six swans

Do you remember the fairy tale about the six swans? When I was little it was one of my favorites. I just found my old Grimm's Fairy Tale book and re-read it. I remembered most of it: a king had six sons and one daughter, and the queen died. He remarried a woman who happened to be a witch, so he decided to hide the kids in a castle in the woods. He visited them every day, which made the wife/witch very jealous, so one day she followed him and after he left, she snuck in and turned the boys into swans. The girl, who had been off playing by herself, came back and discovered them, and somehow found out that the only way to make them human again was to be mute for the next six years and weave them each little shirts out of sharp, pointy nettles. So she started to work... and somewhere along the line another king came along and fell in love with and married her. And then as soon as she finished the shirts, the swans flew over one day and she threw the shirts up on them, and they became her brothers once again. Happy happy!

What I did not remember, or perhaps had purposefully blocked out from my young mind, was that the girl's new mother-in-law was ALSO a bad witch, and during the time when she was mute/making shirts she had 3 babies. And each time she had a baby the mother-in-law would kidnap the baby in the night, murder it, and wipe the blood on the girl's mouth to make it seem like she ATE THE BABY!!! When the girl finally finished the shirts, she was about to be burned at the stake for eating her children, but then at the last second the swans flew over and she somehow threw the shirts on her brothers and they became humans and her silence was broken, enabling her to explain to everyone that it was really the bad mother-in-law. Wow, huh? That's quite a story for a young one to take in!


melissa said...

Boy that is quite a heavy story for a young person to take in. It's surprising that the bizarre ones are often the favorites. I love your painting. It is so fresh and sweet. Nice work!

Britt- Sparkled Vintage Charm said...

crazy story! lol. Love the painting!

Carrie said...

yeah, i don't think we could read that one at our house. we'd be talking about it for days...

Erica-Jane said...

They just don't write 'em like they used to!!!
When my baby comes in February, the nursury will not be adorned with winnie the pooh, it will be a place of magic and imagination, like the wonderful Grimm tales. I may edit the bit about eating babies though! Hee hee!
lovely painting.


About Me said...

You know, I LOVED that story as a child. I had completely forgotten about it until I started reading your blog and it brought back so many warm childhood memories (despite the awful story, lol). Thank you!