Christmas Fairy Tales & Stories

Christmas Fairy Tales & Stories
Fairy Tales to Warm Heart and Soul

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Christmas Fairy Tale: the Trolls of Winter


The Trolls of Winter

In early December when the first winter winds blew down from the north, heavy snow fell on the Hall of King Wilt. As the days became darker and darker, the snow piled up. Soon the roads were impassable and the trees groaned under the heavy load of ice. One afternoon the light of day was completely obliterated by the storm. The entire household with servants and children stood at the windows of the hall looking out. Finally one of the maidservants remarked “It is the trolls of winter who bring this frightful weather. And now the mistress of the house, our Lady Lee, will not be able to return home! She will miss our Christmas celebration. There will be no yule log or toasting or dancing this year! No boar’s head or sweet wine! And no lady leading us in song and dance.”

But it soon became apparent, the household had more to fear than the loss of their Christmas feast. The snow continued to blow, the wind howled for seven days and seven nights without ceasing. The servants were frightened and no one wanted to venture outside because they feared they would be lost in the storm. All huddled round the fire while the trolls of winter crept closer and closer. In the evening one could hear their whispering seep through the walls. First it was only a murmur, but then it grew into a ferocious roar.

The trolls sang:
“Tis fit one Flesh, One House, should have
One tomb, one epitaph, one Grave.
They that lived and loved together,
Should die and sleep together!”

No one approached the window for fear of seeing the frightful creatures who continued on with their song.


Huddle, lie up together,
Gray man, pink baby,
Green youth and young lady!
Hide if you can but now we sing:
They that lived and loved together
Should die and sleep together!

The roaring of the storm continued and no one wanted to leave the light of the fire burning dimly on the hearth. But on the seventh night, while the candles were flickering because the wind blew right through the hall, while the water was freezing in the cups, while the windows were frosting over with ice, a young maid ventured toward the window because it seemed to her the troll’s song was slowly abating. In the darkness she saw a faint flicker of light. Then it grew stronger and swelled in size and force. As the tiny speck of light grew larger, the darkness of night diminished, the frenzy of the storm subsided. The maid leaned forward toward the glass to get a better look. Finally she recognized a procession with Lady Lee at the forefront. The lady wore a wreath of lighted candles on her head and behind her a throng of villagers carried torches and garlands of evergreen. Walking peacefully behind the parade followed animals of the forest: deer and fox, rabbit and weasel, bear and wolf, all in peaceful procession. With that, the wind ceased entirely and the Lady brought in from the dark, her light that had been banished.

The winds blow fast,
But the stars are slow,
The moon rises,
But gloom hangs low.
Come sun, come star, come light,
Come our delight!



Copyright FairyTaleChannel.org
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Friday, December 11, 2009

The Christmas Fairy Tale of Saint Joseph: A Nose is a Nose is a Nose


Grimm’s Children Legends No. 1


Saint Joseph in the Forest

There once was a mother who had three daughters. The oldest was naughty and mean. The middle child was much better, although she, too, had her shortcomings. But the youngest was a pious and godly child. The mother was so peculiar that it was precisely the oldest daughter that she loved most and she could not suffer the youngest one. That is why she often sent the poor girl into the big woods to be rid of her. She thought the girl would get lost and never more return. But like every good child, this girl had a guardian angel, who did not desert her. The angel always brought her back to the correct path. However, one day it seemed that her guardian angel was not guiding her by the hand for the child could not find its way out of the forest. The girl ran and ran until evening fell. Then she saw a light burning in the distance, ran toward it and came to a small hut. The child knocked and the door opened. Behind it, she found a second door, where she knocked again. An old man with a snow-white beard and venerable appearance opened the door. It was none other than the Blessed Saint Joseph. He spoke kindly to her “Come dear child, sit next to the fire on my little footstool and warm yourself. I’ll bring you a little clear water if you are thirsty. I don’t have anything for you to eat here in the woods except a few roots. You must first peel and cook them.”

