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The Pink
Grimm Märchen

The Pink - Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm

Reading time for children: 13 min

There was once on a time a Queen to whom God had given no children. Every morning she went into the garden and prayed to God in heaven to bestow on her a son or a daughter. Then an angel from heaven came to her and said, „Be at rest, thou shalt have a son with the power of wishing, so that whatsoever in the world he wishes for, that shall he have.“ Then she went to the King, and told him the joyful tidings, and when the time was come she gave birth to a son, and the King was filled with gladness. Every morning she went with the child to the garden where the wild beasts were kept, and washed herself there in a clear stream. It happened once when the child was a little older, that it was lying in her arms and she fell asleep. Then came the old cook, who knew that the child had the power of wishing, and stole it away, and he took a hen, and cut it in pieces, and dropped some of its blood on the Queen’s apron and on her dress. Then he carried the child away to a secret place, where a nurse was obliged to suckle it, and he ran to the King and accused the Queen of having allowed her child to be taken from her by the wild beasts. When the King saw the blood on her apron, he believed this, fell into such a passion that he ordered a high tower to be built, in which neither sun nor moon could be seen, and had his wife put into it, and walled up. Here she was to stay for seven years without meat or drink, and die of hunger. But God sent two angels from heaven in the shape of white doves, which flew to her twice a day, and carried her food until the seven years were over. The cook, however, thought to himself, „If the child has the power of wishing, and I am here, he might very easily get me into trouble.“ So he left the palace and went to the boy, who was already big enough to speak, and said to him, „Wish for a beautiful palace for thyself with a garden, and all else that pertains to it.“ Scarcely were the words out of the boy’s mouth, when everything was there that he had wished for. After a while the cook said to him, „It is not well for thee to be so alone, wish for a pretty girl as a companion.“ Then the King’s son wished for one, and she immediately stood before him, and was more beautiful than any painter could have painted her. The two played together, and loved each other with all their hearts, and the old cook went out hunting like a nobleman. The thought, however, occurred to him that the King’s son might some day wish to be with his father, and thus bring him into great peril. So he went out and took the maiden aside, and said, „To-night when the boy is asleep, go to his bed and plunge this knife into his heart, and bring me his heart and tongue, and if thou dost not do it, thou shalt lose thy life.“ Thereupon he went away, and when he returned next day she had not done it, and said, „Why should I shed the blood of an innocent boy who has never harmed any one?“ The cook once more said, „If thou dost not do it, it shall cost thee thy own life.“ When he had gone away, she had a little hind brought to her, and ordered her to be killed, and took her heart and tongue, and laid them on a plate, and when she saw the old man coming, she said to the boy, „Lie down in thy bed, and draw the clothes over thee.“ Then the wicked wretch came in and said, „Where are the boy’s heart and tongue?“ The girl reached the plate to him, but the King’s son threw off the quilt, and said, „Thou old sinner, why didst thou want to kill me? Now will I pronounce thy sentence. Thou shalt become a black poodle and have a gold collar round thy neck, and shalt eat burning coals, till the flames burst forth from thy throat.“ And when he had spoken these words, the old man was changed into a poodle dog, and had a gold collar round his neck, and the cooks were ordered to bring up some live coals, and these he ate, until the flames broke forth from his throat. The King’s son remained there a short while longer, and he thought of his mother, and wondered if she were still alive. At length he said to the maiden, „I will go home to my own country. If thou wilt go with me, I will provide for thee.“ – „Ah,“ she replied, „the way is so long, and what shall I do in a strange land where I am unknown?“ As she did not seem quite willing, and as they could not be parted from each other, he wished that she might be changed into a beautiful pink, and took her with him. Then he went away to his own country, and the poodle had to run after him. He went to the tower in which his mother was confined, and as it was so high, he wished for a ladder which would reach up to the very top. Then he mounted up and looked inside, and cried, „Beloved mother, Lady Queen, are you still alive, or are you dead?“ She answered, „I have just eaten, and am still satisfied,“ for she thought the angels were there. Said he, „I am your dear son, whom the wild beasts were said to have torn from your arms; but I am alive still, and will speedily deliver you.“ Then he descended again, and went to his father, and caused himself to be announced as a strange huntsman, and asked if he could give him a place. The King said yes, if he was skilful and could get game for him, he should come to him, but that deer had never taken up their quarters in any part of the district or country. Then the huntsman promised to procure as much game for him as he could possibly use at the royal table. So he summoned all the huntsmen together, and bade them go out into the forest with him. And he went with them and made them form a great circle, open at one end where he stationed himself, and began to wish. Two hundred deer and more came running inside the circle at once, and the huntsmen shot them. Then they were all placed on sixty country carts, and driven home to the King, and for once he was able to deck his table with game, after having had none at all for years.

