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.
从前，有个女人，是个地地道道的巫婆。 她养育了两个女儿，一个是她亲生的女儿，长得很丑，人又很坏，可她特别疼爱她；另一个是她的继女，容貌出众，心地善良，她却一点儿也不喜欢。 有一次，她的继女买了一条漂亮的裙子，她的亲生女儿见了非常喜欢，很是眼红，于是就对她母亲说，她想要那条裙子，非弄到手不可。 "别着急，我的孩子，"老巫婆说，"你会弄到手的。你姐姐早该死啦。今天夜里，等她睡着以后，我就去把她的脑袋砍下来。不过，你得当心才是。你要靠里边睡，把她尽量推到外边来。"要不是这个可怜的女孩当时碰巧站在屋角里，听见了那母女俩说的话，就真的没命啦。 一整天，老巫婆的女儿都不敢跨出房门一步，到了睡觉的时候，她抢先上了床，为的是睡在床里边，可是等她睡着了，继女便轻轻地把她推到床外边，而自己睡到了靠墙的地方。 夜深了，老巫婆蹑手蹑脚地走了进来，右头提着斧头，用左手摸了摸，看是不是有人睡在外边，随后就双手举起斧头，一斧下去，把自己亲生女儿的脑袋砍了下来。
老巫婆走了以后，继女从床上爬起来，去了她爱人的家，她爱人名叫罗兰。 她敲了敲房门，罗兰出来了，她对他说："亲爱的罗兰，你听好了，咱们得赶快逃走。我的继母想杀死我，却错杀了她的亲生女儿。天一亮，一旦她发觉自己干的蠢事，咱们就没命啦。""不过，"罗兰说，"我劝你先去把她的魔杖偷出来，不然她要是来追赶咱们，咱们还是逃不脱。"姑娘偷到了魔仗，随手拎起砍掉的脑袋，在地上滴了三滴血：床前一滴，厨房一滴，楼梯一滴。 然后，她就跟着自己的爱人赶忙离开了。
第二天早上，老巫婆起床后去叫自己的女儿，打算把裙子给她，却不见她过来。 老巫婆于是放开嗓子喊道；"你在哪儿啊？""我在这儿，在打扫楼梯呢。"第一滴血回答道。 老巫婆出去一看，楼梯上连个人影儿都没有，就再喊道："你在哪儿啊？""我在厨房里，在烤火呢。"第二滴血大声回答说。 她进了厨房，却不见人影儿，于是她又喊道："你在哪儿啊？""唉，我在床上，在睡觉呢。"第三滴血喊叫着回答道，老巫婆走进卧室，来到床前。 她看见了什么呢？ 她的亲生女儿，躺在血泊之中，是她自己砍掉了亲生女儿的脑袋！ 老巫婆勃然大怒，一步跳到窗前。 老巫婆长着千里眼，一下就看见了她的继女，正跟着自己的爱人罗兰匆匆忙忙地远去。 "你们这是枉费心机，"她叫喊着，"你们逃得再远，也逃不出我的手心！"说着她穿上了千里靴。 穿上这种靴子，走一步就相当于一个小时的路程，所以，没多久，她就追上了他们。 姑娘一见老巫婆大步流星地追来，就用魔仗把爱人罗兰变成了一片湖，自己则变成了一只在湖中央游来游去的鸭子。 老巫婆站在湖边上，往湖里扔面包屑，不遗余力地想引诱鸭子游过来，谁知鸭子对她的这套把戏置之不理。 天黑了，老巫婆只好回去了。 她一走，姑娘和爱人罗兰又恢复了人形，继续赶路。 他们走了整整一个通宵，天亮了才停下脚步。 然后姑娘变成了一朵美丽的鲜花，开放在一道荆棘篱笆的中间，她的爱人罗兰则变成了一位小提琴手。 