Maid Maleen – M&A book club Grimm Fairy Tale Edition #3


Aya selected Maid Maleen via our patent pending bibliomantic method. At first, I kept on thinking of the plant Mullein – which is used for the lungs – associated with grief – among other things. Here is Mullein

Mullein is tall like a tower, in fact like the tower that Maid Maleen is lock in. But I am moving too fast. Let me slow down and start from the beginning.

I will say this story has 5 acts.

Act 1 – Maid Maleen is a princess is betrothed to one prince but she is in love with another and refuses to marry the man her father picks. Her father builds a tower that neither light nor sound can penetrate and puts her in there with her maid for 7 years – along with a 7 year supply of beef.

Somet things to note, we have thwarted love, we have a difficult father, we have a tower and we have beef. We also have a maid instead of a mother, and we have the prospect of marriage (perhaps representing growing up). I will note 7 years and the 7 planets and the tower card from the tarot.

Act 2- Maleen and her maid are in the tower. They have no idea if time is passing since they have no light. How horrible – what torture. The prince that Maleen loves calls to her, but she cannot hear him because the tower walls are too thick. I think of incubation or transformation, a caterpillar in the cocoon.

Act 3 – The food is running low, so Maleen decides to dig her way out of the tower with cutlery. She and her maid take turns digging and they bore a hole through the tower. They could have escaped all along! We have the power to set ourselves free. When they look outside, they realize that the kingdom has been destroyed. They would have died in that tower. You must make decisions for yourself; you cannot trust blindly – especially if you are locked in a tower. Also – the power tools – a knife. They wander through the countryside – starving and eating nettle.

I love nettle, it is great when you are mineral deficient. I am drinking nettle right now. They are probably mineral deficient now that they are not on their heavy meat diet!

How To Make Nettle Tea: Tips For Harvesting & Brewing - Sencha Tea Bar

So they are destitute and wandering the countryside, finally, they come to the kingdom of Maid Maleen’s first beloved. The cook takes them on as scullery maids and the denouement begins.

Act 4 – In the new kingdom the prince’s father has betrothed the prince to a woman as ugly as she is wicked (so very).

Again we have importance of beauty/looks and the equation between beauty and goodness. We also fathers who really do poor jobs selecting a mate for their children. Maybe this is about how to make decisions. Aya has talked a lot about trust in these stories and proof and related to this is decisionmaking. Who is making good decisions? Not many people? It is interesting. When things do seem to work out, no decisions are made, they seem natural outcomes – like a walnut growing into a walnut tree. I’ll say more later.

So the betrothed is ugly and does not want to walk through town to be married to the prince so she has maid maleen pretend she is the betrothed. Maleen walks with the prince on the way to the get married and has three exchanges

  1. She sings a little song to a nettle plant – about eating it with out cooking it when she was hungry
  2. She says something to a bridge – about not being the real wife
  3. She says something to the church door – about not being the real wife

Each time the prince asks what she is saying, and maleen says, she is saying something about Maid Maleen but does not know her.

I want to note the rhyme/spell nature of these, that there ae three, and that two are about being a wife (or a real wife) about reality, and that one is about nourishment but without cooking (cooking being civilization). So perhaps there is something here about nature vs culture.

After they get married, the prince gives maleen a necklace, but still does not know she is maleen.

Act 5 – During this act the wicked and ugly princess who is supposed to marry the prince is discovered. The prince asks what she was saying to the nettle and the bridge and. thedoor and the ugly princess has. togo ask maid maleen. Finally the prince realizes that the ugly princess does not have the necklace and discovers that maleen is the true bride. The ugly princess is beheaded and maleen and the prince live happily ever after.

But there is a coda that kids sing about the tower

“Kling, klang, gloria.
Who sits within this tower?
A King’s daughter, she sits within,
A sight of her I cannot win,
The wall it will not break,
The stone cannot be pierced.
Little Hans, with your coat so gay,
Follow me, follow me, fast as you may.”

What does this coda mean?

Now I will just mention few things about this story. So we have doubling again, we have reversals (poor/rich), we have numbers (3,7), we don’t have colors, we have the sun and wind, we don’t really have animals, we have plants (nettle), we have tests, we have time passing, we have marriage, fathers, beauty, ugliness, headlessness, deceit, impersonation (or personas).

My main takeaway is that we cannot predict the future – we cannot manipulate events – we cannot control things. We can be in the moment and let life run through us -“Follow me, follow me, fast as you may.”

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