Now the King felt great joy at this, and commanded that his entire household should eat with him next day, and made a great feast. When they were all assembled together, he said to the huntsmen, „As thou art so clever, thou shalt sit by me.“ He replied, „Lord King, your majesty must excuse me, I am a poor huntsman.“ But the King insisted on it, and said, „Thou shalt sit by me,“ until he did it. Whilst he was sitting there, he thought of his dearest mother, and wished that one of the King’s principal servants would begin to speak of her, and would ask how it was faring with the Queen in the tower, and if she were alive still, or had perished. Hardly had he formed the wish than the marshal began, and said, „Your majesty, we live joyously here, but how is the Queen living in the tower? Is she still alive, or has she died?“ But the King replied, „She let my dear son be torn to pieces by wild beasts. I will not have her named.“ Then the huntsman arose and said, „Gracious lord father, she is alive still, and I am her son, and I was not carried away by wild beasts, but by that wretch the old cook, who tore me from her arms when she was asleep, and sprinkled her apron with the blood of a chicken.“ Thereupon he took the dog with the golden collar, and said, „That is the wretch!“ and caused live coals to be brought, and these the dog was compelled to devour before the sight of all, until flames burst forth from its throat. On this the huntsman asked the King if he would like to see the dog in his true shape, and wished him back into the form of the cook, in the which he stood immediately, with his white apron, and his knife by his side. When the King saw him he fell into a passion, and ordered him to be cast into the deepest dungeon. Then the huntsman spoke further and said, „Father, will you see the maiden who brought me up so tenderly and who was afterwards to murder me, but did not do it, though her own life depended on it?“ The King replied, „Yes, I would like to see her.“ The son said, „Most gracious father, I will show her to you in the form of a beautiful flower,“ and he thrust his hand into his pocket and brought forth the pink, and placed it on the royal table, and it was so beautiful that the King had never seen one to equal it. Then the son said, „Now will I show her to you in her own form,“ and wished that she might become a maiden, and she stood there looking so beautiful that no painter could have made her look more so.

And the King sent two waiting-maids and two attendants into the tower, to fetch the Queen and bring her to the royal table. But when she was led in she ate nothing, and said, „The gracious and merciful God who has supported me in the tower, will speedily deliver me.“ She lived three days more, and then died happily, and when she was buried, the two white doves which had brought her food to the tower, and were angels of heaven, followed her body and seated themselves on her grave. The aged King ordered the cook to be torn in four pieces, but grief consumed the King’s own heart, and he soon died. His son married the beautiful maiden whom he had brought with him as a flower in his pocket, and whether they are still alive or not, is known to God.

Backgrounds to fairy tale „The pink“

„The Pink,“ also known as „The Carnation“ or „The Little Pink,“ is a lesser-known fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in their anthology „Children’s and Household Tales“ (Kinder- und Hausmärchen). The tale is numbered as Tale 76 in the collection. The story, rooted in European oral storytelling tradition, contains themes of enchantment, transformation, love, and the power of kindness.

In „The Pink,“ a queen wishes for a child and is granted her wish by a magical pink flower. The queen gives birth to a beautiful baby boy, but soon after, she falls ill and dies. The grieving king remarries, and his new wife gives birth to a daughter. Over time, the stepmother becomes jealous of her stepson’s beauty and goodness and decides to get rid of him. She consults a witch who turns the prince into a pink flower.

The princess, who dearly loves her brother, is devastated by his disappearance. One day, a kindly old woman helps her understand that her brother has been transformed into a flower. The princess then searches for the flower, finds it, and her tears of love and sadness break the spell, turning her brother back into a human. The wicked stepmother and the witch are punished for their deeds, and the siblings live happily ever after.

The Brothers Grimm collected „The Pink“ as part of their efforts to preserve and promote German and European folklore. The story serves as an example of the rich variety of tales they gathered, reflecting the cultural and societal beliefs of the time, including themes of love, transformation, and the triumph of good over evil.

Interpretations to fairy tale „The pink“

„The Pink“ from the Brothers Grimm offers various interpretations based on its themes, symbols, and narrative elements. Some possible interpretations include:

The power of love and kindness: The story emphasizes the power of love and kindness, as demonstrated by the siblings‘ bond and the princess’s determination to save her brother. The siblings‘ love for each other ultimately overcomes the evil enchantment, demonstrating that love and kindness can conquer even the most formidable challenges.

The triumph of good over evil: The tale presents a clear contrast between good and evil, with the siblings representing goodness and the wicked stepmother and witch embodying evil. The story ultimately rewards the virtuous siblings and punishes the malicious characters, reinforcing the idea that good will triumph over evil.

Transformation and enchantment: The theme of transformation is central to the story, with the prince turned into a pink flower and later restored to his human form. The enchantments in the story serve as both obstacles and solutions, emphasizing the power of change and adaptability.

