Now you see everything turned out all right in the end didn't it? Nothing was lost and everyone found something special that they really hadn't lost in the first place. The Princess found her Prince, Frederick found Greta, the brothers found love and most importantly they found each other! As Jakob said, magic happens all around you every day, you just have to open your eyes and look for it! Now I've one last part to tell you and this part is about how they all lived...
Happily Ever After
A light snow fell from the night sky outside the little cottage while a warm firelight danced against the window panes and the sound of tinkling laughter could be heard within. It was Christmas Eve and everyone was gathered around the fire. A pot of hot mulled wine hung near the hearth keeping warm and Will was refilling everyone's cup.
"The roast pig should be done soon", announced Frederick, coming in the back door carrying an armload of firewood, snowflakes swirling around him as he paused to stamp the snow from his boots.
He hung up his coat and settled down with his cup of wine, the smell of cinnamon and clove tickling his cold nose.
"Ummm. Lovely job as always, Jake", he said after taking a long sip.
"Thank you very much!" Jakob replied with an overly fancy bow.
He was well into his second cup and feeling quite over-dramatic at the moment.
"Jakob, what about the tree?" Kate reminded him gently.
"Oh…yes!" he replied.
Kate was just finishing up trying the last of the gingerbread cookies to the branches of the tree with red ribbons. She had made them herself that morning, cutting them into all sorts of shapes and sizes and they smelled wonderful mixed with the smell of the spiced wine. Jake snatched a gingerbread angel from the plate when her back was turned and stuffed it in his mouth as he lit the candles that adorned the tips of the tree's branches.
"Jakob!" she scolded when she looked up and saw what was left of the cookie hanging from his mouth.
"Well, I'm starving girl!" he mumbled around the piece of cookie, "You can't expect me to light all these candles on an empty stomach can…Ouch!!"
He hollered loudly as he burnt his finger and quickly stuck it in his mouth in place of the cookie. Jake glared at everyone as if he was daring them to laugh and the room grew quiet. After a few tense moments they could hold it in no longer and everyone burst out laughing.
"It's not funny, it hurts!" pouted Jakob.
Kate took his hand and inspected the finger and found nothing wrong. She gently kissed the supposed offended finger.
"Better?" she asked with a smile.
"Oh yes, much", replied Jake returning the smile childishly.
Will shot Frederick a nauseated look and whispered to him, "Oh please! If these two get any sweeter together I think I'm going to gag!"
Frederick just giggled, well under his blanket of hot mulled wine. When the tree was finally lit Jake and Kate took a silly bow and Fred and Will applauded wildly.
"Now on to the gifts!" announced Fred.
He began passing around packages wrapped in brown paper and tied with sting. Kate had been busy knitting and had made a scarf for Will and mittens for her brother. Kate received some new stockings from Fred and some handkerchiefs from Will with her initial embroidered on the corner. Will opened a package from Fred and found a nice, new straight razor with some lovely smelling shaving soap and at the same time Jakob found he had gotten a new pen from Will that had a handle made of wood and a good sturdy nib so he wouldn't be tossing ink blots around on his paper with those old quills anymore. Last, but not least Will and Jake got Fred a new pipe and some very good tobacco to put in it.
Jakob pulled two packages from under the bench on which he was sitting and held one out toward Will.
"Best for last", he mumbled shyly and clearing his throat he said, "s'for you."
Will took the package and frowned at his brother wondering what he was up to. Opening the box he found it contained a small hand carved wooden bird painted blue that you might find in a toy shop. When you turned the little crank on the side, the little bird bobbed his head back and forth as it chirped a little tune. Kate and Fred thought it was a wonderful little toy, but Will knew what it meant. It looked like the little bird their mother used to keep before father passed away, a memory of a happier time together. It also served as a reminder of what they had been through that fall and reminded him of a bond that they both thought no longer existed between them, that bond from the happier time.
"Jakob!" began Will loudly.
Jake braced himself assuming his brother had missed the whole point and he was about to be yelled at for buying something so frivolous instead of something more practical. However, Will had understood and smiled broadly at him as he pulled him into a tight hug.
