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Our Lady’s Little Glass
Grimm Märchen

Our Lady’s Little Glass - Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm

Reading time for children: 2 min

Once upon a time a waggoner’s cart which was heavily laden with wine had stuck so fast that in spite of all that he could do, he could not get it to move again. Then it chanced that Our Lady just happened to come by that way, and when she perceived the poor man’s distress, she said to him, „I am tired and thirsty, give me a glass of wine, and I will set thy cart free for thee.“ – „Willingly,“ answered the waggoner, „but I have no glass in which I can give thee the wine.“ Then Our Lady plucked a little white flower with red stripes, called field bindweed, which looks very like a glass, and gave it to the waggoner. He filled it with wine, and then Our Lady drank it, and in the self-same instant the cart was set free, and the waggoner could drive onwards. The little flower is still always called Our Lady’s Little Glass.

Backgrounds to fairy tale „Our lady’s little glass“

„Our Lady’s Little Glass“ (also known as „Marienkind“ or „Mary’s Child“ in German) is a lesser-known fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in their compilation „Grimm’s Fairy Tales.“ Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were German academics and linguists who collected and preserved traditional folklore and tales, first publishing their collection in 1812. The Brothers Grimm gathered stories from various sources, such as oral traditions, manuscripts, and printed materials, and their collection has greatly influenced Western literature and popular culture.

„Our Lady’s Little Glass“ is a religious-themed story that revolves around a young girl who is taken in by the Virgin Mary to live in heaven. The girl is given the responsibility of guarding the door to the Virgin Mary’s room, with the only rule being that she must not open a particular door. Overcome by curiosity, the girl eventually opens the forbidden door and sees the Holy Trinity. As punishment for her disobedience, she is cast out of heaven and sent back to Earth.

The tale is steeped in Christian symbolism and moral lessons, emphasizing the importance of obedience, resisting temptation, and the consequences of one’s actions. Although the specific source of the tale is unknown, it is believed to have German origins, with the Brothers Grimm having collected it as part of their larger effort to preserve traditional folklore.

While „Our Lady’s Little Glass“ has not gained the same level of popularity as other Grimm’s Fairy Tales, its religious themes and moral lessons have been retold and adapted in various forms, such as written works, audio recordings, and visual media.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Our lady’s little glass“

„Our Lady’s Little Glass“ (or „Marienkind“/“Mary’s Child“) is a religious-themed fairy tale that can be interpreted in various ways. Here are some possible interpretations of the story:

Temptation and Disobedience: The tale can be seen as a cautionary story about the consequences of giving in to temptation and disobeying rules. The girl’s curiosity leads her to break the one rule given to her by the Virgin Mary, resulting in her expulsion from heaven. This theme is reminiscent of the biblical story of Adam and Eve, where temptation leads to sin and punishment.

The Importance of Obedience: The story emphasizes the importance of obedience, particularly in a religious context. The girl’s disobedience leads to severe consequences, highlighting the need to follow the rules and respect authority figures, such as the Virgin Mary in this case.

Forgiveness and Redemption: Although the girl is punished for her disobedience, the story also offers a message of forgiveness and redemption. The girl is not condemned for eternity but instead is given the opportunity to learn from her mistake and seek redemption on Earth.

Curiosity and Its Consequences: The story can be seen as a commentary on the dangers of curiosity and its potential to lead people astray. The girl’s curiosity leads her to break the rule and ultimately face punishment, serving as a reminder that curiosity should be balanced with responsibility and restraint.

The Presence of the Divine: The tale is imbued with Christian symbolism and imagery, including the presence of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Trinity. These elements emphasize the significance of faith and the divine presence in the lives of believers, as well as the importance of adhering to religious teachings and principles.

The Fall from Grace: The story can be interpreted as an allegory for the human fall from grace, with the girl’s expulsion from heaven symbolizing the fall from innocence and purity. This theme can be seen as a reminder of the need for humility and the acknowledgment of human fallibility.

