White Snake Text


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White Snake Text

  1. 1. “The White Snake”The Complete Fairy Tales of the BrothersGrimmTranslated by Jack ZipesPresented by Victoria Harkavy
  2. 2. A long time ago there lived a king who was famous throughout theentire country for his wisdom. Nothing remained hidden from him, andit seemed as if he could obtain news of the most secret things throughthe air. However, he had one strange custom. Every day at noon, afterthe table was cleared of food and nobody else was present, a trustedservant had to bring him one more dish. This dish was alwayscovered, and the servant himself did not know what was in it, nor didanyone else, for the king did not take the cover from the dish and eatuntil he was all alone.The king continued this custom for quite sometime, until one day the servant, while removing the dish, was overcomeby curiosity. He took it into his room, and after he had carefully lockedthe door, he lifted the cover and found a white snake lying inside.Once he laid eyes on it, though, he had an irresistible desire to taste it.So he cut off a little piee and put it in his mouth. No sooner did histongue touch it than he heard a strange whispering of exquisite voicesoutside his window. He went over to it to listen and noticed somesparrows talking to one another, telling what they had seen in thefields and forest. Tasting the snake had given him the power tounderstand the language of animals.http://www.pxleyes.com/photoshop-picture/4b29c6af8ffb2/The-White-Snake.html
  3. 3. Now, it so happened that on this very day the queen lost hermost beautiful ring, and the trusted servant was suspected ofcommitting the theft because he had access to everything. Theking summoned the servant and with harsh words threatenedhim, saying that if he was not able to name the guilty person bymorning, he himself would be considered the thief and would beexecuted. It was to no avail that the servant protested hisinnocence, for he was given a curt dismissal.Distressed and afraid, he went down into the courtyard and triedto think of a way out of his predicament. Some ducks werepeacefully sitting and resting by a running brook, preeningthemselves and chatting in a confidential tone. The servantstopped and listened to them as they told each other where theyhad been waddling about all morning and what good pickingsthey had found. But one of the ducks was irritable and said,“There’s something heavy in my stomach. I was eating too fastand swallowed a ring that was lying under the king’s window.”Right away the servant grabbed the duck by its neck, carried itinto the kitchen, and said to the cook, “This one’s well-fed. It’stime you killed it!”http://cakelurking.blogspot.com/2012/06/grimm-tales-posh-grounds.html
  4. 4. “All right,” said the cook, weighing it in his hands. “it certainlyhasn’t been shy about stuffing itself. Besides, it’s been waitinglong enough for its roasting.”So he cut off the duck’s neck, and when it was being cleaned,the queen’s ring was found in its stomach. Now the servantcould easily prove his innocence, and since the king wanted tomake amends for having wronged his servant, he granted him afavor and promised him whatever royal post of honor he desired.The servant declined all of this. His only request was for a horseand some travel money, for he had a desire to travel about for awhile and see the world.When his wish had been granted, he set out on his way, andone day, as he was passing a pond, he noticed three fishtrapped in the reeds and gasping for water.Though it is said thatfish cannot talk, he heard them crying in distress and wailing thatthey had to die so miserably. Since he felt sorry for them, he gotdown from his horse and put the three trapped fish back into thewater. They wriggled for joy, stuck their heads out of the water,and cried out to him, “We’ll remember you for saving our lives,and one day we’ll repay you.”http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/03/28/the-world-turned-upside-down-18th-century/
  5. 5. He rode on, and a while later it seemed to him that he heard a voice in the sand at his feet. He listened andheard an ant king complaining, “If only people with their clumsy beasts would keep away from us! That stupidhorse is mercilessly trampling my people to death with his heavy hooves!”The servant turned his horse onto a side path, and the ant king cried out to him, “We’ll remember this, andone day we’ll repay you.”The servant’s path led into a forest, and there he saw a father and mother raven standing near their nest andpushing their young ones out of the nest.“Get out! You’re nothing but freeloaders! they were exclaiming. “We can’t find enough food to feed youanymore, and now you’re big enough to feed yourselves.”The poor young birds lay on the ground, flapped their wings, and began crying, “We’re just helpless children!How are we supposed to feed ourselves when we can’t fly? All we can do is stay here and starve.”<a href="http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=31923&picture=raven-on-the-branch">RavenOn The Branch</a> by George Hodan