"Thank you", said Will softly turning slightly misty-eyed, "this is the best gift I've ever received."
He turned the little crank, making the bird chirp it merry tune and it made him giggle like a little child. Jakob then handed the other box to Kate. She opened it carefully and to her surprise inside was one of the most delicate chains she had ever seen.
"Jakob, it's lovely!" she said breathlessly.
"It's to hang your necklace on", he explained.
"Oh!" she said as she untied the cord from around her neck. That cord had seen better days and she had been worried about losing the charm that meant so much to her. Jake threaded it on the chain and fastened it around her neck.
She felt the chain with her fingertips and said, "Oh, I love it, but it's too much!"
"Nonsense", said Will, "it looks beautiful on you."
"Oh, thank you!" she said as she hugged Jake around the neck tightly.
Shyly she took a package of her own from under the bench on which she sat and handed it slowly to Jake.
"It's from both of us", put in Frederick barely able to contain his excitement.
Jakob noted the package was quite heavy and he stared at it for a few moments as if he were afraid to open it. 'What has she done?' he wondered.
"Well, go on Jake", prompted Will, "Its not going to open itself you know!"
"Oh…well…no, I suppose not", he replied.
Slowly, he untied the string and upon carefully removing the wrapping, he stared at the object in awe. "Wo…I…", was all he could manage. In his hands he held a fine leather bound book. A picture of two handsome, young men graced the front cover of the book, one on bended knee speaking to a little man all dressed in black. Jakob immediately recognized them as He and Will and the ugly little man from the box with the blue light that turned out to be the handsome Prince. The edges of the book's pages were gilded in gold and gold leaf was embedded all around the picture. What really had stuck him dumb was the title of the book. There below the picture, imbedded in gold leaf was the title in large letters "Grimm's Fairy Tales" and below that in smaller letters "As Told by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm". Slowly he handed the book to his brother. Will's eyes grew wide and he grinned from ear to ear.
"This is absolutely …marvelous!" Will said, sounding a bit giddy, "How…when?"
"Not long after we got back", Katherine replied, "It took a while to do and the bookbinder thought I was crazy having an empty book made, but he didn't fuss so much after we paid him. The gold on it is very real; I gave the metal smith one of the witch's gold coins to melt down. Now you have a place to write down the final versions of your stories and no matter where you go, you will always take a bit of this adventure with you."
"Well, this is wonderful!" said Will as he leaned forward to give her a hug and a quick peck on the cheek, "Thank you so very much, right Jake?"
He handed his brother back the book and Jakob just sat and stared at it letting it all sink in.
"Well Jake?" asked Will, shoving him by the shoulder, making him rock back and forth sideways.
"Well?" asked Fred, becoming a bit concerned.
Jakob still sat staring at the book and biting his lower lip as if he were trying to keep from being upset somehow. Katherine stood up and placed her hands on either side of his face, tipping it up so his eyes met hers.
"Jakob is everything alright?" she asked softly.
A somewhat silly half smile played across his face as he appeared to be trying to hold back tears.
"Oh, it's alright", Jakob said beginning to sound giddy himself, "It's more than alright!"
He suddenly stood up and grabbing Kate around the waist, he swung her in circles around the room making her shriek and giggle loudly. Frederick and Will laughed out loud at the sight.
"It's the most wonderful, fantastic, beautifully marvelous gift ever!" he shouted at the top of his lungs.
He gently put her down and looked at her with the biggest, most joyful grin she had ever seen.
"Oh, Kate…" he began, but at that moment this well educated craftsman of words found he suddenly had none.
Something above his head caught his eye and looking up; he realized they were standing directly under the mistletoe. Without missing a beat, he scooped her up in his arms tightly and kissed her deeply.
"There they go again", sighed Will leaning sideways in his chair and resting his chin in the palm of his hand, "Now I'm sure I will definitely be ill before the evenings out."
Frederick chuckled knowing that he wished them nothing but happiness. He then abruptly came to attention as a thought struck him.
"The pig!" he shouted.
"I beg your pardon?" said Jakob sounded very offended.