不一会儿，老巫婆就朝他们狂奔过来，问小提琴手说："亲爱的提琴家，我想摘下那朵美丽的鲜花，可以吗？""呵，当然可以，"他回答道，"我还愿意在您摘花时为您伴奏呢。"老巫婆心里很清楚那朵花儿是谁，于是就急急忙忙爬上篱笆，就在她要摘那朵花儿的节骨眼儿上，罗兰拉响了提琴，于是不论老巫婆愿意不愿意，都得随着音乐跳舞了。 这可是一种魔舞，罗兰拉得越快，老巫婆就跳得越狂。 篱笆上的刺划破了她的衣服，扎得她遍体鳞伤，鲜血淋淋。 罗兰还是一个劲儿地拉，老巫婆只好跟着乐曲不断地一跳啊跳，一直跳到倒地身亡。
这样一来，他们就无忧无虑了。 于是罗兰说："现在我去找我父亲，安排咱们的婚礼。""那我就在这儿等你吧，"姑娘对他说，"为了不让人认出我来 ，我将变成一个红色的石头路标。 "罗兰走了以后，姑娘变成了一个红色的石头路标，站在野地里等待自己心爱的人回来。谁知罗兰到家后，却落入另一个巫婆的圈套：他被巫婆弄得神魂颠倒，结果把姑娘给忘记了。可怜的姑娘站在那里等了很久，始终不见他归来的身影儿，心里特别难过，于是就变成了一朵鲜花，心里想道：
说来也巧，有个牧羊人到野外放牧，发现了这朵鲜花，觉得花儿特别好看，就摘了下来，随身带回家，放进自己的大箱子里。 打那以后，牧羊人家里便怪事迭出。 他每天早上起身，所有的家务事全都做好啦：房间已打扫过了，桌子凳子都已擦干净了，炉火已生好了，水也打回来了；到了中午，他一进屋，桌上已摆好刀叉，还有可口的饭菜。 他不明白这到底是怎么一回事？ 压根儿没见屋子里有人哪，而且屋里也没有藏身之处哇。 有这么殷勤的伺候，他当然感到很开心。 可是日子一久，他却害怕起来，于是就去找一个巫婆给他指点迷津。 巫婆对他说："有一种魔法在暗中作怪。哪天一大清早，你听听屋子里有没有什么动静。要是你看见什么，不管是什么，就扔过去一快白布把它盖起来，这样魔法就破了。"
牧羊人依照巫婆的吩咐行动起来：第二天，天刚破晓，他便发现箱子打开了，他摘回的那朵鲜花从里边跳了出来。 说时迟，那时快 ，他几步就跳了过去，扔了一快白布把花儿盖住。 眨眼之间，魔法解除了，一位美丽动人的姑娘站在他的面前。 姑娘向牧羊人承认，那朵花儿是她变成的，还承认她一直在为他料理家务。 她向牧羊人诉说了自己的身世，牧羊人对她一见钟情，就问她愿意不愿意嫁给他，姑娘却回答说："不愿意。"原来姑娘要对自己的爱人罗兰坚贞不渝，尽管他已抛弃了她。 虽说如此，姑娘仍答应不离开牧羊人，继续替他料理家务。
就在那几天，罗兰举行婚礼的日子快到了。 按照当地的古老风俗，每个年轻的姑娘都要去参加婚礼，唱歌为新婚情侣祝贺。 忠心耿耿的姑娘听到这个消息，难过得心都快要碎了，她不想去参加婚礼，可是别的姑娘跑来硬是把她拖走了。 轮到她唱歌了，她却往后退，最后只剩下她一个人了，她不得不硬着头皮唱了起来。 谁知，她刚唱了一句，罗兰一听到这歌声便一跃而起，大声喊叫道："这声音我太熟悉啦！那才是我真正的新娘子，我非她不娶！"就在这一瞬间，他所遗忘的一切突然又回到了他的心中。 于是，这位坚贞不渝的姑娘和自己的爱人罗兰举行了婚礼。 苦去甘来，他们开始了快乐的生活。