07 February 2011

Short Monday: The Twelve Brothers.

Short Monday #6: The Twelve Brothers, part of Grimm's Fairy Tales.

This has to be one of the battiest stories yet. But the strange thing is, I think it would have been better with more length. In fact, I wonder if parts of it could be missing..
Anyway. The king turns to his queen one day and decides that if she bears him a daughter, he will have his twelve sons killed. (Out of the blue, much?) He has twelve coffins made and stored in a room in the castle, and their mother, not being able to bear the strange-somewhat-dim-witted king's horrifying decision, cries so much that the youngest son pesters her until she tells him of his fathers plans for the twelve brothers. They wisely decide to leave the castle, each keeping watch for a safe white flag, or a deadly stay-away red flag to be flown from the castle. On the twelfth day, they see the red flag is flown, letting them know their mother gave birth to a girl. This angers them, being put-out by a maiden, they decide that the first maiden they come upon, she must be killed. (Perhaps they are angry at the wrong people here...) They venture off further into the woods and come upon a charmed house, where they decide to live.
The years pass, and a great wash takes place (from what I gather from the story, this is a massive laundry day.) and the brother's twelve shirts are hung to dry. The daughter asks who they belong to, and the mother tells her of her brothers. The daughter then decides to find them, which she does, and she meets the youngest brother first and tells him who she is. He hides her when his older brothers return home, and he makes them promise not to kill the first maiden they meet, and they agree, thus sparing their little sister, whom they immediately love greatly.
But one day, their sister sees twelve lovely flowers outside of their charmed house, and as she breaks the flowers off to take inside for her brothers, they one by one turn into crows and the house and garden disappear, leaving the girl alone in the woods. She notices an old woman standing near her, who tells her she should have left the flowers alone, and shares with her a way to bring her brothers back to normal.
She must be "dumb" for seven years - not speaking or laughing at all, if she speaks or laughs just once, her brothers will die. She does as the old woman says. One day a king comes upon her and seeing how beautiful the girl is, he asks her to marry him, she slightly nods her head yes and he takes her away to his castle. But his wickedly mother sees and thinks that the girl is not right in her silence, and so she eventually convinces her son to have her killed. And on that day, the very moments she is being burned at the stake, the seven years are ended, and her brothers swoop from the sky and turn back into men, and save their sister from death, finally allowing her to speak; and tell the king her story. All of them finally living together happily ever after.
Once again, I have no idea what the moral of this story is, but if I had to find one I suppose it would be to have perseverance...

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