Gold Mary and Pitch Mary aka Mother Hulda --- German Fairy Tales (8)

Gold Mary and Pitch Mary
@MALUSE (40204)
Germany
January 3, 2018 12:23pm CST
This fairy tale is also known as Mother Hulda or Frau Holle. The story in a nutshell: A widow lives with her ugly and lazy daughter and her beautiful and diligent step-daughter. The step-daughter has to do all the work in the household. One day when she’s spinning beside the well, she pricks her finger at the spindle which falls into the well. She leaps after it and finds herself in a different world. She meets an old woman, Frau Holle, and becomes her maidservant. After a while, she feels homesick. When she leaves, Frau Holle lets gold rain on her to thank her for her diligence and good behaviour. When the step-mother sees the gold, she immediately sends her lazy daughter to the well. She, however, doesn’t want to work for Frau Holle at all. She leaves for home covered in pitch. The fairy tale shows two opposing ways of life: some people are born into negative living conditions with hardly a chance of improvement. Others are lucky from the start and live well without an effort. The fairy tale offers comfort for the disadvantaged by emphasising that a hard life leads to a certain obedience and acceptance of fate which then may be rewarded. On the other hand, someone who’s spoilt from the beginning may not be able to cope with hardship. When the girl loses the spindle and is thus unable to go on working, she runs to her step-mother, but the woman gives her the cold shoulder and makes her fend for herself. By being forced to become independent the girl finds happiness in the end. On the way to Frau Holle’s house she passes an oven from which loaves of bread ask her to take them out because they’re ready. The loaves in the oven can be seen as a symbol for pregnancy. The apples which call out to be picked because they‘re ripe can be seen as a symbol for maturation. The girl accepts these changes and is richly rewarded. Her step-sister doesn’t and is punished. Gold Mary’s main task is to shake out Frau Holle’s bed so that it may snow on earth. Snow stands for wisdom and good advice with which the girl returns to her former life. She’s welcomed by a rooster, the Christian symbol for eternity, meaning that what she’s gained and acquired will stay with her. The origin of the fairy tale Frau Holle is unknown but researchers assume that the characters come from Norse mythology. Frau Holle = Hel. Hel is the queen of the Norse underworld. Or Hulda, in early Germanic mythology, the goddess of marriage, a beneficent guardian of all maidens. In the mythology of nature, Gold Mary can be seen as incorporating the sun, Pitch Mary as incorporating the moon, Frau Holle as the great goddess Mother Earth. --- P.S. If you're interested in more interpretations of German fairy tales, you can click on the green bar at the top of the site.
23 people like this
19 responses
@jaboUK (53936)
• United Kingdom
3 Jan
An interesting tale - in these sort of stories the good people always come off best (which is as it should be).
5 people like this
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
3 Jan
Indeed. I can't think of a fairy tale in which the baddies win. The pattern is always the same. Horrible problems may befall good people but in the end, they're solved and the good, often poor, people are better off than before.
4 people like this
@Corbin5 (106414)
• United States
3 Jan
This is a brand new fairy tale for me!! Thank you for this one!!! A very good lesson to all in this one. Good behavior is often rewarded, but darn that bad behavior does not bode well for a human. I am inspired to work on good behavior, for sure.
5 people like this
@marguicha (94733)
• Chile
3 Jan
Beautiful. I love fairy tales.
4 people like this
@ms1864 (6986)
• Bangalore, India
6 Jan
I enjoyed your interpretation of the story.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
6 Jan
Thank you. This post is the last in my mini-series on fairy tales.
3 people like this
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
18 Jan
@ms1864 Correction: I've just posted another fairy tale post. :-)
1 person likes this
@ms1864 (6986)
• Bangalore, India
23 Jan
@MALUSE going right to it.
@Platespinner (16494)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Jan
I vaguely remember reading this one many years ago. Thanks for the refresher and analyzing it for us!
