From the machandel boom

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From the Machandelboom (Vom Wacholderbaum) is a fairy tale ( ATU 720). It is in the children's and house tales of the Brothers Grimm at position 47 (KHM 47) in Low German . Up to the 2nd edition the title Van den Machandel-Boom was written , up to the 4th edition Van den Machandelboom . The fairy tale goes back to the painter Philipp Otto Runge and was first published in 1808 in Achim von Arnim's newspaper for hermits under the title Von den Ma [c] handel Bohm . Ludwig Bechstein adopted it in his German fairy tale book in 1845 as No. 64 Vom Knäblein, vom Maägdlein and the wicked stepmother , in 1853 as No. 66 The Juniper Tree .


Illustration by Otto Ubbelohde , 1909

The pious wife of a rich man, while peeling an apple under the juniper tree , cutting her finger, wishes a child as red as the blood and as white as the snow. She becomes pregnant, dies giving birth to her son and is buried under the tree.

After the grief, the man marries a woman who has a daughter with him but hates the stepson. When the daughter once wanted an apple, she first got it. But when she asks that her brother get one too, the mother takes the apple away from the daughter so that she can offer one to the brother first. But when he bends down in the chest with the apples, the stepmother knocks off his head with the lid. Startled, she puts it back on, puts on a scarf and sits down in front of the house with the apple in her hand. She has the daughter hit him on the ears because he doesn't answer, so the head falls off. Then she cooks it in the soup and the daughter cries into it. The father is sad when he hears that his son has suddenly left, but he likes the soup.

The daughter collects the bones and, crying, places them in a silk scarf under the tree. Then it becomes light, the juniper branches move like hands, and a beautiful singing bird flies out of a fire in the mist. The bones are gone. The bird sings on the roof of a goldsmith , a cobbler and on the linden tree in front of a mill. For the repetition he asks for a gold chain, red shoes and a millstone. Then he sings on the juniper tree at home, which makes the father feel good and the mother afraid. He throws the chain around his father's neck, his sister's shoes on the ground and his mother's millstone on his head. The son rises from steam and flame. The three eat happily.


Illustration by Otto Ubbelohde , 1909

The fairy tale is printed in Low German . In later versions (from the 5th edition) the title and the song of the bird are in High German:

"My mother who slaughtered me,
my father who ate me,
my sister, the Marlenichen,
looks for all my benches,
ties them in a silk cloth,
puts them under the almond tree .
Kywitt, kywitt, what vör'n schöön Vagel bün ik! "

Grimm's note

Illustration by Otto Ubbelohde , 1909
Illustration by Otto Ubbelohde , 1909
Illustration by Otto Ubbelohde , 1909

Grimm's note notes the origin of Runge , who wrote it down “according to the folk tale”, and names a variant after Moné , according to which the little sister has to cook the soup and sees how little brother sticks out his hand. It buries the bones or hangs them out in the attic. The little bird whistles:

"Mei Moddr hot mi toudt g'schlagn,
my sister hot mi carried out,
my vaddr hot mi gesse:
i'm noh do!
Kiwitt, Kiwitt. "

In the Palatinate they say that the children should get an apple for strawberries from the forest, little brother leaves little sister tied to a tree, so he first has to bring it home (probably also to Moné ).

In Hessen the verse reads:

"My mother cooks me,
my father ate me
Sister sat under the table
the bones all picked up,
threw them over the pear tree,
it turned into a bird
that sings day and night. "

In Swabia near Meier No. 2:

"Pinch! tweak!
I am a beautiful little bird.
My mother cooked me
my father ate me. "

Goethe certainly recorded the song for Faust from old hearsay:

"My mother the whore,
who killed me
my rogue father,
who ate me
my little sister
lifted my legs,
in a cool place
then I became a beautiful forest bird
fly away, fly away! "

In the south of France the plot is the same, the song reads according to "Feuilleton des Globe 1830 No. 146 by CS":

ma marâtre
pique pâtre
m'a fait bouillir
et rebouillir.
mon père
le laboreur
m'a mangé
et rongé.
ma jeune soeur
la Lisette
m'a pleuré
et soupiré:
sous un arbre
m'a enterré,
riou, tsiou, tsiou!
je suis encore en vie.

