Ah, the happy traumas of the past

From Wikipedia, a synopsis of the Grimm fairy tale called “The Girl Without Hands”; this telling anyway makes it sound like something that would scar anyone for life.

Then again, maybe my modern imagination dwells too much on the more graphic parts of this; but this sounds likely like watching a David Lynch / Terry Gilliam / Quentin Tarantino absurd slasher horror film while on a very bad trip on some very ugly additives.

The Girl Without Hands (Aarne-Thompson type 706, “Creepypasta a la AD 1444”)

A poor miller was offered wealth by the devil if the miller gave him what stood behind the mill. Thinking that it was an apple tree, the miller agreed, but it was his daughter. When three years had passed, the devil appeared, but the girl had kept herself sinless and her hands clean, and the devil was unable to take her. The devil threatened to take the father if he did not chop off the girl’s hands, and she let him do so, but she wept on her arms’ stumps, and they were so clean that the devil could not take her, so he had to give her up.

She set out into the world, despite her father’s wealth. She saw a royal garden and wanted to eat some pears she saw there. An angel helped her. The pears were missed the next day, and the gardener told how she appeared. The king awaited her the next day and, when she came again, married her and made her hands out of silver. She gave birth to a son, and his mother sent news to the king, who had gone off to battle, but the messenger stopped along the way, and the devil got at the letter, changing it to say that she had given birth to a changeling. The king sent back that they should care for the queen nonetheless, but the devil got at that letter too, and once again changed it, saying that they should kill the queen and the child and keep the queen’s heart as proof.

The king’s servant despaired, and, to produce the heart, killed a hind and sent the queen and her son out into the world to hide. The queen went into a forest, and an angel brought her to a hut, and helped her nurse her son.

The king returned to his castle, and they discovered the letters had been tampered with. The king set out to find his wife and child. After seven years, he found the hut, and lay down to sleep with a handkerchief to cover his face. His wife came out, and when the handkerchief fell, directed her son to put it back on. The child grew angry, since he had been told that the Father in heaven was man’s true father, but no one on earth. The king got up to ask who they were, and she told him. He said that his wife had silver hands, but she had natural ones, to which she replied that God had given them back to her. Then she went to retrieve her silver hands that had fallen off and returned to show the king.

* * *

“Honey, the kids are quiet now.”

“Good tale telling, gramma!”

“No, daughter dear, I mean they won’t talk no more. No matter what you say to them. I tole you in my youth them tales was heavy. Why do ya think Onkel Karl is so mortal fraid of ovens and apples and brambles and all that moves? My gramma Snaggletooth, she was a wicked good spinner. Ya ken the tale, ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Jigsaw’s Saw’?”

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