大森林边住着一位樵夫和他的妻子。 他们只有一个孩子，是个三岁的女孩。 可是他们非常穷，连每天要吃的面包都没有，更不知道该拿什么东西喂孩子。 一天早晨，樵夫愁眉苦脸地到森林里去砍柴，他的面前突然出现了一位高大、美丽的女人，她的头上还戴着一顶饰满了闪烁的星星的宝冠。 她对樵夫说："我是耶稣的母亲，圣母玛利亚。你很穷，需要帮助。把你的孩子给我吧。我愿意把她带走，做她的母亲，好好照料她。"樵夫听从她的话，把孩子带来，交给了圣母玛利亚。 圣母玛利亚把孩子带到了天堂。 孩子在天堂里过得很舒服，吃的是糖饼，喝的是甜牛奶，穿的是金衣服，陪她玩的是小天使。 她长到十四岁时，圣母玛利亚有一天把她叫到面前，对她说："亲爱的孩子，我要出一趟远门。这是天国十三座门的钥匙，由你保管。你可以打开其中十二扇门，看看里面的美景。这把小钥匙是开第十三扇门的，但是你千万不要把那扇门打开，不然你会遭到不幸的。"小女孩答应一定听圣母玛利亚的话。 等圣母玛利亚走了之后，她开始参观天国的住房。 她每天打开一扇门，直到十二扇门被她一一打开。 她看到每一扇门里都坐着一位耶稣的门徒，周围一片光辉灿烂。 这辉煌的景象让她万分欢喜，也让昼夜陪伴她的小天使们非常高兴。 现在只剩下那扇禁止被打开的门了。 她非常想知道这扇门的后面藏的是什么，便对天使们说："我不把门全打开，也不进去。我只想打开一条缝，好让我们大家看看里面有什么。""啊，不行，"小天使们说，"那样做是罪过。圣母玛利亚禁止你打开它，你要是不听话，可能很容易遭到不幸。"她听到这话便不吭声了，可她心中的愿望并没有就此消失，而是在不停地折磨着她，让她得不到片刻的安宁。 一次，天使们全都出去了，她便想："现在只有我一个人，可以进去看一眼。我想谁也不会知道的。"她找出钥匙，一拿在手里就把它插进了锁孔，一插进锁孔就转动了一下，门一下子就开了。 她看到里面在火与光之中坐着"三位一体"（基督教认为圣父、圣子、圣灵原为一体，故称"三位一体"--译者注）。 她站在那里，惊讶地望着一切，然后用手指碰了碰火光，她的手指立刻变成了金的。 她顿时害怕极了，猛地关上门，逃走了。 可是无论她想什么办法，她都无法消除她的恐惧。 她的心总是怦怦直跳，怎么也静不下来，而且手指上的金子怎么也去不掉，无论是擦呀还是洗呀，那金子还在那里。
圣母玛利亚不久就旅行回来了。 她把小女孩叫到跟前，向她要回天国的钥匙。 当她把钥匙递过去时，圣母玛利亚盯着她的眼睛问："你没有打开第十三扇门吧？""没有。"小女孩回答。 圣母把手放在小女孩的心口，感觉到她的心跳得很厉害，立刻明白她没有听话，知道她打开过那扇门。 于是圣母又问："你真的没有打开过那扇门吗？""没有。"小女孩第二次回答。 这时，圣母看到了小女孩因为碰了天火而变成了金子的手指，知道她犯了罪，便第三次问她："你真的没有？""没有。"小女孩第三次说。 圣母玛利亚说："你没有听我的话，而且你还撒谎。你不配再在天堂住下去了。"
小姑娘昏昏沉沉地睡着了。 当她醒来时，她发现自己躺在人间的一片荒野中。 她想喊叫，可是她发不出任何声音。 她站起来想逃走，却发现自己无论走哪个方向，总有密密的荆棘丛挡住她的去路，怎么也越不过去。 在包围她的荒地上立着一棵空心的老树，这便成了她的家。 夜晚来临时，她就爬进树洞，睡在里面。 刮风下雨的时候，她也躲在里面。 这种生活非常凄惨。 每当她想起天堂里的幸福生活，想起和小天使们玩耍的情景，她都会伤心痛哭。 草根和野果是她唯一的食物，而这些她还得努力寻找。 秋天到来的时候，她捡起掉在地上的核桃和树叶，把它们搬进洞。 这些核桃是她冬天的食粮，而在雪花纷飞、天寒地冻的日子里，她只能像可怜的小动物一样爬进那些树叶里，免得被冻死。 不久，她的衣服就破了，一片一片地掉了下来。 当太阳重新暖洋洋地照耀大地时，她便爬出来坐在树前。 她的长头发像一件斗篷，把她全身遮得严严实实。 她就这样一年一年地坐在那里，感受着世间的凄苦与不幸。
冬去春来，树木重新换上了新绿。 一天，国王在森林里打猎，追赶一头狍子，可狍子钻进了包围着这片树林的灌木丛。 国王下了马 ，拨开灌木，用剑为自己砍出了一条路。 等他终于穿过灌木丛时，他看到树下坐着一位非常美丽的姑娘。 只见她坐在那里，金色的长发一直垂到脚跟，把她全身上下遮得严严实实。 国王呆呆地站在那里，无比惊讶地看着她，然后才问她："你是谁？怎么坐在这荒野里？"可是她无法说话，因为她张不了嘴。 国王又问："你愿意跟我回王宫吗？"她只是稍稍点了点头。 国王抱起她，把她放到马背上，带着她骑马回宫。 到了王宫后，他让人给她穿上最美的衣服，还给了她各种各样的东西。 她虽然不会说话，却非常美丽温柔，国王真心实意地爱上了她，没过多久就娶她做了妻子。
大约过了一年，这位王后生下了一个儿子。 当天夜里，当她一个人躺在床上时，圣母玛利亚出现在她的面前，并且对她说："要是你说实话，承认自己打开过那扇禁止打开的门，我就打开你的嘴，让你能开口说话；可要是你顽固不化，继续否认自己的罪孽，我就把你的初生婴儿带走。"圣母这时允许王后说话，可王后固执地说："不，我没有打开那扇禁止打开的门。"圣母玛利亚便从她怀里夺过初生的婴儿，带着他消失了。 第二天早晨，看到孩子不见了，人们便在私下里议论，说王后是吃人的恶魔，竟然杀死了自己的孩子。 这些话她全听到了，却没法说什么。 好在国王非常爱她，所以也不相信大家所说的话。
