Jorindel must rescue his bride to be from the spell of a fairy.
There was once an old castle, that stood in the middle of a deepgloomy wood, and in the castle lived an old fairy. Now this fairycould take any shape she pleased. All the day long she flew about inthe form of an owl, or crept about the country like a cat; but atnight she always became an old woman again. When any young man camewithin a hundred paces of her castle, he became quite fixed, and couldnot move a step till she came and set him free; which she would not dotill he had given her his word never to come there again: but when anypretty maiden came within that space she was changed into a bird, andthe fairy put her into a cage, and hung her up in a chamber in thecastle. There were seven hundred of these cages hanging in the castle,and all with beautiful birds in them.
Now there was once a maiden whose name was Jorinda. She was prettierthan all the pretty girls that ever were seen before, and a shepherdlad, whose name was Jorindel, was very fond of her, and they were soonto be married. One day they went to walk in the wood, that they mightbe alone; and Jorindel said, ‘We must take care that we don’t go toonear to the fairy’s castle.’ It was a beautiful evening; the last raysof the setting sun shone bright through the long stems of the treesupon the green underwood beneath, and the turtle-doves sang from thetall birches.
Jorinda sat down to gaze upon the sun; Jorindel sat by her side; andboth felt sad, they knew not why; but it seemed as if they were to beparted from one another for ever. They had wandered a long way; andwhen they looked to see which way they should go home, they foundthemselves at a loss to know what path to take.
The sun was setting fast, and already half of its circle had sunkbehind the hill: Jorindel on a sudden looked behind him, and sawthrough the bushes that they had, without knowing it, sat down closeunder the old walls of the castle. Then he shrank for fear, turnedpale, and trembled. Jorinda was just singing,
‘The ring-dove sang from the willow spray, Well-a-day! Well-a-day! He mourn’d for the fate of his darling mate, Well-a-day!’
when her song stopped suddenly. Jorindel turned to see the reason, andbeheld his Jorinda changed into a nightingale, so that her song endedwith a mournful /jug, jug/. An owl with fiery eyes flew three timesround them, and three times screamed:
‘Tu whu! Tu whu! Tu whu!’
Jorindel could not move; he stood fixed as a stone, and could neitherweep, nor speak, nor stir hand or foot. And now the sun went quitedown; the gloomy night came; the owl flew into a bush; and a momentafter the old fairy came forth pale and meagre, with staring eyes, anda nose and chin that almost met one another.
She mumbled something to herself, seized the nightingale, and wentaway with it in her hand. Poor Jorindel saw the nightingale was gone—but what could he do? He could not speak, he could not move from thespot where he stood. At last the fairy came back and sang with ahoarse voice:
‘Till the prisoner is fast, And her doom is cast, There stay! Oh, stay! When the charm is around her, And the spell has bound her, Hie away! away!’
On a sudden Jorindel found himself free. Then he fell on his kneesbefore the fairy, and prayed her to give him back his dear Jorinda:but she laughed at him, and said he should never see her again; thenshe went her way.
He prayed, he wept, he sorrowed, but all in vain. ‘Alas!’ he said,‘what will become of me?’ He could not go back to his own home, so hewent to a strange village, and employed himself in keeping sheep. Manya time did he walk round and round as near to the hated castle as hedared go, but all in vain; he heard or saw nothing of Jorinda.
At last he dreamt one night that he found a beautiful purple flower,and that in the middle of it lay a costly pearl; and he dreamt that heplucked the flower, and went with it in his hand into the castle, andthat everything he touched with it was disenchanted, and that there hefound his Jorinda again.
In the morning when he awoke, he began to search over hill and dalefor this pretty flower; and eight long days he sought for it in vain:but on the ninth day, early in the morning, he found the beautifulpurple flower; and in the middle of it was a large dewdrop, as big asa costly pearl. Then he plucked the flower, and set out and travelledday and night, till he came again to the castle.
He walked nearer than a hundred paces to it, and yet he did not becomefixed as before, but found that he could go quite close up to thedoor. Jorindel was very glad indeed to see this. Then he touched thedoor with the flower, and it sprang open; so that he went in throughthe court, and listened when he heard so many birds singing. At lasthe came to the chamber where the fairy sat, with the seven hundredbirds singing in the seven hundred cages. When she saw Jorindel shewas very angry, and screamed with rage; but she could not come withintwo yards of him, for the flower he held in his hand was hissafeguard. He looked around at the birds, but alas! there were many,many nightingales, and how then should he find out which was hisJorinda? While he was thinking what to do, he saw the fairy had takendown one of the cages, and was making the best of her way off throughthe door. He ran or flew after her, touched the cage with the flower,and Jorinda stood before him, and threw her arms round his necklooking as beautiful as ever, as beautiful as when they walkedtogether in the wood.
Then he touched all the other birds with the flower, so that they alltook their old forms again; and he took Jorinda home, where they weremarried, and lived happily together many years: and so did a good manyother lads, whose maidens had been forced to sing in the old fairy’scages by themselves, much longer than they liked.