"No, the pig!" repeated Fred, "it should be done by now. Not too done I hope."
"Oh…oh right!" replied Jake, the statement becoming clear to him.
He and Frederick bolted for the back door, quite forgetting their coats and headed for the oven behind the house. Will helped Kate ready the rest of the table. Soon a rich and wonderful smell filled the house along with a blast of cold air and random snowflakes as Fred and Jake carried in a large platter bearing a small roast pig. The very same pig in fact that the young boy had stolen that resulted in them all meeting on that fateful day. Frederick sang loudly as he carried the platter aloft.
The boar's head in hand bear I,
Bedeck'd with bays and rosemary.
And I pray you, my masters, merry be
Quot estis en convivio!
Caput apre defiro,
Redens laudes Domino!
(all who are feasting together!
I bring the boar's head,
sing thanks to the Lord!)
They sat the platter at the head of the table and together they sang joyfully and dramatically.
The boar's head, as I understand,
is the finest dish in all the land.
And I pray you wherever it be found,
Servite cum in cantio!
Caput apre defiro,
Redens laudes Domino!
(Serve it while singing!
I bring the boar's head,
sing thanks to the Lord!)
Katherine and Will both applauded their silly merriment and they all sat down together joining hands around the table. Frederick said a quick grace for they all had something to be grateful for this year, their friendships, their loves, and their very lives!
"Well then, let's eat!" announced Fred.
He stood up to begin carving the roast pig as the others helped themselves to the other dishes and chattered along merrily.
"More wine!" shouted Jakob, jumping up and heading for the cupboard.
He grabbed a bottle that suited him and pulled the cork. Jakob literally danced around the table as he filled the glasses, dancing a jig and turning circles between each chair; then grabbed a biscuit and stuffed it in his mouth as he went. He danced his way around behind Fred and sticking his thumbs in his ears; he wiggled his fingers and stuck out his tongue at the back of Fred's head. Will and Kate just looked at each other and then burst out laughing!
"What?" asked Fred dumbly as he dropped a piece of pork on Will's plate.
As the night went on there was so much conversation, singing and laughter coming from the little cottage that the next day the townsfolk around there all agreed that it had to be the merriest house in the entire town!
That spring, Frederick and Greta were married and the reception was held under a big tent on the festival field near the edge of town. The bride looked beautiful as she danced with her new husband and the guests held hands and danced in a circle around them. Will and Jakob were standing under a nearby tree enjoying the day and the shade, beer steins in hand. As they watched the dancers; three little men, the tallest being no more than three feet tall, approached them with their hats in their hands.
"Can we help you?" offered Jakob.
"Are you Jakob and Wilhelm, the famous brothers Grimm?" asked the little man with a set of round glasses perched on the end of his nose.
"Why, yes we are", said Will with a smile and a slight bow.
The little men looked at each other and smiled.
"We've come to ask for your help", said the bespectacled little man.
He related a story about a young girl they knew of that was having a bit of trouble with a rather cranky stepmother. According to their explanation, the girl had dark hair and a snow white complexion which gave her a great amount of beauty. She was being stalked by her very jealous stepmother and it seemed she wanted to see her dead! The stepmother dabbled in black magic, which put this well beyond the little men's ability to help, but they had heard of the brothers and were sure they could help. Will was looking a bit put off, but Jake was very intrigued by their story.
"Will, this a great opportunity", began Jake starting to sound rather excited.
"No", said Will abruptly.
"But we can help them!" Jakob was beginning to bubble like a pot about to boil, his hands flying in all directions as he tried to convince his brother, "besides, this will be a great opportunity to add to our story collection!"
Will grabbed onto Jake's forearms in an attempt to calm him down and get him to focus. When Jakob got like this, Will knew it was nearly impossible to get him to listen to reason.
"No, Jake!" he said seriously, "We're writers now, not heroes! Besides, you know Kate would throw a fine fit if she found out you were running off somewhere that might be dangerous."
"But, we could…"
Jakob looked at Will over the top of his glasses, his big, brown eyes pleading. His lower lip began to stick out in a pout and he looked so sad and forlorn. Will stared back with stern defiance, but he could only take his brother's look for so long.
