Rolands kæreste

There was once a woman who was a witch, and she had two daughters, one ugly and wicked, whom she loved the best, because she was her very own daughter, and one pretty and good, whom she hated because she was her step-daughter.

One day the stepdaughter put on a pretty apron, which the other daughter liked so much that she became envious, and said to her mother that she must and should have the apron. "Be content, my child," said the old woman, "thou shalt have it. Thy step-sister has long deserved death, and tonight, while she is asleep, I shall come and cut off her head. Take care to lie at the farthest side of the bed, and push her to the outside."

And it would have been all over with the poor girl, if she had not been standing in a corner near and heard it all. She did not dare to go outside the door the whole day long, and when bed-time came the other one got into bed first, so as to lie on the farthest side; but when she had gone to sleep, the step-daughter pushed her towards the outside, and took the inside place next the wall. In the night the old woman came sneaking; in her right hand she held an axe, and with her left she felt for the one who was lying outside, and then she heaved up the axe with both hands, and hewed the head off her only daughter. When she had gone away, the other girl got up and went to her sweetheart's, who was called Roland, and knocked at his door. When he came to her, she said, "Listen, dear Roland, we must flee away in all haste; my step-mother meant to put me to death, but she has killed her only child instead. When the day breaks, and she sees what she has done, we are lost."

"But I advise you," said Roland, "to bring away her magic wand with you; otherwise we cannot escape her when she comes after to overtake us." So the maiden fetched the magic wand, and she took up the head of her step-sister and let drop three drops of blood on the ground, - one by the bed, one in the kitchen, and one on the steps. Then she hastened back to her sweetheart.

When the old witch got up in the morning, she called out to her daughter, to give her the apron, but no daughter came. Then she cried out, "Where art thou?"

"Here, at the steps, sweeping!" answered one of the drops of Wood. The old woman went out, but she saw nobody at the steps, and cried again, "Where art thou?"

"Here in the .kitchen warming myself," cried the second drop of blood. So she went into the kitchen and found no one. Then she cried again, "Where art thou?"

"Oh, here in bed fast asleep!" cried the third drop of blood. Then the mother went into the room, and up to the bed, and there lay her only child, whose head she had cut off herself.

The witch fell into a great fury, rushed to the window, for from it she could see far and wide, and she caught sight of her step-daughter, hastening away with her dear Roland. "It will be no good to you," cried she, "if you get ever so far away, you cannot escape me."

Then she put on her boots, which took her an hour's walk at every stride, and it was not long before she had overtaken them. But the maiden, when she saw the old woman striding up, changed, by means of the magic wand, her dear Roland into a lake, and herself into a duck swimming upon it. The witch stood on the bank and threw in crumbs of bread, and took great pains to decoy the duck towards her, but the duck would not be decoyed, and the old woman was obliged to go back in the evening disappointed.

Then the maiden and her dear Roland took again their natural shapes, and travelled on the whole night through until daybreak. Then the maiden changed herself into a beautiful flower, standing in the middle of a hedge of thorns, and her dear Roland into a fiddle-player. It was not long before the witch came striding up, and she said to the musician, "Dear musician, will you be so kind as to reach that pretty flower for me?" - "Oh yes," said he, "I will strike up a tune to it." Then as she crept quickly up to the hedge to break off the flower, for she knew well who it was, he began to play, and whether she liked it or not, she was obliged to dance, for there was magic in the tune. The faster he played the higher she had to jump, and the thorns tore her clothes, and scratched and wounded her, and he did not cease playing until she was spent, and lay dead.

So now they were saved, and Roland said, "I will go to my father and prepare for the wedding." - "And I will stay here," said the maiden, "and wait for you, and so that no one should know me, I will change myself into a red milestone." So away went Roland, and the maiden in the likeness of a stone waited in the field for her beloved.

But when Roland went home he fell into the snares of another maiden, who wrought so, that he forgot his first love. And the poor girl waited a long time, but at last, seeing that he did not come, she was filled with despair, and changed herself into a flower, thinking "Perhaps some one in passing will put his foot upon me and crush me."

