The Goose Girl
Edited by Watty Piper
There was once an old Queen who had a very beautiful daughter.
The time came when the maiden was to go into a distant country to
be married. The old Queen packed up everything suitable to a royal
She also sent a Waiting-woman with her. When the hour of
departure came they bade each other a sorrowful farewell and set
out for the bridegroom's country.
When they had ridden for a time the Princess became very
thirsty, and said to the Waiting-woman, "Go down and fetch me some
water in my cup from the stream. I must have something to
"If you are thirsty," said the Waiting-woman, "dismount
yourself, lie down by the water and drink. I don't choose to be
Being very thirsty, the Princess dismounted, and knelt by the
Now, when she was about to mount her horse again, the
Waiting-woman said, "By rights your horse belongs to me; this jade
will do for you!"
The poor little Princess was obliged to give way. Then the
Waiting-woman, in a harsh voice, ordered her to take off her royal
robes, and to put on her own mean garments. Finally she forced her
to swear that she would not tell a person at the Court what had
taken place. Had she not taken the oath she would have been killed
on the spot.
There was great rejoicing when they arrived at the castle. The
Prince hurried towards them, and lifted the Waiting-woman from her
horse, thinking she was his bride. She was led upstairs, but the
real Princess had to stay below.
The old King looked out of the window and saw the delicate,
pretty little creature standing in the courtyard; so he asked the
bride about her companion.
"I picked her up on the way, and brought her with me for
company. Give the girl something to do to keep her from
The old King said, "I have a little lad who looks after the
geese; she may help him."
The boy was called little Conrad, and the real bride was sent
with him to look after the geese. When they reached the meadow, the
Princess sat down on the grass and let down her hair, and when
Conrad saw it he was so delighted that he wanted to pluck some out;
but she said—
"Blow, blow, little breeze,
And Conrad's hat seize.
Let him join in the chase
While away it is whirled,
Till my tresses are curled
And I rest in my place."
Then a strong wind sprang up, which blew away Conrad's hat right
over the fields, and he had to run after it. When he came back her
hair was all put up again.
When they got home Conrad went to the King and said, "I won't
tend the geese with that maiden again."
"Why not?" asked the King.
Then Conrad went on to tell the King all that had happened in
the field. The King ordered Conrad to go next day as usual and he
followed into the field and hid behind a bush. He saw it happen
just as Conrad had told him. Thereupon he went away unnoticed; and
in the evening, when the Goose-girl came home, he asked her why she
did all these things.
"That I may not tell you," she answered.
Then he said, "If you won't tell me, then tell the iron stove
there;" and he went away.
She crept up to the stove and unburdened her heart to it. The
King stood outside by the pipes of the stove and heard all she
said. Then he came back, and caused royal robes to be put upon her,
and her beauty was a marvel. Then he called his son and told him
that he had a false bride, but that the true bride was here.
The Prince was charmed with her beauty and a great banquet was
prepared. The bridegroom sat at the head of the table, with the
Princess on one side and the Waiting-woman at the other; but she
did not recognize the Princess.
When they had eaten, the King put a riddle to the Waiting-woman.
"What does a person deserve that deceives his master?" telling the
The false bride answered, "He must be put into a barrel and
dragged along by two white horses till he is dead."
"That is your doom," said the King, "and the judgment shall be
When the sentence was fulfilled, the young Prince married his
true bride, and they lived together in peace and happiness.