile. The fire was lit and, when the flames were high enough, the stepmother said, “ Now, children, lie down here and rest. We’re going into the forest to cut wood. When we’re done, we’ll come back for you.”

Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire, and at midday they ate their pieces of bread. They heard strokes of an axe, it was a branch he had tied to a dead tree, so it would sound like chopping when the wind blew it to and fro.

After some time, they were so tired that their eyes closed and they fell asaeep. When at last they awoke, night had fallen. Gretel began to cry and said, “How will we ever get out of this forest?”

But Hansel comforted her. “Just wait a little while. As soon as the moon rises, we’ll find the way.” And when the full moon had risen, Hansel took his little sister by the hand and followed the pebbles, which glistened like silver pieces and showed them the way home.

They walked all night and reached their father’s house as day was breaking. When the stepmother opened the door and saw them, she cried, “Wicked children! Why did you stay so long in the forest?” But their father was overjoyed, for he had been very unhappy since leaving them.

Time passed and the famine continued. The children heard their stepmother talking to their father in bed, “Everything has been eaten; we have only half a loaf of bread left. The children must go. We’ll take them even deeper into the forest, and this time they won’t find their way home. It’s our only hope.”

The husband was heavy hearted. He thought it would be better to share his last bite with his children. But the stepmother wouldn’t listen and only scolded him. Once you’ve said yes, it’s hard to say no, and so the woodcutter gave in again.

The children were awake and heard the conversation. When the grown-ups were asleep, Hansel got up again. He wanted to gather more pebbles, but the stepmother had locked the door so he couldn’t get out. Still, he comforted his little sister, saying, “Don’t cry, Gretel. God will help us.” 

Early in the morning, the stepmother came and got the children out of bed. She gave them their pieces of bread, but this time smaller then before. On the way through the forest, Hansel kept turning back and dropping a few breadcrumbs on the ground.

The stepmother led the children to a place deep in the forest, where they had never been before. Again they made a fire, and she said, “Just sit here, children. If you get tired you can sleep. We’re going to cut wood, and this evening when we’ve finished, we’ll come and get you.”

At midday, Gretel shared her bread with Hansel, as he had scattered his on the grounds. They fell asleep and the afternoon passed, but no one came for the poor children.

It was after dark when they woke, and Hansel comforted his sister. “Gretel,” he said, “just wait till the moon rises. Then we’ll see the breadcrumbs I scattered and they’ll show us the way home.”

When the moon rose, they set out, but they didn’t find any breadcrumbs because all the birds of the forest had eaten them up. Hansel said to Gretel, “Don’t worry, we’ll find the way.” But they didn’t find it.

They walked all night, and then all day from morning to night, and they were very hungry, for they had eaten only a few berries they picked from the bushes. When they were so tired their legs could carry them no further, they lay down under a tree and fell asleep.

Now it was the third morning since they had left their father’s house. They started out again, but wandered even deeper and deeper into the forest and, unless help came soon, they were sure to die of hunger and weariness.

At midday, they saw a lovely snowbird sitting on a branch, singing so beautifully that they stood still and listened. Then it flapped it’s wings and flew on ahead, and they followed until the bird came to a little house and perched on the roof.

Coming closer, they saw that the house was made of gingerbread, and the roof was made of cake and the windows of sparkling sugar. “let’s eat some,” said Hansel. “I’ll take a piece of the roof. You, Gretel, try some of the window. It looks sweet.”

Hansel reached up and broke off a bit of the roof to see how it tasted, and Gretel pressed against the windowpanes and nibbled them, then a soft voice called from the inside, “Nibble, nibble, little mouse, who’s that nibbling at my house?”

The children answered, “It is only the wind, so wild.” And they carried on eating. Hansel so liked the taste of the roof, he broke off a big chunk, and Gretel took out a whole windowpane and sat down on the ground to enjoy it.

All at once, the door opened, and an old woman came hobbling out. Hansel and Gretel were so frightened, they dropped what they were eating. But the old woman nodded her head and said, “Oh, what dear children! However did you get here? Don’t be afarid, come in and stay with me.”

She took them by the hand and led them into her house. A fine meal of milk and pancakes, sugar, apples and nuts was set before them. Then two little beds were made up, clean and white, and Hansel and Gretel got into them and thought they were in heaven.

But the old woman had only pretended to be kind. She was really a wicked witch who tempted children in and then killed, cooked, and ate them up. She had built her house out of gingerbread to entice them. Witches have red eyes and can’t see very far, but they have a keen sense of smell and know when humans are coming.