In a Scottish fairy tale near Leyden, the ghost of a child as a bird whistles to his father:

"Pew wew, pew wew, (pee, wiwi,)
my minny me slew "

Comparable is Albert Höser in sheets for literar. Entertainment 1849 No. 199. There is a similar fairy tale in South Africa. Grimms put etymological considerations on "Marleenken" (Marianchen, Marie Annchen ), "Machandel" ( juniper , also quackholder). The stepmother reminds me of many other fairy tales, the finger cutting of Snow White and a place in Parzival (see Old German Forests 1, 1–13), the collecting of bones from Osiris , Orpheus , Adalbert , KHM 81 Brother Lustig , KHM 46 Fitchers Vogel , an "old dan. Song of the Mariböquelle ", the German" Sage of the drowned child (1st St. 62) ", The priest Amis , the" Negro question at Manni ". Zeus replaces the child's shoulder blade eaten by Demeter with ivory, Thor revives consumed goats "( Demesage 38)". For Mühlstein's they compare Fialar and Galar in the Edda and KHM 90 Der Junge Riese .


Philipp Otto Runge sent Johann Georg Zimmer , the publisher of Achim von Arnim's Des Knaben Wunderhorn , the personally recorded fairy tale in a letter dated January 24, 1806, together with another, which was also to go into Grimm's fairy tale as Von dem Fischer un syner Fru . In the letter he stated that he had adhered to the oral tradition, as it sounded, and found it "actually wistful more like sad and often turns into chill". According to the linguistic form of the text, Pomeranian childhood memories may have been mixed with newer ones from Hamburg. Runge had probably told the fairy tales earlier in story evenings. Apparently in response to Achim von Arnim's public appeal to send in popular literature, he wrote them down. Von Arnim published the fairy tale based on Runge's note in 1808 in his newspaper for hermits . He had his servant Frohreich make a copy of Runge's handwriting, which has survived. The original was lost. Johann Gustav Gottlieb Büsching published it again in 1812 as Von dem Mahandel Bohm , correcting most of the printing errors.

The first print by the Brothers Grimm from 1812 was based on Büsching's and von Arnim's version (although in the first edition of the note it was still claimed that Runge had informed them). Again, it only differs in the spelling and spelling of the dialect. The poem, which von Arnim used rather High German, was also rewritten in dialect. However, their publisher Reimer also made changes. From the 5th edition of 1843 onwards, the Brothers Grimm took over a revision printed by Runge's brother Daniel in 1840, which he said he wanted to orientate himself towards the Hamburg dialect. Ludwig Bechstein's German Fairy Tale Book published the text from 1853 as Der Wacholderbaum in High German, previously from 1845 very briefly as Vom Knäblein, vom Maägdlein, and the wicked stepmother . Ernst Heinrich Meier's The Little Bird on the Oak in German Folk Tales from Swabia (1852), No. 2, which the Brothers Grimm mention in their notes, is limited to the motif of the cooked child who sings as a bird, the oak falls over and kills the woman.


Marlenche's tears (see KHM 12 , 31 , 179 ) parallel the drops of blood from the mother (see KHM 53 , 56 , 89 , 88 ). The juniper moves the branches like the bird on the linden tree moves its wings. The murder by the stepmother (cf. KHM 11 , 13 , 15 , 21 , 53 , 56 , 135 ) is followed by the resurrection of the bones (cf. KHM 28 ), each sealed by eating together. Like the buried bones, the stepmother wants to go underground.

These parallels emphasize a dualism of good and bad, loyalty versus cunning. This is underpinned by Christian but also pagan symbols such as the apple of sin ( 1 Mo 3,1 ). His curse is erased with tears or salt . On the bird of the dead cf. KHM 96 De Drei Vügelkens , also KHM 15 Hansel and Gretel , KHM 28 The Singing Bone , KHM 40 The Robber Bridegroom , KHM 46 Fitchers Bird , KHM 88 The Singing Leaping Lion , KHM 105 Tale of the Toad . On death by the millstone cf. Judg 9.53 , 2 Sam 11.21 , Mt 18.6 , Mk 9.42 , Lk 17.2 , Rev 18.21 . Cf. in Giambattista Basiles Pentameron I, 6 The Ashen Cat , V, 5 Sun, Moon and Thalia , V, 9 The Three Lemons .

Typing and related fairy tales

The almond tree belongs to the stepmother's tales like Snow White or Cinderella , it is also related to sibling tales like little brother and sister , where the sister loses the brother and redeems it.


Almut Bockemühl compares the fairy tale with the nightingale myth of Tereus and Procne , the Dionysus myth , but also motifs from shamanism and the Christian Easter festival .

According to Wilhelm Salber , the core ultimately consists in claims to totality, which are expressed in peculiar private mythology and self-insecurity, which can only be overcome by allowing additions and changes.


