Grimm’s Grimmest – The Robber Bridegroom
“Turn back, turn back, thou pretty bride,
Within this house thou must not abide.
For here do evil things betide.”
A miller is concerned and anxious for his beautiful daughter, wanting her to be well married and taken care of. So the miller decides that if a decent man comes along and asks for her hand in marriage, he would give her to him.
Soon after, a suitor comes forward who seems to exude the qualities the miller expected in a husband for his daughter. He promises his daughter to the suitor, but the girl does not seem to care for him as a bride should love her bridegroom.
The girl is actually quite frightened and weary of her future bridegroom, she feels a chill in her heart when she thinks of him.
Her future bridegroom invites the girl to his home, reluctantly agreeing to travel through the darkened woods to his house. But she sprinkles peas on the right and the left of the pathway he created for her.
She comes to the house, but it is empty except for a bird that warns the girl away and an older woman who hides the girl. She is hidden because her future bridegroom and his friends have returned to the house with a beautiful girl.
They drag the girl, chop her into pieces, and throw salt over her pieces of flesh. They had intended to do these things to the miller’s daughter. Noticing a golden ring on the girl’s finger, one of them takes an axe to the finger.
The finger lands on the miller’s daughter, hidden behind the great cask and behind the older woman. The older woman guides the men to eat and to search for the finger the next morning, dining on the flesh of the girl they had chopped up.
The miller’s daughter and the older woman escapes the house, and the girl tells her father everything that happened. When the wedding comes, the miller invites friends and neighbors to the assembly.
Once the bridegroom arrives, everyone is seated around a table to share stories before the wedding ceremony. The bridegroom teases the miller’s daughter to tell her story and she does.
And the story she tells packs a punch when she produces the amputated finger of the girl who the bridegroom and his gang killed and ate. Justice is delivered to the bridegroom and his gang who are executed for their evil deeds.
The Robber Bridegroom is a fairytale that is about trusting one’s instincts, whether it is woman’s intuition or not. The miller’s daughter knew that something was wrong with her future bridegroom, and he turned out to be a cannibal. Another little lesson from The Robber Bridegroom is do not trust your parent’s judgments 100 percent, make your own judgments, especially when it comes to that special someone.