Early the next morning, the witch got up, and when she saw the children sleeping, she muttered to herself, “What tasty morsels they will be!” She grabbed Hansel with her scrawny hand, carried him to a little shed and bolted the door. He screamed as loud as he could, but no one heard him.

Then the witch went back to Gretel, shook her awake and cried, “Get up, lazy, selfish child. You must fetch water and cook something for your brother. He’s locked in the shed and we will fatten him up. When he’s nice and plump I shall eat him,” Gretel wept bitterly, but she had to do what the wicked witch told her.

Every morning the witch went to the shed and said, “Hansel, hold out your finger. Let’s feel how fat you are getting.” But Hansel held out a bone. Because she couldn’t see well, she thought it was his finger. She wondered why he stayed so thin.

When four weeks had gone by the the boy was skinny as ever, she decided not to wait any longer. “Gretel,” she cried out. “Fetch water and don’t dawdle. Skinny or fat, I’m going to cook Hansel up tomorrow.”

The little girl wailed, and tears flowed down her cheeks! “Dear God,” she cried, “won’t you help us?”

“Stop that blubbering,” said the witch. “It won’t do you a bit of good.”

Early in the morning, Gretel had filled the kettle with water and lit the fire. “First we’ll do some baking,” said the witch. “I’ve heated the oven and kneaded the dough.” And she took poor Gretel out to the oven, which by now was spitting flames.

“Crawl in,” she said, “and see if it’s hot enough for bread.”

The witch was going to close the door on Gretel and roast her, so she could eat her too. But Gretel guessed what she must be thinking and said, “I don’t know how to get in.”

“Silly goose,” said the witch. “The door is big enough. Look. Even I can get in.”she crept to the oven and stuck her head in. At that moment Gretel gave her a great push, closed the iron door and fastened the bolt. How horribly the witch screeched as she burnt to death.

Gretel ran straight to Hansel, opened the door of the shed, and cried, “Hansel, we’re saved! The witch is dead.”

Hansel hopped out like a bird freed from a cage. How happy they were! They hugged and kissed each other and danced around. Now there was nothing to be afraid of, they went into the witches house and in every corner they found boxes of pearls and precious stones. Hansel stuffed his pockets full of them saying, “These will be much better then pebbles.” Gretel, too, filled her apron with them.

“We’d better leave now,” said Hansel, “and get out of this bewitched forest.”

They walked a long way, and came to a body of water. “How will we get across?” said Hansel. “There’s no bridge.”

“And no boat either,” said Gretel. “But over there I see a white duck. She’ll help us.” She cried out, “Duckling, please give us a ride.”

Sure enough, the duck came to them and took them across, one at a time.

When they were safely over and had walked on some way, the forest looked more and more familiar, and finally they saw their home in the distance. They began to run. They flew into the house and threw themselves into their fathers arms.

The poor man hadn’t had a happy hour since he had left the children in the forest, and in the meantime his wife had died. Gretel opened her little apron, and the pearls and precious stones went bouncing around the room. Hansel reached into his pockets and tossed out handful after handful. Now all their worries were over, and they lived together happily ever after.


Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who had long, but to no avail, wished for a child. Finally the woman came to believe that the Good Lord would fulfil her wish. Thought the small rear winder of their house, they could see into a splendid garden that was filled with the most beautiful flowers and herbs. The garden was surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared enter, because it belonged to a sorceress who possessed great power and was feared by everyone. 

One day the woman was standing at this window, and she saw a bed planted with the most beautiful lettuce. It looked so fresh and green that she longed for some. It was her greatest desire to eat some of that lettuce. This desire increased every day, and not knowing how to get any, she became miserably ill. 

Her husband was frightened, and asked her, “What ails thee, dear wife?” 

“Oh,” she answered, “ If I do not get some lettuce from the garden behind our house, I shall die!”

The man, who loved her dearly, thought, “Before you let your wife die, you must get her some of that lettuce, whatever the cost.” 

So, just as it was getting dark, he climbed over the high wall into the sorceress’ garden, hastily dug up a handful of lettuce, and took Ito to his wife. She immediately made a sale from it, which she devoured eagerly. It tasted so good to her that by the next day her desire for more had grown threefold. If she were to have any peace, the man would have to climb into the garden once again. Thus he set forth once again, just as it was getting dark. But no sooner had he climbed over the wall then, to his horror, he saw the sorceress standing there before him. 