"Oh very well, we'll do it", Will said, giving in with an exasperated sigh, "but you are going to be the one that tells Kate!"
"Tells Kate what?"
Her voice came from behind Jakob and it made him spin around to face her. He swallowed hard and gave her a weak smile, wishing he were anywhere but there right now. As he stumbled along trying to explain things to her, she crossed her arms and shifted her weight to one foot. By the time he had finished, her head was tipped to one side and her face wore a very stern look. Will took a couple of steps back toward the three little men, unsure if he should protect them or hide behind them to protect himself. Jake paused and waited for what was to come, good or bad and he somehow knew it would probably be the later. After a few very uncomfortable moments that seemed to feel much longer, Kate uncrossed her arms and stepped towards Jakob. He could feel himself break into a sweat.
"Jakob Ludwig Karl Grimm!" she said in a stern voice. "If you think you and your brother are going off on some crazy adventure, you're out of your mind!"
"Kate, I…" began Jake, failing badly at trying to get out of the situation.
"Did you think you two could just sneak off just like that?"
"Well, we…" tried Will, failing as well.
"And not take me with you?!"
The brothers were dumbfounded. This was not the reaction they were expecting at all. Then her words sank in and Jakob dove in to squash any thoughts she may have in that particular direction.
"Oh, no you don't!" snapped Jake, pointing his finger at her nose, "This is much too dangerous a thing to have you tagging along!"
"And their off…", muttered Wilhelm.
"What? I'm not tagging along", replied Kate sounding quite snappy herself, "I'm going along to help you!"
"Whoa, like the last time? I don't think so!"
"And just what do you mean by that remark? If you think you're going to go running off around the woods, killing witches and God knows what else, leaving me here for months worrying about you, wondering if you're ever coming back alive, you have another thing coming and I'm going to give it to you!"
Jakob was now nose to nose with her, glaring at her over his glasses, his hands flying in all directions dramatically as he pushed his point.
"I will not have you running about out in the woods, putting yourself in grave danger just so you don't have to worry! You're not going and that's final!"
"Oh, you think so do you?! Well, let me tell you something!..."
As they continued to bicker, Will thought it might be a good idea to put a stop to it, considering people were starting to stare. He tried stepping between them to break it up and raised his hands in a gesture for calm, putting on his best diplomatic grin that oozed with charm.
"I'm sure we can all work this ou…"
Jakob, not stopping his flow of words at Kate looked past his brother and put his hand directly over Will's face in mid sentence. Katherine did the same, but put her hand on Will's shoulder. They both pushed at the same time shoving Will out from between them and sending him stumbling backward into the trunk of the tree.
"I'd say, let her come. That evil stepmother wouldn't stand a chance!" offered one of the little men, making his companions snicker.
"I'd say it's a real toss up as to who the real married couple is here today!" replied the little man with the glasses, which also brought forth amused titters.
The third stepped between his companions and put his hands on their shoulders, then pointed one chubby little finger into the distance.
"Beer!" he said cheerfully.
The three of them looked at each other and nodded appreciatively and headed for the reception tent until things calmed down and left the others to work it out.
Despite all that had happened to them and everything that life was going to throw their way in the future; they managed quite well to live happily ever after.
Thank you all so much for reading my story and I hope you all liked it. As always, reviews are quite welcome. I hope that I kept Jakob and Wilhelm as close to Heath and Matt's creations as I possibly could and did Terry Gilliam's original story justice.
Author's Note: I know I fudged a bit on Christmas. In Germany, gifts are generally given on December 5th which is Saint Nicholas Day and Christmas itself is reserved for family celebration, but I felt they deserved a larger, more special celebration considering everything they had gone through that fall and that they had much to be grateful for. The Boar's Head Carol is a real song and is usually sung at universities and institutions of higher learning during the Madrigal Christmas feast, therefore Jakob (being a professor) would know it well. To hear it, cut and paste this: r7adETaOYiQ into the search box on Youtube and click on the link that appears. (a few words are different as there are slightly different versions sung).