Saint Joseph gave her the roots: the girl scraped them clean, then she took a piece of the pancake and bread her mother had given her and put everything in a little pot on the fire and cooked porridge. When it was finished Saint Joseph said “I am so hungry, give me a bit of your food.” The child was obliging and gave him more than she kept for herself. But God’s blessing was there and so the child’s hunger was satisfied. After they had eaten, Saint Joseph said “Let us go to bed: but I have only one bed. You lay down in it; I will lie on the straw on the ground.”

“No,” answered the child, “you stay in your bed; the straw is soft enough for me.”

Saint Joseph took the child in his arm and carried it to bed. The girl said her prayer and went to sleep. The next morning when she woke up, she wanted to say good morning to Saint Joseph but did not see him. She got out of bed and looked but could not find him in any corner. Finally she saw a sack with money behind the door. The sack was so heavy that the child could not carry it. On it was written that this was for the child who had slept there that night. The child took the sack and jumped away and returned happily to its mother. Because she gave her mother all the money, the woman had to be satisfied with the child.

The next day the second daughter also had an urge to go into the woods. The mother gave her a much larger piece of pancake and bread. The same thing happened to her. In the evening she came to the little hut of Saint Joseph, who gave the girl roots to make porridge. When the girl was finished the Saint said “I am so hungry; give me some of your food.” The child replied “Both of us can eat from the porridge.”

When afterward Saint Joseph offered his bed and wanted to lie down on the straw, the child replied “No, lay down on the bed, we both have enough room there.” Saint Joseph took the girl in his arm, laid her in bed and slept on the straw. In the morning the child awoke and looked for Saint Joseph. He was gone but behind the door the girl found a small sack with money. But the sack was only as large as the girl’s little hand. On it was written “For the child who slept here this night.” The child took the sack and ran home and gave it to its mother. But secretly the girl kept a few coins for herself.

Now the oldest daughter became curious and wanted to go into the woods the next morning. The mother gave her a pancake and as much bread and cheese as her heart desired. In the evening the girl found Saint Joseph in his little hut, just like the other two had found him. When the porridge was finished and Saint Joseph spoke “I am so hungry, give me some of your food!” the girl replied “Wait until I have eaten my fill.” Whatever I have left you can have.” But the girl ate almost everything and Saint Joseph had to scrape the bottom of the little bowl. The good man offered the girl his bed and wanted to lie on the straw. The child accepted this without hesitation, lay down in the little bed and left the hard straw for the old man. The next morning when the girl awoke, Saint Joseph could not be found. But the maid did not worry: she looked behind the door for the sack of money. She thought something was lying on the ground, but because she couldn’t really tell what it was, she bent over and hit her nose on the floor. Something stuck to her nose when she got up. To the girl’s horror it was a second nose sticking to her own. The girl began to scream and howl, but id didn’t help. She had to look at her nose and see how it protruded so very far from her face. She ran away screaming until she found Saint Joseph. She fell down at his feet and prostrated herself. Finally, in his mercy, he took away the nose and what’s more, gave her two Pfennigs. When the girl returned her mother stood in front of the door and asked “What presents have you received?”

The girl lied and said “A big sack full of money, but I lost it on the way home!”

“Lost it!” the mother cried. “We sure want to find it again.” And she took the girl by the hand and wanted to go out searching. First the girl started to cry and did not want to go. But finally she went along. On the way, the two were overcome by so many snakes and lizards, that they could not save themselves. They stung the child until she was dead, but the mother they stung in her foot because she had not raised the girl better.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Strange Lights at Christmas: The Advent Flibbertigibbet


Grimms' Saga No. 277: The Advent Flibbertigibbet


On the mountain road to Haenlein, but also in the area around Lorsch, people call the ignis fatuous or phosphorescent lights that can be seen there flibbertigibbets. Purportedly they only appear during advent and a funny rhyme has been composed about them:

“Flibbertigibbet, ho, ho,
Burn like straw, oh, oh,
Strike me like lightening if you will!
Flibbertigibbet wisp-o-will!”

