Childstories.org Logo
Menu
Childstories.org Logo
  • 1
  • All Grimm
    Fairy Tales
  • 2
  • Sorted by
    reading time
  • 3
  • Perfect for reading
    aloud
Maid Maleen
Maid Maleen Märchen

Maid Maleen - Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm

Reading time for children: 14 min

There was once a King who had a son who asked in marriage the daughter of a mighty King. She was called Maid Maleen, and was very beautiful. As her father wished to give her to another, the prince was rejected; but as they both loved each other with all their hearts, they would not give each other up, and Maid Maleen said to her father, „I can and will take no other for my husband.“ Then the King flew into a passion, and ordered a dark tower to be built, into which no ray of sunlight or moonlight should enter. When it was finished, he said, „Therein shalt thou be imprisoned for seven years, and then I will come and see if thy perverse spirit is broken.“ Meat and drink for the seven years were carried into the tower, and then she and her waiting-woman were led into it and walled up, and thus cut off from the sky and from the earth.

Maid Maleen Fairy TaleImage: Paul Hey (1867 – 1952)

There they sat in the darkness, and knew not when day or night began. The King’s son often went round and round the tower, and called their names, but no sound from without pierced through the thick walls. What else could they do but lament and complain? Meanwhile the time passed, and by the diminution of the food and drink they knew that the seven years were coming to an end. They thought the moment of their deliverance was come; but no stroke of the hammer was heard, no stone fell out of the wall, and it seemed to Maid Maleen that her father had forgotten her. As they only had food for a short time longer, and saw a miserable death awaiting them, Maid Maleen said, „We must try our last chance, and see if we can break through the wall.“ She took the bread-knife, and picked and bored at the mortar of a stone, and when she was tired, the waiting-maid took her turn. With great labour they succeeded in getting out one stone, and then a second, and a third, and when three days were over the first ray of light fell on their darkness, and at last the opening was so large that they could look out. The sky was blue, and a fresh breeze played on their faces; but how melancholy everything looked all around! Her father’s castle lay in ruins, the town and the villages were, so far as could be seen, destroyed by fire, the fields far and wide laid to waste, and no human being was visible. When the opening in the wall was large enough for them to slip through, the waiting-maid sprang down first, and then Maid Maleen followed. But where were they to go? The enemy had ravaged the whole kingdom, driven away the King, and slain all the inhabitants. They wandered forth to seek another country, but nowhere did they find a shelter, or a human being to give them a mouthful of bread, and their need was so great that they were forced to appease their hunger with nettles. When, after long journeying, they came into another country, they tried to get work everywhere; but wherever they knocked they were turned away, and no one would have pity on them. At last they arrived in a large city and went to the royal palace. There also they were ordered to go away, but at last the cook said that they might stay in the kitchen and be scullions. The son of the King in whose kingdom they were, was, however, the very man who had been betrothed to Maid Maleen. His father had chosen another bride for him, whose face was as ugly as her heart was wicked. The wedding was fixed, and the maiden had already arrived; but because of her great ugliness, however, she shut herself in her room, and allowed no one to see her, and Maid Maleen had to take her her meals from the kitchen. When the day came for the bride and the bridegroom to go to church, she was ashamed of her ugliness, and afraid that if she showed herself in the streets, she would be mocked and laughed at by the people.

Maid Maleen Fairy TaleImage: Paul Hey (1867 – 1952)

Then said she to Maid Maleen, „A great piece of luck has befallen thee. I have sprained my foot, and cannot well walk through the streets; thou shalt put on my wedding-clothes and take my place; a greater honour than that thou canst not have!“ Maid Maleen, however, refused it, and said, „I wish for no honour which is not suitable for me.“ It was in vain, too, that the bride offered her gold. At last she said angrily, „If thou dost not obey me, it shall cost thee thy life. I have but to speak the word, and thy head will lie at thy feet.“ Then she was forced to obey, and put on the bride’s magnificent clothes and all her jewels. When she entered the royal hall, every one was amazed at her great beauty, and the King said to his son, „This is the bride whom I have chosen for thee, and whom thou must lead to church.“ The bridegroom was astonished, and thought, „She is like my Maid Maleen, and I should believe that it was she herself, but she has long been shut up in the tower, or dead.“ He took her by the hand and led her to church. On the way was a nettle-plant, and she said,

„Oh, nettle-plant,
Little nettle-plant,
What dost thou here alone? I have known the time
When I ate thee unboiled,
When I ate thee unroasted.“

