The maid of Brakel wants a man. And who better to go to than St. Anne, the patron saint of unmarried women?
The Maid of Brakel is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a girl who goes to a chapel to pray to St. Anne. She wants a man and she knows which one. A clerk hears her prayer and says she cannot have him, but she angrily thinks the little statue of Mary played a trick on her.
Complete text The Maid of Brakel
A girl from Brakel once went to St. Anne’s Chapel at the foot of the Hinnenberg.
She wanted to have a husband. As she thought there was no one else in the chapel, she sang,
“Oh, holy Saint Anne!
Help me to get a man.
Thou knowest him right well,
By Suttmer gate does he dwell,
His hair, it is golden,
Thou knowest him right well.”
The clerk, however, was standing behind the altar and heard her. He cried in a very gruff voice, “Thou shalt not have him! Thou shalt not have him!”
The girl thought that the child Mary who stood by her mother Anne had called out to her. Angrily she cried, “Fiddle de dee, conceited thing, hold your tongue, and let your mother speak!”
Tips for Telling The Maid of Brakel
- This story leaves you with more questions than answers. It is almost more like an anekdote. It could be interesting to ask your listeners what they think will happen next.
- Unlike the original listeners to this story, your listeners might not know this chapel. Either let the story take place in a chapel they know or describe a little bit of the interior.
- It might be useful to tell that St. Anne was considered the mother of Mary, mother of Jesus. She was the patron saint of unmarried woman. She was also the patron saint of Brakel. More about St. Anne on Wikipedia.
All Questions Answered
It was published by the Brothers Grimm in the second volume of the first edition of their Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Source: the von Haxthausen family.
The Brothers Grimm included it in the 1815 first edition of their Grimm’s fairy tales.
More useful information
Fairy tales with a clerk
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).