The role of fate and destiny: The miraculous circumstances of the prince’s birth, the appearance of the kindly old woman, and the siblings‘ eventual triumph could be seen as a result of fate or destiny. The story suggests that their lives are guided by a higher power or predetermined path, which leads them to overcome adversity and find happiness.

The importance of perseverance and courage: The story highlights the value of perseverance and courage in overcoming challenges. The princess faces numerous obstacles in her quest to save her brother, and it is her determination, bravery, and unwavering love that ultimately help them succeed and restore their happiness.

Overall, „The Pink“ is a rich and engaging fairy tale that explores themes of love, transformation, and the struggle between good and evil. It serves as a reminder of the power of love and kindness, as well as the importance of courage and perseverance in overcoming adversity.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „The pink“

„The Pink“ is a lesser-known fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, so it has not been widely adapted or retold in popular culture. However, its themes and elements have appeared in various forms and adaptations over the years. Some specific examples include:

Literature: The themes and motifs of „The Pink“ can be found in various literary works, including short stories, novels, and children’s books. These adaptations may take the form of retellings of the original story or reinterpretations that incorporate similar themes and ideas, such as transformation, love, and the triumph of good over evil.

Theater: Although „The Pink“ has not been widely adapted for the stage, smaller theater companies, school productions, or community theater groups might have included it in their repertoire or as part of a larger collection of Grimm fairy tales. The story’s themes of love, transformation, and the struggle between good and evil lend themselves well to theatrical exploration.

Art: Illustrators and visual artists might have been inspired by „The Pink,“ creating artwork for book editions or standalone pieces that depict key scenes, characters, or themes from the story. These works can vary in style and medium, showcasing the impact of the Brothers Grimm’s tale on the world of art.

Animation and Film: While there are no major film or animation adaptations of „The Pink,“ independent filmmakers or animators might have created short films or animations based on the story. These adaptations could either be faithful retellings or reinterpretations that highlight the tale’s key themes and motifs.

While „The Pink“ has not been widely adapted or retold in mainstream media, its themes and ideas continue to resonate and can be found in various forms of art and storytelling. The story serves as a reminder of the power of love and the importance of courage, perseverance, and the triumph of good over evil, which are timeless themes that continue to be relevant today.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „The pink“

„The Pink“ (or „The Pink Flower“) is a classic fairy tale that has inspired numerous adaptations in literature, film, and other media. Here are some examples:

„The Pink“ by Oscar Wilde: In this short story, Wilde reimagines the fairy tale as a humorous satire of Victorian society. The story follows a group of wealthy, idle aristocrats who become obsessed with finding a rare pink flower, which they believe will bring them happiness and fulfillment.

„The Enchanted Garden“ by Hilda van Stockum: This children’s book is a retelling of „The Pink“ with some variations. The story follows a young prince who sets out to find a magical flower that can cure his father’s illness. Along the way, he meets a series of helpers and faces various challenges before finally finding the flower.

„The White Rose“ by Glen Cook: This novel is a fantasy adaptation of „The Pink“ set in a magical world. The story follows a young girl who must journey to find the rare white rose that will save her dying mother. Along the way, she faces dangerous creatures and treacherous foes, and learns valuable lessons about love, loyalty, and sacrifice.

„The Magic Flower“ (1987): This animated film from Russia is based on „The Pink.“ The story follows a young prince who sets out to find a magical flower that can cure his sick father. Along the way, he meets a series of helpers and faces various challenges before finally finding the flower.

„Sleeping Beauty“ (1959): This classic Disney film is often compared to „The Pink“ due to its similar plot and themes. In „Sleeping Beauty,“ a princess is cursed by an evil fairy and falls into a deep sleep, which can only be broken by a true love’s kiss. The film emphasizes the power of love and the importance of perseverance and sacrifice.

Overall, „The Pink“ has inspired a wide range of adaptations that explore its themes of love, perseverance, and the power of nature.

Summary of the plot

„The Pink“ is a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm that tells the story of a queen who wishes for a child and is granted her wish by a magical pink flower. She gives birth to a beautiful baby boy, but soon after, she falls ill and dies. The king remarries, and his new wife gives birth to a daughter. Over time, the stepmother becomes jealous of her stepson’s beauty and goodness and decides to get rid of him. She consults a witch who turns the prince into a pink flower.

The princess, who dearly loves her brother, is devastated by his disappearance. One day, a kindly old woman helps her understand that her brother has been transformed into a flower. The princess then searches for the flower, finds it, and her tears of love and sadness break the spell, turning her brother back into a human. The wicked stepmother and the witch are punished for their deeds, and the siblings live happily ever after.

The tale explores themes of love, transformation, enchantment, and the triumph of good over evil, emphasizing the power of love and the importance of courage and perseverance in overcoming adversity.

