Brother and Sister  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Brother and Sister is a well known European fairy tale which was, among others, written down by the Brothers Grimm in their collection of Children's and Household Tales (Grimm's Fairy Tales). It is alternatively known as Little Sister and Little Brother or (in the Grimm's version) Brüderchen und Schwesterchen.

Plot synopsis

Tired of the cruel mistreatment they endured from their stepmother, a brother and sister ran away from home one day. The two children wandered off into the countryside and spent the night in the woods. When the next morning came, the brother was thirsty and the pair went on the lookout for a spring of clear water. The evil stepmother however, had already discovered their escape and, powerful witch that she was, bewitched all the springs in the forest. The brother was about to drink from one, when his sister heard how its rushing sound say, "Whoever drinks from me will become a tiger."

Desperately, the sister begged her brother not to drink from the well, lest he transform into a wild animal and tear her to pieces. So they went back on their way, but when they came to the second spring the sister heard it say as well, "Whoever drinks from me will become a wolf."

Again, the sister desperately tried to prevent her brother from drinking. Reluctantly, he eventually agreed to his sister's pleas but insisted he would drink at the next spring they encountered. And so they arrived at the third spring, and his sister overheard the rushing water cry, "Whoever drinks from me will become a deer." But it was too late, because the brother had already drunk from the water, and changed into a deer.

As the initial feeling of despair cleared up, the pair decided to stay and live in the woods forever. The sister would take care of her brother, and tied her gold chain around his neck. They went to live in a little house deep within the woods and lived there happily for some years, until they were disturbed one day by a hunting party, and the king himself followed the strange deer home. Upon seeing the beautiful sister, he immediately asked her to marry him, a proposal she accepted. Thus the sister became queen and they all went to live happily in the king's castle.

Her stepmother however soon discovered that the pair were still alive and plotted against them. One night she killed the queen and replaced her with her own ugly daughter, whom she had transformed to resemble her. When the queen's ghost secretly visited the bedside of her infant son for three consecutive nights however, the king caught on and the stepmother's evil plan was exposed. The queen came back to life and the witch and her daughter were tried for their crimes.

The daughter was banished into the woods and torn to pieces by animals. The stepmother was burned at the stake. At the exact moment of her death, the brother became human again and at long last, the family was reunited. They all lived happily ever after.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Brother and Sister" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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