The Candlemaker’s Daughter
Deep in the Black Forest lived a beautiful young girl named Anneliese. Her father made candles and her mother baked the best Hutzelbrot in the village. Their home was a happy one – full of light, the scent of baking, the sound of laughter. Anneliese even had a handsome suitor named Stefan who adored her and brought her armfuls of flowers from his lush garden.
But nothing was good enough for Anneliese. One suitor wouldn’t do; she wanted every man in town to notice her. Mere candles weren’t enough light, she wanted the very sun to surround her like a halo. Instead of just her mother’s delicious bread, Anneliese wanted banquets to be held in her honor.
One day she managed to slip away from her home to the hidden hut of the Hexenmeister. “Make me famous,” she begged. “Make people gasp at my blinding beauty. Make all the villagers think of me every hour of every day.”
The Hexenmeister turned her this way and that. “You are indeed beautiful,” he said, “but your homespun clothes and your ugly shoes won’t do.” He waved his wand and a cobbler appeared, carrying slippers made of fairy glass. Another wave of the wand brought a seamstress with a dress of gossamer silk made of starlight and moonbeams. “Now we can proceed!” He sent out an invitation to everyone in the village.
The next day at dawn, the villagers gathered under the Clock Tower in the town square, awaiting the Hexenmeister’s surprise. When the chimes struck the hour, the little platform swung open. Instead of the hand-carved cuckoo that used to greet them, the villagers saw a lovely princess, haloed by the early-morning sun.
The crowd gasped. “What a beautiful doll!” “It almost looks real!” “Our village clock will be famous.” And they brought fruits and hams and cakes and breads for a celebratory feast. Only Stefan recognized Anneliese. He could see the terror in her eyes, and even above the noise of the crowd, could hear her tiny voice crying, “Please, help me!” But he was powerless, also frozen by the sorcerer’s spell.