This week’s fairy tale is The Juniper Tree. I hadn’t heard of this story before, but it’s yet another gruesome fairy tale. I really enjoyed (even though ‘enjoyed’ is a strange word to use for this brutal tale!) reading it!
The Juniper Tree starts with a woman wishing for a child as red as blood and as white as snow. The woman knows she is going to die soon, so she asks to be buried underneath a juniper tree outside as the juniper tree, is where she often wished for a child. Months later, the woman has a baby boy and then dies a few days later. Her husband buries her underneath the juniper tree as she requested. After a long period of grief, the husband marries again. The second wife gives birth to a girl. The second wife is jealous of the son, as he is entitled to his father’s inheritance. The second wife would much rather it went to her daughter.
One day, her daughter accepts an apple from her mother, her mother then gets the Devil in her and later offers the boy one instead. As he reaches into the box, she slams the lid down and beheads the boy! Feeling guilty, she takes a bandage and ties his head back onto the body. The mother, later tells her daughter to ask the boy for an apple and if he refuses to give it she must box him. Of course, the boy refuses and the girl hits him, knocking off his head. The girl is devastated that she has killed her brother and runs to her mother. The mother reassures her daughter and they come to an agreement not to tell the father. The horrible mother, chops up the boy, and makes a stew which the father then eats, noting its yumminess! The father is told that his son has gone to live with his great uncle. The father is upset that the boy never said goodbye.
The daughter has kept some of her brother’s bones and decides to bury them underneath the juniper tree. A bird flies out of the tree and begins to sing a song to many about his death at the hands of his stepmother. As the bird sings to many people, it is given some beautiful gifts. The bird eventually flies to its home, and sings once more. The father ends up getitng a chain from the bird, and the young girl gets some red shoes.
Meanwhile, the stepmother is complaining of feeling ill. The bird sings once more, the stepmother goes out, wanting some relief and hoping she would get it from the bird. The bird ends up dropping a stone on her-crushing her!
This fairy tale is so dark, but so intriguing to read. I thought it was gruesome that the father ended up eating his son! So sick!