The Goose Girl
Once upon a time, a beautiful and kind queen had only one daughter, who was as lovely as the day. As the princess was to be married off to a prince in a distant kingdom, the queen equipped her with a loyal maid, a beautiful horse named Falada that could speak, and a handkerchief stained with three drops of blood.
As they journeyed, they came across a stream. The princess, thirsty, asked her maid for a drink. The maid rudely refused, claiming the princess should fetch it for herself. The scared princess had no choice but to obey. The same thing happened every time they came across a stream.
Finally, they reached the kingdom, but the maid deceived the prince by taking on the princess’s identity. She ordered the prince to get rid of Falada, the only one who knew the truth. The real princess begged the man who was to kill Falada to hang his head under the dark gate where she passed each day.
The real princess was made a goose-girl by the false bride. Each day, she passed under Falada’s head and wept, and Falada comforted her. One day, the old king saw the girl, listened to the horse’s head speak, and became suspicious.
He noticed that the goose-girl let her beautiful hair down while tending to the geese and how the wind would sometimes blow away her hat. A little boy serving the goose-girl would run to fetch the hat but she would scold him because she was trying to protect her beautiful hair from being seen.
The king called the goose-girl and questioned her. She refused to speak out of fear, so he asked her to tell her troubles to the iron stove. She confessed everything to the stove, not knowing the king was listening.
Upon hearing the truth, the king arranged a grand banquet. He placed the false bride and the true princess in seats of honor but kept their identities hidden. He asked the false bride what punishment a person deserved for duping a royal maiden. Unaware that she was pronouncing her own judgment, the maid suggested that such a person should be stripped and thrown into a barrel studded with sharp nails and dragged through the streets. The king agreed.
The false bride was punished just as she had suggested, and the prince married the true princess. The kind and beautiful princess lived happily ever after with her prince, becoming a benevolent queen in time.