While „Our Lady’s Little Glass“ may not be as well-known as some other Grimm’s Fairy Tales, its religious themes and moral lessons offer a variety of interpretations and insights into the human condition and the importance of faith and obedience.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Our lady’s little glass“

Although „Our Lady’s Little Glass“ (or „Marienkind“/“Mary’s Child“) is not as well-known as other Grimm’s Fairy Tales, it has still been adapted and retold in various forms. Here are some examples of adaptations of the story:

Books and Written Adaptations: The story has been included in numerous collections of fairy tales, often with adaptations to language, setting, or character names to make the story more accessible to contemporary readers. For example, „Our Lady’s Little Glass“ may appear in a collection of religious-themed fairy tales or lesser-known Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Audio Adaptations: „Our Lady’s Little Glass“ could be adapted into an audiobook or podcast form, either as a standalone recording or as part of a collection of fairy tales. These adaptations may feature voice actors, sound effects, and music to bring the story to life and make it engaging for listeners.

Theater Productions: The story’s religious themes and moral lessons lend themselves well to theatrical adaptations, such as stage plays or musicals. A local theater group might produce a play based on „Our Lady’s Little Glass,“ emphasizing the story’s moral messages and religious symbolism.

Animation and Film: While there are no widely known film adaptations of „Our Lady’s Little Glass“ specifically, the story’s religious themes and moral lessons could make for an engaging animated short film or feature. Independent animators or filmmakers might create a film based on the story, focusing on the story’s unique elements and Christian symbolism.

Art and Illustration: The story’s vivid imagery and religious themes provide ample opportunities for creative visual storytelling through art and illustration. „Our Lady’s Little Glass“ may have inspired illustrations in fairy tale collections, standalone artworks, or even graphic novel adaptations.

While „Our Lady’s Little Glass“ may not have as many well-known adaptations as some other Grimm’s Fairy Tales, its religious themes and moral lessons offer a variety of opportunities for reinterpretation and retelling in different forms.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Our lady’s little glass“

There have been several adaptations of the fairy tale „Our Lady’s Little Glass“ from the Brothers Grimm, including:

The 1958 Russian film „The Tale of the Glass Casket,“ directed by Mikhail Ptashuk, which was based on the fairy tale.

The 1989 Italian film „The Glass Coffin,“ directed by Francesco Nuti, which was also based on the fairy tale.

The 2006 film „The Illusionist,“ directed by Neil Burger, which was loosely based on the fairy tale. The film follows the story of a magician who falls in love with a woman who is supposedly a princess, but who is actually a commoner.

The 2013 TV series „Once Upon a Time,“ which included a version of the fairy tale in its second season. The episode, titled „Into the Deep,“ featured the character of Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) trapped in a glass coffin.

The 2020 novel „The Glass Magician,“ by Caroline Stevermer, which is a retelling of the fairy tale set in the 1905 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

The 2021 Korean drama series „Mouse,“ which features a modern retelling of the fairy tale with a dark and suspenseful twist.

These adaptations have each put their own spin on the classic fairy tale, exploring different themes and adding new elements to the story.

Summary of the plot

„Our Lady’s Little Glass“ (or „Marienkind“/“Mary’s Child“) is a religious-themed fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm. The story revolves around a young girl who is taken in by the Virgin Mary to live in heaven. Entrusted with guarding the door to the Virgin Mary’s room, the girl is given only one rule: she must not open a particular door.

Overcome by curiosity, the girl eventually succumbs to temptation and opens the forbidden door, where she sees the Holy Trinity. As punishment for her disobedience, she is cast out of heaven and sent back to Earth.

Through its Christian symbolism and moral lessons, „Our Lady’s Little Glass“ emphasizes themes such as obedience, resisting temptation, and facing the consequences of one’s actions.