More than thirty years ago a young girl saw a flibbertigibbet in the evening and recited the old rhyme. But the flibbertigibbet ran after the girl pursuing her into the house of her parents. It followed quick on her heels and entered the room at the very same time that she did. It struck all the people assembled there with its fiery wings so that from that time forward her family was both dumb and blind.
Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.org

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fairies' and Gnomes' Christmas Party


The Marriage of King Wilt and Lady Lee in the Great Hall

King Wilt married his bride, Lady Lee, on Christmas Eve 1444. At the marriage feast, the wedding party made merry with music, dancing and especially toasts to the married couple. The crowd included both noblemen and servants. All feasted on boar’s head, goose and mince pie. While music played the tables were decked with sweet breads and wine, honey cakes, apples and gingerbread. One wedding guest after another raised his cup to praise the master of the house and his new bride. Finally a man of diminutive size and wizened face stepped forward to offer his toast:

Tonight, dear friends the fires burn brightly
Dancers dance and ghosts move spritely
While ice sheets form on evergreens nightly
Let us, wee folk, at this Christmas tide,
Lift our jugs and our mugs to Lady Lee
Mistress of the Roundelee!

With that the entire hall fell silent for every man, woman, child and beast in the hall had fallen into a deep slumber. Out of every corner the wee folk now emerged and danced their lovely roundelay. The sweetest harp music filled the hall and lovely singing could be heard out into the night, ringing merrily down through the valley. The cheerful celebration continued into the wee morning hours, by which time all the food and wine had been devoured. The candles burned until the last one burnt out.

On the morning of Christmas Day the guests awoke one by one. They rubbed their sleepy eyes and looked around. Each thought the wedding party had been a good one, for all the food had been eaten, all the wine and been drunk and there were vague memories of music and dancing. The lady of the house awoke wearing a wreath of fragrant mistletoe on her head and a necklace of silvery pearls round her neck. When the guests departed they threw open the doors of the hall and entered the bright, snow-filled courtyard. It is said that under the soft white flakes of the first snow, the wedding guests found new apples hanging from the apple tree.

The house and lineage were blessed from that time forward. Every year thereafter Lady Lee held a Christmas Eve feast for her household. The custom still continued after her death. On Christmas Eve the servants would deck the halls with mistletoe. It was said that the mistress of the house would always appear on that eve and dance her roundelay while the guests dined on sweetmeats and wine. Happiness and good fortune could be found on that night if a couple met under the boughs of fresh mistletoe and confessed their love for each other. Likewise a false heart could also be detected when a maid stood with her swain under the fresh herb. If he were not true it could happen that an unseen force would fling him through the doors and into the courtyard or the apple tree would stand dead and barren instead of blossoming and bearing fruit.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

St. Andrew, Patron Saint of Lovers

December is a time for young maids to dream about their future true loves.


The 16th century report of Martin Luther is perhaps an apt introduction to the following saga. He relates that “…young maidens stripped themselves naked, flung themselves to the ground and prayed: O God, my God, O St. Andrew, give me a godly husband, show me tonight what manner of man shall wed me. One girl, he adds, was nearly frozen to death, but no man came.” (Quoted from the Oxford Book of Days, Oxford University Press). The time from St. Andrew’s Eve (November 29) until New Year’s Eve was a time for young maids to receive visions of their future husbands. Here is another Grimm’s saga about this custom:

Grimms’ Saga No. 118: Shirt-Toss-Off

On Christmas Eve in Coburg several maidens gathered together. They had a burning desire to see their future true love. The day before they had gathered and cut nine different types of wood. When midnight came, they made a fire on the hearth with this wood. The first girl threw off her clothes, tossed her blouse in front of the chamber door and spoke these words as she sat before the fire: “Here I sit, completely starkers, If only my dearest would come And throw my blouse into my lap!” When the blouse was thrown back into the room, the maiden caught a glimpse of the face of the person who would later became her suitor. The other girls also stripped themselves naked. But they threw out their blouses tangled together in a clump. The ghosts could not separate the pieces and began to make noises and crash about until the girls were quite frightened. They quickly poured water on the fire and crept back into bed, where they stayed until early in the morning. When they awoke they found their blouses torn into many thousands of little pieces.



Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.org
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Visions, Saints and Lovers in Fairy Tales


(St. Andrew fisher-of-men.)


