Obscure German Folktales (Part 2)

As promised, a continuation of the more obscure tales of Grimm.

Saint Joseph in the Forest

There once was a woman with three daughters. One was Naughty, one was Half Decent, the  third was Quite Devout. For some perverse reason, the mother favored the naughty child and was irritated by the devout one. So she sent the devout child out into the woods everyday, hoping that she would get lost. However, as all good little children have a guardian angel, she never did.

One day, the guardian angle led her to the cottage of St Joseph. He invited her in, apologizing that he only had some roots to cook into a stew for them to eat. The devout child was gracious, she cleaned and prepared the roots, then brought out the half a pancake her mother had sent her with that morning. She gave the man a larger potion of the meal, but, by the grace of God, was still full. When St. Joseph offered her his bed, she insisted that he keep it and she would sleep on a pile of straw on the floor. When she awoke the next morning, there was a large bag of gold on the floor, with the note “For the child who slept here last night”.

She returned to her mother. The Half Decent child heard what had happed and wanted her turn to go out into the woods. When she arrived at the cottage of Saint Joseph, she had a similar experience as the Devout Child, except for two things. The Half Decent child split her meal fairly with St Joseph and insisted that they share the bed. When she awoke in the morning, the was a small bag of gold with a note “for the child who slept here last night”.

The third, Naughty Child, insisted that she also get a turn to visit Saint Joseph. Though the mother packed her a basket of food, she only let the man eat after she was finished. When he offered his bed, she took it without protest. In the morning, she went looking for what the saint had left her.

What she got was an extra nose. She found the saint in the woods and begged him to remove it, and give her two pennies besides. She kept the pennies for herself, but told her mother she had received ed a large bag of gold and lost it on the way home. The mother took the Naughty Child into the woods to find the bag of gold. Snakes and scorpion came out of the woods and killed the Naughty child. They also stung the mother on the foot for raising such a bad child.


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