Willkommen ein und alle in der wunderbaren Welt der Brother's Grimm! (Welcome one and all to the wonderful world of the Brother's Grimm!) This is my first story set in the Brother's world and I hope I can give it all the respect it is due. I stayed with Terry Gilliam's idea of filling the story with fairytale goodness (and it's not as easy as one would think. Terry, you rock!) and you will also find many nursery rhymes sprinkled throughout as well.
As I said in the description, this takes place post movie and the Brothers are still in Marbaden. Some months have passed and at this point their future and their pocketbook is beginning to look a bit bleak. Jakob, as always, has been doing a bit of research and may have come up with a way to secure their financial future, but can he get Wilhelm to agree? After all the adventure will be fraught with danger at every turn. Will the reward be worth the risk involved? We shall see...
"Welcome children, welcome! Oh do hurry and come in. It's snowing so dreadfully tonight and it's much warmer in here. Yes come sit by the fire and warm yourselves. I've made some nice warm chocolate for you as well. So I suppose you've come for a story then, eh? Well then alright, what shall it be tonight? Oh you want to hear one of their adventures do you? Very well then. What? Oh yes I did know them very well, but that was so many years ago, but I remember them as if it were just yesterday. They were both so handsome. That Wilhelm, he was ever so charming and Jakob, why he was just as sweet as sugar! You know I...What? Oh yes, the story. Forgive an old woman for prattling on so. Well settle down then and I will tell you about one of their greatest adventures and it's called ...
The Dove Princess
Once upon a time there lived a brother and sister whose names were Frederick and Katherine. They lived in a rather large and lively village at the foot of a softly flowing hill on which sat a beautiful castle and they were ruled by a kind King who had a very lovely daughter.
Now Frederick had known the Princess from a very young age, they had grown up together and become very good friends. She would sneak off from the castle whenever she could to meet him in the woods outside the village. As they grew older, their fondness for each other also grew and they fell in love. However, their relationship was soon to come to an end. The King had made arrangements for his daughter to marry a fine young Prince from another kingdom whom the Princess had never met. The King knew about her secret friendship with Frederick, but things being what they were in those days he forbade his daughter to see him ever again, for she was promised to another. The Princess was beside herself with grief and Frederick was inconsolable, even by his sister.
"You must stop moping about the house", said Katherine, "it will do no good. You knew all along a common person such as yourself would never be able to marry a Princess."
"I know that", sighed Frederick, "it's just that I don't know what I'm going to do now that I can't see her. I never even got to tell her how I feel and now I won't even get to say good bye."
He sighed again as he looked out the window at the castle above. "Oh, I know if I were a brave hero, the King would have to let me marry her then!" he said as he jumped up and started poking the air with a broomstick that he found leaning on the wall nearby. "Take that, you loathsome dragon! Ha!" He jumped around the room from table to bench slaying invisible dragons and fighting evil giants. That is until he tipped over the milk pitcher on the dining table.
"Fred! Now look what you've done!" fussed Katherine, "Just let it go. I'm sure you'll find someone someday soon who will make you a fitting wife. Someone who can cook and sew," She began mopping up the milk with a towel. "And clean up after you." Kate grumbled under her breath.
Now some months earlier, things in the kingdom had begun to go astray. Slowly at first, but it had been getting worse and worse as time went on. Now at the end of the summer, the stories were coming in from other villages telling of some terrible happenings around the kingdom. Young girls had been going missing when they went into the woods to pick mushrooms or gather firewood. As this was happening, the brave young men in the villages were volunteering to go out and find them, but alas they too went out into the woods never to return. By this time 98 girls in all had gone missing.
Now the worst part was just beginning. For no apparent reason that no one could discern, villagers from all over had begun acting strangely. They would suddenly stop whatever they were doing at the moment and recite a rhyme as if being made to do so by some unknown force. Once it had begun, there was no stopping it. The frightening thing was is the rhyme would then come to life as if it had a will of its own. All over people were dropping their work to go to market, row a boat or jump over a candlestick. It was affecting the livestock and animals as well. Cows tried to jump into the air each night when the moon rose, geese ran up and down the stairs and mice were in every clock and kitchen scurrying about. Very little work was getting done and everything was falling into disarray. The whole kingdom was slowly turning into chaos.
None of this was on Frederick's mind though. He secretly got a letter to the Princess and made arrangements to see her one last time in the woods. She was to be married the next day to her unknown suitor and he couldn't bear to let that happen without seeing her again to say goodbye. The King, however had put extra guards on to make sure she didn't go out and had proclaimed it was forbidden for anyone in the kingdom to go into the woods for fear of more of his subjects disappearing. Somehow though she had managed to elude them and slip out anyway. The fact that no one was allowed to enter the forest made it much easier for her to make her way to Frederick without being seen.
Soon they were together in their usual meeting place. They spent the afternoon talking. She picked flowers and made crowns out of them for both of them to wear in their hair and they played hide and seek. Fred even managed to sneak in a kiss even though she tried to escape it, but not very hard. Soon it was growing dark and the two sat under a large pine tree. The long needles on the ground beneath were soft and smelled wonderful. She was soon going to have to return to the castle never to see him again.
Frederick took her hands in his and looked into her eyes. He was about to say how much he loved her and would miss her, but a sudden overwhelming urge came over him. A rhyme had popped into his head and it was all he could do to keep from repeating it. Fred looked panicked and tried not to let the words come out. "What's wrong my love?" asked the Princess. He couldn't stop it any longer and quickly blurted out:
Little boy blue
Come blow your horn.