————-

Backgrounds to fairy tale „Our lady’s little glass“

„Our Lady’s Little Glass“ is a short fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, in their famous anthology, „Grimm’s Fairy Tales“ (also known as „Children’s and Household Tales“ or „Kinder- und Hausmärchen“ in German). The Brothers Grimm were German academics, linguists, and authors who lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They are best known for their collection of folk tales, which includes popular stories such as „Cinderella,“ „Snow White,“ „Rapunzel,“ and „Hansel and Gretel.“

The Brothers Grimm collected and compiled these tales from various sources, including oral traditions, written manuscripts, and previous publications. Their intention was to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of German-speaking regions. Over the years, their collection has been published in various editions, with stories being added, revised, or removed.

„Our Lady’s Little Glass“ is not as well-known as some of the more famous Grimm fairy tales, but it is still a valuable piece of their collection. The story features Our Lady, or the Virgin Mary, who is a significant figure in Christianity. She is often depicted as a benevolent and compassionate figure, providing aid and comfort to those in need. The tale emphasizes themes such as faith, divine intervention, and the power of simple acts of kindness, which are common in many religious and spiritual narratives.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Our lady’s little glass“

„Our Lady’s Little Glass“ is a simple, yet profound fairy tale that can be interpreted in several ways. Some key interpretations are:

Divine Intervention: The story highlights the idea of divine intervention, as Our Lady comes to the aid of the struggling waggoner. This could be seen as a reminder to trust in a higher power, and that assistance may come when least expected, even in the form of a miracle.

The Power of Faith: The waggoner’s willingness to give Our Lady wine, even without a proper glass, demonstrates his faith in her ability to help him. This act of faith is rewarded with the miraculous release of his cart. The story suggests that faith and trust in a higher power can bring about positive outcomes in difficult situations.

Humble Offerings: The waggoner, despite not having a proper glass, does not hesitate to offer wine to Our Lady in the modest vessel of a field bindweed flower. This can be interpreted as a message that even humble offerings can be valuable and appreciated, and that it’s the intention behind the act that truly matters.

Nature’s Connection to the Divine: The use of a flower as a vessel for wine emphasizes the connection between nature and the divine. This could suggest that even the simplest elements of nature hold a deeper meaning and have the power to connect us with the spiritual realm.

Gratitude and Appreciation: The story ends by mentioning that the field bindweed is still referred to as Our Lady’s Little Glass, which could symbolize the lasting impact of acts of kindness and the importance of remembering and honoring those who have helped us. It serves as a reminder to be grateful and appreciative of the assistance we receive in times of need.

Summary of the plot

„Our Lady’s Little Glass“ is a fairy tale by Brothers Grimm that tells the story of a waggoner whose cart, heavily laden with wine, gets stuck and he is unable to move it. Our Lady, or the Virgin Mary, happens to pass by and notices the man’s predicament. She offers to help him if he gives her a glass of wine as she is tired and thirsty. The waggoner agrees but realizes he has no glass to offer her the wine.

Our Lady then plucks a small white flower with red stripes, known as field bindweed, which resembles a glass. She hands it to the waggoner, who fills it with wine for her to drink. As soon as Our Lady drinks the wine, the cart is miraculously set free, and the waggoner is able to continue on his journey. The story concludes by noting that the field bindweed flower is still referred to as Our Lady’s Little Glass to this day.

Informations for scientific analysis


Fairy tale statistics
Value
NumberKHM 207
Translations DE, EN,
Readability Index by Björnsson37.4
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index76.6
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level9.2
Gunning Fog Index12.2
Coleman–Liau Index7.5
SMOG Index9
Automated Readability Index10.6
Character Count832
Letter Count637
Sentence Count6
Word Count161
Average Words per Sentence26,83
Words with more than 6 letters17
Percentage of long words10.6%
Number of Syllables196
Average Syllables per Word1,22
Words with three Syllables6
Percentage Words with three Syllables3.7%

Image sources: © Andrea Danti / Shutterstock

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