Roland the Beloved
Once upon a time there was a woman who was a real witch and who had two daughters, one wicked and ugly, whom she loved because she was her real daughter, and another beautiful and good, whom she hated, because she was the daughter of her husband’s first wife. The daughter-in-law had a beautiful apron, which the other loved very much, so that she wanted it and asked her mother for the apron.
– You will have it without a doubt. Your sister has earned her death, and tonight while she sleeps I will go and cut off her head. Just make sure you lie down at the bottom of the bed and push her in front.
The poor daughter-in-law, whose name was Mary, would have died if she had not been hidden behind the door and heard everything. When it was time to sleep, she waited for her sister to sleep and pushed her to the front of the bed.
Later that night, the witch came in the dark with an axe in her hand and cut off her own daughter’s head and went back to bed.
Mary got up suddenly and went to her lover, whose name was Roland, and knocked on his door. When he came out, she said to him:
– Dear Roland, we must flee quickly. My mother-in-law wanted to kill me, but she murdered her own daughter. When the morning comes and she sees what she has done, we will be lost.
– Good,” said Rolando, “but I advise you to take her magic wand first; otherwise we won’t be able to save ourselves when she comes after us.
The girl went back to the house and took the wand and ran away with her beloved Roland. When the witch got up the next morning, she called her daughter to give her the apron, but she did not answer. She went into the room and saw her own daughter, swimming in her own blood, whose head she had cut off.
The witch became furious and looked out the window. Since she could see very far with her powers, she saw Mary running with Roland.
– You can run! It won’t do you any good! she shouted.
She put on her seven-league boots, with which she covered seven leagues with each step, and soon caught up with them.
Then, the young Marie took the magic wand and transformed herself into a rose bush. Then she changed her lover into a violinist.
Roland began to play the violin, which produced enchanting melodies, forcing the witch to dance, and dance so much that she pricked herself on the rose bush, losing her blood and strength, until she died of exhaustion.
Happy to be delivered, the lovers wanted to get married immediately and Roland said:
– I will go to my father to prepare the wedding.
– I’ll wait for you here,” said the girl.
Roland left and the girl turned to red stone, waiting for her lover. When Roland arrived in his village, he met another girl and was seduced, until he forgot about poor Marie. She waited for a long time, but finally, seeing that he did not come back, she became very sad, turned into a flower and thought: “Someone will surely step on me when passing by and I will die in peace.
A shepherd who was tending his sheep in the field saw the flower and, as it was very beautiful, he cut it, took it and put it in a cupboard. From that moment on, wonderful things began to happen in his house.
When he got up in the morning, all the housework was done; the room swept, the table and benches dusted, the fire lit in the hearth and the water filled in the jug. At noon, when he came home, the table was set and a good meal was served. He was happy to have the housework done, but he was beginning to get scared. So he went to a fairy to ask her advice.
The fairy said, “This is magic. Tomorrow morning, if anything moves in the room and you see anything, anything at all, throw a white cloth over it and the magic will stop. The shepherd did as she said, and the next morning, as it was getting light, he saw the drawer open and the flower come out. He jumped on it and threw a white cloth over it.
Immediately, a beautiful girl appeared in front of him, and explained to him her story and how she had taken care of her house.
Then the shepherd offered to marry her; but she refused, because she wanted to remain faithful to her beloved Roland, even if he had abandoned her. However, she promised that she would not leave and that she would continue to take care of the house.
Then the day approached when Roland’s wedding was to take place. Following an old custom of the country, it was made public that all the girls were to gather and sing in honor of the bride and groom.
The faithful Mary, when she heard this, was so sad that she thought her heart would burst with pain, and she did not want to attend. But the other girls came to get her and she had no choice but to sing.
When Roland heard her, he was startled and shouted, “I know that voice! That’s my real fiancée Marie!
So Roland and Marie got married and lived happily almost every day of their lives.
Adapted from Roland the Beloved, by the Brothers Grimm.
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