一年过后，王后又生了一个儿子。 夜里圣母玛利亚又来到了她的面前，对她说："要是你承认打开过那扇禁止打开的门，我就把你的孩子还给你，并且让你开口说话；可要是你继续否认，我就把你这个初生的孩子也带走。"王后仍然回答："没有，我没有打开那扇门。"圣母只好又从她怀里夺过孩子，带着他回天国去了。 第二天早晨，人们看到这个孩子又不见了，便公开地说孩子肯定是被王后吞吃掉了。 国王的大臣们要求审判她，但国王因为深爱着王后，不但不肯相信别人的话，而且还禁止大臣们谈及这件事，违者一律处死。
又过了一年，王后生了一个非常美丽的女儿。 圣母玛利亚第三次在夜里出现在她的面前，对她说："跟我来。"她牵着王后的手，带着她来到天国，让她看她的两个儿子。 那兄弟俩一面朝她微笑 ，一面玩着地球仪。 这情景让王后很高兴，圣母玛利亚便说："你的心还没有软下来吗？要是你承认你打开过那扇禁止打开的门，我就把你的两个儿子还给你。"可是王后第三次回答道："没有，我没有打开那扇门。"于是圣母让她重新回到地面，并且带走了她的第三个孩子。
第二天早晨，当孩子失踪的消息传出去之后，所有的人都吼了起来："王后是个吃人的恶魔！我们必须审判她！"这一次连国王也无法再阻拦大臣们了。 大家对她进行了审判。 由于她不能说话，无法为自己辩解，她被判处火刑。 木柴堆好了，她被紧紧地绑在木桩上，烈火开始在她的四周燃烧。 这时，骄傲的坚冰开始融化，她的心中充满了悔恨。 她想："我要是能在临死前承认我打开过那扇门就好了！"突然，她的嗓音恢复了，她大声喊道："是的，圣母，我开过那扇门！"话音刚落，大雨从天而降，浇灭了火焰。 她的头顶出现了一道亮光，圣母玛利亚怀抱刚刚出生的小公主，带着两个王子落在她的身边。 她慈祥地对王后说："一个人只要承认自己的罪过，并且为此而忏悔，他就会得到宽恕。"她把三个孩子交给王后，让她能重新说话，并且让她终身幸福。
Hard by a great forest dwelt a wood-cutter with his wife, who had an only child, a little girl three years old. They were so poor, however, that they no longer had daily bread, and did not know how to get food for her. One morning the wood-cutter went out sorrowfully to his work in the forest, and while he was cutting wood, suddenly there stood before him a tall and beautiful woman with a crown of shining stars on her head, who said to him: "I am the Virgin Mary, mother of the child Jesus. Thou art poor and needy, bring thy child to me, I will take her with me and be her mother, and care for her." The wood-cutter obeyed, brought his child, and gave her to the Virgin Mary, who took her up to heaven with her. There the child fared well, ate sugar-cakes, and drank sweet milk, and her clothes were of gold, and the little angels played with her. And when she was fourteen years of age, the Virgin Mary called her one day and said: "Dear child, I am about to make a long journey, so take into thy keeping the keys of the thirteen doors of heaven. Twelve of these thou mayest open, and behold the glory which is within them, but the thirteenth, to which this little key belongs, is forbidden thee. Beware of opening it, or thou wilt bring misery on thyself." The girl promised to be obedient, and when the Virgin Mary was gone, she began to examine the dwellings of the kingdom of heaven. Each day she opened one of them, until she had made the round of the twelve. In each of them sat one of the Apostles in the midst of a great light, and she rejoiced in all the magnificence and splendour, and