„What art thou saying?“ asked the King’s son. „Nothing,“ she replied, „I was only thinking of Maid Maleen.“ He was surprised that she knew about her, but kept silence. When they came to the foot-plank into the churchyard, she said:

„Foot-bridge, do not break,
I am not the true bride.“

„What art thou saying there?“ asked the King’s son. „Nothing,“ she replied, „I was only thinking of Maid Maleen.“ – „Dost thou know Maid Maleen?“ – „No,“ she answered, „how should I know her. I have only heard of her.“ When they came to the church-door, she said once more,

„Church-door, break not,
I am not the true bride.“

„What art thou saying there?“ asked he. „Ah,“ she answered, „I was only thinking of Maid Maleen.“ Then he took out a precious chain, put it round her neck, and fastened the clasp. Thereupon they entered the church, and the priest joined their hands together before the altar, and married them. He led her home, but she did not speak a single word the whole way. When they got back to the royal palace, she hurried into the bride’s chamber, put off the magnificent clothes and the jewels, dressed herself in her gray gown, and kept nothing but the jewel on her neck, which she had received from the bridegroom. When the night came, and the bride was to be led into the prince’s apartment, she let her veil fall over her face, that he might not observe the deception. As soon as every one had gone away, he said to her, „What didst thou say to the nettle-plant which was growing by the wayside?“

„To which nettle-plant?“ asked she; „I don’t talk to nettle-plants.“ – „If thou didst not do it, then thou art not the true bride,“ said he. So she bethought herself, and said,

„I must go out unto my maid,
Who keeps my thoughts for me.“

She went out and sought Maid Maleen. „Girl, what hast thou been saying to the nettle?“ – „I said nothing but,

„Oh, nettle-plant,
Little nettle-plant,
What dost thou here alone? I have known the time
When I ate thee unboiled,
When I ate thee unroasted.“

The bride ran back into the chamber, and said, „I know now what I said to the nettle,“ and she repeated the words which she had just heard. „But what didst thou say to the foot-bridge when we went over it?“ asked the King’s son. „To the foot-bridge?“ she answered. „I don’t talk to foot-bridges.“ – „Then thou art not the true bride.“

She again said,

„I must go out unto my maid, Who keeps my thoughts for me,“ And ran out and found Maid Maleen, „Girl, what didst thou say to the foot-bridge?“

„I said nothing but,

„Foot-bridge, do not break,
I am not the true bride.“

„That costs thee thy life!“ cried the bride, but she hurried into the room, and said, „I know now what I said to the foot-bridge,“ and she repeated the words. „But what didst thou say to the church-door?“ – „To the church-door?“ she replied; „I don’t talk to church-doors.“ – „Then thou art not the true bride.“

She went out and found Maid Maleen, and said, „Girl, what didst thou say to the church-door?“

„I said nothing but,

„Church-door, break not,
I am not the true bride.“

„That will break thy neck for thee!“ cried the bride, and flew into a terrible passion, but she hastened back into the room, and said, „I know now what I said to the church-door,“ and she repeated the words. „But where hast thou the jewel which I gave thee at the church-door?“ – „What jewel?“ she answered; „thou didst not give me any jewel.“ – „I myself put it round thy neck, and I myself fastened it. If thou dost not know that, thou art not the true bride.“ He drew the veil from her face, and when he saw her immeasurable ugliness, he sprang back terrified, and said, „How comest thou here? Who art thou?“ – „I am thy betrothed bride, but because I feared lest the people should mock me when they saw me out of doors, I commanded the scullery-maid to dress herself in my clothes, and to go to church instead of me.“ – „Where is the girl?“ said he; „I want to see her, go and bring her here.“ She went out and told the servants that the scullery-maid was an impostor, and that they must take her out into the court-yard and strike off her head. The servants laid hold of Maid Maleen and wanted to drag her out, but she screamed so loudly for help, that the King’s son heard her voice, hurried out of his chamber and ordered them to set the maiden free instantly.