But it happened that a shepherd, tending his flock, saw the flower, and as it was so beautiful, he gathered it, took it home with him, and put it in his chest. From that time everything went wonderfully well in the shepherd's house. When he got up in the morning, all the work was already done; the room was swept, the tables and benches rubbed, fire kindled on the hearth, and water ready drawn; and when he came home in the middle of the day, the table was laid, and a good meal spread upon it. He could not understand how it was done, for he never saw anybody in his house, and it was too little for anybody to hide in. The good serving pleased him well; but in the end he became uneasy, and went to a wise woman to take counsel of her. The wise woman said, "There is magic in it: get up early some morning, and if you hear something moving in the room, be it what it may, throw a white cloth over it, and the charm will be broken." The shepherd did as she told him, and the next morning at daybreak he saw the chest open, and the flower come out.

Then he jumped up quickly and threw a white cloth over it. So the spell was broken, and a lovely maiden stood before him; and she told him that she had been the flower, and had until now cared for his household matters. She told him all that had happened to her, and she pleased him so much that he asked her to marry him, but she answered "No," because she still remained true to her dear Roland, though he had forsaken her; but she promised not to leave the shepherd, but to go on taking care of his house.

Now the time came when Roland's wedding was to be held; and there was an old custom in that country that all the girls should be present, and should sing in honour of the bride and bridegroom. The faithful maiden, when she knew this, was so sorrowful that she felt as if her heart would break; and she would not go, until the others came and fetched her. And when her turn came to sing she slipped behind, so that she stood alone, and so began to sing.

And as soon as her song reached Roland's ear he sprang up and cried, "I know that voice! that is the right bride, and no other will I have." And everything that he had forgotten, and that had been swept out of his mind, came suddenly home to him in his heart. And the faithful maiden was married to her dear Roland; her sorrow came to an end and her joy began.
Der var engang en kone, som var en rigtig ond heks. Hun havde to døtre, den ene var grim og ond, men hende elskede hun, for det var hendes egen datter, den anden var smuk og god, men hende hadede hun, for det var hendes steddatter. Engang havde steddatteren et smukt forklæde, som den anden misundte hende, og hun sagde derfor til sin mor, at hun ville have det. "Du kan være rolig for, at du skal få det, min pige," svarede den gamle, "din stedsøster har allerede længe fortjent at miste livet, og i nat, når hun sover, hugger jeg hendes hovede af. Sørg for, at du kommer til at ligge inderst, og puf hende rigtig langt ud." Det havde nu været ude med den stakkels pige, hvis hun ikke havde stået i en krog og hørt det hele. Hun kom ikke udenfor en dør den dag, og da de skulle i seng, lagde den anden sig først rigtig til rette, og hun måtte nøjes med den plads, hun kunne få. Da søsteren var faldet i søvn, puffede hun hende lempelig yderst og lagde sig ved væggen. Om natten kom den gamle med en økse i højre hånd, følte sig for med venstre, så hun fandt den, der lå yderst, og huggede så hovedet af sit eget barn.

Da hun var gået, stod pigen op og gik hen til sin kæreste, som hed Roland, og bankede på hans dør. Han kom ud, og hun sagde så til ham: "Vi må straks flygte, min elskede. Min stedmor har villet slå mig ihjel, men har i stedet for dræbt sit eget barn. Når hun opdager det i morgen, er det ude med os." - "Du skulle først se at få fat i hendes tryllestav," sagde Roland, "ellers kan vi ikke slippe fra hende, hvis hun forfølger os." Pigen hentede staven og tog det afhuggede hovede, stænkede tre dråber blod på jorden, en foran sengen, en i køkkenet og en på trappen, og skyndte sig så af sted med sin kæreste.

Da den gamle heks stod op næste morgen, kaldte hun på sin datter for at give hende forklædet, men hun kom ikke. "Hvor er du," råbte hun. "Jeg står herude på trappen og fejer," svarede den ene bloddråbe. Den gamle gik derud, og da hun ikke var der, råbte hun igen: "Hvor er du?" - "Jeg sidder herude i køkkenet og varmer mig," svarede den anden bloddråbe. Hun gik derud, men da der heller ikke var nogen der, råbte hun: "Hvor er du dog henne?" - "Jeg ligger her i sengen og sover," svarede den tredie bloddråbe, og da den gamle gik ind, fandt hun sit eget barn, der lå og svømmede i sit blod.

