Hansel and Gretel by Jessie Wilcox Smith

Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm translated by Margaret Hunt

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by John Hassall

Grimm's Household Tales with the
Author's Notes
translated by Margaret Hunt

Return to
Household Tales:
Table of Contents

Previous Tale:
The Old Man and His Grandson

Next Tale:
The Death of the Little Hen

About the Grimms

SurLaLune Fairy Tales Main Page


The Water-Nix

A LITTLE brother and sister were once playing by a well, and while they were thus playing, they both fell in. A water-nix lived down below, who said, "Now I have got you, now you shall work hard for me!" and carried them off with her. She gave the girl dirty tangled flax to spin, and she had to fetch water in a bucket with a hole in it, and the boy had to hew down a tree with a blunt axe, and they got nothing to eat but dumplings as hard as stones. Then at last the children became so impatient, that they waited until one Sunday, when the nix was at church, and ran away. But when church was over, the nix saw that the birds were flown, and followed them with great strides. The children saw her from afar, and the girl threw a brush behind her which formed an immense hill of bristles, with thousands and thousands of spikes, over which the nix was forced to scramble with great difficulty; at last, however, she got over. When the children saw this, the boy threw behind him a comb which made a great hill of combs with a thousand times a thousand teeth, but the nix managed to keep herself steady on them, and at last crossed over that. Then the girl threw behind her a looking-glass which formed a hill of mirrors, and was so slippery that it was impossible for the nix to cross it. Then she thought, "I will go home quickly and fetch my axe, and cut the hill of glass in half." Long before she returned, however, and had hewn through the glass, the children had escaped to a great distance, and the water-nix was obliged to betake herself to her well again.

Next Tale:
The Death of the Little Hen

Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Household Tales. Margaret Hunt, translator. London: George Bell, 1884, 1892. 2 volumes.


From Hanau. It is a pursuit of the children by the witch, as in the story of Dearest Roland No. 56; she is at the same time Frau Holle, and the wicked one who makes people spin entangled flax, and gives them stones to eat instead of food. For the whole, compare J. Grimm's Irmenstrasse.

Available from Amazon.com

Complete Grimms translated by Jack Zipes

Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm translated by Jack Zipes

Great Fairy Tale Tradition by Jack Zipes


©Heidi Anne Heiner, SurLaLune Fairy Tales
E-mail: surlalune@aol.com
Page last updated October 15, 2006

Amazon.com Logo