Maid Maleen Fairy TaleImage: Paul Hey (1867 – 1952)

Lights were brought, and then he saw on her neck the gold chain which he had given her at the church-door. „Thou art the true bride, said he, „who went with me to the church; come with me now to my room.“ When they were both alone, he said, „On the way to church thou didst name Maid Maleen, who was my betrothed bride. If I could believe it possible, I should think she was standing before me thou art like her in every respect.“ She answered, „I am Maid Maleen, who for thy sake was imprisoned seven years in the darkness, who suffered hunger and thirst, and has lived so long in want and poverty. To-day, however, the sun is shining on me once more. I was married to thee in the church, and I am thy lawful wife.“ Then they kissed each other, and were happy all the days of their lives. The false bride was rewarded for what she had done by having her head cut off. The tower in which Maid Maleen had been imprisoned remained standing for a long time, and when the children passed by it they sang,

„Kling, klang, gloria. Who sits within this tower? A King’s daughter, she sits within, A sight of her I cannot win, The wall it will not break, The stone cannot be pierced. Little Hans, with your coat so gay, Follow me, follow me, fast as you may.“

Backgrounds to fairy tale „Maid Maleen“

„Maid Maleen“ is a lesser-known fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in their compilation of „Children’s and Household Tales.“ The story features elements of romance, adventure, and resilience, making it an engaging narrative with a strong female protagonist.

The tale tells the story of Maid Maleen, the daughter of a king, who falls in love with a prince her father disapproves of. As a result, the king locks Maid Maleen in a tower for seven years, hoping that she will change her mind about the prince. When the seven years have passed, and she is finally released, she finds her kingdom destroyed and her father gone.

Maid Maleen then embarks on a journey to find her true love, the prince, who is now engaged to another woman. With determination and cleverness, Maid Maleen takes on the role of the prince’s bride and eventually reveals her true identity. The prince recognizes his true love, and they marry, living happily ever after.

The background of „Maid Maleen“ is rooted in European oral tradition and folklore. Like many of the Brothers Grimm’s stories, it likely evolved through generations of storytelling before being collected and written down by the Grimm brothers. The tale reflects themes of love, determination, and the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

„Maid Maleen“ also bears similarities to other classic fairy tales, such as „Rapunzel,“ which features a protagonist locked in a tower, and „Cinderella,“ which focuses on a strong and resourceful female character who overcomes challenges to find her true love. The tale can be seen as a representation of the Brothers Grimm’s commitment to preserving a diverse range of stories, including those with strong female protagonists who exhibit courage and resilience.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Maid Maleen“

„Maid Maleen“ from the Brothers Grimm offers several themes and interpretations that can be drawn from the story. Here are a few key interpretations:

Love conquers all: The central theme of the story revolves around the power of true love. Despite being locked in a tower for seven years, Maid Maleen remains loyal to her love for the prince. Ultimately, it is their unwavering love for each other that allows them to reunite and live happily ever after.

Resilience and determination: Maid Maleen displays incredible resilience and determination throughout the story. After being released from the tower and finding her kingdom destroyed, she does not lose hope. Instead, she embarks on a journey to find her true love and faces numerous challenges along the way, showcasing her strength and resourcefulness.

Female empowerment: Maid Maleen is a strong and resourceful female protagonist who takes control of her destiny. She defies her father’s wishes, fights for her love, and does not give up in the face of adversity. The story can be seen as a celebration of female empowerment and the importance of standing up for oneself.

The power of identity: When Maid Maleen assumes the identity of the prince’s bride, she demonstrates the importance of knowing and asserting one’s true self. In the end, it is her courage to reveal her true identity that allows her to reunite with the prince.

The consequences of actions: The king’s decision to lock Maid Maleen in the tower for seven years ultimately leads to the destruction of his kingdom and his own downfall. This aspect of the story serves as a reminder of the potential consequences of our actions and the importance of considering the long-term effects of our choices.

The triumph of good over adversity: Maid Maleen’s story is one of overcoming obstacles and triumphing over adversity. Her resilience, determination, and love ultimately lead her to happiness, despite the many challenges she faces along the way.

In summary, „Maid Maleen“ offers several themes and interpretations, including the power of love, resilience and determination, female empowerment, the power of identity, the consequences of actions, and the triumph of good over adversity. The tale encourages readers to reflect on their own lives, the choices they make, and the importance of standing up for oneself and pursuing true happiness.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Maid Maleen“

While „Maid Maleen“ is not as well-known as some of the more famous Grimm fairy tales, there have been a few adaptations and reinterpretations inspired by the story in different forms:

Children’s books: „Maid Maleen“ has been adapted into illustrated children’s books, simplifying the language and emphasizing the themes of love, determination, and resilience. These adaptations make the story more accessible to young readers, allowing them to engage with the strong female protagonist and the moral lessons of the tale.

