(5/18/01 12:36:48 pm)
"Zwergnase" was written by Wilhelm Hauff, who has written a lot of tales that today are an integral part of German fairy tale-folklore.
The basic plot is as follows: A lady has an exceptionally beautiful little son. She is always selling vegetables on the market with her son beside her. One day an old lady (really a witch who comes to the market only every seven years) belittles her fruit and the son calls her an old hag. The witch requests that he carry her shopping home which his mother agrees to and so he goes home with the witch. She serves him a soup and forces him to stay in her home. There he learns - among other things - to cook for the witch, who is very fond of delicacies. He finally manages to return home. However, he doesn't know that seven years have gone by and that the witch has turned him into a dwarf with a very long nose (Zwergnase, sometimes also written Zwerg Nase, means Dwarf Nose). When he comes to his mother, she throws him out. He runs to his father, a shoemaker, who is trying to beat him for making fun of his wife by saying he, the ugly dwarf, was their long-lost beautiful boy and throwing his boots after him. Zwergnase doesn't understand until a barber shows him his face and figure in a mirror. Not knowing what to do, Zwergnase remembers his cooking lessons and applies as cook to the duke of that land who loves Delicacies as much as the witch. He is tried and when he succeeds in making a fine dish, hired. He stays for quite some time. He is head cook but always personally doing his shopping. One day he buys several geese. When he returns to the palace, he discovers one of them is speaking. She is the daughter of a sorcerer who was cursed by a rival to her father. Zwergnase keeps her in his room and they become very good friends. One day, a king or duke comes to visit. He is as much a gourmet as the duke for which Zwergnase works. The visiting duke challenges Zwergnase, who fulfills two assignments set for him. The third, a special pie, he doesn't make right. One spice is missing. It turns out that it is the same spice that will turn Zwergnase back into the boy (or rather young man) Jacob. With his friend, Mimmi the goose, he finds the spice (she is, after all, a sorcerers daughter)and is transformed back. He doesn't make the pie, though, but decides to leave - bringing Mimmi to her father who transforms her back into a maiden. As for the dukes and their wager on the cooking contest, Wilhelm Hauff has them start a war over that and then make peace again. At the celebrations, the pie is served...
Hope you don't mind my getting carried away...
Greetings from Germany,
P.S. What I always wanted to say: Heidi, I just love your site!!!