Wednesday, 19 July 2017

frau holle/mother hulda

Fancy Notions presents a wonderful vintage, stop-motion adaptation of the Brothers Grimm morality-, work-ethic tale Frau Holle—or as it’s sometimes rendered in English, Mother Hulda from Cornet studios (1976—purveyors of many fine instructional films as well, as featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000) called The Magic Well. With elements of the Cinderella story (Briar Rose), a studious, hardworking young girl is abused by her step-mother and expected to do all the household chores (whilst her biological daughter is pampered) and spin wool into yarn the rest of her hours until her fingers bled from the effort.

The story was told to Wilhelm Grimm by one interview subject named Henriette Dorothea Wild who lived near Kassel but came from Huguenot roots (famously members of the family accounted for other fairy tales like the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg, Rumpelstiltskin, the Cat and Mouse in Partnership, etc.) whom the collector of fables later married. One day, spinning as was her custom outdoors near the well—she pricked her fingers and dropped the spindle while trying to dab the blood away. Fearful of the punishment that would ensue for having lost their chief means of livelihood down the well, the girl launched herself after it. The girl awoke to find herself in an enchanted land and did small kindnesses to some nearly over-baked breads and an over-burdened apple tree she encountered along her way to meet Frau Holle—a kindly old woman she served loyally without stint, cooking for her and making her bed—shaking her bedclothes caused the snows to come in Hesse—central Germany. Frau Holle ist für die Schneemenge im Winter verantwortlich, denn je gründlicher sie ihre Betten ausschüttelt, desto mehr schneit es auf der Erde. The girl leads a charmed life but does eventually grow homesick—to which Frau Holle gladly releases her and restores her to the cottage in the woods with the spindle and an abdundance of gold as if no time had passed at all. Seeing her step daughter so arrayed with gold, the conviving widow tosses the spindle back down the well, pricks her favourite daughter’s finger on a rose thorn and throws her down, rather fearlessly after. To learn more about etiquette, superstition and ephemera and how the other daughter fares, please visit Fancy Notions at the link above.