This week’s Fairy tale is a rather brutal one. The Girl With No Hands! It includes (like many of the fairy tales that I’ve been reading) the Devil and also a pretty horrendous family!
The Girl With No Hands starts with a miller being offered richness by an old man (who we later find out is the Devil) if the miller gives him what stands behind the mill. Thinking it was an apple tree, the greedy miller agrees, and when later discussing his riches with his wife, they work out it was his daughter! Three years pass and the Devil appears, ready to take the daughter. The girl has kept herself clean and sinless, so he couldn’t take her. The Devil threatens to take the miller, if he does not cut off his daughter’s hands. The miller is scared and tells his daughter he has to do it! The girl, being kind, doesn’t have a problem with her father cutting off her hands! The girl wept on the stumps that were left, washing them with her tears, when the Devil later appeared he could not take her once more. This time the Devil gave up.
Later, the girl goes out into the world. She finds herself in a royal garden and wants to eat the beautiful fruit she sees in the garden. An angel helps her. When it is noticed that the pears are missing, the gardener tells how the girl had appeared. The King awaits the arrival of the girl the next day. He is overwhelmed by her beauty, marries her and makes her hands out of silver. The girl goes on to have a baby, word is sent to the King (who is fighting in the war) but the Devil intercepts the letters. The Devil causes much trouble between the King and his new Queen.
Further along in the story the King starts to investigate the goings on in the letter. It takes some time for him to work out the truth and I won’t spoil how the fairy tale ends!
I am becoming used to such gruesome tales, but The Girl With No Hands was a horrible fairy tale! The miller was just so selfish. What an awful father! There have been some variations on this tale, with the father pushing sexual advances on the daughter and her refusing, thus her hands being chopped off. Who said fairy tales were for children!?