King promises his dying wife not to marry anyone not as beautiful as her. Only daughter matches. What now?
Once upon a time there was a king who had a wife with golden hair, and she was so beautiful that there was no one like her on earth. It happened that she lay ill, and when she felt that she would soon die, she called the king and said, "If you want to marry again after my death, then take no one who is not as beautiful as I am and who does not have such golden hair as I have; you must promise me that. After the king had promised her, she closed her eyes and died.
The king could not be consoled for a long time and did not think of taking a second wife. At last his advisers said, 'There is no other way, the king must marry again so that we may have a queen.' Now messengers were sent far and wide to look for a bride of equal beauty to the deceased queen. But there was none to be found in the whole world, and even if they had found her, there was none who had such golden hair. So the messengers returned home without having achieved anything.
Now the king had a daughter who was just as beautiful as her late mother and also had such golden hair. When she had grown up, the king looked at her once and saw that she was similar to his deceased wife in everything and suddenly felt a fierce love for her. Then he said to his councilors, "I want to marry my daughter, for she is the image of my deceased wife, and otherwise I cannot find a bride who resembles her. When the councilors heard this, they were frightened and said, "God has forbidden the father to marry his daughter; nothing good can come from sin and the kingdom will be dragged into ruin. The daughter was even more frightened when she heard her father's decision, but hoped to dissuade him from his intention. Then she said to him, 'Before I fulfill your wish, I must first have three garments, one as golden as the sun, one as silver as the moon, and one as shining as the stars; furthermore, I demand a cloak made up of a thousand kinds of fur and rough work, and every animal in your kingdom must give a piece of its skin to it'. But she thought, "It is quite impossible to procure this, and I will thus turn my father from his evil thoughts. But the king did not let up, and the most skillful maidens in his kingdom had to weave the three garments, one as golden as the sun, one as silver as the moon, and one as shining as the stars; and his hunters had to gather up all the animals in the whole kingdom and strip them of a piece of their skin; from this a cloak of a thousand kinds of rough work was made. Finally, when everything was ready, the king sent for the cloak, spread it out before her and said, "Tomorrow shall be the wedding.
When the king's daughter saw that there was no hope of turning her father's heart, she decided to escape. In the night, while everything was asleep, she got up and took three of her treasures, a golden ring, a golden spinning wheel and a golden reel; the three garments of the sun, moon and stars she put into a nutshell, put on the cloak of all kinds of rough work and made her face and hands black with soot. Then she commanded God and went away, and went all night until she came to a great forest. And because she was so tired, she sat down in a hollow tree and fell asleep.
The sun rose and she slept away and was still sleeping when it was already high day. Then it happened that the king, who owned this forest, was hunting in it. When his dogs came to the tree, they sniffed, ran around and barked. The king said to the hunters, "Look what kind of game is hiding there. The hunters obeyed the order, and when they came back, they said: "In the hollow tree lies a strange animal, such as we have never seen before: on its skin is a thousand kinds of fur; but it lies and sleeps. The king said, "See if you can catch it alive, then tie it to the wagon and take it with you. When the hunters touched the girl, she awoke in terror and called out to them, "I am a poor child, abandoned by my father and mother, have mercy on me and take me with you. Then they said 'Allerleirauh, you are good for the kitchen, just come with me, there you can sweep up the ashes'. So they put him on the cart and drove home to the royal castle. There they gave him a little room under the stairs, where there was no daylight, and said, 'Rauhthierchen, you can live and sleep there. Then he was sent to the kitchen, where he carried wood and water, stoked the fire, plucked the feathers, loaded the vegetables, swept the ashes and did all the bad work.
Then Allerleirauh lived a long time quite poorly. Oh, you beautiful daughter of the king, what will become of you? Once, however, a feast was celebrated in the castle, and she said to the cook, 'May I go up and watch for a while? I will stand outside the door. The cook answered, "Yes, go ahead, but in half an hour you must be back here to collect the ashes. Then she took her little oil lamp, went into her room, took off her fur skirt and washed the soot off her face and hands, so that her full beauty was revealed again. Then she opened the nut and took out her dress, which shone like the sun. And when this was done, she went up to the feast, and all stepped out of her way, for no one knew her, and did not think otherwise than that she was a king's daughter. The king, however, came to meet her, gave her his hand and danced with her, thinking in his heart, "My eyes have never seen one so beautiful. When the dance was over, she bowed, and as the king looked around, she had disappeared, and no one knew where. The guards standing outside the castle were called and questioned, but no one had seen her.
