Rose Red and Lily White

From: Theo Meder, De Magische Vlucht, Uitgeverij Bert Bakker, 2000. Originally from the collection Boekenoogen, sent in by Ms. M. R. van de Veer, from Driebergen, Utrecht in 1892.

A forester and his wife lived in the woods, with their two daughters. The eldest was called Rose Red because she had a healthy, rosy look. The youngest daughter’s name was Lily White, because she was a pale, slender girl. The end of the winter was near, but it was still cold and every evening the family huddled together around the fire.

One stormy night, someone knocked on their door. When mother ordered Rose Red to open the door, the girl was greatly frightened because at the door she saw no human, but a big brown bear. The bear spoke to her: “Sweet child, I will not harm you, but only ask for a place for the night.”

The family let him in. Mother gave him food and drink, he got a straw to sleep on, and the girls played with him. Sitting by the fire, Brown the bear told his story. “I live in the forest, and in a mountain live fifty evil dwarves. Their leader is my greatest enemy, and torments me every time I go out to find food. Today he hit me with a stick, so I fled towards your house and daren’t go back.”

The next day, the forester and several of his fellows, together with the bear, decided to go and kill the dwarves. The had only been walking for a short while when they heard a terrible moaning. Going towards the sound, they saw an ugly dwarf whose beard was stuck under a tree. The bear and the dwarf recognized each other. Nevertheless, the dwarf called for help: “Take away the tree, but be careful because my beard holds magic powers.” The forester however took his chance, and cut of the dwarf’s beard. The angry dwarf tried to attack him, but the forester swung his axe and cut off the dwarf’s head. Then the forester layed bricks before the entrance of the mountain, so that the other dwarves could never come out anymore. They were hardly finished, or before them a beautiful prince appeared.

Before anyone could say anything, the prince spoke: “Thank you! I was the bear you had met before. The evil dwarf had transformed me and driven me from my castle. I had to live in the forest like an animal, and could only become a prince again if the dwarves died. As a reward, you and your family must live in my castle.”

So the family sold their house and garden and they went with the prince to live in his castle. After a few years the prince asked for Rose Red’s hand, and another few years later Lily White married a brother of the prince, who lived in another castle. They were happy and they never had to worry about the evil dwarves again, who had all been eradicated.