According to popular belief, St. Andrew’s Day (November 30th ) is the first prognostication or fate day of the year. The evening before (St. Andrew's Eve) was especially propitious for having visions of one’s future true love. Other so-called fate days occurred soon thereafter and included Saint Thomas’ Eve (12/21), Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Popular tradition identifies St. Andrew as the patron saint of fishermen and lovers. How Saint Andrew became revered as the protector of lovers is a bit murky. It was perhaps his propensity to receive or induce his own revelations that inspired young maids to claim him as their own. And as Jesus’ appointed fisher-of-men, Andrew might have had a romantic appeal as the protector of those who would rather cast their nets for human prey.


There are purportedly many ways to celebrate St. Andrew’s Eve. The simplest way is to gaze into a fire or mirror and say a special Andrew prayer; then wait for the face of one’s true love to appear. Other methods involved throwing shoes or shirts and interpreting how they fall, praying to the saint fervently and then falling asleep to receive a vision of love or melting wax or lead, dropping it into water and interpreting the odd shapes. One tradition likens lovers to barking dogs. (Perhaps in the belief that where there is bark there is most likely a swain. ) Grimm’s Saga No. 115 explains this folk tradition best but also makes clear that like all things concerning love, augering the future is not for the faint of heart.


Grimm’s Saga No. 115. Andreas Eve (or St. Andrew's Eve)


It is a common belief that on Andreas Eve, Thomas Eve, Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve a maid can invite her future lover to come to her and reveal himself to her. The girl must set a table for two but without any forks. Whatever the lover leaves behind after departing must be carefully preserved. He will then return to the person who keeps this lost item and will love that person mightily. But he must never see this lost object again, because then he will be tortured and suffer from such overwhelming pain that he will become aware that magic has been employed and a great misfortune will befall the lovers.

A beautiful lass in Austria wanted to see her true love at midnight and performed the usual customs whereby a shoemaker appeared with a dagger, threw it at her and then vanished quickly. She picked up the thrown dagger and locked it in her little chest. Soon the shoemaker came and courted her. Many years after their marriage she once went to her chest on a Sunday after vespers. She was looking for something she needed for the next days’s work. When she opened the chest, her husband came and wanted to look inside. She stopped him but he pushed her away with force. Looking into the chest he saw his lost dagger. He seized the blade and wanted to know how she came to have it because he had lost it some time ago. In fear and confusion she could not think of a reply, instead, she acknowledged it was the same dagger he had left with her in the night she wanted to see her lover. The man became furious and spoke a terrible curse: “Harlot, you are the lass who frightened me so inhumanely that night!” and he plunged the dagger into her heart.

This legend is told in many different places by many different people. Oral tradition: the story is told about a hunter, who relinquished his knife; soon after childbirth his wife asked him to fetch her little sewing box and wasn’t thinking that he would find the magic utensil inside. But he found it and killed her with it.



(*Protoclete: the "first called", Andrew was Jesus' first disciple)
The three patron saints of lovers:
Germany = Saint Andrew (Feast Day Nov. 29/30), Eastern Orthodox Church = St. Hyacinthus (Feast Day July 3), Western Church = St. Valentine (Feast Day February 14)



Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.org

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Party Pranks and Christmas Bulbs