  6. 6. The the kind young man dismounted, killed his horsewith his sword, and left it for the young ravens to feedon They hopped over to the horse, ate their fill, andcried out, “We’ll remember this, and one day we’llrepay you.”Now the servant had to use his own legs. After he hadwalked a long way, he reached a big city where therewas a great deal of noise and a large crowd in thestreets. A man on horseback rode by and announcedthat the king’s daughter was looking for a husband, butwhoever declared himself a suitor would have toperform a difficult task, and if he did not complete itsuccessfully, he would forfeit his life. Many men hadalready tried and had risked their lives in vain. Whenthe young man saw the princess, he was so dazzledby her great beauty that he forgot all about the danger,went before the king, and declared himself a suitor. Hewas promptly led to the sea, and a gold ring wasthrown into it before his eyes. The king told him that hewas to fetch the ring from the depths of the sea, andhe added, “If you come up without it, you’ll becontinually pushed back down until your perish in thewaves.”http://folklorehorse.tumblr.com
  7. 7. Everyone felt sorry for the handsome young man and left himalone by the sea. He was standing on the shore thinking aboutwhat to do when he suddenly saw three fish swimming towardhim. They were none other than the three fish whose lives hehad saved. The one in the middle held a shell in its mouth, whichit set down on the beach at the feet of the young man, whopicked it up. When he opened the shell, he found the gold ring,and bursting with joy, he brought it to the king expecting that hewould receive the promised reward. But when the proud king’sdaughter discovered that he was not her equal in birth, shescorned him and demanded that he first perform another task.She went down into the garden, and she herself scattered tensacks full of millet in the grass.“He must pick them all up before the sun rises tomorrow,” shesaid. “And not a single grain may be missing.”The young man sat down in the garden and tried to think of away to accomplish the task, but nothing occurred to him, and hesat there quite sadly, expecting to be led to his death at thebreak of dawn. But when the first rays of the sun fell on thegarden, he saw ten sacks all filled to the top and standing sideby side. Not a single grain was missing. The ant king had comeduring the night with thousands and thousands of ants, and thegrateful insects had picked up the millet seeds with greatdiligence and gathered them into the sacks. The princess herselfwent down to the garden and was amazed to see that the youngman had accomplished the task. http://artofnarrative.blogspot.com/2012/02/rie-cramer-grimms-fairy-tales-1927.html
  8. 8. But her proud heart could not be tamed, and she said, “Even if he has accomplished the first two tasks,he shall not become my husband until he has brought me an apple from the Tree of Life.”The young man did not know where the Tree of Life was. Therefore, he set out with the intention ofgoing as far as his legs could carry him, even though he had no hope of finding it. One evening, after hehad traveled through three kingdoms and reached a forest, he sat down beneath a tree and wanted tosleep. But he heard a noise in the tree, and a golden apple fell into his hand. At the same time threeravens flew down to him, landed on his knees, and said, “We’re the three young ravens whom yousaved from starvation. When we grew up, we heard you were looking for the golden apple. So we flewacross the sea to the end of the world, where the Tree of Life is standing, and we’ve fetched the apple.http://whisperingbooks.com/Show_Page/?book=Fairy_Tales_From_The_Brothers_Grimm&story=White_Snake
  9. 9. Now the young man was full of joy andstarted on his way home. He brought thegolde apple to the beautiful princess, who nolonger had any excuses to make. Theydivided the apple of life and ate it together,and her heart filled with love for him. In timethey reached a ripe old age in peace andhappiness.http://chawedrosin.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/walter-cranes-illustrations-for-grimms-fairy-tales/
  10. 10. Reference ListZipes, Jack, trans. and ed. 2003. The complete fairy tales of theBrothers Grimm. New York: Bantam Books.