Mother Hulda – The Meaning Of This Folk Tale!

Today Robin interprets the fairy tale “Mother Hulda” as it has been handed down by the Brothers Grimm.

A widow likes her ugly, lazy daughter and not the beautiful, hard-working stepdaughter. She has to sit at the well and spin until her fingers are bloody, while the other one sits at home doing nothing. When cleaning, the bloody coil falls into the well. The stepmother wants her to get it back, she jumps into the well and wakes up again in a meadow. There she responds to the request to take baked bread out of the oven and shake apples from the tree. She serves the old woman Hulda with her big teeth, shakes her bed diligently, then it snows in the world. Finally she wants to go home, Mother Hulds leads her through a gate, gold falling on her, and gives her the spool back. The widow sends her daughter there, too, but she is lazy, for she never learned to do any work. Therefore she does not comply with the requests of the bread, the apples, or even those of Mother Hulda. Pitch falls on her as a farewell, which does not come off.

Robin’s Interpretation:

  • The good stepdaughter drowns in the well and wakes up in the hereafter. There she meets Mother Hulda, whom she is afraid of at first because of her “big teeth”. Probably Mother Hulda wears a skull, because she is the goddess of death (In Norsk her name is Hel which resembles “hell” or German “Hölle”; the German name of that folk tale is “Frau Holle”).
  • When the beds are shaken, it snows on the earth – this could mean shrouds of corpses, since these are also white.
  • The wicked stepmother embodies life, which is nice to everyone who has enough money.
  • The evil stepdaughter is the arrogant daughter of the house, who harasses the servants and finally receives her just punishment.

Upcoming: Snow White


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