#FairytaleTuesday: The Virgin Mary’s Child

Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index type 710: The Black Madonna
[CW: child abduction, violence against women]

As with the previous story, this one was told to the Grimm brothers by Gretchen Wild sometime prior to 1808. Interestingly, it contains elements of the Bluebeard story as well as the Six Swans.

The woodcutter obeyed her. He fetched his child and gave her to the Virgin Mary, who took her up to heaven. Once there everything went well for the girl: she ate only cake and drank sweet milk. Her clothes were made of gold, and the little angels played with her. One day, about the time the girl had turned fourteen, the Virgin Mary had to go on a long journey. Before she went away, she summoned the girl and said, “Dear child, I am trusting you with the keys to the thirteen doors of the kingdom of heaven. You may open twelve of the doors and look at all the marvelous things inside, but I forbid you to open the thirteenth door that this little key unlocks.”

Grimm, Jacob; Grimm, Wilhelm. The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition (p. 18). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
Heinrich Lefler and Joseph Urban, Date Unknown
Heinrich Lefler and Joseph Urban, Date Unknown
Heinrich Lefler, 1905

I wasn’t able to find a song about this particular story, which isn’t a surprise, given its obscurity. So, instead, please enjoy this fairytale interlude by The Magnetic Fields.

2 thoughts on “#FairytaleTuesday: The Virgin Mary’s Child

  1. The latter part of this story reminds me a little of the story of patient Griselda in the Clerk of Oxford’s Tale from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales ( it first appears in The Decameron ). There of course the moral is not just to tell the truth, but to be a patient and obedient wife and you will find happiness, or nowadays be a patient and obedient wife and suffer constant domestic abuse and you will find happiness.

    Liked by 2 people

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