2 people like this
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
3 Jan
You're welcome.
2 people like this
@just4him (117061)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
5 Jan
That's a very interesting fairy tale and a good story about the two sides of life. When you work hard, you will be rewarded.
2 people like this
@YrNemo (12668)
7 Jan
I haven't heard of this version before. (I gathered lots of fairy tales and folklore.) Thanks for this.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
7 Jan
You're welcome. This is the last tale of my fairy tale series.
1 person likes this
@Srbageldog (8603)
• United States
7 Jan
I've never heard of this fairy tale. Thank you for sharing it and analyzing it!
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
7 Jan
You're welcome. This fairy tale is not one of the tales which are known all over the world.
2 people like this
@noni1959 (3226)
• United States
5 Jan
I never heard this one and enjoyed reading. Thank you
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
5 Jan
Thanks for the comment.
1 person likes this
• Rochester, New York
3 Jan
I love this fairy tale. It's beautiful.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
3 Jan
@LisaSteinmetz @marguicha @Corbin5 Thanks for the friendly comments!
1 person likes this
@m_audrey6788 (13622)
• Germany
7 Jan
I love it
1 person likes this
@garymarsh6 (14075)
• United Kingdom
6 Jan
Fairy tales are a means of forming children into good honest law abiding citizens with honest hard working values whilst entertaining at the same time!
1 person likes this
@Madshadi (8937)
• Brussels, Belgium
3 Jan
What an interesting fairytale. Another one I would read for my daughter when she starts to understand them
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (24768)
• Aurora, Missouri
9 Jan
I've read this fairy tale before, Malu. I pulled down an armload of ebooks from Gutenburg.org. They ranged from American fairy tales all around the world, telling stories that can be strange or unworldly to stories like we might share with Pretty when she was little. I admit, some of them make very little sense to me, but I figured they came from long ago times when they probably made a great deal of sense to the people who came up with the stories. *shrug!* When I come across one that baffles me I finish reading it in hopes that something in the story will give me a handle on the rest of it. Once in a while, that does happen. Most of the time, I am still clueless when I finish the story.
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
9 Jan
I hope that my interpretation made some sense to you.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
10 Jan
@DaddyEvil Fairy tales have no authors. The Brothers Grimm were university professors who collected the stories which simple folks had told each other by the fireside since time immemorial.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (24768)
• Aurora, Missouri
13 Jan
@MALUSE You know I didn't mean that literally, Malu! I didn't know The Brothers Grimm were university professors, though. Thank you for adding to my store of minutia! I always appreciate that!
@BelleStarr (38280)
• United States
14 Jan
I have never heard this tale before but I do like that it is a happy ending.
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
14 Jan
All fairy tales have happy endings.
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (38280)
• United States
14 Jan
@MALUSE That is what I like about them but actually from what I have read, The Little Mermaid did not have a happy ever after in the original version.
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
14 Jan
@BelleStarr The Little Mermaid is not a genuine fairy tale. It was written by the Dane Hans Christian Andersen in 1837. Genuine fairy tales have no authors. They've been told and retold for centuries if not millennia. You may get a wrong impression from this photo. In reality, the statue is a bit smaller than life size. I've seen it several times.
1 person likes this
@thelme55 (14575)
• Germany
8 Jan
I used to see this fairy tale when my son was small. I love the story of it. Thanks @MALUSE for reminding me.
@MALUSE (40204)
• Germany
8 Jan
Not many people here know this fairy tale. It's not as well-known as, for example, Snowwhite.
1 person likes this
@thelme55 (14575)
• Germany
9 Jan
@MALUSE yes, I have noticed that.
@jstory07 (67145)
• Roseburg, Oregon
8 Jan
I really like that fairy tale it was a nice read.
@Tampa_girl7 (25693)
• United States
11 Jan
This one is new to me
• United States
8 Jan
Wow, I never heard of this one before, but it really does teach a good work ethic pays off.