Hille Bingels' Wedding Party

The old castle Hudemuehle is on the Lueneburg Heath not far from the Aller River. You can still see the remnants of its stone walls embedded in the soft earth. A long time ago a mysterious house spirit haunted the castle. The spirit called himself Hinzelmann and he appeared in the year 1584 at the lord’s Christmas feast. It was said that the spirit revealed himself to the gathered revelers with banging, screeching and clanging sounds. The lord was soon annoyed, his guests frightened and all left the party early. But soon Hinzelmann appeared frequently to the castle inhabitants until he no longer frightened anyone. Many castle dwellers heard his voice or discovered the fruits of his labour: freshly baked bread, a cleanly swept room, chopped wood and fire on the hearth. By day he could be seen walking casually through the corridors. At night his snoring could be heard in the attic bedroom and the maid could discern a small indentation in the pillow where he slept. It was only a matter of time before he started to engage in conversation with the servants and soon with the lord himself. He was happy to perform a variety of kitchen tasks, and loved to help the servants prepare feasts. While he worked he usually sang or laughed loudly. Whenever there was a celebration, he would appear dressed in colorful garb wearing a mask. Often he would perform tricks, recite poetry and play the harp. But most annoying: he loved to reveal the secrets people thought lay deeply hidden within their hearts. He would often blurt out some indiscretion and then laugh uncontrollably.
Once at the Andreas Night Feast he announced to the celebrants that the lord of the castle thought his wife was a bit too thin and dour. He added that the lord himself had had a difficult time recently mounting his horse after a visit to the tavern. After this announcement, all guests turned to look at the lord, who did not laugh. But the spirit continued, giving his master no time to reply. He announced that he would soon wed his lovely bride Hille Bingels. He planned to celebrate his marriage at the upcoming Christmas Pageant and asked all to attend. The lord of the castle, now quivering with rage blurted out “You with your bulbous nose! No one would marry you! The bells on your boots are much too loud and annoying. If only you would go away!” With that the entire assembly fell silent. Some thought a single tear slid down Hinzelmann’s cheek before he vanished.

There was much hustle and bustle around the castle as the Christmas feast approached. Rooms had to be opened and beds made for the coming guests. Food had to be prepared. The musicians had to practice their music, the singers their song. In short, life at the castle hummed like a beehive. During this time the corridors were monitored, the bedrooms checked, the kitchen watched to see if Hinzelmann would return. But he did not frequent the kitchen as was his habit nor did he appear in the corridors whistling merrily. It seemed to all that he had abandoned the castle. It was rumoured that he had taken offense and the cook said ’twas a pity, for he had been a good worker.
As Christmas day approached, the servants ran to and fro, the mistress of the house oversaw the decorating of the great hall and the lord sampled and selected the wines and stout. The day before the feast, the lord announced an even larger guest list than originally anticipated. This sent the cook and the servants scurrying. It was not surprising that everyone had forgotten poor Hinzelmann.

At last it was Christmas. The pageant began cheerfully and peacefully enough. The entire hall was decked with fragrant greenery, the tables were all set, the hall was filled with merry-makers and singers. The most delicious food was served to the guests and wine flowed. As the hour approached midnight, the lord’s entertainers now brought forth their musical instruments. But soon a faint tinkling of bells could be heard above the cheerful melody. At first it seemed as if bells were ringing far away but then the sound grew into violent metallic clanging. When the noise erupted into a loud roar, Hinzelmann burst into the center of the hall. He wore bright clothing, a cap with bells and a mask covered his eyes. “I shall perform a magic trick for your enjoyment!” he cried. With that he conjured up a little pony, which danced and pranced in a circle. “Me, my, mo, Up you now go!” he cried. He held up a rope, which now extended to the ceiling and up the rope the pony did go until it finally disappeared. “Now I shall introduce my lovely bride, Hille Bingels, applause please!” With that a diminutive form was seen illuminated next to him. She appeared as a dainty speck of light, likewise wore a mask and a costume of many colors. There was wild applause as Hille, too, made her ascent and vanished into the ceiling along with the pony. Gasps of amazement could be heard from all present as Hinzelman swirled around and around. “Look, my dear friends,” he cried out “His bulbous nose!” and he gripped his sides in laughter and pointed to the lord at the head table. The laughter faded into gasps as each person in the audience first gazed upon the lord and then touched his own nose. Each guest’s noses had grown into a round, potato-sized appendage but the lord of the castle, his nose was the size of a ripe pumpkin. Amid cries of terror, shrieks of alarm the chimes of bells could be heard once more. “Me, my, mo, Up the rope I now go!” and with that the Hinzelmann flew up the rope and vanished. The guests were left gripping their noses. Some rushed to the windows and saw Hinzelmann and his bride in a sled, racing from the castle laughing merrily. Soon the sound of sleigh bells became faint and vanished altogether. Some thought it was a dream. But one of the ladies who had attended found a bell from Hinzelman’s hat lying on the floor. She kept it and treasured it forever. And to this day the people who live near the Aller River all have rather bulbous noses.

My story is now told, the light grown old.
Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.org
Please read and pass on to friends and enjoy.
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