Heksen blev rasende, løb hen til vinduet, og da hun kunne se langt ud i verden, opdagede hun snart sin steddatter, der skyndte sig af sted med sin kæreste. "I skal ikke undgå mig," råbte hun, og tog sine syvmilestøvler på. Det varede ikke længe, før hun havde indhentet dem. Da pigen så hende komme, forvandlede hun ved hjælp af tryllestaven Roland til en sø og sig selv til en and, der svømmede i den. Heksen stillede sig på bredden, kastede brødsmuler ud, og gjorde sig al mulig umage for at lokke anden derhen. Men det hjalp ikke noget, og den gamle måtte vende om med uforrettet sag. Pigen og Roland blev nu til mennesker igen og gik hele natten, lige til solen stod op. Da forvandlede pigen sig selv til en dejlig blomst, der voksede inde i en tjørnehæk, og Roland til en spillemand. Et øjeblik efter kom heksen travende og sagde: "Goddag kære spillemand, må jeg plukke den smukke blomst der." - "Værsgod," svarede han, "så spiller jeg til." Hun skyndte sig hen til hækken, for hun vidste nok, hvem blomsten var, men i det samme begyndte spillemanden at spille, og enten hun ville eller ej, måtte hun give sig til at danse. Jo hurtigere han spillede, jo højere måtte hun springe. Tornene rev klæderne af kroppen på hende og sårede hende, så blodet randt, og da han ikke holdt op med at spille, måtte hun blive ved at danse, lige til hun faldt død om.

"Nu vil jeg drage hjem til min far og ordne alt til brylluppet," sagde Roland. "Jeg bliver her så længe," svarede pigen, "og for at ingen skal kunne kende mig, vil jeg skabe mig om til en rød sten." Roland drog derpå hjem, og pigen blev ude på marken og ventede på sin kæreste. Men da han kom hjem, blev han forelsket i en anden pige og glemte ganske sin fæstemø. Den stakkels pige ventede og ventede, men da han ikke kom blev hun meget bedrøvet og ville ikke leve længere. Hun forvandlede sig da til en blomst og tænkte: "Der kommer vel nok en og anden og træder mig ned."

Men engang, da en hyrde drev sine får over marken, fik han øje på blomsten, og da han syntes, den var så smuk, plukkede han den og tog den med sig hjem. Fra nu af gik det ganske mærkeligt til i hyrdens hus. Når han om morgenen stod op, var alt arbejdet allerede gjort, stuen var fejet, borde og bænke tørret af, ilden brændte i kakkelovnen og i kedlen stod der vand og kogte. Når han kom hjem om middagen, stod maden på bordet. Han kunne ikke begribe hvordan det gik til, for han så aldrig nogen, og det var umuligt at et menneske kunne gemme sig i den lille hytte. Han syntes ganske vist godt om det, men til sidst blev han dog ganske uhyggelig ved det og gik til en klog kone og fortalte hende det. "Der er trolddom med i spillet," sagde hun, "i morgen tidlig må du lægge nøje mærke til, hvad der foregår, og hvis du ser noget, ligegyldigt hvad det er, skal du kaste et hvidt tørklæde derover, så bliver trolddommen brudt." Hyrden gjorde, som hun havde sagt, og da solen stod op, så han, at blomsten begyndte at røre sig. Hurtig kastede han et hvidt tørklæde over den, og straks stod der en smuk pige, og han fik nu at vide, at det var hende, der havde sørget så godt for ham. Hun fortalte ham sin historie, og da han syntes godt om hende, spurgte han, om hun ville gifte sig med ham. Men hun rystede på hovedet. Selv om hendes kæreste havde forladt hende, ville hun dog blive ham tro, så længe hun levede. Men hun lovede, at hun ville blive hos ham og styre hans hus.

Imidlertid skulle Rolands bryllup fejres, og efter skik og brug blev det bekendtgjort, at alle piger i hele landet skulle komme og synge til ære for brudeparret. Da den trofaste pige hørte derom, blev hun så bedrøvet, at hun troede, hendes hjerte skulle briste, og ville ikke gå derhen, men de andre kom og hentede hende. Da turen til at synge kom til hende, trak hun sig tilbage, til alle de andre havde sunget, så kunne hun ikke slippe. Men da Roland hørte hendes stemme, sprang han op og råbte: "Den stemme kender jeg, det er min brud, den eneste, jeg vil gifte mig med." Han huskede nu alt, hvad han havde glemt, og kærligheden til hende vågnede atter i hans hjerte. Så holdt den trofaste pige bryllup med sin Roland, og al hendes nød og sorg var endt.

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