The sheep's in the meadow,
The cows in the corn!
Where is the little boy
Who looks after the sheep?
Under the haystack, fast asleep!
Cows and sheep began wandering out of the woods around them and meandering about bleating and lowing as if they were lost.
"Oh no…"said Frederick mournfully.
That was it. They both immediately fell backward and were sound asleep. When they awoke it was morning the livestock was gone. They had apparently slept through the night and they both knew they were in big trouble. Afraid the King would have his head; Frederick had to get the princess back to the castle before anyone woke up. They ran through the woods, but it seemed with every turn they were getting nowhere. It felt like they were in the forest for hours and they apparently seemed to be going in circles as trees and bushes all began to look the same. They were about to give up and admit they were lost, when they came upon a small, tidy cottage nestled in a clearing.
Fred thought he might ask directions to the castle, so they approached the little house. A kindly looking old woman opened to door and stepped out onto the front walk. "My, my, what are you two doing so far out in the forest?" she asked, "You both look so tired and hungry. Why don't you come in, sit down and have something to eat. Then I will help set you off in the right direction"
"Oh, that would be lovely", said the Princess and she went towards the open door. Frederick however found he couldn't move. It was if he was frozen stiff where he stood. He tried to cry out to the Princess to stop her, but couldn't. He could do nothing but watch helplessly as she entered the cottage. The old woman went in behind her and closed the door not being concerned that he wasn't following at all.
Through the window he saw the old woman begin to change as she took on her real shape. She was an ugly old witch with a hunched back and a crooked nose that looked as if it had been broken more than once. Her long white hair hung down past her waist like cobwebs blowing in the breeze. The Princess took no notice of this and stood still as if in a trance. Fred watched as the witch hung a small gold birdcage from the ceiling and opened its tiny door. She then took a small vial of blue liquid from her pocket. Tossing it at the Princess she muttered a few words Fred couldn't hear and it made a cloud of blue and white smoke that puffed up around her. When it cleared, the Princess was gone, but in her place was now a delicate white dove with blue wingtips locked in the golden cage. The witch lifted the cage down, walked out the door and whistled loudly between two fingers calling something from deep in the forest.
To Fred's surprise a large wild boar came snuffling out of the woods and the old witch jumped on its back. The boar squealed loudly and bolted off into the forest carrying the witch and the Princess Bird with it.
When they had gone, Frederick found that he could move once again. Not knowing what to do, he wandered around the woods for a while trying to make sense of it all. He finally came to a small village and decided to try and get help.
"Help! Help!" yelled Frederick running to a group of three men in front of a small inn. "The Princess has been taken!"
He explained the best he could what had happened to three men who were just getting ready to leave on horseback. They looked at each other not knowing what to do at first. They were traders and not really in the business of rescuing Princesses. An old woman who was tending her garden at front of her house overheard what was being said as Frederick was being very loud and animated about his story. She tottered over to them and offered an explanation.
"It's none of my business really, but I don't want to see a handsome young lad such as yourself get himself killed for nothing."
Frederick felt a cold chill run through him and he wanted to run somewhere; anywhere, but he couldn't abandon the Princess so he pulled up what courage he had left and listened to the old woman's story.
"She's been taken by the old witch that lives on the edge of the kingdom. Many girls have disappeared as of late and any man who tried to rescue them has met his maker trying. Long ago when the King's father ruled she was promised a position in the court, but when it was found out that she dabbled in the evil arts she was turned out. As a result she nearly starved and froze to death that winter. She grew bitter and ugly with age and she wanted to keep her strength about her in order to exact revenge upon the family. She prepared a potion to do so, but she found that it would only maintain it potency if she cooked and ate a young man who had never known the love of a woman at each full moon."
"Now that the Princess is of an age to marry, she is putting her plan into motion. With the souls of 100 maidens untouched by any man, she will turn the kingdom into perpetual winter at the coming of the equinox and everyone will be at her mercy for food and warmth. If she has taken the Princess, she must be close to exacting her revenge. She would be, as I reckon number 99 and she will only need one more to do the deed."
"This prophecy has been passed down for many a year through all the women of the kingdom. That is why it is said, that if you find your true love, marry him quickly or you may find that he is gracing the old witch's dinner table come the full moon. I say go home and be quick about it. Do not try to save her or she will eat you too."
With that the old woman tottered away and went back to her gardening. Sorely frightened, the men made some quick plans. One of them leapt onto his horse and rode like the wind to the castle to tell the King what had occurred. Another one rode the other way towards home with Frederick sitting behind him, hoping to get him there in time for him to pack up and hide so the King wouldn't take his head for all this and the third stayed put waiting for the others to return and made plans to get as far away from this kingdom as they could before the equinox hit for they had no desire to be trapped in perpetual winter, starving and freezing with no hope in sight.
So there you have it, the first chapter. It's not looking good for the kingdom. Will the brothers be able to save the day once again? Check out the next chapter as Jake tries to talk Will into rescuing the Princess. Will he accept the challenge or will he think it's a fool's quest? Read on and see.
*Authors note: I notice a lot of my readers are not going past the first chapter. I promise that as the brothers become involved and the story unfolds, you will really like it. If there's something about this chapter that you don't really like, please post a review and let me know so I can fix it before I get too far along. I don't want readers to abandon the story before all the action really gets going, so let me know if this beginning sucks or not and why. Thanks in advance.
Just so you know, it carries elements from at least six of the Brother's fairy-tales and several Mother Goose rhymes. Just for a little fun as you go along, test your knowledge and see how many you can find.