“How can you dare,” she asked with an angry look, “ to climb into my garden and like a thief to steal my lettuce? You will pay for this.”

“Oh,” he answered, “ Let mercy overrule justice. I came to do this out of necessity. My wife saw your lettuce from our window, and such a longing came over her that she would die if she did not get some to eat.”

The sorceress’ anger abated somewhat, and she said, “If things are as you say, I will allow you to take as much lettuce as you want, but under one condition: you must give me the child that your wife will bring to the world. It will do well, and I will take care of it like a mother.”

In his fear the man agreed to everything. 

When the woman gave birth, the sorceress appeared, named the little girl Repunzel, and took her away. Repunzel became the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old, the sorceress locked her in a tower that stood in a forest and that had neither a door, nor a stairway, but only a tiny little window at the top. 

When the sorceress wanted to enter, she stood below and called out:

“Repunzel, Repunzel, 

Let down your hair to me.”

Repunzel had splendid long hair, as fine as spun gold. When she heard the sorceress’ voice, she untied her braids, wound them around a window hook, let her hair fall twenty yards to the ground, and the sorceress climbed up it. 

A few years later it happened that a kings son was riding through the forest. As he approached the tower he heard a song so beautiful that he stopped to listen. It was Repunzel, who was passing the time by singing with her sweet voice. The prince wanted to climb up to her, and looked for a door in the tower, but none was to be found. 

He rode home, but the song had so touched his heart that he returned to the forest every day and listened to it. One time, as he was standing behind a tree he saw the sorceress approach, and heard her say:

“Repunzel, Repunzel, 

Let down your hair to me.”

The Repunzel let down her strands of hair and the sorceress climbed up to her. 

“If that is the ladder into the tower then sometime I will try my luck.”

And the next day, just as it was beginning to get dark, he went to the tower and called out:

“Repunzel, Repunzel, 

Let down your hair to me.”

The hair fell down and the prince climbed up.

At first Repunzel was terribly frightened, when a man such as she had never seen before came into her tower. However, the prince began talking to her in a very friendly manner, telling her that his heart had been so touched by her singing that he could have no peace until he had seen her in person. Then Repunzel lost her fear and when he asked her if she would take him as her husband, she thought, “He would rather have me then would old Frau Gothel.” She said yes and placed her hand in his.

She said, “I would go with you gladly, but I do not know how to get down. Every time that you come, bring a strand of silk, from which I weave a ladder. When it is finished I will climb down, and you can take me away on your horse.” They arranged that he would come to her every evening, for the old woman came by day. 

The sorceress did not notice what was happening until one day Repunzel said to her, “ From Gothel, tell me why it is that you are more difficult to pull up then is the young prince, who will be arriving any moment now?” 

“You Godless child,” cried the sorceress. “What am I hearing from you? I thought I had removed you from the whole world, but you have deceived me nonetheless.”

In her anger she grabbed Repunzel’s beautiful hair, wrapped it a few times around her left hand, grasped a pair of scissors with her right hand, and snip snap, cut it off. And she was so unmerciful that she took Repunzel into a wilderness where she suffered greatly. 

On the evening of the same day that she sent Repunzel away, the sorceress tied the cut off hair to the hook at the top of the tower, and when the prince called out:

“Repunzel, Repunzel, 

Let down your hair to me.”

She let down the hair.

The prince climbed up, but above, instead of his beloved Repunzel, he found the sorceress, who peered at him with poisonous and evil eyes. 

“Aha!” She cried scornfully. “You have come for your Mistress Darling, but that beautiful bird is no longer sitting in her nest, nor is she singing anymore. The cat got her and will scratch your eyes out as well. You have lost Repunzel. You will never see her again.”

The prince was overcome with grief, and in his despair he threw himself from the tower. He escaped with his life, but the thorns on which he fell poked out his eyes. Blind, he wondered about in the forest, eating nothing but grass and roots, and doing nothing but wearing and wailing over the loss of his beloved. Thus he wondered about miserably for some years, finally happening into the wilderness where Repunzel lived unhappily with the twins she had given birth to. 

He hear a voice and thought it was familiar. He advanced towards it, and as her approached, Repunzel recognised him, and crying, there her arms around his neck. Two of her tears fell into his eyes and they became clear once again, and he could see as well as before. He led her into his kingdom where he was received with joy, and they lived happily ever after. 

