Riesenfräulein (12)

Common representation of this legend.

German legend initially written by brothers Grimm and later adapted as poem by Adelbert von Chamisso.

In German language it is known under the title of Das Riesenfräulein (the young giantess) and in French language it is known as La Fille des Géants (the daughter of the giants).

Context: Nideck's Castle


Alsace, the ruins of the castle of Nideck, where the legend tells that it used to be inhabited by giants.

Chamisso Adelbert von 1781-1838

Adelbert von Chamisso.

In Alsace, a charming legend represents a giant girl who has captured a peasant to use as a toy, and for this reason she is rebuked by her father.

This legend was popularized by the brothers Grimm in 1816 and later by the writer Adelbert von Chamisso in his poem Das Riesenfräulein - la fille du géant.

The place where the legend is located is Nideck's Castle in the town of Oberhaslach (Lower Rhine). The following legend is taken from the work of the legends and traditions of FJ Kiefer of the Basel Rhine in Rotterdam (Mainz, David Kapp, 2nd ed., Edited and Enlarged, 1868, pp. 19-20).



So supposedly was the castle.


The young giantess playing, before going beyond the castle.


With leaps and bounds, she passes over a town without noticing the presence of people and structures (unaware).


The young giantess realizes that she has gone far and to a place never seen before.


She sees a peasant and his horses, so she takes them and carries them on her apron.


She takes her new "toys" to home, returning where she came from, and treading (without realizing) the people and their relatively small inhabitants again.


Coming back home excited.


The young giantess' father.


The young giantess showing what she got to her father.


The father explaining to the young giantess that what she did is wrong.

A family of giants resided in the castle of Nideck. These beautiful times have passed, the castle has been ruined for some time, but the people have not forgotten the deeds of their former compatriots, and still speak of their size and extraordinary strength.

They were, according to legend, huge giants that stayed away from the trade of the neighboring inhabitants; being kind in nature, did no harm to anyone.

Now it happened that the little daughter of the castle owner retired, while walking more than usual of Nideck. The young giantess walked in the neighboring forest and reached a vast expanse of fields and meadows.

There she saw a peasant with his horse and his plow. It was something new for the girl! For a moment he looked with surprise at the man who was plowing his field. Filled with childish joy in this regard, she clapped. The mountains resounded with their bustling joy, the good worker stopped in fear, his horse stood still.

-"What a nice toy!" -Cried the young giantess-.

Before the peasant knew where these words were going, the girl was already close to him; she picked it up so easily, her horse and her plow, that if it had been a small object chiseled in the Tyrol, she would take it all to her apron.

All cheerful returned to her father's house in the castle.

-"See, then!", she exclaimed cheerfully, putting the peasant on the table with his plow tied, "see what kind of little figures I have just found! A living toy! Leather that do not know how to move! ".

But the father responded sternly:

My daughter, you know what you have done, you know what you are bringing, you have taken the peasant out of his field, you have taken him from his work, he who is the most useful of all humans, who neither fears the sun nor the rain or wind to force the earth to bear fruit. Without what you call a toy, in your ignorance as a child, there is no bread for us the giants or for humanity in general. Quickly bring the man back with his horse and his plow; and he remembers once and for all: "He who wickedly treats the peasant laborer as a toy, the curse of heaven will come to him."

And on orders of her father, the young giantess put the worker back with his equipment in the place from which it had taken him.

The heights where the giant castle once stood are now deserted. You know how to find out: there are no more giants. There is only one ruin of this legend to make you dream.

The moral of this legend: The great people of this world, as powerful as they, will always need the little ones to find their food. "We always need a smaller one!"


Now the castle is in ruins, desert and the giants have unnoticed. And all for not appreciating the smallest (and especially: the peasants).



See also