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Jordina and Joringel
Grimms Fairy Tales and German Folklore
There was once an old castle in the midst of a large and dense
forest, and in it an old woman who was a witch dwelt all
alone. In the day-time she changed herself into a car or a
screech-owl, but in the evening she took her proper shape
again as a human being. She could lure wild beasts and birds
to her, and then she killed and boiled and roasted them. If
anyone came within one hundred paces of the castle he was
obliged to stand still, and could not stir from the place until
she bade him be free. But whenever an innocent maiden came
within this circle, she changed her into a bird, and shut her
up in a wicker-work cage, and carried the cage into a room in the
castle. She had about seven thousand cages of rare birds in
Now, there was once a maiden who was called jorinda, who was
fairer than all other girls. She and a handsome youth named
joringel had promised to marry each other. They were still in
the days of betrothal, and their greatest happiness was being
together. One day in order that they might be able to talk
together in peace they went for a walk in the forest. Take
care, said joringel, that you do not go too near the castle.
It was a beautiful evening. The sun shone brightly between
the trunks of the trees into the dark green of the forest, and
the turtle-doves sang mournfully upon the beech trees.
Jorinda wept now and then. She sat down in the sunshine and
was sorrowful. Joringel was sorrowful too. They were as
sad as if they were about to die. Then they looked around them,
and were quite at a loss, for they did not know by which way
they should go home. The sun was still half above the
mountain and half under.
Joringel looked through the bushes, and saw the old walls of the
castle close at hand. He was horror-stricken and filled with
deadly fear. Jorinda was singing,
my little bird, with the necklace red,
sings sorrow, sorrow, sorrow,
he sings that the dove must soon be dead,
sings sorrow, sor - jug, jug, jug.
Joringel looked for jorinda. She was changed into a nightingale,
and sang, jug, jug, jug. A screech-owl with glowing eyes
flew three times round about her, and three times cried, to-whoo,
Joringel could not move. He stood there like a stone, and
could neither weep nor speak, nor move hand or foot.
The sun had now set. The owl flew into the thicket, and directly
afterwards there came out of it a crooked old woman, yellow
and lean, with large red eyes and a hooked nose, the point of
which reached to her chin. She muttered to herself, caught the
nightingale, and took it away in her hand.
Joringel could neither speak nor move from the spot. The
nightingale was gone. At last the woman came back, and said
in a hollow voice, greet you, zachiel. If the moon shines on
the cage, zachiel, let him loose at once. Then joringel was
freed. He fell on his knees before the woman and begged that
she would give him back his jorinda, but she said that he
should never have her again, and went away. He called, he wept,
he lamented, but all in vain, hooh, what is to become of me.
Joringel went away, and at last came to a strange village, where
he kept sheep for a long time. He often walked round and round
the castle, but not too near to it. At last he dreamt one
night that he found a blood-red flower, in the middle of
which was a beautiful large pearl. That he picked the flower
and went with it to the castle, and that everything he touched
with the flower was freed from enchantment. He also dreamt
that by means of it he recovered his jorinda.
In the morning, when he awoke, he began to seek over hill and
dale for such a flower. He sought until the ninth day, and then,
early in the morning, he found the blood-red flower. In the
middle of it there was a large dew-drop, as big as the finest
Day and night he journeyed with this flower to the castle. When
he was within a hundred paces of it he was not held fast, but
walked on to the door. Joringel was full of joy. He touched the
door with the flower, and it sprang open. He walked in through
the courtyard, and listened for the sound of the birds. At
last he heard it. He went on and found the room from whence it
came, and there the witch was feeding the birds in the seven
When she saw joringel she was angry, very angry, and scolded
and spat poison and gall at him, but she could not come within
two paces of him. He did not take any notice of her, but went
and looked at the cages with the birds. But there were many
hundred nightingales, how was he to find his jorinda again.
Just then he saw the old woman quietly take away a cage with
a bird in it, and go towards the door.
Swiftly he sprang towards her, touched the cage with the flower,
and also the old woman. She could now no longer bewitch anyone.
And jorinda was standing there, clasping him round the neck,
and she was as beautiful as ever. Then all the other birds
were turned into maidens again, and he went home with his jorinda,
and they lived happily together for a long time.