Jorinda and Jorindel

There was once an old castle that stood in the middle of a large, thick wood, and in the castle lived an old witch. All the day long she flew about as an owl, or crept about the country like a cat; but at night she always became an old woman again. Whenever any youth came within a hundred paces of her castle, he became quite fixed, and could not move a step until she came to set him free. When any pretty maiden came within that distance, she was changed into a bird; and the fairy put her into a cage and hung her up in a chamber in the castle. There were seven hundred of these cages hanging in the castle, and all with beautiful birds in them. 

Now, there was once a maiden whose name was Jorinda: she was prettier then all the pretty girls that ever was seen; and a shepherd whose name was Jorindel was very fond of her, and they were soon to be married. One day they went to walk in the wood, that they might be alone and Jorindel said, “We must take care that we do not go too near to the castle.” It was a beautiful evening; the last rays of the setting sun shone bright through the long stems of the trees upon the green underwood beneath, and the turtledoves called plaintively from the tall birches.

Jorinda sat down to gaze upon the sun; Jorindel sat down by her side; and both felt sad, they knew not why; but it seemed as if they were to be parted from one another forever. They had wondered a long way and when they looked to see which way they should go home, they found themselves at a loss to know what path to take.

the sun was setting fast, and already half his circle had disappeared behind the hill: Jorindel on a sudden looked behind him, and as he saw through the bushes that they had, without knowing it, sat down close under the old walls of the castle, he shrank for fear, turned pale, and trembled. Jorinda was singing,

“The ring-dove sang from the willow spray,

Well-a-day! Well-a-day!

He mourned for the fate

Of his lovely mate,


The song ceased suddenly. Jorindel turned to see the reason, and beheld his Jorinda changed into a nightingale; so that her song ended with a mournful jug, jug. An owl with fiery eyes flew three times around them, and three times screamed Tu Whu! Tu Whu! Tu Whu! Jorindel could not move; he stood fixed as a stone, and could neither weep, nor speak, nor stir a hand or foot. And now the sun went quite down; the gloomy night came, the owl flew into a bush; and a moment later the old witch came forth, pale and meager, with staring eyes and a nose and chin that nearly met one another.

She mumbled something to herself, seized the nightingale, and went away with it in her hand. Poor Jorindel saw the nightingale was gone, but what could he do? He could not speak, her could not move from the spot where he stood. At last the witch came back and sang in a hoarse voice,

“Till the prisoner’s fast,

And her doom is cast,

There stay! Oh stay!

When the charm is around her,

And the spell has bound her,

His away! Away!”

On a sudden Jorindel found himself free. Then he fell on his knees before the witch, and prayed for her to give him back his dear Jorinda: but she said he should never see her again, and went her way.

He prayed, he wept, he sorrowed, but all in vain. “Alas!” He said, “what will become of me?”

He could not return to his own home, so he went to a strange village, and employed himself in keeping sheep. Many a time did he walk round and round as near to the hated castle as he dared go. At last he dreamt one night that he found a beautiful purple flower, and in the middle of it lay a costly pearl; and he dreamt that he plucked the flower, and went with it in his hand to the castle, and that everything he touched with it was disenchanted, and that there he found his dear Jorinda again.

In the morning when he awoke, he began to search over hill and dale for this pretty flower; and eight long days he searched for it in vain. But on the ninth day, early in the morning, he found the beautiful purple flower: and in the middle of it was a large dew-drop as big as a costly pearl.

Then her plucked the flower and travelled day and night till he came to the castle. He walked nearer then a hundred paces to it, and yet he did not become fixed as before, but found that he could go close up to the door.

Jorindel was very glad to see this: he touched the door with the flower and it sprang open, so that he went in through the court, and listened when he heard so many birds singing. At last he came to the chamber where the witch sat, with the seven hundred birds singing in the seven hundred cages. When she saw Jorindel she was very angry and screamed with rage; but she could not come within two yards of him; for the flower he held in his hand protected him. He looked around at the birds but alas! There were many, many nightingales, and how then should he find his Jorinda? While he was thinking what to do, he observed that the witch had taken down one of the cages, and was making her escape through the door. He ran to her, touched the cage with the flower, and his Jorinda stood before him. She threw her arms around his neck and looked as beautiful as when they walked together in the wood.

Then he touched all the other birds with the flower, so that they resumed their old forms; and took his dear Jonrinda home, where they lived happily together many years.