The Robber Bride
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Suddenly a voice called out: Turn back, turn back, you young bride.You are in a murderer's house.The girl looked up and saw that the voice came from a bird, which was hanging in a cage on the wall. It cried out again:Turn back, turn back, you young bride.You are in a murderer's house.Then the beautiful bride went from one room to another, walking through the whole house, but it was entirely empty, and not a human soul was to be found. Finally she came to the cellar. A very old woman was sitting there shaking her head.
"Oh, you poor child," replied the old woman, "where did you come from? You are in a murderer's den. You think you are a bride soon to be married, but it is death that you will be marrying. Look, they made me put a large kettle of water on the fire. When they have captured you, they will chop you to pieces without mercy, cook you, and eat you, for they are cannibals. If I do not show you compassion and save you, you are doomed."
They gave her wine to drink, three glasses full, one glass of white, one glass of red, and one glass of yellow, which caused her heart to break. Then they ripped off her fine clothes, laid her on a table, chopped her beautiful body in pieces and sprinkled salt on it. The poor bride behind the barrel trembled and shook, for she saw well what fate the robbers had planned for her.
One of them noticed a gold ring on the murdered girl's little finger. Because it did not come off easily, he took an ax and chopped the finger off, but it flew into the air and over the barrel, falling right into the bride's lap. The robber took a light and looked for it, but could not find it.
Then the robbers said, "The old woman is right." They gave up their search and sat down to eat. The old woman poured a sleeping-potion into their wine, so that they soon lay down in the cellar and fell asleep, snoring.
When the bride heard them snoring she came out from behind the barrel, and had to step over the sleepers, for they lay all in rows on the ground. She was afraid that she might awaken one of them, but God helped her, and she got through safely.
When the wedding day came, the bridegroom appeared. The miller had invited all his relatives and acquaintances. As they sat at the table, each one was asked to tell something. The bride sat still and said nothing.
Turn back, turn back, you young bride.You are in a murderer's house.Then it cried out the same thing again. Darling, it was only a dream. Then I went through all the rooms. They were all empty, and there was something so eerie in there. Finally I went down into the cellar, and there sat a very old woman, shaking her head. I asked her, "Does my bridegroom live in this house?"
She answered, "Alas poor child, you have gotten into a murderer's den. Your bridegroom does live here, but he intends to chop you to pieces and kill you, and then he intends to cook you and eat you."
Darling, it was only a dream. After that the old woman hid me behind a large barrel. I had scarcely hidden myself there when the robbers came home, dragging a girl with them. They gave her three kinds of wine to drink: white, red, and yellow, which caused her heart to stop beating. Darling, it was only a dream. After that they took off her fine clothes, and chopped her beautiful body to pieces on a table, then sprinkled salt on it. Darling, it was only a dream. Then one of the robbers saw that there was still a ring on her ring finger. Because it was hard to get the ring off, he took an ax and chopped off the finger. The finger flew through the air behind the large barrel, and fell into my lap. And here is the finger with the ring.
The robber, who had during this story become as white as chalk, jumped up and tried to escape, but the guests held him fast, and turned him over to the courts. Then he and his whole band were executed for their shameful deeds.
Just then the prince and his band came home from their raid. However, because the old woman had sympathy with the bride's youth and beauty, she said to her, before anyone noticed her, "Quick, go down into the cellar and hide yourself behind the large barrel!"
The princess had hardly slipped behind the barrel when the band of robbers came into the cellar, bringing with them an old woman whom they had captured. From her corner the princess could see everything that was happening without herself being noticed, and she saw that the old woman was her grandmother. The robbers took the old grandmother and murdered her. Then they took all the rings off her fingers, one after the other. However, the ring from her ring finger would not come off, so one of them picked up an ax and chopped off the finger. The finger flew behind the barrel and fell right into the princess's lap.
After this the band lay down to sleep there in the same cellar. As soon as they were asleep and snoring, the bride came out from behind the barrel. They were all lying there in rows, and she would have to walk over all the sleeping men to reach the door. She carefully put her foot down between them, fearing always that she might awaken one of them, but fortunately that did not happen. After reaching the door she was once again in the woods, and because the moon shone brightly, she followed the ribbons until she arrived back home.
She told her father everything that had happened to her, and he immediately ordered an entire regiment to surround his castle, as soon as the bridegroom arrived there. That happened. The bridegroom came that very day and immediately asked why she hadn't come to visit him yesterday as she had promised.
She said, "I had a very bad dream. I dreamed that I went to a house. An old woman was sitting just outside the door, and she said to me, 'It is good that you came when no one is at home, for I have to tell you, that I had to fill a large kettle with water, and they intend to kill you, and boil you, and then eat you.' Even as she spoke, the robbers came home, and before anyone noticed me, the old woman said, 'Quick, go down into the cellar and hide yourself behind the large barrel.' I was hardly there when the robbers came down the cellar stairs. They were dragging an old woman with them, whom they took hold of and murdered. After they had murdered the old woman, they began to pull all the rings off her fingers, one after the other, but the ring on her ring finger wouldn't come off, so one of them picked up an ax and chopped away at it until it flew into the air, and it came down behind the barrel right into my lap, and here I have the finger!"
When the bridegroom saw and heard these things he turned as white as chalk with fear. He tried to flee by jumping out the window, but the sentries were standing below. They captured him and his entire band, and all of them were executed as a reward for their wicked deeds.
The day came that had been fixed for the marriage. The bridegroomarrived and also a large company of guests, for the miller had takencare to invite all his friends and relations. As they sat at thefeast, each guest in turn was asked to tell a tale; the bride satstill and did not say a word.
The bridegroom, who during this recital had grown deadly pale, up andtried to escape, but the guests seized him and held him fast. Theydelivered him up to justice, and he and all his murderous band werecondemned to death for their wicked deeds.
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Wickedly sinful, the Earl of Sussex, is an unrepentant rake. The Wicked Earls' Club is the perfect place for a man of his station to indulge. That is until his parents force a match that threatens to rob him of his freedom. Unwilling to be tamed, he travels to meet his bride and demand she put a stop to this farce. Except Lady Tabitha is nothing he expected, and everything he never knew he wanted. Too bad this fiery wallflower is equally bent on ending their engagement. 2b1af7f3a8