Short stories and modern retellings: Some authors have reinterpreted „Maid Maleen“ by setting it in contemporary times, giving it a new perspective, or focusing on specific aspects of the original tale. For example, Shannon Hale’s young adult novel „Book of a Thousand Days“ is a retelling of „Maid Maleen“ set in a fictional kingdom inspired by medieval Mongolia. The story follows a lady’s maid and her mistress, who are both locked in a tower, as they face trials and tribulations in their quest for freedom and love.

Theater productions: Although there are no widely known stage adaptations of „Maid Maleen,“ the story has the potential to be adapted into a play or a musical. A stage production could focus on the romance, adventure, and moral themes of the story, using costumes, sets, and music to bring the tale to life for audiences.

Animated films or shorts: While there are no major film adaptations of „Maid Maleen,“ the story could be adapted into an animated film or short that highlights the themes of love, resilience, and determination. Animation could bring the story’s characters, settings, and events to life, making the tale more engaging and visually appealing for audiences.

Although „Maid Maleen“ has not been adapted as extensively as some other Grimm fairy tales, its themes of love, determination, and resilience, along with its strong female protagonist, provide ample material for various forms of creative expression. These adaptations engage audiences with the story’s key messages and encourage reflection on the themes of love, determination, and the importance of standing up for oneself.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Maid Maleen“

The fairy tale „Maid Maleen“ from the Brothers Grimm has been adapted in various forms, including:

Literature: The story has been adapted in various works of literature, including „The Maiden in the Tower“ by Charles Perrault and „The Enchanted Princess“ by Madame d’Aulnoy.

Film: The story has been adapted into films, including the German silent film „Maid Maleen“ in 1919 and the animated film „Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper“ in 2004.

Theater: The story has been adapted into theatrical productions, including an adaptation by the National Theater in London in 2018.

Television: The story has been adapted for television shows, including an episode of the TV series „Grimm“ in 2016.

Music: The story has been adapted into operas, including the German opera „Maid Maleen“ by Johann Friedrich Reichardt in 1798.

These adaptations often modify the original story to suit different audiences and cultural contexts. However, they often retain the central themes of female empowerment, loyalty, and the struggle for personal freedom that are present in the original fairy tale.

Summary of the plot

„Maid Maleen“ is a lesser-known fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm that tells the story of a king’s daughter, Maid Maleen, who falls in love with a prince her father disapproves of. To punish her and change her mind, the king locks Maid Maleen in a tower for seven years.

When the seven years pass, Maid Maleen is released from the tower, only to find her kingdom in ruins and her father gone. Determined to find her true love, she sets out on a journey with her loyal maid, facing hardships and challenges along the way.

Maid Maleen eventually discovers that her true love, the prince, is now engaged to another woman. The bride-to-be, however, refuses to go to the wedding ceremony, so Maid Maleen takes her place, disguised as the bride. As they celebrate the wedding, the prince begins to suspect that the bride is not who she claims to be.

In the end, Maid Maleen reveals her true identity to the prince, who immediately recognizes his true love. The couple gets married, and they live happily ever after.

The tale explores themes of love, determination, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. It features a strong female protagonist who defies her father’s wishes and overcomes numerous obstacles to reunite with her true love.

—————–

Backgrounds to fairy tale „Maid Maleen“

„Maid Maleen“ is a lesser-known fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in their famous anthology, „Grimms‘ Fairy Tales.“ The story, also known as „Jungfrau Maleen,“ was first published in the 19th century as part of the brothers‘ efforts to collect and preserve German folklore and oral traditions. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were German scholars and linguists who aimed to capture the essence of traditional Germanic culture through their collection of tales.

„Maid Maleen“ tells the story of a princess who defies her father’s wishes and remains loyal to her true love, a prince from another kingdom. Her father punishes her by imprisoning her in a tower for seven years. Despite the many obstacles they face, including Maid Maleen’s imprisonment and the prince’s forced marriage to a false bride, the two lovers remain devoted to one another. Eventually, they are reunited, and justice is served when the false bride is punished for her deception.

The tale shares elements with other well-known fairy tales, such as „Rapunzel,“ where a young woman is also imprisoned in a tower. However, „Maid Maleen“ differs in its focus on themes like perseverance, loyalty, and the consequences of deception. Additionally, unlike many other fairy tales, the protagonist in „Maid Maleen“ demonstrates agency and determination, overcoming her challenges through her own efforts rather than relying on external rescue.

As a part of the Grimms‘ collection, „Maid Maleen“ has contributed to the rich tapestry of fairy tales that continue to entertain and teach moral lessons to readers of all ages.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Maid Maleen“

„Maid Maleen“ can be interpreted in several ways, touching upon themes such as love, perseverance, loyalty, deception, and justice.