————–

Backgrounds to fairy tale „The pink“

„The Pink“ is a fairy tale collected and published by the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, in their famous book „Grimm’s Fairy Tales“ or „Children’s and Household Tales“ (German: „Kinder- und Hausmärchen“). The Brothers Grimm were German scholars, linguists, and cultural researchers who collected and compiled various folktales and legends from the oral tradition in the early 19th century.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm aimed to preserve the cultural heritage of Germany and Europe by gathering these stories, which were passed down from generation to generation. Their work became an essential part of European folklore and has been translated into multiple languages, enjoying immense popularity and influence worldwide.

„The Pink“ is one of over 200 tales in the Grimm’s collection, which also includes famous stories such as „Cinderella,“ „Hansel and Gretel,“ „Rapunzel,“ „Snow White,“ and „The Frog Prince.“ The tales often involve elements of magic, enchantment, and moral lessons to educate and entertain readers of all ages.

Though the Brothers Grimm are often credited with the creation of these stories, it is essential to note that they collected and compiled these tales from various sources, including storytellers, other written works, and their acquaintances. As a result, the tales often reflect the beliefs, values, and social norms of the communities where they originated.

Interpretations to fairy tale „The pink“

„The Pink“ is a rich fairy tale that can be interpreted in various ways. Some possible interpretations include:

The power of good over evil: This tale demonstrates the triumph of good over evil. Despite the cook’s wicked plans and attempts to manipulate the boy and his power, the characters‘ inherent goodness prevails. The boy and his companion show kindness and compassion, refusing to harm each other or succumb to the cook’s evil intentions. Ultimately, the cook is punished, and the boy reunites with his family.

The importance of faith and divine intervention: Throughout the story, there are instances of divine intervention, such as the Queen’s prayers being answered and the angels that provide her with food in the tower. The characters‘ faith in a higher power and their belief in goodness help them overcome adversity and find justice in the end.

The power of love and loyalty: Love and loyalty are recurring themes in the tale. The boy and his companion develop a deep bond, choosing to protect each other rather than succumbing to the cook’s malicious intentions. Their love and loyalty ultimately lead to their happiness and the downfall of the evil cook. Additionally, the boy’s determination to save his mother demonstrates the strong love and loyalty within families.

The consequences of greed and power: The cook’s desire to control the boy’s power of wishing leads him down a destructive path. His greed for power and control results in his eventual punishment and death. This theme serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of pursuing power and control at the expense of others.

Transformation and redemption: The story features various transformations, both physical and metaphorical. The cook’s transformation into a poodle, and later back into a human, symbolizes the consequences of his actions and the possibility of redemption. Similarly, the boy’s companion transforms from a flower back into a human, reflecting her journey from a vulnerable, innocent girl to a strong, loving woman.

Overall, „The Pink“ is a fairy tale that can be interpreted in multiple ways, touching on themes of good versus evil, faith, love, loyalty, greed, power, transformation, and redemption.

Summary of the plot

„The Pink“ is a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm about a Queen who, after praying for a child, is granted a son with the power of wishing. The Queen’s old cook, knowing the child’s power, kidnaps the boy and frames the Queen for his supposed death. The King, believing the cook’s lies, locks the Queen in a tower for seven years without food or water. However, two angels in the form of doves bring her sustenance.

The cook raises the child, who uses his power of wishing to create a beautiful palace and a lovely companion. Fearing the boy’s power, the cook tries to have him killed, but the companion refuses. Instead, she kills a hind and presents its heart and tongue to the cook, who believes it is the boy’s. The boy punishes the cook by transforming him into a poodle that must eat burning coals.

The boy, now a grown man, decides to return to his kingdom with his companion, who he turns into a pink flower for the journey. He discovers his mother is still alive in the tower and reveals his true identity to his father, the King. The cook is turned back into a human and thrown into a dungeon, while the boy’s companion is restored to her human form.

The Queen is finally released from the tower, but dies three days later, followed by two white doves that had brought her food. The cook is executed, and the King, consumed by grief, dies as well. The boy marries his beautiful companion, and their fate remains known only to God.

Informations for scientific analysis


Fairy tale statistics
Value
NumberKHM 76
Aarne-Thompson-Uther-IndexATU Typ 652
Translations DE, EN, EL, DA, ES, PT, IT, JA, NL, PL, RU, TR, VI, ZH,
Readability Index by Björnsson35.9
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index76
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level9.3
Gunning Fog Index12
Coleman–Liau Index7
SMOG Index8.5
Automated Readability Index10.3
Character Count9.109
Letter Count6.985
Sentence Count67
Word Count1.802
Average Words per Sentence26,90
Words with more than 6 letters163
Percentage of long words9%
Number of Syllables2.206
Average Syllables per Word1,22
Words with three Syllables56
Percentage Words with three Syllables3.1%

Image sources: © Andrea Danti / Shutterstock

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