30 April 2009

Frau Trude

I am reading Sibylle Birkhauser-Oeri's The Mother: Archetypal Image in Fairy Tales at the moment and there is this fairy tale that has appeared -- I first read the account of this tale from von Franz's Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales. I'd like to share it (Frau is German for Mrs):

A disobedient little girl says to her parents, "I've heard such a lot about Frau Trude, I'm going to see her." They forbid her to do so in the strongest terms, saying Mrs. Trude is an evil woman who does ungodly things. However, the girl still goes. When she arrives, she is shaking with fear.

"Why are you so pale?" Frau Trude asks her. The girl tells her she has seen a black man on the steps, then a green one, then a blood-red one. "Oh Frau Trude, I was so sacred, I looked through the window and didn't see you, but I saw the devil with a flaming head."

"Oh!" says Frau Trude, "You've seen the witch in her proper jewels!" She turns the girl into a block of wood and throws her into the fire. She sits down beside it, warms herself and says "Some light at last."

What fascinates me about this story is how the stubborn (and innocent) little girl acts like an inflexible block of wood and ends up participating in her own fiery death by refusing to be conscious. I feel like this story is similar to a few near-misses in my life when I insisted on seeing the devil herself and nearly got thrown into the fire by my own stubbornness.

What do you feel about this story?


  1. OMG! I LOVE IT!!!!!! super. sobra. i love how evil Frau Trude is. and how fast she just killed her.

    I have to look for this book soon!

  2. i am researching that now.

    how come i have this feeling na pareho tayo ng course?

  3. @herbie: hahaha. i recommend starting with Marie von Franz but what do i know?

    @commuter: well if it relieves your feeling at all, i haven't taken any courses in 5 years. however, feel free to e-mail me @gmail.com for more details.

  4. I feel so sad. It defeats optimism and human as naturally good than bad. I don't get it why the little girl's pristine conscience and obstinateness against negativity wasn't rewarded with goodness.

    This is like another cynic's view on the world and reality. That in the real world, it's tough. Innocence is equated to ignorance and not purity.

    Sad sad sad...

  5. The little girl's motto is "Seeing is believing".

    Unfortunately, she couldn't escape the trouble she went into.

    This is plain and simple stubborness. =)

  6. @parteeboi: consider, however, that the girl has lied to herself "I did not see you, I saw the devil." But actually, that was Frau Trude, the devil. The girl had her own idea of who Frau Trude was and in see the real thing, mistook it for someone other than Frau Trude. It could be cynical or, as a fairytale, a warning regarding stubbornness.

    @scheez: yeah. if i was looking a woman through a window and saw the devil with a flaming head, i certainly wouldn't report my findings to anyone inside that house!

  7. i thought the girl was a block even before frau trude turned her into one. some people just do not learn (myself included).

  8. @cb: hahaha, yeah! frau trude just turned her into what she already was!