True love conquers all: The love between Maid Maleen and the prince withstands numerous trials and tribulations, including her imprisonment and the destruction of her kingdom. Their love remains strong despite the passage of time, and they eventually reunite and live happily ever after. This theme showcases the power of true love and its ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

The value of perseverance: Maid Maleen and her waiting-maid endure seven years of darkness and isolation in the tower. They display great determination and courage by breaking through the tower’s walls and surviving in a ruined land. Their perseverance pays off when they finally reunite with the prince and find happiness.

Loyalty and devotion: Both Maid Maleen and the prince remain loyal to each other despite their separation and the challenges they face. Maid Maleen’s unwavering devotion to her love leads her to reject her father’s wishes, while the prince’s loyalty prompts him to question the identity of the woman he marries, ultimately leading to their reunion.

Deception and its consequences: The false bride’s deception in forcing Maid Maleen to take her place at the wedding ultimately leads to her downfall. Her lies and manipulations are uncovered, resulting in her execution. This theme illustrates the consequences of deceit and the importance of honesty and integrity.

Justice and retribution: In the end, justice is served when Maid Maleen and the prince are reunited, and the false bride is punished for her actions. This theme emphasizes the importance of fairness and the idea that wrongdoings will eventually be punished.

Overall, „Maid Maleen“ is a tale that demonstrates the power of love, loyalty, and perseverance, while also highlighting the consequences of deception and the importance of justice.

Summary of the plot

„Maid Maleen“ is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a beautiful princess named Maid Maleen who falls in love with a prince from a neighboring kingdom. Despite their love for each other, Maid Maleen’s father disapproves and wants her to marry someone else. As a result, the King imprisons Maid Maleen and her waiting-maid in a dark tower for seven years, hoping to break her spirit. They survive in the darkness, with food and drink provided for the duration of their imprisonment.

When the seven years come to an end, no one comes to release them, so they decide to break through the tower’s walls themselves. Upon their escape, they discover their kingdom in ruins and the inhabitants gone. They wander through the desolate land, eventually arriving in another kingdom where they find work as scullions in the royal kitchen.

Unbeknownst to them, the prince whom Maid Maleen loves is the son of the King of this kingdom. He is set to marry an ugly and wicked bride who is ashamed of her appearance. On their wedding day, the bride forces Maid Maleen to take her place at the ceremony. The prince is astonished by her resemblance to his beloved Maid Maleen, but believes her to be dead.

During the ceremony, Maid Maleen speaks cryptic verses to a nettle-plant, a foot-bridge, and the church door, which the prince questions her about later. She initially denies saying anything, but the false bride forces her to reveal the words. The prince realizes that she is his true bride when he sees the gold chain he gave her at the church.

Maid Maleen is eventually recognized as the prince’s true bride, and they live happily ever after. The false bride is executed for her deception. The tower where Maid Maleen was imprisoned remains standing, and children sing a song about it as they pass by.

Informations for scientific analysis


Fairy tale statistics
Value
NumberKHM 198
Aarne-Thompson-Uther-IndexATU Typ 870
Translations DE, EN, ES, FR, PT, IT, JA, NL, PL, RU, TR, VI, ZH,
Readability Index by Björnsson26.6
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index86.4
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level5.3
Gunning Fog Index8.2
Coleman–Liau Index7.7
SMOG Index7.8
Automated Readability Index5.7
Character Count10.592
Letter Count8.028
Sentence Count121
Word Count2.012
Average Words per Sentence16,63
Words with more than 6 letters201
Percentage of long words10%
Number of Syllables2.464
Average Syllables per Word1,22
Words with three Syllables77
Percentage Words with three Syllables3.8%
Questions, comments or experience reports?

Privacy policy.

The best fairy tales

Copyright © 2024 - All rights reserved | Imprint | Privacy policyPowered by childstories.org

Keine Internetverbindung


Sie sind nicht mit dem Internet verbunden. Bitte überprüfen Sie Ihre Netzwerkverbindung.


Versuchen Sie Folgendes:


  • 1. Prüfen Sie Ihr Netzwerkkabel, ihren Router oder Ihr Smartphone

  • 2. Aktivieren Sie ihre Mobile Daten -oder WLAN-Verbindung erneut

  • 3. Prüfen Sie das Signal an Ihrem Standort

  • 4. Führen Sie eine Netzwerkdiagnose durch