the little angels who always accompanied her rejoiced with her. Then the forbidden door alone remained, and she felt a great desire to know what could be hidden behind it, and said to the angels: "I will not quite open it, and I will not go inside it, but I will unlock it so that we can just see a little through the opening." - "Oh no," said the little angels, "that would be a sin. The Virgin Mary has forbidden it, and it might easily cause thy unhappiness." Then she was silent, but the desire in her heart was not stilled, but gnawed there and tormented her, and let her have no rest. And once when the angels had all gone out, she thought: "Now I am quite alone, and I could peep in. If I do it, no one will ever know." She sought out the key, and when she had got it in her hand, she put it in the lock, and when she had put it in, she turned it round as well. Then the door sprang open, and she saw there the Trinity sitting in fire and splendour. She stayed there awhile, and looked at everything in amazement; then she touched the light a little with her finger, and her finger became quite golden. Immediately a great fear fell on her. She shut the door violently, and ran away. Her terror too would not quit her, let her do what she might, and her heart beat continually and would not be still; the gold too stayed on her finger, and would not go away, let her rub it and wash it never so much.
It was not long before the Virgin Mary came back from her journey. She called the girl before her, and asked to have the keys of heaven back. When the maiden gave her the bunch, the Virgin looked into her eyes and said: "Hast thou not opened the thirteenth door also?" - "No," she replied. Then she laid her hand on the girl's heart, and felt how it beat and beat, and saw right well that she had disobeyed her order and had opened the door. Then she said once again: "Art thou certain that thou hast not done it?" - "Yes," said the girl, for the second time. Then she perceived the finger which had become golden from touching the fire of heaven, and saw well that the child had sinned, and said for the third time: "Hast thou not done it?" - "No," said the girl for the third time. Then said the Virgin Mary: "Thou hast not obeyed me, and besides that thou hast lied, thou art no longer worthy to be in heaven."
