The Robber Bridegroom is potentially one of the goriest fairy tales that I’ve read so far in the Grimm collection. I loved it!
It centres around the daughter of the miller. The miller wants to marry his daughter off (Don’t all of the fathers in fairy tales want this?!) The miller picks a rich suitor and betrothes his daughter to him. One day the suitor is moaning about the girl never visiting him, so she takes a walk into the forest to his home, marking her way with peas, so she knows how to get back. Along the way, the girl is warned by a bird that the people at the house were murderers and that they’d kill her and eat her, unless an old woman protects and hides her. As the girl arrives at the house, she hides with guidance from the old woman. A band of robbers appear with another girl, and the miller’s daughter watches as they kill the girl (rather brutally!) and chop her up! When one of the robbers chops at the girl’s finger to get to the golden ring, the finger with the golden ring flies through the air and lands on the miller’s daughter’s lap. The old woman discourages the robbers from looking for the finger and the ring, telling them that they’re not likely to run away. The old woman drugs the drinks the robbers are devouring. When they fall asleep, the miller’s daugher escapes with the old woman, following the plants of the peas that were scattered.
The wedding day arrives and during a storytelling sesison, the bridegroom tells the miller’s daughter to tell a story. The young bride tells of a ‘dream’ she had about a house in the woods and a murder. When she gets to the part with the ring and the finger she produces them!!
I thought this fairy tale was so gruesome! It was well written and easy to follow, but definitely not for the faint-hearted.