Another Grimm tale, this one translated by MRS. H. B. PAULL and published by Fredrick Warne & Co London circa 1885. To my knowledge this is no longer under copyright. Source.
The Widow’s Two Daughters.
A widow, who lived in a cottage at some little distance from the village, had two daughters, one of whom was beautiful and industrious, the other idle and ugly. But this ugly one the mother loved best, because she was her own child; and she cared so little for the other, that she made her do all the work, and be quite a Cinderella in the house.
Poor maiden, she was obliged to go every day and seat herself by the side of a well which stood in the broad high road, and here she had to sit and spin till her fingers bled. One day when the spindle was so covered with blood that she could not use it, she rose and dipped it in the water of the well to wash it While she was doing so, it slipped from her hand and fell to the bottom. In terror and tears, she ran and told her stepmother what had happened.
The woman scolded her in a most violent manner, and was so merciless that she said, “As you have let the spindle fall into the water, you may go in and fetch it out, for I will not buy another.”
Then the maiden went back to the well, and hardly knowing what she was about in her distress of mind, threw herself into the water to fetch the spindle.
At first she lost all consciousness, but presently, as her senses returned, she found herself in a beautiful meadow, on which the sun was brightly shining and thousands of flowers grew.
She walked a long way across this meadow, till she came to a baker’s oven, which was full of new bread, and the loaves cried, “Ah, pull us out! pull us out, or we shall burn, we have been so long baking !”
Then she stepped near to the oven, and with the bread shovel took the loaves all out.
She walked on after this, and presently came to a tree full of apples, and the tree cried, “Shake me, shake me, my apples are all quite ripe.”
Then she shook the tree till the fruit fell around her like rain, and at last there was not one more left upon it. After this she gathered the apples into one large heap, and went on farther.
At last she came to a small house, and looking earnestly at it, she saw an old woman peeping out, who had such large teeth that the girl was quite frightened, and turned to run away.
But the old woman cried after her, “What dost thou fear, dear child? Come and live here with me, and do all the work in the house, and I will make you so happy. You must, however, take care to make my bed well, and to shake it with energy, for then the feathers fly about, and in the world they will say it snows, for I am Mother Holle.”
As the old woman talked in this kind manner, she won the maiden’s heart, so that she readily agreed to enter her service.
She was very anxious to keep friendly with her, and took care to shake up the bed well, so that the feathers might fly down like snow flakes. Thereiore she had a very happy life with Mother Holle. She had plenty to eat and drink, and never heard an angry word.
But after she had stayed a long time with the kind old woman, she began to feel sad, and could not explain to herself why, till at last she discovered that she was home sick. And it seemed to her a thousand times better to go home than to stay with Mother Holle, although she made her so happy.
And the longing to go home grew so strong that at last she was obliged to speak.
“Dear Mother Holle,” she said, “you have been very kind to me, but I have such sorrow in my heart that I cannot stay here any longer; I must return to my own people.”
“Then,” said Mother Holle, “I am pleased to hear that you are longing to go home, and as you have served me so well and truly, I will show you the way myself.”
So she took her by the hand, and led her to a broad gateway. The gate was open, and as the young girl passed through, there fell upon her a shower of gold, which clung to her dress, and remained hanging to it, so that she was bedecked with gold from head to foot.
“That is your reward for having been so industrious” and as the old woman spoke she placed in her hand the spindle which had fallen into the well.
Then the great gate was closed, and the maiden found herself once more in the world, and not far from her step-mother’s house. As she entered the farm-yard, a cock perched on the wall crowed loudly, and cried,
“Kikeriki! our golden lady is come home, ‘ see.”
Then she went in to her mother; and because she was so bedecked with gold, both the mother and sister welcomed her kindly. The maiden related all that had happened to her; and when the mother heard how much wealth had been gained by her step-daughter, she was anxious that her own ugly and; die daughter should try her fortune in the same way.
So she made her go and sit on the well and spin; and the girl who wanted all the riches without working for them did not spin fast enough to make her fingers bleed.
So she pricked her finger, and pushed her hand in the thorn bushes, till at last a few spots of blood dropped on the spindle.
Directly she saw these spots, she let it drop into the water, and sprung in after it herself. Just as her sister had done, she found herself in a beautiful meadow, and walked for some distance along the same path, till she came to the baker’s oven.
She heard the loaves cry, “Pull us out, pull us out, or we shall burn, we have been here so long baking.”
But the idle girl answered, “No, indeed, I have no wish to soil my hands with your dirty oven” and so she walked on till she came to the apple-tree.
“Shake me, shake me,” it cried, ” for my apples are all quite ripe.”
“I don’t agree to that at all,” she replied, “for some of the apples might fall on my head,” and as she spoke she walked lazily on farther.
When she at last stood before the door of Mother Holle’s house, she had no fear of her great teeth, for she had heard all about them from her sister, so she walked right up to her and offered to be her servant. Mother Holle accepted the offer of her services, and for a whole day the young girl was very industrious and did everything that was told her, for she thought of the gold that was to be poured upon her.
But on the second day she gave way to her laziness, and on the third it was worse. Several days passed and she would not get up in the mornings at a proper hour. The bed was never made or shaken so that feathers could fly about, till at last Mother Holle was quite tired of her and said she must go away, that her services were not wanted any more.
The lazy girl was quite overjoyed at going, and thought the golden rain was sure to come when Mother Holle led her to the gate. But as she passed under it a large kettle full of pitch was upset over her.
“That is the reward of your service,” said the old woman as she shut the gate. So the idle girl walked home with the pitch sticking all over her, and as she entered the court the cock on the wall cried out—
“Kikeriki! our smutty young lady is come home, I see.”
The pitch stuck closely, and hung all about her hair and her clothes, and do what she would as long as she lived it never would come off.