Fairy Tale The Golden Key

The Golden Key

It’s freezing cold and a boy clears the ground for a fire. Suddenly he notices a little golden key. Where there is a key, there is a…

The Golden Key is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a boy who has gone into the snow covered forest to gather wood. He finds a golden key, digs deeper and finds an iron chest. There is a lock, the key fits the lock and now we wait, until he has opened it.


The Golden Key in 2 minutes

Complete text The Golden Key

It was winter and deep snow lay on the ground. A poor boy was forced to go out on a sledge to fetch wood.

When he had gathered it together and packed it, he wished not to go home at once, because he was so frozen with cold. So he decided to light a fire and warm himself a little.

He scraped away the snow. As he was clearing the ground, he found a tiny, golden key.

He realized that where the key was, the lock must be also. He dug in the ground and found an iron chest.

“If the key does but fit it!” he thought; “no doubt there are precious things in that little box.”

He searched, but there was no keyhole. At last he discovered one, but so small that it was hardly visible. He tried it, and the key fitted it exactly.

He turned the key once round.

Now we must wait, until he has quite unlocked it and opened the lid. Then we shall learn what wonderful things were lying in that box.

Tips for Telling The Golden Key

Storyteller Rudolf Roos
  • This tale has an open ending. Your listeners are not expecting an ending like that, so you will need to bring the last sentence as a real ending. Take a long pause until you see that your listeners realize that it’s really the end.
  • The open ending is a perfect reason to interact with your audience and to ask what they think or hope will be in the box. Or what they would hope to find in such a box.
  • The Brothers Grimm chose this fairy tale to be the last in their collection for a reason. With this open ending fairy tale they wanted to show that there is room for new fairy tales, for new things imagined. Folktales are endless.
A storyteller tells The Golden Key

All Questions Answered

Who wrote the story The Golden Key?

This fairy tale was published by the Brothers Grimm in the first edition of their Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It was told before, their source was Marie Hassenpflug.

When was The Golden Key written?

The Brothers Grimm included it in the first edition (1815) of the Grimm’s fairy tales.

More useful information

Photo credits: Felix Wolf from Pixabay

The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales on this website are based on the authentic translation of Margaret Hunt. They were edited and reformatted for pleasant reading and telling by Storyteller Rudolf Roos.
See the complete list of The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales (link to internationalstoryteller.com).