Then the girl fell into a deep sleep, and when she awoke she lay on the earth below, and in the midst of a wilderness. She wanted to cry out, but she could bring forth no sound. She sprang up and wanted to run away, but whithersoever she turned herself, she was continually held back by thick hedges of thorns through which she could not break. In the desert, in which she was imprisoned, there stood an old hollow tree, and this had to be her dwelling-place. Into this she crept when night came, and here she slept. Here, too, she found a shelter from storm and rain, but it was a miserable life, and bitterly did she weep when she remembered how happy she had been in heaven, and how the angels had played with her. Roots and wild berries were her only food, and for these she sought as far as she could go. In the autumn she picked up the fallen nuts and leaves, and carried them into the hole. The nuts were her food in winter, and when snow and ice came, she crept amongst the leaves like a poor little animal that she might not freeze. Before long her clothes were all torn, and one bit of them after another fell off her. As soon, however, as the sun shone warm again, she went out and sat in front of the tree, and her long hair covered her on all sides like a mantle. Thus she sat year after year, and felt the pain and the misery of the world.
One day, when the trees were once more clothed in fresh green, the King of the country was hunting in the forest, and followed a roe, and as it had fled into the thicket which shut in this part of the forest, he got off his horse, tore the bushes asunder, and cut himself a path with his sword. When he had at last forced his way through, he saw a wonderfully beautiful maiden sitting under the tree; and she sat there and was entirely covered with her golden hair down to her very feet. He stood still and looked at her full of surprise, then he spoke to her and said: "Who art thou? Why art thou sitting here in the wilderness?" But she gave no answer, for she could not open her mouth. The King continued: "Wilt thou go with me to my castle?" Then she just nodded her head a little. The King took her in his arms, carried her to his horse, and rode home with her, and when he reached the royal castle he caused her to be dressed in beautiful garments, and gave her all things in abundance. Although she could not speak, she was still so beautiful and charming that he began to love her with all his heart, and it was not long before he married her.
After a year or so had passed, the Queen brought a son into the world. Thereupon the Virgin Mary appeared to her in the night when she lay in her bed alone, and said: "If thou wilt tell the truth and confess that thou didst unlock the forbidden door, I will open thy mouth and give thee back thy speech, but if thou perseverest in thy sin, and deniest obstinately, I will take thy new-born child away with me." Then the queen was permitted to answer, but she remained hard, and said: "No, I did not open the forbidden door," and the Virgin Mary took the new-born child from her arms, and vanished with it. Next morning when the child was not to be found, it was whispered among the people that the Queen was a man-eater, and had killed her own child. She heard all this and could say nothing to the contrary, but the King would not believe it, for he loved her so much.
When a year had gone by the Queen again bore a son, and in the night the Virgin Mary again came to her, and said: "If thou wilt confess that thou openedst the forbidden door, I will give thee thy child back and untie thy tongue; but if you continuest in sin and deniest it, I will take away with me this new child also." Then the Queen again said: "No, I did not open the forbidden door;" and the Virgin took the child out of her arms, and away with her to heaven. Next morning, when this child also had disappeared, the people declared quite loudly that the Queen had devoured it, and the King's councillors demanded that she should be brought to justice. The King, however, loved her so dearly that he would not believe it, and commanded the councillors under pain of death not to say any more about it.
The following year the Queen gave birth to a beautiful little daughter, and for the third time the Virgin Mary appeared to her in the night and said: "Follow me." She took the Queen by the hand and led her to heaven, and showed her there her two eldest children, who smiled at her, and were playing with the ball of the world. When the Queen rejoiced thereat, the Virgin Mary said: "Is thy heart not yet softened? If thou wilt own that thou openedst the forbidden door, I will give thee back thy two little sons." But for the third time the Queen answered: "No, I did not open the forbidden door." Then the Virgin let her sink down to earth once more, and took from her likewise her third child.
Next morning, when the loss was reported abroad, all the people cried loudly: "The Queen is a man-eater. She must be judged," and the King was no longer able to restrain his councillors. Thereupon a trial was held, and as she could not answer, and defend herself, she was condemned to be burnt alive. The wood was got together, and when she was fast bound to the stake, and the fire began to burn round about her, the hard ice of pride melted, her heart was moved by repentance, and she thought: "If I could but confess before my death that I opened the door." Then her voice came back to her, and she cried out loudly: "Yes, Mary, I did it," and straight-way rain fell from the sky and extinguished the flames of fire, and a light broke forth above her, and the Virgin Mary descended with the two little sons by her side, and the new-born daughter in her arms. She spoke kindly to her, and said: "He who repents his sin and acknowledges it, is forgiven." Then she gave her the three children, untied her tongue, and granted her happiness for her whole life.