  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe uses the fairy tale of the Machandelbaum at the end of Faust I : Gretchen sings the song of the bird in a slightly modified form while she is sitting in the dungeon (see Grimm's note).
  • Franz Fühmann wrote a radio play on Von dem Machandelboom (1988).
  • Roderick Watkins wrote an opera with fairytale material: The Juniper Tree, An Opera in One Act (performed at the music biennale for new music theater, spring 1997 in Munich)
  • In Regina Scheer's novel Machandel , one of the protagonists deals with the fairy tale of the Machandel tree as part of her dissertation. The motifs of the fairy tale also flow into the plot of the novel.
  • Maria Neumann combined in a production at the Bochum Art Church on July 6, 2019 Grimm's Fairy Tales From almond tree with Rainer Maria Rilke's poem Oh woe, my mother tears me down and the music of Prof. Matthias Geuting (organ and piano) and Markus Emanuel Zaja ( Alto saxophone and clarinet).


  • Brothers Grimm: Children's and Household Tales. Last hand edition with the original notes by the Brothers Grimm. With an appendix of all fairy tales and certificates of origin, not published in all editions, published by Heinz Rölleke. Volume 3: Original Notes, Guarantees of Origin, Afterword. Revised and bibliographically supplemented edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-15-003193-1 , pp. 89-91, 462.
  • M. Belgrader: The fairy tale of the machandel boom. Frankfurt / Bern / Cirencester 1980, ISBN 3-8204-6393-3 .
  • W. Burkert : From the nightingale myth to the machandel boom. In: Myth in our fairy tales. (= Publications of the European Fairy Tale Society. No. 6). Röth, Kassel 1984, ISBN 3-87680-335-7 , pp. 113-125.
  • K. Derungs: Archaic nature motifs in the magic fairy tale. In: The original fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Bern 1999, ISBN 3-905581-08-6 .
  • U. Harva: The religious ideas of the Altaic peoples. Helsinki 1938.
  • G. Just: Magical music. Lang, Frankfurt 1991, ISBN 3-631-43487-1 .
  • K. Meuli: Begging parades in the cult of the dead, sacrificial ritual and folk custom. In: Swiss Archives for Folklore. No. 28, 1927, pp. 1–38 and in: Gesammelte Schriften. Basel. Stuttgart 1976.
  • C. Oberfeld: The juniper beem, a mythical fairy tale? In: Hessian sheets for folklore. No. 51/52, 1960, pp. 218-223.
  • C. Uhsadel-Gülke: bones and cauldrons. Hain, Meisenheim 1972, ISBN 3-445-00878-7 .
  • Hans-Jörg Uther: Handbook to the children's and house fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. de Gruyter, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-11-019441-8 , pp. 110-114.
  • Philipp Otto Runge, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm: “From the Machandel boom”. "Von dem Fischer un syner Fru". Two fairy tales edited and commented by Heinz Rölleke. (= Literary Studies. Vol. 79). Scientific publishing house Trier, Trier 2008, ISBN 978-3-86821-045-3 .

Web links

Wikisource: Vom Machandelbaum  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Von den Ma [c] handel Bohm. In: Achim von Arnim (ed.): Newspaper for hermits. July 1808, Col. 229-237, ( .
  2. Dungeon. Gretchen.
  3. ^ A b Philipp Otto Runge, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm: "From the Machandelboom". "Von dem Fischer un syner Fru". Two fairy tales edited and commented by Heinz Rölleke. (= Literary Studies Series. Vol. 79). Scientific publishing house Trier, Trier 2008, ISBN 978-3-86821-045-3 .
  4. ^ Ernst Meier: German folk tales from Swabia. Hofenberg, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-8430-3150-9 , p. 16.
  5. ^ Almut Bockemühl: Initiation and Christianity. The fairy tale of the making boom. In: Heino Gehrts, Gabriele Lademann-Priemer (Ed.): Shamanism and magic fairy tales. Kassel. Erich Röth-Verlag, 1986, ISBN 3-87680-344-6 , pp. 147-159.
  6. ^ Wilhelm Salber: fairy tale analysis. (= Work edition Wilhelm Salber. Volume 12). 2nd Edition. Bouvier, Bonn 1999, ISBN 3-416-02899-6 , pp. 108-110.
  7. ^ Franz Fühmann: From the Machandelboom. In: Die Horen. Vol. 1/52, No. 225, 2007, ISSN  0018-4942 , pp. 151-166.
  9. ^ Regina Scheer: Machandel . Novel. Knaus, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-8135-0640-2 .