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Jorinde and Joringel

Once upon a time, in a castle in the midst of a large thick wood, there lived an old Witch, all by herself. By day she changed herself into a cat or an owl; but in the evening she resumed her right form. She was able also to allure to her the wild animals and birds, whom she killed, cooked and ate, for whoever ventured within a hundred steps of her castle was obliged to stand still, and could not stir from the spot until she allowed it; but if a pretty maiden came into the circle the Witch changed her into a bird, and then put her into a basket, which she carried into one of the rooms in the castle; and in this room were already many thousand such baskets of rare birds.

Now, there was a young maiden called Jorinde, who was exceedingly pretty, and she was betrothed to a youth named Joringel, and, just at the time that the events which I am about to relate happened, they were passing the days together in a round of pleasure. One day they went into the forest for a walk, and Joringel said, "Take care that you do not go too near the castle." It was a beautiful evening; the sun shining between the stems of the trees, and brightening up the dark green leaves, and the turtledoves cooing softly upon the May-bushes. Jorinde began to cry, and sat down in the sunshine with Joringel, who cried too, for they were quite frightened, and thought they should die, when they looked round and saw how far they had wandered, and that there was no house in sight. The sun was yet half above the hills and half below, and Joringel, looking through the brushwood, saw the old walls of the castle close by them, which frightened him terribly, so that he fell off his seat. Then Jorinde sang —

"My little bird, with his ring so red,
Sings sorrow, and sorrow, and woe,
For he sings that the turtledove soon will be dead
Oh sorrow, and sorrow — jug, jug, jug."

Joringel lifted up his head, and saw Jorinde was changed into a nightingale, which was singing "Jug,, jug, jug," and presently an Owl flew round thrice, with his eyes glistening, and crying, "Tu wit, tu woo." Joringel could not stir; there he stood like a stone, and could not weep, nor speak, nor move hand or foot. Meanwhile the sun set, and, the owl flying into a bush, out came an ugly old woman, thin and yellow, with great red eyes, and a crooked nose which reached down to her chin. She muttered, and seized the nightingale, and carried it away in her hand, while Joringel remained there, incapable of moving or speaking. At last the Witch returned, and said with a hollow voice, "Greet you, Zachiel! if the moon shines on your side, release this one at once." Then Joringel became free, and fell down on his knees before the Witch, and begged her to give him back Jorinde; but she refused, and said he should never again have her, and went away. He cried, and wept, and groaned after her, but all to no purpose; and at length he rose and went into a strange village, where for some time he tended sheep. He often went round about the enchanted castle, but never too near, and one night, after so walking, he dreamt that he found a blood-red flower, in the middle of which lay a fine pearl. This flower, he thought, he broke off, and, going therewith to the castle, all he touched with it was free from enchantment, and thus he regained his Jorinde.

When he awoke the next morning he began his search over hill and valley to find such a flower, but nine days had passed away. At length, early one morning he discovered it, and in its middle was a large dewdrop, like a beautiful pearl. Then he carried the flower day and night, till he came to the castle, and although he ventured within the enchanted circle he was not stopped, but walked on quite to the door. Joringel was now in high spirits, and touching the door with his flower it flew open. He entered, and passed through the hall, listening for the sound of the birds, which at last he heard. He found the room, and went in, and there was the enchantress feeding the birds in the seven thousand baskets. As soon as she saw Joringel she became frightfully enraged, and spat out poison and gall at him, but she dared not come too close. He would not turn back for her, but looked at the baskets of birds; but, alas! there were many hundreds of nightingale, and how was he to know his Jorinde? While he was examining them he perceived the old woman secretly taking away one of the baskets, and slipping out of the door. Joringel flew after her, and touched the basket with his flower, and also the old woman, so that she could no longer bewitch; and at once Jorinde stood before him, and fell upon his neck, as beautiful as she ever was. Afterwards he disenchanted all the other birds, and then returned home with his Jorinde; for many years they lived together happily and contentedly.


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