But she ran into her little stable, quickly took off her dress, blackened her face and hands, and put on her fur coat, and was once again Allerleirauh. When she now came into the kitchen, and wanted to go to her work and sweep up the ashes, the cook said 'let that be until tomorrow and cook me the soup for the king, I also want to watch a bit upstairs: but don't let a hair fall in, otherwise you won't get anything to eat in the future. Then the cook went away, and Allerleirauh cooked the soup for the king, and cooked a bread soup as well as she could, and when it was ready, she fetched her golden ring from the stable and put it into the bowl in which the soup was served. When the dance was over, the king had the soup brought to him and ate it, and it tasted so good to him that he thought he had never eaten better soup. But when he got to the bottom, he saw a golden ring lying there and could not understand how it had got there. Then he ordered the cook to come before him. The cook was frightened when he heard the order, and said to Allerleirauh, 'You have certainly dropped a hair into the soup; if it is true, you will be beaten. When he came before the king, he asked who had cooked the soup? The cook answered 'I cooked it'. But the king said, 'That is not true, for it was cooked in a different way and much better than usual. He replied, "I must confess that I did not cook it, but that I cooked the little roughneck. Said the king 'go and let it come up.'
When Allerleirauh came, the king asked 'who are you?' 'I am a poor child who no longer has a father and mother'. He asked further, "What are you doing in my castle? He answered 'I am good for nothing but to have my boots thrown around my head'. He asked further 'where did you get the ring that was in the soup?' It answered 'I don't know anything about the ring'. So the king could not find out anything and had to send it away again.
After a while there was another feast, and Allerleirauh asked the cook for permission to watch, as she had done the previous time. He answered, "Yes, but come back in half an hour and cook the king the bread soup he likes so much. Then it ran into its little stable, washed itself quickly and took from the nut the dress, which was as silver as the moon, and put it on. Then she went up and looked like a king's daughter, and the king met her and was glad to see her again, and because the dance was just beginning, they danced together. But when the dance was over, she disappeared again so quickly that the king could not see where she was going. But she jumped into her little stable, and made herself into a little roughneck again, and went into the kitchen to cook the bread soup. When the cook was upstairs, she fetched the golden spinning wheel and put it in the bowl, so that the soup was served over it. Then it was brought to the king, who ate it and liked it as much as before, so he sent for the cook, who this time also had to confess that Allerleirauh had cooked the soup. Allerleirauh came before the king again, but she answered that she was only there to have her boots thrown at her head and that she knew nothing about the golden spinning wheel.
When the king arranged a feast for the third time, it did not go differently than the previous times. The cook said, "You are a witch, little roughneck, and you always put something in the soup so that it will be so good and the king will like it better than what I cook," but because he asked, he let it go at the appointed time. Now she put on a dress that shone like the stars and entered the hall with it. The king danced again with the beautiful maiden and said that she had never been so beautiful. And while he was dancing, he put a golden ring on her finger, without her noticing it, and ordered that the dance should last quite long. When it was over, he wanted to hold her by the hands, but she tore herself away and jumped so quickly among the people that she disappeared before his eyes. She ran as far as she could to her little stable under the stairs, but because she had stayed too long and for more than half an hour, she could not take off her beautiful dress, but only threw her coat of fur over it, and in her haste she did not make herself completely sooty, but one finger remained white. Allerleirauh now ran into the kitchen, cooked the king's bread soup and, as the cook was gone, put in the golden reel. When the king found the reel on the bottom, he called Allerleirauh and saw the white finger and the ring that he had put on her finger during the dance. Then he took her by the hand and held her tightly, and when she wanted to untie herself and jump away, the fur coat opened a little, and the starry dress shimmered out. The king grabbed the coat and tore it off. Then the golden hair came out and she stood there in full splendor and could hide herself no longer. And when she had wiped the soot and ashes from her face, she was more beautiful than anyone had ever seen on earth. The king said: "You are my dear bride, and we will never part from each other. Then the wedding was celebrated and they lived happily ever after.