“On the ninth day…” The Twelve Grimm Days of Christmas

We are delighted to share these stories from The Complete First Edition of The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm with our readers. This series will run for 12 days and each story is accompanied by original art from Andrea Dezsö.

godfather sparrow

Loyal Godfather Sparrow

Once upon a time there was a deer about to give birth, and she asked the fox to be the godfather. However, the fox invited the sparrow to be godfather as well, and the sparrow also wanted to invite his special good friend the house dog to be godfather. However, the dog’s master had tied him up with a rope because the dog had returned home very drunk from a wedding. The sparrow thought that this was not a problem and pecked and pecked at the rope one thread after the other as long as it took for the dog to be released. Now they went together to the godfathers’ banquet and enjoyed themselves very much, because there was plenty to eat and drink there. The dog , however, didn’t pay attention and drank too much wine again. When they stood up, his head was so heavy that he could barely stand on his four legs. Nevertheless, he staggered part of the way toward home. Finally, however, he fell over and remained lying in the middle of the road. Just then a carter came and wanted to drive over him with his cart.

“Carter, don’t do that,” the sparrow cried out, “or you’ll pay for it with your life!”

However, the carter didn’t listen to him. Instead, he whipped the horses and drove the horses right over the dog so that the wheels broke the dog’s bones. The fox and the sparrow dragged the godfather home, and when dog’s master saw him, he said: “He’s dead,” and gave him to the carter to bury.

Now, the carter thought that the dog’s skin was still useful. So he loaded the dog onto his cart and drove away. However, the sparrow flew nearby and yelled out: “Carter, you’ll pay for this with your life! Carter, you’ll pay for this with your life!”

The carter was angry at the little bird because he thought he was being taken for a fool. So he grabbed his axe and tried to hit the sparrow, who flew higher into the air. Instead of hitting the sparrow, the carter hit his horse’s head so that the horse fell down dead. The carter had to leave it lying there and drive on with the other two horses. Then the sparrow returned and sat down on the head of another horse.

“Carter, you’ll pay for this with your life!”

The carter ran toward the bird and yelled: “I’ve got you!” but as he tried to hit the sparrow, he struck his horse on the head so that it fell over dead. Now there was only one horse left. The sparrow didn’t wait long and sat down on the head of the third horse and cried out: “Carter, you’ll pay for this with your life!”

But the carter was now so furious that he didn’t think about what he was doing and just swung his axe randomly. Now all his three horses had been beaten to death, and he had to leave the cart standing there. Angry and vitriolic he went home and sat down behind the oven. But the sparrow had flown after him, sat down in front of the window, and cried out: “Carter, you’ll pay for this with your life!”

The carter grabbed his axe and smashed the window, but he didn’t hit the sparrow. Now the bird hopped inside the house, sat down on top of the oven, and cried out: “Carter, you’ll pay for this with your life!”

Crazy and blind with rage he chopped the entire oven to pieces, and as the sparrow flew from one place to another, the carter smashed all the household utensils, mirrors, chairs, benches, table, and the walls of the house. Finally, he grabbed hold of the sparrow and said: “Now I’ve got you!” He stuck the bird into his mouth and swallowed it whole. However, when the sparrow was in the carter’s body, it began to flap its wings, and it fluttered up to the carter’s mouth, stuck its head outside, and cried out: “Carter, you’ll pay for this with your life!”

Well now the carter gave the axe to his wife and commanded; “Wife, strike the bird in my mouth and kill it!”

But the wife missed her mark, and instead she struck her husband in the head so that he immediately fell down the ground dead, while the sparrow flew out and away.


bookjacket

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm:
The Complete First Edition
Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, Translated and edited by Jack Zipes
Illustrated by Andrea Dezsö

Art credit: Andrea Dezsö
This post is part of a series, explore additional posts here<< “On the eighth day…” The Twelve Grimm Days of Christmas“On the tenth day…” The Twelve Grimm Days of Christmas >>